Qatar Airways Is Offering 500,000 Bonus Miles For Taking Inaugural Flights

We haven’t seen many airline loyalty program promotions lately, let alone ones that are actually fun. I think it’s brilliant when airlines offer gamified promotions, as it gives members an incentive to really put thought into their participation and have fun engaging with a program. I have to give Qatar Airways credit, because they’ve just introduced a really interesting promotion.

While I doubt many people (or anyone?) will actually take advantage of this, Qatar Airways is offering 500,000 bonus miles to any member who takes all of their inaugural flights between August 1, 2017, and March 31, 2018. That’s an eight month period where you have to take every inaugural flight, and we don’t even know what all of those flights are yet.

The terms associated with this promotion are as follows:

  • Offer is valid for main members.
  • Family members are excluded from this offer.
  • Travel period: 1 August 2017 – 31 March 2018.
  • Free of charge (FOC) and Award tickets are not eligible.
  • Members must fly all QR first flights to or from new destinations to be eligible for the bonus Qmiles.
  • Please ensure you quote your Privilege Club membership number at the time of booking.
  • 500,000 Qmiles will be added to the members account by 31 March 2018.

As you can see, you’d need to credit the flights to Qatar Airways’ own program, which is a bit of a bummer, since it’s not all that great. Award tickets also don’t qualify towards this.

As someone who chases inaugural flights without any sort of a reward, this seems like a very cool promotion. However, the problem is that Qatar Airways is notoriously unreliable when it comes to sticking to schedules. They also don’t seem to publish a centralized list of their new routes, so it’s tough to keep up with their new routes.

Qatar lists the following new routes on their website for 2017-2018, though it’s clear that this hasn’t been updated in a while:

At a minimum I know Qatar Airways is launching flights to Prague and Sohar this month, and I’m sure there will be many more new routes as well.

I wonder if anyone will complete this challenge. If Qatar Airways were a better organized airline and clearly published at the start of the promotion all the inaugurals, then I could see someone planning to make it all work. However, they’re basically saying “you have to take whatever inaugural flights we start, but we don’t know what all of them are yet, and may change them at the last minute.” That’s much trickier, and is tougher to plan around, even if you don’t have positioning costs to get to Doha.

Nonetheless I love the concept of this promotion, and I’d love to see more airlines offer similar promotions. I suspect very few people (if anyone) will actually take advantage of it, but it creates good visibility around their new routes, and also makes for a good story.

Anyone tempted?

(Tip of the hat to @TheSharck)

Comments

  1. Hey Lucky, been a long time reader and love your articles. I’m wondering when you say Qatars program isn’t all that great, what do you mean?

    I think it’s qualifying rate is quite good for OW (ex AA).

  2. I 2nd your sentiments, however, if you live in Doha (or in the ME), this could be very valuable. I’m not sure how much that chart can change (or how often it’s updated) but if it is chronological, I question how many inaugural flights they could possibly schedule between January and March 2018? Taking into consideration that they are typically delayed anyway…you could do well on this one. It’s a risk but you could be gaining 500k miles for taking 3-5 QR flights. I’m not taking it but it may be nice for someone out there.

  3. Qatar airways has withdrawn their plan to buy a stake in AA. Apparently they don’t see the value they saw originally

  4. I WANT TO TRY THIS!!!! Maybe if i go to Europe I’ll take a little detour via Qatar…….

  5. lol yeah Sam would be perfect for this, except that he lives in the UAE, can probably can’t visit Qatar nowadays…

  6. Oliver,

    You could get to Europe via Doha but it is a heck of a long way around. In fact, when I looked, the main travel sites weren’t even showing flights from the US to London on any of the ME3 airlines, but I’m sure you could get around that

  7. @Lucky or anyone else can you keep this post updated of any information of when these inaugural flights start flying to the locations, I will
    Be not far from Doha travelling this month and want to go to Prague, is also take up the challenge if I knew the dates of the flights

  8. I got this offer and for me it was Sohar, Kieve and Prague i needed to be on the first flight to or from the destination to get 500,000 extra miles.

  9. I guess you could transfer QR miles to Marriott on any other participating hotel program but could you then transfer those hotel miles on to a AA miles?

  10. I’m probably being too literal, but the offer says have to take the first flight, which at first glance means taking the very first flight to that location. My offer also have sohar, prague, and kiev, to start in August, but their website doesn’t have those cities loaded in yet.

    It does peak one’s interest when such an offer pops up, but if that many new cities come on line, I don’t doubt it may be cheaper to just buy the miles.

  11. I’ve completed the GlobeTrotter Campaign. However, not knowing the actual flight dates makes makes this a nonstarter and too easy for QR to move the goal posts :/

  12. Wonder if it means taking the inaugural from DOH to *insert new destination* AND the return sector back to DOH? Both are inaugurals technically.

  13. Seems a little open ended. I know lots of countries where you couldn’t have such a contest…

  14. 600000 points with a 3 year expiry and no way to cheaply extend without being platinum knocks me out. Guess Ill pass. They would have to be transferred to other programs and there is always a devolution for that.

  15. It looks like Sohar commences in 2 days (10 Aug) with QR1132 DOH-SOH and QR1133 SOH-DOH and (given that the promotion period is 1Aug17 to 31Mar18) if you’re not on one or the other of these two flights then the promotion is dead for you. Have I got that right?

  16. If Qatar was not so unreliable in their marketing (just blatantly ignoring the PayPal promo code when I used it) and the terrible Doha airport hotel (300 usd /night, check-in time 2 at day when most long haul is at night, had to send credit card in email to book), then I would most assuredly have fun with this.

    IMHO Qatar Airlines and it’s partners should focus first and foremost on becoming decent in all categories NOT covered by Skytrax, because right now they are awful as soon as you have to contact their support or anything not related to being in the air.

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