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May 18, 2020

How to get incredible deals with Qatar’s latest COVID-19 travel policy

Q suites QR LHR DOH 19 - How to get incredible deals with Qatar's latest COVID-19 travel policy

Q Suites Business Class

I’ve previously written about Qatar’s very generous rebooking policy and detailed how you can use it to your advantage.

I then went on to write about how I put this to use to fly from London to Tokyo in a combination of First Class and Q Suites Business for €650 round trip!

Q suites QR LHR DOH 20 - How to get incredible deals with Qatar's latest COVID-19 travel policy
QR F SYD DOH 7 - How to get incredible deals with Qatar's latest COVID-19 travel policyQatar First Class

I wasn’t sure whether to write about this latest trick but given that other blogs are talking about it and a lot of people are having success with it, I figured it made sense to share how I’ve been looking at Qatar’s new COVID-19 rebooking policy.

qatar step 1 - How to get incredible deals with Qatar's latest COVID-19 travel policy

Yes, you read that correctly.

If you buy a ticket for any flight with travel dates before December 31 you can amend the destination by 5,000 miles. Moments after you book your flight.

  1. Find a cheap flight to a destination within 5,000 miles of where you want to go.
  2. Call Qatar and get the destination changed.

Here’s my guide to the first step: How to find the cheapest fare within 5,000 miles of your true destination.

 


Step 1: Draw a 5,000 mile radius around your desired destination


There’s a very useful website that I use to draw radii from airports (you’d be surprised how often I find myself using it).

http://www.businessmapcentre.com/radius-calculator.php

In my example let’s say you want to fly to Sydney. You just type Sydney into the “Enter town name or postcode” box and hit the “Create” button

You’ll then end up with a 5,000 mile radius drawn from Sydney.

step 4 - How to get incredible deals with Qatar's latest COVID-19 travel policy

 

UPDATE: The tool above really struggles when you have a large radius near a pole. 5000 miles around Auckland makes the page completely freak out. An alternative way to draw the radius is by using GCMAP (an amazing resource that I’ve used on every single flight review on this website). The map isn’t quite as pretty or zoomable but it is very accurate.

www.gcmap.com

Just type “[email protected]” followed by the three letter airport code that you’re looking for (shoutout to my good friend Linz for this tip!)

GCMAP - How to get incredible deals with Qatar's latest COVID-19 travel policy

 


Step 2: Use Google Flights to find cheap fares to a destination within that 5,000 mile radius


Head over to: https://www.google.com/flights

Pick 5 origin airports near you and 5 destination airports within the radius (use commas to separate each airport in your list).

I went with 4 Scandinavian cities which always have cheap premium fare deals and added LHR – just in case!

origins - How to get incredible deals with Qatar's latest COVID-19 travel policy
destinations - How to get incredible deals with Qatar's latest COVID-19 travel policy

You then select your desired travel dates and Business Class (this trick works for Economy but this is The Luxury Traveller after all…) and filter the results to only show Qatar Airways.osl bkk example - How to get incredible deals with Qatar's latest COVID-19 travel policy

 

With these results you have found a flight from OSL-BKK for £1,371 – which you can immediately convert into OSL-SYD for the same price by calling Qatar!

What if you want to search for more than 5 destinations at once? That radius from Sydney was pretty sizeable and included far more than 5 Qatar destinations.

 


Step 3: Dig deeper by using the Google Flights map feature


 

If you delete the destinations after completing a search, your other filters are kept.

This will then take you to the map screen where you can see all Qatar Airways Business Class flights originating a single city for a given set of dates:

 

map view - How to get incredible deals with Qatar's latest COVID-19 travel policy

 

Tehran immediately jumps out as somewhere cheap at £1,159. You could draw a 5,000 mile radius from there and find yourself with a flight from Oslo to… almost anywhere other than Australia!

tehran map - How to get incredible deals with Qatar's latest COVID-19 travel policy

You could then start trying different origin cities and it will show you all possible Qatar Business flights from them. For example, switching to Amsterdam:

from ams map - How to get incredible deals with Qatar's latest COVID-19 travel policy

Play around with the dates and filter by price too and you’ll see that Helsinki to Doha is even better! 

HEL DOH - How to get incredible deals with Qatar's latest COVID-19 travel policy

 


Conclusion


It goes without saying that you need to be comfortable with the idea of flying in 2020 to take advantage of this situation. If you are, then you’ll be extremely handsomely rewarded.

Obviously if your flights end up being cancelled you’ll still be able to reschedule them to a date that’s convenient to you or receive a full refund.

You could even book a deal to Australia at very short notice, hoping that the flight will be cancelled and then rebook for free to a date beyond 2020,  once the cancellation email comes through. Don’t forget if your flights are cancelled you’ll be able to change your origin airport by 500 miles too…

 

If you’d like to read some more thoughts on maximising this Qatar rebooking policy, please visit my friends’ blogs:

FlightHacks

Prince of Travel

7 Comments

  1. Alwin says:

    I tried every step you posted, and I even did the same search (same dates, flights, locations and business class)as yours but the cheapest flight I could find was £3,000++. I even tried Tehran and it still came out as £3,000+

    • JarvisMarcos says:

      Hi Alwin,
      As with all good deals this sold out quickly. I posted this early on Friday and by midday Saturday almost all the best European deals were gone.

      However I’m leaving this post up for two reasons:

      1. The Qatar COVID 19 policy is good until the end of the year which means you have plenty of time to look for a deal which falls under its purview.
      2. This post gives you detailed instructions on how to find a deal in the future, not just with Qatar but with any airline. If you follow these steps you’ll be able to find your own deals before the general public finds out, leaving you plenty of time to book without them selling out!

      I wish you the best of luck in finding something that works for you.

      If the past is any indicator, Qatar won’t leave you waiting long…

  2. Tomas says:

    Muchisimas gracias! And really great content throughout the blog 🙂

    I have one quick question for you: Do you know if I could change the destination on the return flight? Example:

    I book SIN-SAW now, I then change it for SIN-AMS 🙂

    For the flight back, it will likely be AMS-SAW (or AMS-SIN in the best of cases), do you know if I could still change it to for example AMS-NRT after I flew the inbound flight?

    Thanks a lot 🙂

    • JarvisMarcos says:

      Hi Tomas,
      I appreciate the positive feedback on the site!

      The rules have been tweaked slightly since the COVID policy was first announced by Qatar:

      You now have to wait 15 days to make a change and you can’t change your destination if your destination was originally Doha.
      You also require availability in the same fare bucket. So if you booked into R Class (Business Promo) you’d need R Class on your new dates.

      Open jaw itineraries are possible but what you’re describing is a change of origin, which wouldn’t be allowed.

      So SIN-SAW can become SIN-X/open-jaw/Y-SIN
      But you can’t change the SIN part at all.

      One exception is when one of your flights is cancelled and you can move your origin (and final return destination) by 300 miles.
      The second exception is that you can move your origin to anywhere within the same country without penalty.

      So for example BOS-KUL-BOS
      Can be changed to LAX-BKK/SIN-LAX

      Hope that makes sense!

  3. Carlos says:

    Hi, Jarvis. Your blog is great, but may I suggest you to add a date on your posts?
    I can see on the address line that this is from 05/2020, but especially on tips that may be expired, it should help the avoidance of misunderstandings.
    Abraços!

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