Qatar Airways Introduces An Offer Better Than Sticking It To Customers On Refunds

When airlines were offering ticket flexibility only for new purchases, Qatar Airways offered flexibility for all tickets and didn’t just do it for a couple of weeks or a month but for travel through end of June. Several readers though complained they were having a hard time getting agents to honor the policy.

With several airlines refusing to honor refunds for cancelled flights, and in the process appearing to break the laws of the U.S. and also of the E.U., Qatar is offering something a little bit more innovative.

Airlines are worried about surviving. They have your cash. It may not be legal to keep it when flights are cancelled, but most customers will take what they are offered (future travel credit) and very few will complain to authorities.

They’re simply not worried about government fines or a class action lawsuit if they survive. That’s all in the future, and right now they are worried about making it through to that future. So carriers like Lufthansa and JetBlue are giving themselves a risky interest free loan with customer cash.

Qatar Airways though has a better approach. They, too, want your cash. They want your future travel purchases when travel is again in the cards. They are honoring refunds but if you’ll take a credit instead they’ll give you a 10% bonus for taking a voucher. That’s creative and honors the customer.

“Qatar Airways has amended its ‘Travel with Confidence’ and flight disruption policies to give customers even more flexibility. Customers who choose to receive a travel voucher for future use will receive the full unutilized value of their ticket plus an additional 10% of the fare cost as an added value offer. Customers also have the option for a refund back to the form of payment they used when purchasing their tickets – the administration of this refund will take up to 30 days to process. Vouchers for future travel continue to be the most expedient way of helping customers while we manage the backlog.

Hopefully working with them to take advantage will turn out to be straightforward. For most people I’d recommend still taking the cash – I’d need more than a 10% bonus to give a loan even to an airline I expect to still be flying. Nonetheless it’s exactly the kind of thinking airlines should be using since it doesn’t just respect the customers they’ll need later, it creates an incentive for future business too.

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, 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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  1. been tried to contact QR for over a week about my booking which was cancelled and changed by QR to another flight with 33 hours layover . We obviously in lockdown can’t travel flight departing tomorrow still no response from QR , phone lines not operative terrible at least6 BA have a operative line for travellers withing 72 hours , QR is a 5 star in the air but not on the Ground

  2. Wizzair also offering 120% voucher. Also can convert it to a cash refund for 100%. Better than Lufthansa and KLM/AF who are going to come out of this with very upset customers.

  3. Just checked Qatar Airways website and I do not see this information anywhere. Please note below message on Qatar Airways website:
    ” If you have booked your ticket on or through any of our offices, you can re-book your tickets or exchange your ticket for a future travel voucher by telephoning any of our offices or contact centres.
    If your flight is operating normally and you have booked or are planning to book tickets for travel up to 30 September 2020, but you wish to change your travel plans, you can alter your travel date free of charge, or exchange your ticket for a future travel voucher valid for one year, up to 3 days prior to departure. This includes award flights.”

  4. It was posted by a QR rep on FlyerTalk, however as you say website not updated to reflect and also contradicts the information they’ve given to TA’s through their trade site too.

  5. I have Qatar flight tickets but STA my travel agent refuses to to give me a cash refund. They say that the Qatar proposition for cash refund does not apply to them. All I managed to get from them is an email telling me that my tickets have been cancelled and Qatar will give me a credit, only for the value of the tickets, no extra 10: percent, and that I have till February 2021 to book new flights.
    I am not very pleased with Qatar as they tell people that they are entitled to a cash refund but they don’t honorable it.
    In fact I am extra disappointed as I have been a regular customer of Qatar, normally my wife an I been taking two flights per year with them.
    Certainly I will consider other airlines in the future.

  6. Kenya Airways is offering Kenyans free tickets on their New York Nairobi sector. This is the official airline for Africa.

  7. Qatar Airways you are doing good job in critical situations. No Doubt you are no#1.

  8. What about those who were foreseeing the problem earlier and got their bookings changed for an early date.I got my booking changed for a week earlier to Karachi.If I wud have waited another week wid have been in a very problem

  9. The problem with vouchers is it’s only valid for 1 year. Under these circumstances you’ll be lucky to use the voucher on any flight before June. So they should also extend the expiration of the voucher as flights may be disrupted for the next 6-12 months anyway. The extension to the voucher also needs to apply.
    I just requested a refund instead.

