Qatar Airways offers customers several ways of upgrading their flights, and one that they tend to push quite frequently is cash upgrades during online check-in or an advance email offer.
I have upgraded Qatar Airways flights myself quite frequently this way as they sometimes offer quite attractive prices and even a 10% discount if you upgrade both sectors when connecting via Doha.
It’s no surprise that most passengers are simply connecting at Hamad International Airport rather than ending or originating their journey there, so Qatar Airways has taken that into account and offers a discount to people who upgrade both segments (if available).
Here is how QR advertises the benefits of such an upgrade:
What’s noteworthy is, that cash upgrades to QR Business Class do not include Lounge Access based on the class of service alone. If you carry oneWorld status you might gain access to the designated lounge for that tier level, but otherwise you won’t be able to enjoy the lounge.
I got an offer then I checked in for my flight from Bangkok to Rome via Doha last Thursday:
I made up my mind when I booked this ticket that I’d pay for an upgrade if the price was reasonable, as this one way ticket was booked through Celebrity Cruises when they had a special deal for $500 off airfare so my total was $180. Qatar Airways is not my favorite Economy Class in the world, far from it. But at that price I couldn’t say no especially compounded by the fact that there is no more direct service between Bangkok and Rome so a connection was inevitable.
On top of it all, this flight had Q Suites as it was downgraded from the Airbus A380 to Boeing 77W a week before departure.
I accepted the offer and also used a random amount of a bit over 5000 Qatar Airways miles that were sitting in the account of a family member:
This represents roughly US$480 which is reasonable for a 7 hour flight. Service was good, although not as polished as it once was and the food options out of Bangkok are rather mediocre. I really upgraded this flight for the Q Suites.
You can upgrade with Qatar Airways the following ways:
- Mileage Upgrade using Avios
- Upgrade using Q-Credits
- Online Cash Upgrades based on email offer
- Online Cash Upgrades during checkin
- Cash Upgrades at the airport during checkin
I had a longer layover in Doha and planned to enter the country to get some fresh air in between the stop. I even registered for everything in advance, and since I carried a completed PCR Test for the upcoming cruise the next day, it wasn’t a problem to get the approval promptly within 15 minutes of applying.
However, Qatar Airways considers their premium arrival channel in Doha part of a lounge and therefore refuses to allow online upgrades once more to use that option. This isn’t explicitly stated in any of their offer descriptions. Why is an immigration channel part of a lounge? This interpretation is ridiculous.
The Business Class arrivals lane at Doha Airport wasn’t staffed, the organization of these lines was terrible and customs employees were rude. I decided to forget about it and just go to the transit area.
Not sure how they want to organize the World Cup this year with this kind of service mentality. I would really love to see it becoming an embarrassing failure for Qatar and they’re on best way to make that happen, taking all current news reports into account.
Qatar Airways cash upgrades can be a great way to make your journey much more comfortable. Keep in mind that the airline has several business class product in the air and not all of them are as nice as the Q-Suites. I probably wouldn’t have upgraded for their regular Business Class seats to be honest.
I’d always take all the benefits into account when upgrading. I’m already oneWorld Emerald so I get tier benefits. However in Economy I wouldn’t have gotten the departure fast track at Bangkok Airport. In case I’d travel with baggage, the upgrade would have given me 10KG extra. This didn’t apply to me since I traveled with carry-on only but good to know that this option exists. Sometimes paying for 10KG extra is already half the price of an upgrade.
That Qatar Airways doesn’t allow travelers with a paid online upgrade to use the arrivals fast track is a joke. I also don’t think that their classification of Business Class Travelers in the saver fare classes is really doing the product and reputation of the carrier a good service. I never understood this approach of selling a budget Business Class product with slimmed down premium services.