Award Success: GOL Smiles Redemption for Qatar Airways First Class

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A while back I purchased a small amount (66k) of GOL Smiles miles during the 200% Bonus Promotion. This month I found Qatar Airways A380 First Class availability on short notice so I decided to go to Abu Dhabi for a few days.

GOL AwardI have been monitoring the availability for the A380 route but there was nothing open for months out. Now I was lucky and scored with a few days advance notice (still available).

Back when this promotion started one of our readers commented that it’s possible to book GOL Business Class awards intra Asia (including the Middle East) but they would book into First Class. All this for only 32,500 Miles per way which came at a cost of ~ 250 US$.

I was careful with this because what can easily happen is that it indeed ‘only’ books into Business Class. to make sure Business Class was not available during my desired dates I used the British Airways Award Search. My date only showed availability in First Class (2 seats) so I was save on that.

The booking was very easy and straight forward. I would go as far as saying one of the most comfortable award bookings I made in recent history. The taxes came out ridiculously low at 155.76 BRL (44 US$).

GOL PaymentPromptly after the purchase my ticket was issued automatically and I was emailed a detailed receipt and itinerary. I was then able to select my seats at Qatar Airways website and add my oneWorld Emerald Number to the reservation.

 

GOL RedemptionI have to say though, this is not something I originally intended to do. The award I planned to use these miles for became unavailable and then I tried to purchase a few additional miles to go one way to Brazil in Business Class. However it seems GOL has changed something in their program or maybe it’s a temporary error. Despite me having a Brazilian address and a CPF number I always got the following message: Miles Purchases are only available to Brazilians.

GOL ERRORSo I thought what the heck, for a few days of fun and trying a new product I can just as well burn the existing miles and be done with it. Probably better to get rid of them now before GOL comes up with some other measures or changes in the redemption chart.

Conclusion

This redemption is likely one of the best ‘Value for Money’ travel purchases that were ever available. You were able to pretty much outright buy a First Class Roundtrip on the new Qatar A380 for 500$ (about 15% of the original price ex BKK). It even beats the best US Airways Promotions back in the day, especially because you don’t need to call anyone and pay outrageous fees for it.

All enthusiasm aside, my situation also shows that one should be mindful when making these mileage purchases without having immediate use for them. Program rules and award requirements can change at a moments notice and you have to be prepared to swallow them without tears.

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