Business Class Fare on Qatar Airways: 7300 Miles for $250

Last week when it erroneously appeared that American Airlines was going to start adding fuel surcharges onto all international award tickets, and that there might just be a short window to make bookings before the change was fully implemented, I hurriedly grabbed a first class award on Cathay Pacific with onward business class segments to Cambodia and Vietnam.

It turned out the whole scare was a false alarm. but I did have an award ticket to play with an I started to ponder what I might do in Southeast Asia.

I was looking at airfares between Cambodia and Vietnam and found that Qatar Airways had a ‘tag flight’ between Phnom Penh, Cambodia and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

I’ve never flown Qatar, so I was interested. And it’s a really short flight — just 132 miles — so unsurprisingly there are quite reasonable fares for purchase.

But there’s something special about this flight, or rather the airfares that have been filed between the two cities. They were allowing connections in Doha…!

And that’s a whole lot more miles.

So How Do You Find This Fare?

Just try a multi-city booking at QatarAirways.com: Phnom Penh to Doha, Doha to Ho Chi Minh City.

You should be able to add a stopover in Doha for additional cost if you wish (as an add-on charge, rather than causing the fare to price as Cambodia – Qatar plus Qatar – Vietnam).

With random dates next week here’s the itinerary that came back:

And how much would it cost?

Relevant details of fare ZOWKH:

  • One-day advance purchase
  • Books into Z fare bucket
  • $40 cancellation charge

Why Would You Want to Do This?

I realize that this fare is going to be of limited use to most folks, since it requires starting in Southeast Asia.

But having found it, I figured it wouldn’t do anyone any good if I didn’t write about it.

And there are some interesting uses for it.

Qatar Airways is scheduled to join oneworld next month meaning that if all goes as planned they will become an American Airlines partner.

They are already a mileage partner of British Airways which is sponsoring their entry into oneworld (BA got pretty well stuck when Qantas exited their joint venture to go separately with Emirates).

Presumably you will be able to mileage run quite cheaply for American Airlines status, this is about 3.5 cents per flown miles. We will have to wait to see what sort of bonus ‘points’ will be awarded for paid discounted business class on Qatar, until the earning chart is posted there are no guarantees in that regard, but it could be even more useful than just flying ~ 7500 miles for ~ $250.

These fares earn 125% of miles flown in the British Airways program though they do not yet earn elite-qualifying tier points. We’ll have to wait for oneworld membership for that to become active.

Will it Be Honored?

As we any fare offering outsized value, there’s always the risk that the travel provider decides they don’t want to honor what they’ve offered.

In general I suggest not booking any non-refundable arrangements surrounding such great fares right away, to wait and see what the airline does. And since this fare doesn’t originate or terminate or even connect in the U.S. there aren’t any of the US (or even European, for that matter) consumer protections that apply.

I don’t see any reason straight away that this will not be honored, but there’s not a guarantee. So my advice is to book if interested and then wait a bit to see what happens.

So… Is this just too far out to be of any use to you, or does it get the juices flowing on this Saturday morning?


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About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Cant get it to price, getting following error:
    The requested cabin class is full or not available in at least one of the options listed below. (5003)

  2. @Michael – I think that’s just airport taxes, re-reading fare rules it’s a free stopover on the outbound, you can actually add SGN-DOH-PNH return onto this for a similar amount and if you add a DOH stopover on the return it should add $170

  3. Wow. I just flew from SGN to Cambodia, albeit REP and not PNH, yesterday. This would have been a nice add-on to my Singapore suites and biz class routing.

  4. Only finding that price for travel in the next couple months, for next year it’s pricing around $400.

  5. wish there was a way to actually see more than 2 hours of DOH on this fare since getting to PNH and back from SGN isn’t exactly cheap

  6. Gary – This books in (Z) class Biz for next week and (I) Biz class for later in the year.

    BA lists what you can received for Z fares on Qantas but nothing for I fares. Thoughts anyone?

