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

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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.)

Comments (30)

  • jimc says:

    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?

  • 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.

    • Talay says:

      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.

  • Alistair says:

    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…

  • vindaloo says:

    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.

  • JC says:

    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!

    • Rob says:

      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.

      • JC says:

        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.

  • Frenske says:

    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.