The new Qatar Airways ‘Travel with Confidence’ policy lets you change your destination within 5,000 miles – for FREE

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Qatar Airways has extended and updated its travel advisory, offering one of the most flexible rebooking options in the industry.  In fact, it is arguably TOO generous!

You can see the ‘Travel with Confidence’ policy on the Qatar Airways site here.

Anyone with a Qatar Airways booking now has a ream of options if their flight is cancelled or they want to change their travel plans.

EDIT:  Qatar Airways has made two tweaks to the rules since we published this article.  First, you cannot change your ticket until at least 14 days after booking it.  Secondly, the same sub-fare class needs to be available – which is trickier to spot.  If you bought a very heavily discounted ticket, you are unlikely to be able to change it unless there are very heavily discounted tickets for sale on the new route.  Check for any other changes to the rules before booking.

Qatar Airways travel with confidence policy

Once you have booked a Qatar Airways flight for travel in 2020, the following options are available to you.  For clarity, you do NOT need to have a cancelled flight to take up these options.  They are available to everyone with a Qatar Airways booking.

Keep your ticket:

You can keep your ticket ‘open’ for up to two years, allowing you to rebook at your convenience.  You don’t need to select a new date at the moment.  (To be honest, I wouldn’t select this option if your flight is cancelled and you have the option of a cash refund.)

Unlimited date changes:

Date changes are free and there is NO fare difference if travel is completed before 31st December 2020.  This is very attractive.  It would allow you to move your trip to a peak period, such as over Christmas, without paying a penny extra.

Take a travel voucher for the value of the booking, plus 10%:

This option was first announced several weeks ago and has since been implemented by various other airlines such as Aer Lingus.  Any voucher claimed prior to 31st December 2020 is valid for two years.

If you choose not to fly, this is a better option than taking a cash refund because of the 10% uplift.  Of course, there is no indication that flights will remain at pre-Covid prices so you are taking a gamble on Qatar Airways still offering excellent value fares at the time you rebook.

Exchange your booking value for Qmiles

This is a new and interesting option. Instead of cashing out or getting a future travel voucher, Qatar Airways is offering the opportunity to exchange the value of your booking for Qmiles.

For every $1 of ticket value you will receive 100 Qmiles.  In effect, you are buying Qmiles for 1 cent each.

Qatar Privilege Club and Qmiles have never had a lot of traction in the UK because, not surprisingly, most people who fly Qatar Airways prefer to credit their flights to British Airways Executive Club.  There is no Qmiles credit card partner in the UK and few ways of topping up.  However, let’s take a look at the numbers.

In normal circumstances, you can buy 1000 Qmiles for $30, or 3 cents per Qmile. On the face of it, the ‘Travel with Confidence’ offer is good value as you are paying 1 cent per Qmile – 66% less than normal.

In reality, whether this is good value or not depends on the redemption.  Let’s take a look at a simple return flight between London and Doha in business class. This would normally set you back 116,000 Qmiles plus a $50 fee per one-way sector booked plus taxes.

Based on ‘buying’ 100 Qmiles for every $1, this isn’t particularly compelling.  In general, Qmiles redemptions are poorer value than using Avios for the same flight.  However, it is worth doing a quick calculation based on your preferred destination and comparing it to the average fare price using the Qmiles calculator.

Unlimited destination changes before 31st December:

On the face of it this is the most compelling of the options, and with good reason. Qatar Airways is offering unlimited destination changes within 5,000 miles of your original destination for FREE.

There is no change fee and no fare difference charged.  The only condition is that you complete travel before 31st December.

This is – clearly – huge. 5,000 miles is a long way! It is further than flying from London to Seattle. Take a look at this map from the Great Circle Mapper which shows all areas within 5,000 miles of Hong Kong:

Qatar Airways book with confidence policy

Under the new policy, you are able to re-book your flight to virtually all of Australia and Asia.  You can check the 5,000 mile radius for any airport using gcmap.com here.

Some people have seen this as offering potential for abuse, but if you live in the UK this isn’t really the case.  Qatar Airways fares are relatively similar to most parts of Asia.  The only potential way to substantially abuse (or ‘game’, depending on your perspective!) the situation would be to swap an Asia flght to Australia or, from those destinations close enough, New Zealand.

