A Few Hours Left to Book Awards on Qatar Using United Miles

Yesterday Qatar award inventory was pulled from the United website, even though the partnership which is ending was supposed to allow award booking with United miles on Qatar through September 14.

Already the ability to book awards on Qatar by phone, calling up United, had all but disappeared. Finding a telephone agent who even believed award booking was still permitted on Qatar was a challenge, and finding one who knew it was possible and knew how to do it became almost impossible some time over the summer.

Strangely, the ability to book Qatar awards on the website has come back. Here’s an example of Qatar business class, JFK-Doha.

It’s unclear when exactly this ability will disappear again. Normally I’m a big fan of putting awards on hold (you can choose to call in your credit card number or say you’re going to pay by Western Union on the payment page, instead of paying instantly, to put an award on hold — and then go back and ticket on the website with a credit card anyway). But I suspect even if you are able to hold these seats, you will need to actually ticket them before the partnership ends. And we’ve already seen that it could end at any time, as opposed to “September 14 at 11:59pm Central” or something of the sort.

You are currently able to book space on Qatar through the end of their published schedule. But you won’t be able to make changes to awards booked on Qatar, except such that the itinerary will no longer include Qatar in it, since United will no longer have access to the space in the future.

And it is also possible to include Qatar and other Star Alliance partners in the same award.

The only trick at this point is that you have to book it online, you likely won’t be able to find anyone to help you by phone. So you’re restricted, more or less, to itineraries you can get the website to give you and price without erroring out.

Ultimately if you want something not possible on the website, you can probably get all of the Qatar segments held by the website and add or change non-Qatar segments by phone without too much difficulty.

But if you’re at all interested in these awards, book now, there’s only hours left. Qatar is a great way to reach Central Asia, including the Maldives, considering that award availability is generally good and the business class product is as well.

(HT: Seth in the comments)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. I followed Lucky’s advice and booked the Qatar availability I saw online today and I called United and added a positioning leg at no extra charge, actually the taxes dropped by $100. Original trip was YUL – DOH – DEL on QR and added AC BOS -YUL via phone.

  2. @Gary: I assume that one can make a booking and cancel/reinstate normally after the 9/14 date if need be? I’m a UA 1K, so there would be no fees. Does this sound correct?

  3. I booked a couple reservations and have them modified over the phone with web support. I managed to push them to issue the ticket right away and got eticket numbesr soon afterwards. However, I still have not seen QR PNR. Should I be concerned?

  4. @Ted no… the QR PNR may not show on the United site. Call Qatar, do seat assignments, and ask them for the record locator. And also ask them if they see the ticket number as well.

  5. If I can select seats on the Qatar website, am I good to go? Or do I need to also call them and confirm ticket number? (FYI, this is for a reservation I made back in July, and I can still go to Qatar’s website, enter the PNR, and select seats. I’ve been assuming that means the ticket is all set, but you never know with United). Thanks for your thoughts.

  6. Just booked another QR business class itinerary using the UA miles. Let’s see if this tickets on time or not.

  7. Hey Gary.

    I had two reservations booked with points.
    Mine – EWR-LHR-BOM-EWR
    my Girlfriend LHR-BOM-LHR

    the LHR-BOM leg was London-Munich (Lufthansa)-Doha-Bombay.

    Today I logged into United to see my itinerary. And in that leg, it only shows London-Munich. that’s it. no doha segment!!! I have email confirmations proving that it was London-Munich-Doha-Bombay.

    My girlfriend’s itinerary STILL shows London-Munich-Doha-Bombay.
    So I called United and they have no idea what to do.

    Now what? How is this possible? Now what?
    I’d appreciate any suggestions!

  8. @Jay – if you have an email confirmation they’ll need to get you there one way or another. Perhaps you can rebuild the segment online, but if not they will need to put you on UA metal

  9. Had a scheduling nightmare with United on this all of yesterday evening, with highly incompetent agents. They seemed to claim that BOM-DOH-MAN was either a) not bookable, because Qatar is apparently “not part of the Star Alliance anymore”. Another agent claimed that it can be done, but that segment will now require an insane 150k miles one way! (v/s the usual 60k). Was trying to do this originally: SFO-BOM, BOM-DOH-MAN, MAN-FRA-IAD-SFO, but they seem to claim I need 210k miles to do this, since BOM-DOH-MAN is now not a regular star alliance partner booking. And this was yesterday (the Sep 14 date had not been crossed). Any tips?

  10. Hey Gary.
    Spent over 3.5 hours on the phone with them. Had to call back thrice and was on hold for over 2 hours…

    They made it worse,at first, by cancelling The ENTIRE EWR-LHR-BOM-EWR trip. Then they tried putting me back on the Doha flight, but found that I was on a waiting list.

    So then, they found me a very nice Direct 8 hr flight LHR-BOM. For me and my girlfriend.

    So all the waiting and screaming paid off.

    Thanks!

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