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‘50% off Qatar Airways flights’ voucher for £19 on Groupon – worth it?

I have had a lot of emails over the last few days about a Qatar Airways deal which has appeared on Groupon.

As with many Groupon deals, the headline becomes a lot less interesting once you have read the small print. The question is whether there is still value even if you are prepared to jump through all the hoops.

Take a look at this page of Groupon.

You can buy:

  • a £9 voucher giving you 25% off Economy Saver fares
  • a £19 voucher giving you 50% off Business Saver fares

The first thing to note is that Promo fares are excluded.  This means that you cannot access the cheapest Qatar Airways deals.

Here are the other restrictions:

You can only use the voucher for flights starting in Heathrow, Manchester, Birmingham or Edinburgh – no cheap ex-Europe tickets are possible

You can only fly to Jakarta, Colombo, Bali, Kathmandu, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Yangon, Ras Al Khaimah, Krabi, Abu Dhabi, Windhoek, Nagpur, Maldives, Bangkok, Dar Es Salaam, Entebbe, Hanoi, Phuket, Muscat, Nairobi, Perth, Adelaide, Seychelles, Bengaluru, Kochi, Delhi, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Tokyo (Narita International Airport only), Phnom Penh, Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland

The discount is applicable only to the airline fare and does not include taxes, airports costs, surcharges.  This means that, for economy tickets, you will save a lot less than 25% because the taxes out of the UK often make up the bulk of the fare.  It has a smaller impact on business class tickets.

The list of valid dates is tight – you cannot fly out between 9 – 28 December 2016 or 28 March – 10 April 2017 which knocks out Christmas and Easter

Note that, whilst Business and Economy Saver tickets can usually be changed for a fee, your ticket cannot be modified or cancelled

You cannot fly back between 31 December 2016 – 11 January 2017, 9 – 26 April 2017

All travel must be completed by 30 June 2017

Qatar Airways 787 business class review - outside 2

Let’s look at a couple of random pricing examples.

London to Singapore, 11th – 18th February (half term for many)

Economy Value standard price – £863

Price with discount (25% off the ex-taxes number) – £726

The ‘real’ saving is 15%.  It is obviously still a decent return on the £9 cost of the voucher.  However, £726 for an economy return flight to Singapore still feels high.  Expedia, on the same dates, has Vietnam, Turkish and China Southern at well under £500.

London to Sydney, 1st – 15th March

Business Promo standard price (cannot use voucher) – £3,576

Business Value standard price – £4,260

Price with discount (50% off the ex-taxes number) – £2,444

This is not too bad.  £2,500 is the base level price I tell people to target when buying Sydney business class tickets from London.  That said, fares under £2,000 are often available.  For the same dates, Vietnam Airlines wants £1,711 for a brand new Boeing 787 on both legs.  Cathay Pacific and Malaysia Airlines, which are also both oneworld partners, are around £2,500.  To be honest, I would choose Qatar over Cathay and Malaysia, but the point I am making is that the voucher is not getting you an extra-special deal.

So …

If you think this deal is going to get you an exceptional bargain, think again.

On the other hand, if you have some specific travel plans in mind – and you can work around the date and destination restrictions – it is worth running the numbers, primarily for Business Class.

The Qatar Airways home page is here.  Remember to ignore any ‘Promo’ fares.

To see the taxes element, which is not discounted, you need to click on ‘Price Breakdown’ which is an option on the summary pricing page.

If, and only if, you think there is a deal, you can buy your Groupon voucher here.

It is not clear when the Groupon offer will end but the vouchers expire on 30th October.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

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Comments

  1. Would using this coupon still qualify for BA tier points?

    • Yes, May, you will get both TPs and avios, it’s the airline that matters here. Input the BAEC no before you fly. Good way to get status, but still need the Ba flights x4 or QR ex UK to DOH.
      This QR deal is inflexible, no mods which is bad. I noticed when doing our daughters recently to NBO in their recent sale, in Y, that the change t and c were worse using an agency. Thus we bought it for £50 more directly on the QR site.
      I think a lot of non HFP folk will get caught out by this Groupon deal.
      We will be waiting for their next big sale, and then go ex EU.
      Justin, that a good deal from the UK with no positioning costs or time needed.

  2. You’re only pricing london flights.

    If EDI is your starter it can be pretty decent.

    Edi > Syd – 8th feb out 22nd feb back. With voucher its £2633 on qatar. decent times etc
    Cheapest on expedia is a 40hr nightmare with klm and china southern at £2676. most other airlines are at the £3500 level for those dates.

  3. I guess there’s no way this can be used starting in Perth, WA to the UK???

    • You’d need to use an Australian version of Groupon but there are never really any good deals from Australia…

  4. I’m reasonably certain only the outbound need be by 30th June.

  5. I’m hoping some HfP’ers have taken a punt on this and can inform us how to maximise its value…?

    • Nick Burch says:

      As Rob says, have specific travel plans in mind, crunch the numbers and see for yourself if it’s worth it for you!

      • Crunching the numbers would be a lot easier and quicker for someone who can put the voucher code in a dummy booking. I bet there are sweet spots out there that we haven’t found yet. If I wasn’t married I’d take the punt myself!

