It’s no secret that I find Doha, Qatar an extremely fascinating city. If transiting though the middle east, it’s often my goal to route through Doha. The big bear in Hamad Airport has been featured quite a bit on my Instagram.
The goal of Qatar Airways (and the other gulf carriers) is to have transiting passengers actually visit the city and hopefully contribute to the development (aka spend $$$). I venture to say that Dubai and Doha would not be the global travel hub cities they are today without Emirates and Qatar Airways, respectively.
COME VISIT OUR CITY
One reason I enjoy transiting through Doha is because of a program known as +Qatar. All passengers traveling on Qatar Airways are able to obtain a free, 96-hour Qatar visa, and a free night of hotel.
There have been countless dates where the program was supposed to end but over the past year, it has been extended a few months at a time. Most recently, the program was supposed to end this month (December 2018) but I am happy to announce that it has been extended once again.
The +Qatar stopover program has now been extended for bookings through 01/31/19, and for stays through 04/30/19. Although the booking window has been extended by a month, I wouldn’t wait to to book if you have plans to transit the middle east.
I have utilized this program quite a few times and stayed at a different hotel every time. My personal favorite…The Westin.
There are a few terms and conditions but this is basically how the program works…you are eligible for one free night. If you stay a second night, you only pay $100 total ($50/night). There is a list of hotels that participate in this program but the type of hotel you are eligible for is dictated by the type of fare you book. In short, if you book an economy ticket, you’ll be eligible for their premium hotels (Radisson Blu, Holiday Inn, etc.). If you book a business or first class ticket, you’ll be eligible for their luxury hotels (Ritz Carlton, St. Regis, etc).
The program is only open to passengers that have layovers of at least 12 hours and your airline ticket has to be issued by Qatar Airways (a partner ticket doesn’t qualify).
I encourage you to read ALL THE CONDITIONS HERE. I would hate for you to have an experience like me. Long story short…I was transiting Doha and totally forgot about this program and had a 10-hour layover. Hamad Airport is one of my favorite airports in the world but a 10-hour layover in ANY airport is never fun.
Registration for the program is very straightforward and I’ve, personally, never had any challenges when I actually took advantage of my long layover.
Note: As the program has become more popular, I have read data points where passengers have had more challenges finding availability staying at the luxurious hotels (Ritz Carlton, St. Regis, etc.) I assume, as the +Qatar program has gained in popularity, the aspirational properties have also gained in popularity thus leading to an increase in hotel occupancy rate.
Again I have stayed at the Westin Doha countless times and it’s a phenomenal hotel. If you aren’t able to stay at the Ritz, I can promise you that a free night at the Westin will not disappoint. Key word…FREE NIGHT!
It’s great to hear that the +Qatar program has been extended. Qatar is one of my favorite airlines and I have a few travel arrangements that are in the works.
A great airline + a free hotel + chance to explore a new city = winning! Does it get much better? Hopefully, I’ll be able to take advantage of my Doha transit again.
Has anyone else taken advantage of this program in the past? How was your experience? Is anyone planning to take advantage of the program for the first time?