With the departure of flight QR633 from Dhaka to Doha this morning Qatar Airways began operations as a full member of the oneworld alliance. The carrier is the first of the “big 3” Gulf airlines to join an alliance and represents a significant amount of traffic within the Middle East and South Asia which will now be carried by an alliance member. That’s good news for a lot of passengers.
As part of the events surrounding the new member joining the alliance all the airlines in the group have launched a promotion for the next three months offering double miles. For members of Qatar’s Privilege Club program that means double miles for all bookings on other partner carriers. For members of those other programs it means double miles for flights on Qatar Airways. The promotion is valid from 15 November 2013 through 31 January 2014 and excludes travel from 20 December – 5 January.
Also as part of the news this week a new fare product has been launched by oneworld. The Visit Middle East fare covers 30 destinations in Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE and Yemen served by Qatar Airways and Royal Jordanian plus intra-region flights operated by British Airways and Cathay Pacific. It requires a minimum of three segments and pricing is calculated in a tiered manner based on miles flown per sector; fares start at $75/sector plus taxes and fees. One of the very nice features of the fare is that only the first segment must be finalized at the time of booking. Other destinations must be specified but the dates for that travel can be left open. I’m not sure which fare class it books in to so there may be some risk in hoping the inventory is available but the concept certainly is a nice one.
And, finally, the giveaway. I’ve been working in Doha the past couple days as a guest of Qatar Airways and oneworld for the ceremonies surrounding this event and there have been a few souvenirs given out. I’m keeping the airplane model for myself but I’ve got an extra Mont Blanc passport holder that I’m giving away to a reader. It is this one which apparently has an MSRP of $200 (Amazon has it for $180). There’s also a lanyard and a USB thumb drive which looks like the Qatar Airways tailfin which I’ll throw in with the passport case. Just leave a comment below about what Qatar Airways route you most want to fly and I’ll pick a winner on Sunday November 3, 2013.
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