  6. Klaus-Peter Dudas says:

    You also get higher avios and status points booking the higher fare, so may be worth it if you are going to book anyway even if you don’t end up saving anything

  7. Aaron Watson says:

    OT – just wondering I’m looking at flying Man – Bangkok business class with Qatar June 17 for my honeymoon and at the moment it is £3200 for the two of us! Is there usually a set time of year when Qatar do one of their sales? as I’ve seen some pop up over the last couple of years.

    • I reckon you could do it for £2500 either with Qatar or Etihad (Emirates is not as aggressive on pricing) if the right sale comes along. I certainly wouldn’t be jumping in now for next June.

      • I watch LHR/LON to BKK all the time as it is my main longhaul flight and if you are purely looking at cost and not factoring in things like chauffeur or points / status, then the rough bottom end figures from the last X months are:

        Finnair – £1209 (repriced to around £1300 following Brexit). As a change is needed, MAN is no disadvantage to LHR.

        Etihad – £1400 (using offer codes and / or Amex discounts). Codes change (10%, 20%, 30%) but Amex is up to 10%. This is from LHR – assuming MAN similar.

        Emirates – £1550 – usually runs around £100/200 more than Etihad from LHR, a little less from LGW.

        Thai – £1700 (TG website) / £1600/1650 (Agent) – Direct, watch out for planes. TG910/911 are the A380. TG915/916 are the 777 planes.

        EVA – not sure. I don’t monitor too often and stopped when TG went down to £1700 as the product is not comparable IMHO.

        Qatar – £1350/1400 from LHR on my dates – maybe some down to near £1000 on other dates. I have also seen couple fares (fine for you, not so much for me) just above £2000. Of course, many sales from the EU but not so good after Brexit and the 2 x positioning flights means a no no for me unless hugely discounted – not for a hundred or two.

        Singapore – £1700 – not cheap and a 13+2 flight but I had to put my family on it the other month and they liked it. A380 of course and a great way to see SIngapore with a stopover but I would not do it myself, preferring the 7+7 ME3 options.

        Some others may have better but this is about what I found / can find.

      • Aaron Watson says:

        Cheers!

  8. London to Auckland ~£2400 return (after Feb of course) seems the best deal I can find, considering how wide open the availability is.

  9. I’ve been waiting for better options for 3 of us LON-BKK next month, out nov 1st back dec 1st. Right now i’ve got award flights on CX J at a whopping 630k miles. The Qatar deal prices up at £1581, still not great but probably the best cash option right now. I’ve been waiting for a regular QR sale but nothings happened for a while.
    Can i ask, do i need to buy 3 voucher codes to get 3 deals, or will one code suffice for one booking?

  10. GOD SAVE THE POINTS says:

    I find this slightly underrated. I have been able to find plenty of non promo fare, which are low filed fares, to destinations like Delhi, Bangkok and so forth, where this voucher essentially secures ex Europe pricing for direct London departures. I just found a fare I may use from London to Delhi for just after new Years at 1400GBP all in with the voucher. No One World Airline within a few hundred at that pricing for those dates. There is opportunity.

    • Care to offer up some LHR-BKK details as all I could find were prices way ahead of the cash fares available for the same dates.

  11. How do I use this to book open jaw flights. Departing and returning to London, but in and out of different destination. Website only allows to book cheapest and most expensive economy airfare, no standard price ones…

  12. I’ve just made a booking with this deal and it worked a treat. LHR-MEL in less than three weeks. The cheapest promo fares for cash were coming out around £3,200, but availability was very limited. I couldn’t have got the times I wanted and would have had 14 hours or something in Doha. The cheapest rate with the coupon was just under £2,500 but availability was much better and I got the times I wanted.

    I’m also not convinced that it’s totally inflexible. The conditions when I did the booking appeared to allow for changes, possibly on the same terms as usual although I didn’t compare side by side. The small print of the Groupon offer is ambiguous, saying “No modification or cancellation allowed after booking confirmation” but also “All the fare types offer fllexibility [sic] to the booking with Qatar Airways, reduced fees on changes and the opportunity to earn more Qmiles.” The latter sounds like a description of the advantages of booking one of the fares permitted by the deal rather than the inflexible “promo” fares that aren’t covered.

  13. How would people rank the following options for Bali in May next year?

    £1300 in Business on Garuda Indonesia on Skyscanner via an agent
    £1700 in Business on Qatar using this deal

    I’ve only ever flown Club World and not got a good idea how the GA and QR products rate. Help appreciated!

    • Qatar varies by aircraft – A350, 787, 380 has the newest product. Earns BA tier points and Avios which would get you 560 tier points so effectively BA Silver, near enough.

      Garuda is SkyTeam. I flew them in Business if you do a search. Decent reputation.

      If you would value BA status then Qatar is a decent option.

      • Thanks Rob, QR business class is extremely tempting!

        Just need to avoid the dreaded 777 from Heathrow then.

        DOH-DPS is all Dreamliners so should be good there.

  14. Santander also gives 5% discount on Qatar just by using their debit card. You need to select the offer in My Offers online or app.
    It should stack with other offers.

  15. The link below suggests there is some flexibility with the deal.
    http://www.qatarairways.com/uk/en/offers/groupon-economy.page

    I am wondering if it is easy enough to downgrade one leg of the flight once deal is booked