A LoyaltyLobby reader sent us a message over the weekend about an issue with Qatar’s on-going Travel With Confidence-campaign’s rebooking promise (within 5,000 miles of the destination).
You can access Qatar Airways here.
Here’s the email from the reader:
Booked a flight with Qatar Airways from Doha to Sohar last June 11, 2020 wherein their policy for “Rely on us when you need to fly” says that you can rebook the flight and change the destination for free if changed destination is 5000 miles from the original destination. This is thinking that I can change the destination to Philippines, which is 4700+ miles within Sohar and less than 5000 niles from Doha.
I called their Contact centre twice this morning but was told that they changed policies 2 days ago to make it just within 1500 miles so they can’t do the changes on my booking.
Is this the right of QA to change their policy even though when I booked their flight, it was stated as 5000 miles? Even now, on their website, it still states 5000 miles. I may wake up tomorrow and QA says they will not be honoring the “refundable” policy as well, won’t be able to do anything as well? I submitted an email and will wait for their response. However, from the Customer Rep when I called, it seems they are adamant in implementing the new 1500 mile policy.
Attaching a screenshot of their policy on their website taken today.
Here’s Qatar’s promise that the reader is concerned about:
Qatar’s tickets are now valid for two years. You can now have unlimited free changes and even change the destination (within 5,000 miles). You can also exchange your ticket to Qmiles or get a voucher with a 10% bonus. You can also choose a refund if Qatar cancels your flights.
Many websites were pushing this as a “deal.” They were encouraging readers to book tickets that they had no intention of ever flying and then changing the destination to something more expensive later.
There is nothing on the page even today (reader send the email on Saturday) that would indicate that Qatar would have changed the rebooking range from 5,000 miles to 1,500.
I knew what was going to happen when I was writing that piece about Qatar’s updated policies, and how other (perhaps most) websites would convey it. I have dealt with airlines way too long, and considering how difficult all the ME3’s (Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar) are, the likelihood that this was going to end up well was low.
Qatar Airways shouldn’t change the rules along the way, but I am sure that there is a note on the T&Cs that they keep the right to amend them as they wish. Ticket holders don’t have much recourse beyond getting a refund.
It is still unclear what destinations are open, and if there will be second and third waves of Covid-19 this coming northern fall and winter. I have been very clear and suggesting that it is probably not the best time or use of money to buy tickets for flights that may not operate to destinations that may not be open for you. I would not buy tickets for more than a couple of weeks out.