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. 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.
Last May Qatar Airways introduced a new program called +Qatar, whereby passengers traveling on Qatar Airways in all cabins can get a 96 hour Qatar visa at no cost (though in the meantime Qatar has rolled out visa-free entry for 80 nationalities), one free night of hotel, and more.
Originally the program was just supposed to be valid through September 30, 2017, though Qatar Airways has extended the program a couple of times since then, so it sure seems like this is starting to be a permanent feature. Until recently the +Qatar program was available for bookings through December 31, 2017, and for stays through April 30, 2018. It has now been extended for bookings through February 28, 2018, and for stays through April 30, 2018.
So while the stay date hasn’t yet been extended, the booking window has. I think the key takeaway is that this is now a permanent feature, especially given that after April we’ll get into the slower summer season, so they’ll almost certainly extend it again.
Through this offer you can get one night for free, and pay just $50 for the second night. The type of hotel you’re eligible for depends on the type of fare you book. Economy passengers are eligible for premium hotels (Holiday Inn, Radisson Blu, etc.), while business and first class passengers are eligible for luxury hotels (Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, etc.).
A few months ago I wrote about my experience booking a hotel through this program, which was surprisingly straightforward. My stay at the Westin Doha was pleasant, and the process was seamless. At check-in I was just asked to forward my email confirmation from Qatar Airways and provide my boarding passes, and I was given a free room for my one night stay.
My room at the Westin Doha
The only thing I’d note here is that while Qatar Airways lists all kinds of “luxury hotels,” in reality most of them are almost never available, so even if you’re in first class, don’t expect to stay at the Four Seasons or St. Regis using this program.
Here are the basic terms associated with the +Qatar program:
- Booking validity: 1 May to 28 February 2018.
- Travel validity: 7 May 2017 to 30 April 2018. All travel must be completed by 30 April 2018.
- Offer is valid for Qatar Airways tickets with transit in Doha.
- 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 on-ward 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.
- Other terms and conditions apply. Please review at the time of booking.
- A valid visa is required to enter the country. Nationals from a total of 80 countries can now take advantage of visa-free entry into Qatar. Entry into Qatar will be at the discretion of the immigration authorities. Discover Qatar is not responsible for the decision taken by the immigration authorities.
Museum of Islamic Art, Doha
It’s nice to see Qatar extend the +Qatar program yet again, and at this point I think it’s safe to assume that this is a permanent feature. This is a very nice offering, though I only wish that they’d follow through on their “luxury hotel” offering for first & business class passengers. While they list several five star hotels, a vast majority of them are never available for booking.
(Tip of the hat to Loyalty Lobby)