  7. At Geoffco, available through next two months but over Christmas holidays and second week of January.

  8. @john – try a free stopover in DOH on the outbound or add a SGN-DOH-PNH return to the ticket and a stopover on the way back should be $170

    @john – Museum of Islamic Art

  9. @SBM12 Nemesis – since it’s not published, no way to know for sure whether it’ll be bonused the way Z is or otherwise

  10. @ Gary – but since it is listed as (I) biz class – it should still be honored as Biz class. Would you agree? (I mean get to airport and being told, so sorry – this is economy. I realize that there is no way of knowing.

  11. Does anyone know the date Qatar is supposed to join OW in October? I can not find it after searching on google.

  12. Qatar is changing their booking classes and Z becomes I on Oct 1st. This is their most discounted biz class fare. Hopefully still qualifies for the 125% with BA and eventually AA too

    I need some EQP for AA but positioning flights are steep and the biz class on their A330-200 is angled, so hard to make a decision

    @Dianne, perhaps sometime in October, no one can be sure

  13. Considering most of your readership is US-based, just wanted to note that I’m pretty certain you can only get a visa for Cambodia that is single entry, and costs at least $20. Takes up a full page in the passport and they have other stamps as well. I’m not quite sure how the Cambodian officials would treat multiple visits in a short time. I believe this is similar for most other nationalities of passports as well. Only business visas can be multiple entry. Also I know Vietnam requires a visa but am not quite as up to date on that. Just noting that it may be tough to make this fare repeatable at any sort of value.

  14. @T it’s a great value if you even do PNH-DOH-SGN-DOH and throw away the return to PNH!

    For US passport holders:

    [Visa Information – Destination] Cambodia (KH)

    [Information For Normal Passports]
    Passport required.
    – Passports and/or passport replacing documents must be valid
    for at least 6 months from date of arrival.

    Visa Issuance:
    Visa required, except for Nationals of USA can obtain a visa
    on arrival, for a max. stay of 30 days, provided:
    [[TIDFT/KH/VI/IS/ID28916]]
    – Holders of proof of being born in Cambodia issued to foreign
    nationals living abroad can obtain a visa on arrival,
    provided: [[TIDFT/KH/VI/IS/ID28915]]
    Additional Information:
    – ACMECS Single Visas issued by Cambodia and Thailand are
    valid for 90 days from the date of issue and are valid for a
    stay of 30 days in Cambodia. Holders of visas issued by
    Thailand (marked THA) will be required to pay their fee for
    Cambodia upon arrival in Cambodia (exempt are children aged
    under 12).
    – Visitors are required to hold proof of sufficient funds to
    cover their stay and documents required for their next
    destination.
    – Tourist visas may be issued in a passport or issued in an
    e-Visa format, printed on a separate piece of paper.
    Warning:
    – Day trips (i.e., arriving and departing on the same day) to
    Cambodia are not permitted.
    – Except when arriving and departing in Phnom Penh (PNH).
    – Except for alien residents of Cambodia.
    – Except for holders of a multiple-entry business visa issued
    by Cambodia.

    [Health Information] Cambodia (KH)

    Vaccination against yellow fever required if arriving within 6
    days after leaving or transiting countries with risk of yellow
    fever transmission [[TIRGL/YFIN]].

    Recommended:
    – Malaria prophylaxis. Malaria risk, due to P.falciparum and
    P.vivax form, exists throughout the year in all forested
    rural areas, incl. coastal areas. Phnom Penh and areas close
    to Tonle Sap (Siem Reap) are not at risk. Risk within the
    tourist area of Angkor Wat is negligible.
    P. falciparum resistant to chloroquine and
    sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine reported. Resistance to
    artesunate, mefloquine, lumefantrine and piperacquine has
    been reported in western Cambodia.
    Recommended prevention in risk areas: IV
    (atovaquone-proguanil or doxycycline).

