TODAY ONLY: $0 Base Fares on Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways has a treasure hunt for $0 fares. Update:Today is Europe’s treasure hunt, I mistook all regions being on the same day, sorry for confusion but my major point of interest from this fare remains the same.

What is a golden ticket?

A golden ticket is a single, zero-fare ticket to specific destinations, valid for travel between 15 September 2016 to 30 June 2017. Only taxes and surcharges apply.

There’s a video showing you the destinations where fares are available, they show photos and an airport code (which doesn’t exactly make the treasure hunt ‘hard’):

These fares were only going to be available for an hour, for the Americas between 1pm and 2pm Eastern. The exception is Europe — since the Qatar Airways website was overloaded this morning they’ve broadened out the window for finding these fares to the entire day.

I’m most interested in this because it disproves the notion that there are ever obvious mistake fares, that a consumer should know the difference between a ‘good price’ and a ‘mistake’ given that airlines do intentionally file $0 fares. Qatar Airways is doing this as a promotion. And it proves they don’t advertise the specific routes this is available on, you have to find them in a treasure hunt. You never know when you’ll search and find a great deal on an airline website!

Qatar is hardly the first airline to do this, Washington DC-based Independence Air was struggling a decade ago and ultimately failed. They wanted to raise awareness of their deals. They were cheap but no one at least outside DC knew about them. They wouldn’t pay to sell tickets through global distribution systems, you wouldn’t find their tickets outside their own website. So one night they loaded mistake fares into their system after midnight (airlines don’t generally file fares then) and waited until some tickets were purchased before pulling the fares. Then they alerted media this happened. You never know when you’ll find an incredible deal at…

Giant 23 foot tall, 20 ton bronze teddy bear sculpture in the Doha airport

Terms and conditions:

Sale period: one hour during the allotted dates for participating countries. Please review the table above for the respective country’s date and time.

Valid for single return and one-way Economy Class tickets only.

Government and airport taxes are applicable on the Golden Ticket.

For travel involving multiple booking classes, the most restrictive fare rules applies on the entire itinerary.

Minimum and maximum stay is dependent on the booking class.

Other terms and conditions apply. Please review at the time of booking.

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, 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 »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. Fixed and apologies, I misread early this morning thinking all sales were same day. My major point of interest — intentional $0 fares and what that means for airline claims about obvious mistakes — remains.

  2. Pretty lame contest. With so many origin/destination and date combinations possible, you might as well look for a grain of sand on a beach!

  3. @MyName:
    You are wrong, many people booked insane tickets. OSL-AKL for 84€ for example as shown on many blogs and forums.

  4. I haven’t seen a mention of this anywhere. What blogs and forums specifically? I need to read these so I don’t miss anything in the future. Thanks.

  5. I guess our favorite blogs have been busy continuing to push credit cards while such airfare deals came and went.

  6. It helps when snark actually carries some trust, @AKTCHI, I hadn’t seen this deal anywhere but also would press you to find a post ‘push[ing] credit cards’ in the time between when it became available and when you made your comment?

  7. @Michael

    And how many people tried blindfully for hours to find something, desperately, anything, in vain? MILLIONS! Thanks Qatar!

  8. @MyName – If someone wants to waste their time (in your opinion) searching for this type of fare then what business is it of yours? And why is it the airline’s fault if someone chooses to taken them up on the challenge? As far as I’m aware there was no coercion on the part Qatar Airways….or do you know something the rest of us don’t?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *