Qatar Airways Extends Their Doha Free Stopover & Hotel Promotion

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. For example, I recently shared my experience with Etihad’s free hotel stopover program in Abu Dhabi.

I got a free suite at the Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi when flying the Etihad Residence

In May, Qatar Airways announced a similar program, called +Qatar. Through +Qatar, 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 this has now been extended through December 31, 2017. I guess this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise given the Gulf blockade, which has presumably led to reduced hotel occupancy in Qatar.

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.).

Here are the basic terms associated with the +Qatar program:

  • Booking validity: 1 May to 28 December 2017.
  • Travel validity: 7 May to 31 December 2017. All travel must be completed by 31 December 2017.
  • Offer is valid for Qatar Airways confirmed tickets holders with transit in Doha.
  • 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.

Bottom line

It’s nice to see Qatar extend the +Qatar program, which is a nice way to encourage people to visit Doha. Between this and them adding visa-free entry for people from 80 countries, it’s certainly becoming a more welcoming place to visit.

(Tip of the hat to LoyaltyLobby)


  1. Used this offer on trip from LAX to DPS in Business Class last May. The hotel was the company owned Oryx. It was quite nice. Funny thing was they insisted on giving both my partner and myself separate rooms as they said they could not book two men in one room.

  2. i don’t see how being one of the most anti-gay nations is such a welcoming place to visit.

    For those who say “their nation their rules”, then my response is “i stay out of Qatar if you stay out of the Western Hemisphere”

  3. Hello Ben,

    I have to ask: why do you constantly report on, and endorse, airlines/hotels/destinations/countries that do not believe in equality?

    Maybe you are trying to ‘right the wrongs’ (in the hope of them changing and joining the 21st century) by still presenting and showcasing them?

    I think your airline reviews are incredibly helpful and insightful…thank you for that.

  4. @ Lins

    “I have to ask: why do you constantly report on, and endorse, airlines/ hotels/ destinations/ countries that do not believe in equality?”

    Equality is not a divisible thing – you either have it or you don’t.

    There isn’t a single nation in the entire world that offers real equality for all groups. I’m not sure there are that many that even state they *believe* in real equality (take the UK, for instance, which is supposed to be one of the leading countries of the world – certainly better than the US on, eg, LGBT equality – and yet… Northern Ireland, an integral part of the UK, doesn’t accept gay marriage). And I wonder how far you wish to extend your crusade for equality: should we all own exactly equal amounts of wealth, for instance?

    So, what with there not being a single nation that is truly equal, or so far as I know that even *believes* in “equality”, I guess you aren’t interested in any travel anywhere by any means?

    Still, as long as we can all feel virtuous by punishing people who happen to live in countries with governments we don’t agree with, many of whom have little choice about that, I guess that’s ok.


  5. @Paul – I respect your point of view…it is well presented and valid.

    I’m simply suggesting that, as individuals/consumers, we have the responsibility and ability to adhere to equality…even when so many governments – as you correctly pointed out – do not.

    Travelling is amazing privilege and a true awakening; experiencing new things, learning new cultures and meeting people. I believe that many of us feel this way. an individual…travelling on airlines, staying in destinations, and visiting countries that are truly making little or no effort – on the majority of levels – to facilitate this way of acceptance is truly counterproductive (in my opinion).

    Happy and safe travels 🙂

  6. I believe everyone should be treated equally, but I find it hard to boycott discriminatory countries in the middle east when the target of discrimination themselves refuse to lead by example.

  7. @Paul
    Wealth is very different from traits like gender, sexual orientation, race and (to a lesser degree) religion. The latter are very much immutable parts of a person, wealth is not (unless you perform some serious philosophical gymnastics).

    There are countries who at least strive for equality, generally enshrined in the constitution, even if the laws themselves are sometimes far from perfect.

  8. Don’t waste your time on the city trip. Nothing redeeming to see.
    Better off enjoying the business class lounge.

  9. I see 3 queries above asking whether award tickets are included in this promotion. Make me #4. So Lucky, do you know the answer?

  10. Just reserved mine for November! Few observations:

    Ticket numbers have to be on QR stock so it does not appear as if reward redemptions from AA or other carriers are eligible.

    The Luxury program was not extended beyond September. As such, even though I’m flying Business, I didn’t have access to Four Seasons, the W, etc. I was limited to the same hotels as Y pax. Still a great deal for a 23 hour layover.

  11. @ David

    Yes, but…

    The OP did not specify what aspects of “equality” s/he was concerned with. So I guess you’re leaping to an assumption that the only ones that matter are related to what you describe as “immutable” characteristics (a statement which itself seems problematic to me: gender dysmorphia, for instance, could be characterised as a clash between the immutable sense of what gender one is, and an immutable physical manifestation which might suggest a different gender. Which of those is actually “immutable”?).