    CHECK [[TINEWS/N1]] – CHINA (PEOPLE’S REP.): 72-HOUR VISA-FREE
    TRANSIT AT CHENGDU

    07 Sep 2013 / 15:09 [UTC]

  15. If you are already traveling in the area it is basically equal to spending a night in an expensive hotel with the benefit of going to sleep in one city and waking up in another. You could leave PNH at 1630 and be in SGN the next day at 1150am.

  16. It keeps giving an error message for when i start my outbound from Singapore (SEA)…any idea why?

  17. @Gary How do you add a free stopover on the outbound? When I try and add any time in DOH I get a fare price of $430. Thanks!

  18. Thanks. I thought about it for 5 seconds before booking. Helps that I’m SE Asian based and was already going to be there in early Dec. I booked for $250 with a 44 hour transit, anything longer seemed to be add a couple hundred. I’m not greedy, once is enough. And yes, it’s basically the cost of a hotel for each night as Michael said 🙂

  19. Vietnam also has Visa on arrival,
    although you need to set it up online.
    Or many agents all around PNH can get the VN visa
    for you in a few days.

    The visa costs add up, I suppose,
    maybe not enough to make this uninteresting.

    IF it works. 🙂
    I guess no one has actually tested this yet.

  20. I assume that this is just a fare filed with incorrect routing rules on this one particular route. However, has anyone had similar success playing with other Qatar tag flights? I’d be most interested in the pairs of KUL-HKT or BKK-HAN. When I try routing through DOH, I keep getting errors on the Qatar site.

  21. @Michael yes but that quite heavily eats into the profitability!

    @Gary that is actually a pretty good way to look at it.

  22. All booked. Got it for USD 430 each. With a two night stop-over in Doh. It’s absolutely brilliant value in my opinion. I hope QR honours this. Last but not the least Many Many Thanks to Gary for bringing this to our notice.

  23. @Adam – hmm, I guess for you it’s adding the stopover surcharge (possibly worth it), someone else upthread got it for just $4.

  24. Be ware… Qatar Air will bump you from business to coach if they can sell out their business class with higher fare paying customers. Happened to me going from JFK to Doho to Joburg – they did not even attempt to notify me of the oversold situation until I arrived at the airport. Terrible business practices.

  25. What will you do in Doha between 22:55 and 07:45? That kills the deal for me. Not worth paying for a hotel for just a few hours.

  26. amazingly, for some dates in may i see a bookable pnh-doh-sgn flight that on the outbound makes one stop at sgn. so essentially this is a one-way pnh-sgn that goes pnh-(stop in sgn)-doh-sgn.

  27. @Lee – I’m confused, I found this deal myself. As I noted in the blog post, what would the point have been in keeping quiet about it?

  28. Read thru the fare rules, and it said the first change is free, then it’s X amount afterwards. Does that mean, I can book the tickets now, in September, and say, change the dates to next year w/o paying anything extra? (i.e. the fare difference)

  29. I called Qatar Airways about this deal, the agent said all the tickets will be honored in full for the flights selected. Any changes will result in a repricing to the correct fare. Enjoy your trip!

  30. I’m DOH based, so I jumped on a PNH-DOH, 2 month stopover, DOH-SGN ticket for $430/person in BIZ, but I can’t get the SGN-DOH-PNH to work. I was hoping to throw away the DOH-PHN return ticket. I’ll keep trying, but it looks like I’ll eventually have to book a ticket there and back, which is fine as I wanted to visit both countries anyway. Thanks for the notice on an incredible deal, Gary.

  31. Oh – since Seth Miller posted this on another web site as his without giving you credit, thought you ‘borrowed it from him.’ Guess he found it at the same time.

  32. @Lee – what forum is that? I see that there have been some other postings of this on other forums without giving me credit but in the cases I’ve noticed today it’s quite clear the individuals got the deal info here. In his person’s case in particular I see that he did send out the deal in one place giving me credit though.

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