  10. This is not true. My flight was cancelled and they sent me first the voucher and then an email saying that the flight to US was cancelled. When I asked for a refund the Singapore Qatar office sent me an email saying that they have sent the vouchers so no refund. This is absurd I never asked for a voucher.

  11. American offered a 20% bonus for accepting a voucher on 3/24/20. Assuming they’re around to honor, it seemed like a good deal.

  12. I cancelled my business class ticket for travel date 23 March on the 12 of March .. having tried all possible ways to get in touch before the total closer ,was holding the line for hours together .. there is no communication from Qatar as to when they will refund my money .
    Went to the local office before the bandh… the doors were locked. ,what am I supposed to do …hope I get my money back ..

  13. We have booked on Qatar Airways from Singapore to Greece/ Dubrovnik/ Singapore. Will we get vouchers?

    Qatar Airways hacked my account and change what I had choose “Refund” to Acknowledge .
    This is happened After I contact them and they told me we are going to give you full refund..

  15. I have sent them an e mail for a refund. I only recived an automatic reply e mail.

    Still no money recived. It’s been over 3 weeks.

    Then I sent them another message on they website asking them for a travel voucher or refund. Not recived any reply.

    Charles Abdulrazak.

  16. With Qatar vouchers, Does anyone know for certain what the ‘valid from date of issue’ statement means? Does it mean:

    1 travel must commence/finish within 12 months; or

    2 voucher must be ‘activated’ within 12 months but travel can be later


  17. I had a QR flight for the 9th April but had to change to 26th March from Sydney to Paris., After 12 phone calls, compliant at Sydney and Doha, had to pay for another ticket with no refund. Although website said you can change,cancel, or refund voucher it seems not always so.
    Still glad to return but getting money back from QR is not their strong point.

  18. I requested refund and they gave me voucher which i can’t use in one year! Very Bad Service by qatar didn’t expect. If i call them even after waiting in line 1hr no body picks my call .

  19. The airlines are continuing to trade, yet not obiding by the regulations. Where are the governments? Where is the rule of law?

  20. Hello
    Please regarding the new Qatar policy there version on the website varies very much from your article.
    Can you point me to the part on their website where you got your info.
    KIND regards Paul.

  21. I cancelled my booking for two Business Class return flights from Sydney to Europe, around A$15,000 for both, which I made via the Qatar website, which means I am entitled to a full refund. I am now into week 9 awaiting my refund. I have received the following advice – “If you have requested your refund at least 72 hours (which I well and truly have) before your scheduled flight departure, your refund will be accepted. It may take up to eight weeks to get the money back into your bank account or card depending on who you bank with.” Wouldn’t you think that they would be trying to placate business class clientele for future business???? Appalling treatment and they should be avoided at all (substantial??) cost!

  22. This article is way outdated.

    Qatar isn’t an airline worth of being considered reputable, in any way.
    Good luck to anyone buying a flight with them… They have no scruples. I wish they were bankrupt, or grounded like many other airlines. It will be a more dignified position, and one that would not cause so much grief to many people around the world.

    Qatar has publicly admitted to selling business tickets for A$10-13k, and bumping economy passengers off their flights. The airline justifies it as a move trying to keep financial in difficult times, and that passengers are being considered on a case-by case basis. Utter lies, as their contact phones in Qatar, the US, the UK, Australia and Brazil are either silent or calls simply don’t get through, and they don’t answer emails. I’ve just tried to write to them again, the website logs me off before I can finish writing, and requests authentication by a code they don’t send to my email.

    I have bought a ticket Sydney-Sao Paulo, for return on 27/7/2020, and have had my flight cancelled on me twice, so far causing me a 5 week delay. If I’m lucky to get on the flight scheduled, it will be a 5 week delay, and considering the 2 extra weeks I’ll be in quarantine in Sydney, that will total of 7 weeks not working, with no holiday pay to make up for. In the current scenario, the company I work for is not doing great, and will soon start laying off people. If I’m not there, despite my work performance, it will be hard for them to keep me, and let go of a peer of mine. At the moment I’m bleeding my savings, then I’ll lose my job.

    But, like the American saying, “in times of crisis, some people cry, some people sell handkerchiefs”. Shame on Qatar.

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