One of the goals of the Gulf carriers is to develop the infrastructure of their home countries and put them on the map. One 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, where 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 few 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 February 28, 2018, and for stays through April 30, 2018. It has now been extended for bookings through December 28, 2018, and for stays through December 31, 2018. That’s an extension of 10 months in terms of the booking window, so that’s significant, since in the past they only extended it for a few months at a time.
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.).
Several 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: till 28 December 2018.
- Stay Validity: must be completed on or before 31 December 2018.
- Offer valid only for Qatar Airways confirmed ticket holders with minimum a transit time of 12 hours in Doha.
- Qatar Airways E-ticket number start with “157” is required to be entered at the payment page. Maximum of one booking is allowed per E-ticket number.
- passengers where Doha is their first departure point or final destination are not eligible for +Qatar 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.
- All +Qatar hotel bookings subject to availability.
- All bookings are verified by our specialist team, and may automatically canceled if they don`t meet terms and conditions.
- Check-in dates at hotel must match flight arrival date in Doha.
Museum of Islamic Art, Doha
At this point I think it’s safe to say that this feature is here to stay. Qatar Airways already publishes exceptional fares in many markets, and has the world’s best business class. So to get a free hotel on a Doha stopover is just the icing on the cake.
(Tip of the hat to Jake)