Qatar Airways Introduces Free Doha Stopover Hotels

One of the main goals of the Gulf carriers is to develop the infrastructure of their home countries and put them on the map. One certainly has to wonder where Doha would be without Qatar Airways, or where Dubai would be without Emirates.

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Qatar Airways A380

While these cities are known for being global hubs, the airlines are increasingly making an effort to have you actually visit, rather than just connect. For example, I just recently shared my experience with Etihad’s free hotel stopover programQatar Airways has just announced a similar program.

Qatar Airways and the Qatar Tourism Authority have just announced +Qatar, which is a new stopover package for passengers traveling on Qatar Airways. Passengers in all cabins (including economy) can get a 96 hour visa at no cost, one free night of hotel, and more. Here’s how the new package is described:

Passengers transiting through Doha can extend their stay to make the most of their journey taking in the sights of Doha with a completely free night courtesy of Qatar Airways and QTA or stay a little longer with a second night’s stay for a modest $50 booking fee. Passengers can choose from hotels such as The Four Seasons, Marriott Marquis, Radisson Blu and Oryx Rotana. The free hotel accommodation, available throughout the summer, will offer passengers the opportunity to explore Doha and experience city tours, desert safari adventures or a dinner cruise aboard a traditional dhow, giving visitors a taste of authentic Arabian hospitality, courtesy of Discover Qatar.

To be eligible for this offer, passengers simply book their flight on www.qatarairways.com, select ‘multi-city’ and choose their hotel once they receive their flight confirmation. The online transit visa application is also free and is eligible for those in transit between five and 96 hours. This ground-breaking offer is available for all Qatar Airways passengers, both Premium and Economy.

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While Qatar Airways has a press release about the new offering, there’s not much else about it online, including the restrictions associated with it. For example, they say that the free hotel accommodation is available “throughout the summer.” It’s painfully hot in the Middle East in summer, so don’t expect to spend much time outside that time of year. Will it be extended beyond that, or is this job being offered in the very low season? I also assume this also only applies to tickets booked directly through Qatar Airways, and not to tickets booked through partner airlines.

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Four Seasons Doha

Qatar Airways is certainly onto something here. They’re waiving the visa fee, allowing free stopovers on fares without charging extra, and are offering a free hotel. However, I hope they do a better job explaining the terms associated with this, since it doesn’t seem like they’re doing a great job managing expectations here.

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The Pearl in Doha

If anyone has any experience with the new +Qatar program, please report back!

Comments

  1. I’d gladly stopover in Doha/Abu Dhabi if American allowed it on Etihad/Qatar routes. I’d even pay AA for it (stopover fee).

  2. i lived in doha and i’ll tell you this right now it has about a solid day’s worth of things to see but overall, its a very unremarkable place, 10 years behind Dubai even with all of its corrupt oil subsidiaries springing project after project for the world cup. interesting for one day? yes. worth the time? i don’t think so

  3. I have a trip on my bucket list that includes Istanbul for 4 days+ a guided 8 day tour of the rest of Turkey, and then 2 days at a resort in Doha. Flying business Turkish one way, then Qatar Business on return ticket. I loved Dubai/Abu Dhabi, im sure Doha has its treasures.

  4. Just visited Doha as a result of the 96 hour transit visa on way to Dubai from Yangon but did pay for hotel. Visa supplied promptly they the Etihad site but did involve paperwork. I found Doha very interesting and accessible however the city is under major construction everywhere especially downtown putting in a subway system. That made exploring difficult if not impossible at times. Everyone I met was interested in developing good tourist relations and I plan a return trip.

  5. Interesting choice of hotels. Not sure why you would choose to stay at the Radisson or Oryx when you can stay at the Four Seasons (the only one of the four options which has a beach. Also has Nobu which is kind of on an island of its own). The Marriott Marquis isn’t so bad and would be second choice because of its location, restaurants and bars.