    But, anyway, you seem to have a position that “there are countries who strive for equality”. Seems to me the history of moves to greater equality is really one of countries (by which I mean governments) striving to *resist* demands for equality: the history of the US in its relations with black slaves might be one of the better-studied ones, but I would also give an example of the UK’s grudging, step-by-step acceptance of equality on the basis of sexual orientation. Or the extraordinarily extended fight for “votes for women”.

    That equality has (largely) been achieved in the UK has been not so much evidence of a country “striving for equality” as evidence of successive governments and courts being dragged there by popular opinion.

    Lucky has recently visited some of the ‘Stans – one of which is considered by some people as being among the most oppressive and obnoxious states in Europe. I don’t imagine the vast majority of the people in any of those countries is particularly happy with their oppressive governments. But I’m not sure why you think we should refuse to visit those people, and deprive them of income, because of the miserableness of their government. (Though I’d make an exception where popular opinion seems to be to ask tourists not to visit – eg, apartheid-era South Africa, or Burma under the junta.)

    Otherwise, on practical terms, I’m not sure where your policy gets us. Is there a degree of legal inequality that you think should be a universal standard of unacceptability (and, therefore, no-one should visit)? Should that standard be yours? Or mine? Which bits of “equality” are the important (sic) ones – gender? race? sexuality? disability? What?

    Apologies for length of post.

  12. @Paul – In my opinion: you don’t reward a misbaving child with a lollipop…

    In other words: as a person, who believes in equality and wishes to support it as best I personally can, I will not travel to destinations/on airlines that do not promote the same approach to the best of their abilities…..

    (I was simply asking Ben/Lucky a question)

  13. @ Lins

    Yes, I see your point. But that’s what I have a problem with.

    If I’m an impoverished worker in a tourist hotel in Qatar, it’s me you’ll be punishing by persuading everyone not to visit – not the fat cats in government who have their hands on the world’s biggest deposits of natural gas. And I have zero chance of influencing them.

    So, you stay away, my family now struggles to eat while you feel morally superior. Is that a good result?

  14. @Paul

    When it comes to immutable traits, I think the issue is whether or not the trait itself can be changed without altering the very essence of someone’s personhood. If your identity cannot persist through the stripping of some trait, then that trait can be considered immutable. This is not a universal definition (and I doubt anyone can write a treatise on philosophical subjects such as identity and personhood, and have it become universally accepted; brilliant men and women have tried.), it simply reflects the moral belief that I operate on.

    Do instances of resistance to equality colour the entire history of social progress in the Western world? Conservatism and resistance to change itself is necessary; after all demands for equality come in many forms; should all demands be automatically given merit and adopted? The presence of resistance doesn’t entail that our history should be characterized solely by it. By and large, constitutions and laws have been moving towards greater equality and inclusiveness.

    In so far as pragmatism is concerned, if the people realise their poverty is caused by their own government, and that many of them can barely feed themselves, they will likely seek change. Feeding money into their economy simply helps maintain the status quo.

    The standard should be whatever you personally feel is acceptable. If you feel nothing is wrong with the policies of the ME countries, then by all means contribute to their economy to your hearts content. I simply find it hypocritical that Lucky, who is part of the discriminated group (but through sheer luck of being borned in the wealthy West, does not suffer like his ME counterparts) and presumably does not agree with anti-homosexual laws and policies, would continually patronize and help promote these state owned or subsidized ME businesses.

  15. @ David

    Of course I see your point. But the implementation is problematic.

    Should Lucky be refusing to travel to Australia because it doesn’t have gay marriage (yet)?

    Should Lucky have a list of US states divided into those with gay equality and those without, so he can decide whether or not to visit / stopover there?

    And how should he deal with the UK – where the majority of it is one of the most gay-friendly states on the planet, but Northern Ireland is a hot-bed of legalised discrimination? Boycott the whole country? Or just NI?

    But where I really struggle is with your throwaway line that blames the poorest for the sins of their governments – “if the people realise their poverty is caused by their own government, and that many of them can barely feed themselves, they will likely seek change. Feeding money into their economy simply helps maintain the status quo”.

    Which is a neat way of blaming the victims, and of you framing the problem so that your principles don’t cost you anything. You are free to take your tourist money to some country whose government meets your own standards, while leaving the poor elsewhere to go hang – if they won’t take up arms against, say, the North Korean military, then that’s their problem. They can starve.

    I guess my feeling is that principles don’t matter a damn unless it costs you something to hold them. Your argument means you get to feel morally superior, advertising your proud principles, while it’s the poor impoverished people labouring under oppressive regimes who have to pay the price. Doesn’t sound very fair to me.

  16. @Paul

    I understand where you’re coming from, but I don’t feel you’re offering a charitable interpreteration of my position. Yes, as in all matters of human affair, there are considerable grey areas, but I don’t think it’s a stretch to say the ME are some of the worst offenders when it comes to equality infringements. Considerably worse than most countries. Had he decided to visit countries who are on the less extreme end, I don’t think many would object. The issue isn’t that the ME countries are not proactively empowering the marginalized through positive liberty, but rather the active punishment of the marginalized, and being on the rather extreme end of the spectrum.