However, where you fly will most likely be dictated by any country’s entry policy. There’s no point flying for a three week holiday to, say, Australia if it still requires a 14 day quarantine period later this year.  Remember that this option is only available until the end of the year and there’s no guarantee that Australia or New Zealand will have opened up.  Nonetheless, the ability to change your destination does offer an exceptional amount of flexibility.

Why is Qatar Airways being so generous?.

With the majority of flights grounded, every airline is struggling to maintain its cash flow. Bookings are massively down but airlines still have (expensive) bills to pay.

This problem is compounded by the fact that they are often legally required to give refunds in cases where flights have been cancelled. British Airways, for example, has already paid out more than €1 billion in flight refunds since March.

Airlines are trying their very best to encourage you to maintain your bookings or exchange them for future travel vouchers.  Qatar Airways is no different, except it is offering a genuinely compelling reason not to claim a refund.  Letting people change their destination for no additional fee or fare difference is a sure-fire way to motivate such behaviour!

At the end of the day, Qatar Airways still gets your business.  Even if someone does buy a c£1,200 business class ticket from Stockholm to Asia and switches the destination to Sydney, Qatar Airways is still ‘up’ if the plane was not going to be full – and that is unlikely to happen for a while.

You can read the full terms and conditions of the new Qatar Airways ‘travel with confidence’ policy here.

PS.  Remember that Qatar Airways flights earn Avios and British Airways Executive Club tier points too.  In most cases, you earn MORE tier points than you would earn flying the same route on British Airways. A return Business Class trip to Asia would earn 560 tier points for example.  We wrote a long explanation of how it works in this article on a Qatar Airways fare sale earlier in the year.

(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. Letsfly says:

    Just to say seems you now need to wait 14 days before making any changes and also keep the same total duration…

    • Aaron says:

      not sure about the duration, but for voluntary changes, the new flights now needs to be booked into the same fare class (ie, R/ I/ etc) as well. But the policy hasn’t changed for involuntary changes

  2. Unsurprisingly they’ve now tweaked the rules a little bit…

    https://onemileatatime.com/qatar-airways-modifies-generous-rebooking-policy/

  3. Been very impressed by Qatar and their policy. Have/had flight booked to Bali for late July ex CDG which QR have cancelled but which leaves us with a raft of options. One is to switch to ex LHR and that is being actively considered as if that was then kept open for two years I would be happy to wait.
    I have prepaid hotels so looking now at what can be done but the Conrad being a bit mean on pre paid rates and only allowing us to move dates if we pay the new prices ( which they have increased) I am rather hoping that Hilton will extend their current policy and we can then get a refund and put flights ex LHR on hold for up to two years.

  4. Seems like the deal is back on! I can see a bunch of cheap tickets in J and Y. Obviously, we’ll have to play by the new rules but 14 days isn’t too bad if low fare classes in Y/J are still available after two weeks.

  5. Flyersam says:

    Now its turnewd rubbish Bought a R class fare before the covid19 secenrio- unfortuntly through expedia. Rang on the first day to just get my origin airport changed ( same country|) but Qatar couldnt do it as booked through agent. Agent wont answer phone and by the time i got a twitter reply (4 DAYS) Qatar had added the fare difference clause. Now this deal not much use to anyoneas no R buckets to be found Shame they didnt do the 14 day wait for new tickets straight off then maybe it wouldnt have gone so crazy

  6. L Allen says:

    Has anyone tried to use the refund / voucher process? I asked for a refund of my flights OSL – DOH – SIN due to leave on 1 June back in April and have received no acknowledgement. They have since cancelled the whole outbound leg of the trip and the return is understandably ‘unconfirmed’. I have heard Qatar customer services are awful and I’m wondering what’s the next best course of action.

    • poida says:

      Have you had any joy with the refund? My booking on 1st June has also been cancelled and I asked for a refund through the zendesk link (rebooked at a much cheaper price on another airline) but no reply so far. Wondering if I should just be patient or chase them up.

      As a back up there is also the credit card chargeback route.

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