    Whilst there is still a lot of construction going on, lots of places/areas are now finished. I’ve lived in Doha for five years now and its very different now. I could write a pretty long list of decent things to do during a 2 hour stop over.

  6. Please do give us a list of decent things to do on 24 hr stopover, so that those of us who plan to go there can use it.
    Thank you

  7. Thanks for this information! I’m travelling soon on QR from Beijing to Cairo, and then Cairo to DC via Doha. I’ll definitely stopover on the way to the US. My only concern is that when I attempt to book a multi-city itinerary on the QR website, it’s unable to price it. Has anyone else encountered this problem? I’d hate to miss out on this deal because of a website issue?

  8. They finally posted the terms and conditions of this.

    Terms and conditions
    Booking validity: 1 May to 31 August 2017.
    Travel validity: 7 May to 30 September 2017. All travel must be completed by 30 September 2017.
    Offer is valid for flights booked with Qatar Airways on qatarairways.com with Multi-city ticket booking.
    Offer valid for Qatar Airways confirmed ticket holders only.
    Qatar Airways E-ticket number is required to be entered at the payment page. Maximum of one booking is allowed per E-ticket number.
    Offer is available on Qatar Airways flights transiting through Doha during onward or return journey. (E.g. London – Doha – Bangkok).
    A minimum transiting time of 12 hours is required to be eligible for this offer.
    Not applicable on codeshare flights.
    Please review +Qatar offer complete terms and conditions here.

  9. I flew business class to and from New York. I took advantage of the free transit layover in Doha plus it broke up a long flight on the way to visit Dubai with my 6 year old son. Doha is a pretty city but not as much to do as Dubai and not as tolerant. Qatar is a dry country and most of Doha you can’t obtain alcohol except for a few hotels. Even at hotel by kingdom law no alcohol can be served around children so this precludes you from going to the lounge at the hotel in Doha for happy hour with a child. In fact if you were a citizen and a man and a female arrived together they could only stay with a copy of their marriage certificate.Dubai however was far more open, tolerant and religiously tolerant. So much to do in Dubai and a large mix of people. So Dubai has far more to offer but Doha and Qatar worth the look. As a women most of the times traveling a lot by myself I feel far safer traveling in a Muslim country. With Qatar always offering free hote ( not offer when I went a few weeks ago) there no reason not to do stop over . I have to return to UAE in October for a conference. Will consider going back or seeing if some of the other fantastic Middle East airlines have to offer

  10. I agree that there is more to do in Dubai, as will most people.
    I don’t think you can call Qatar a dry country (like Saudi, Kuwait) Must be at least 30/40 hotels now with license to serve alcohol plus a shop for us residents to buy.
    Whilst children are not allowed in bars (nor anyone under 21) there are many restaurants and brunches where you can take the whole family and have a few drinks (or lots if it’s a Friday brunch!)

    It’s worth noting that Ramadan will be coming in a few weeks so things will be different (will be a dry county then!) so I advise anyone taking up this offer to do it after the end of June, or September when this offer goes up to as the weather will be a bit better then.

  11. I’d agree that Doha isn’t the greatest tourist city in the world by a long margin, nor are it’s hotels particularly amazing compared to others in the reason (the W Doha, even with its generous guest lounge, still has suites that are not all that crash hot really and it’s pricey for what it really is).

    Dubai is a much stronger city in comparison, for example, and even Dubai is not exactly a top 10 tourist destination.

    The best thing about this promotion is the waiver of the Visa on Arrival fee – which is annoying and not really something you should do, if you want to encourage international tourism (especially since the UAE doesn’t do this).

    Doha has some work to do if it really wants to encourage those in transit to stop-over. It’s got to have the infrastructure (both social and physical) to really give people a good reason to do so. Service culture in particular.

  12. I was trying to make a multicity booking on CAI-DOH-DXB too with a stopover in DOH but the system could not price the booking. Anyone has a solution?

  13. When changing the reservation into multi city, the price goes up more than the cost of hotel and visa. Anybody experience the same thing?

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