    There are arguably better ways to support the most affected victims of poverty. For example, through charitable donations. Funnelling money into the tourism industry isn’t exactly the best way to provide relief to the poorest groups, since it benefits those with a job in the first place, so arguing for supporting these victims through tourism on compassionate grounds is… ineffective.

    I have avoided ME despite not being within any group targeted by them, often at a financial and time cost to myself. I’m not sure my principles are “free” to hold. Nor am I advocating everyone boycott ME; like I have said, anyone should be free to support them if they so wish, and I wouldn’t judge them. The only exception, where I can’t help but speak up, are instances where the targeted group themselves do nothing against extreme examples of intolerance, and yet expect others to care for their rights.

    I don’t agree with your position, but I respect your well-reasoned opinions. This is probably not the time nor the place to have long political and philosophical discussions, so I thank you for remaining civil in the discussion and providing me some food for thought. Let’s be like gentlemens, and simply agree to disagree. 🙂

  17. Addendum (last words I’ll say on the subject, I promise): What I find most ironic is the fact that lucky mentions the “human rights issues” on so many of his ME reviews, yet have done absolutely nothing but pay a little lip service; would this not be an example of “holding principles that cost nothing”, seeing as Lucky does not feel compelled to make even a small gesture against these regimes if it costs himself anything.

    Had he even stopped flying on ME and visiting ME leisurely (that is, I understand this blog is his livelihood, so would not even blame him if he flew new products once to provide a review), it would show that he cares more than a simple lip service.

  18. @ David

    And thanks to you, too (and Lins, who started the discussion). I really do see your perspective. I have struggled with this issue myself, and find it difficult. An example…

    Many years ago I was a student in a joint project between my university and the Tunisian national archaeology service. This was in the days of president-for-life Habib Bourguiba, installed by the French many years before – effectively it was a police state under a dictator.

    In the course of our project we were on a peasant’s farm; the peasant had found a whole, intact Roman amphora. Nothing particularly special, but nice to have. The Tunisians demanded he hand it over. He refused. The Tunisians drove to the nearest town with a police station and stormed inside; minutes later every available officer was piling into trucks. We drove back to the farm where the peasant had now hidden the amphora. So they threw him in the back of a truck and then threw him into a cell at the police station where they said they’d hold him until he handed over the amphora. No court or judge, no warrant. And there he stayed until three days later his wife turned up at the station with the amphora in a cart and begged them to release her husband. Which they did.

    Tunisia was nominally one of the more liberal developing countries, with a focus on women’s rights. Today it is about the only functioning democracy in the Arab world – though still not brilliant on gay rights. With the exception of that one guy, every peasant farmer I met (we just turned up and walked on their land without even asking) was extraordinarily hospitable, most running over with a gift of watermelon as soon as they saw strangers.

    So, should I boycott Tunisia, where gay rights are non-existent (though there’s a strong gay sub-culture and always has been, which is widely known and tolerated)? So all those hotel maids and kitchen porters and gardeners lose their jobs? Or do I recognise that I pretty much won life’s lottery when I happened to be born a citizen of my country, and do my best to spread my money around? Irrespective of the misery of a particular government, particularly (as in the case of Tunisia) if they hadn’t voted for the government and were effectively stick with them.

    I’m pretty sure some of Lucky’s readers will see me as a dumb-f*** bleeding-heart liberal. But the ethics of this stuff is tricky, I think.

  19. We have overnighted twice in Qatar. The first time was the result of a missed connection, where the layover was forced. Qatar put us up (in separate, but as requested, connecting rooms) – and the hospitality, as tradition dictates, was very good. We were flying business class – we requested a hotel on the Corniche instead of the Onyx by the airport – and after some resistance, we were accommodated at the Movenpick, with dinner and breakfast included. Qatar completed our visa application and provided (basic) transportation by hotel van.

    We booked an Uber car to and from the Museum of Islamic Art, which was fascinating even though I can rarely spend more than an hour in a museum. If you stopover in Qatar, you should by all means include this as a high point of your visit. We also visited the Souk – which was not a must. While there are other things to do, it’s not as “western” as Dubai or Abu-Dhabi. One full day is probably enough for most travelers, and two days will probably bump that up to 90%.

    Our second trip was a 9 hour stopover between Capetown and Los Angeles. The “comp” stopover was at the Airport Onyx hotel, which is not really at the airport – it is a good 15 minutes travel time. The hotel was lovely, but we arrived at 1 AM and had to be on the 6 AM shuttle, so we didn’t see anything of the facilities. Still, better than trying to sleep in the airport. (There is an in-airport hotel, but the cost was $300+ and we would have had to book two rooms).

    So, I think it’s important to have some first hand knowledge of middle eastern countries. So many Americans think they are all the same – but we didn’t encounter ANY anti-American sentiment. Our elected officials need to keep up the human rights pressure, but as ambassadors of the USA – regular travelers can do a lot to spread goodwill.

    I am sure the STPC program is continuing, but the Five-Star properties may not be included.

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