Qatar Airways change policy: How I switched a 50 minutes Business Class journey to a 24 hours one


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UPDATE 15 May 1830 hours: SGN-PNH no longer bookable on CMB-MCT for $600+ is still available on limited dates.

UPDATE 15 May 1905 hours: CMB-MCT no longer available at $600+. Now $3,000+.

UPDATE 15 May 2230 hours: Fifth freedom routes officially excluded in updated terms and conditions.

This is a follow up of the article that I posted early this morning about Qatar Airways’ ridiculous new change/refund policy, Travel with confidence.

There’s been a lot of interest about how I did it so let’s jump right in.

The steps that I took:

  1. I called 800 189 1060 (Singapore’s office) at around midnight and was redirected automatically to Qatar’s call center as the one in Singapore was closed. I called BEFORE making the booking.

  2. I did not have to wait long and got through after about 2 minutes. An unfriendly customer service officer (CSO) answered and didn’t sound like she was in the mood to understand what I was trying to ask. She even quoted wrong information like “500 miles” and that I have to pay the fare difference even if I am flying before the end of the year. My experience in dealing with Hilton’s BRG CSOs taught me to access their willingness to assist early on and not waste any more time if I do not see it going anywhere. So I hung up and called again (HUCA) after 8 minutes.

  3. The second call got through really quickly as well and I could tell right away that I got a good one. He understood everything about what I was referring to and had a good command of the NATO phonetic alphabet which made it so much easier to spell out the cities that I was inquiring on.

  4. I asked if I could change a SGN-PNH-SGN flight itinerary to HAN-DOH-AKL-DOH-HAN since AKL is within 5,000 nautical miles from PNH. He put me on a short hold to check and got back to me saying that it is possible but I would have to make a booking first.

  5. At this point, I was ready to go back to my computer to make the booking but he went on to ask “Do you want me to book now?”. This made it a lot easier as I do not have to call again to find another competent CSO to explain the whole situation all over again.

  6. I went on to let him know my travel dates and he managed to check for availability and I made a phone booking for 2 adults after spelling out our names letter by letter and repeating everything 3 times. Before passing him my card details, I double confirmed that the change can be done immediately after booking and if it will be done by him (the same person). He also assured me that there will be no fare difference or change fee payable.

  7. Booking was made but I made a stupid mistake of giving him the details of my UOB Visa Signature even though he quoted me in SGD. I guess my mind was set on it being a foreign currency spending (VND) because of the departing city. I realised about 5 seconds after he processed the payment but it was too late. Damn, that’s about 7,000 miles down the drain.

And…that was it! The call lasted 58 minutes.

My takeaways

Like making a Hilton BRG phone booking/claim, the process can be frustrating unless if you are mentally prepared for it. Make yourself a nice cup of tea and maybe have some magazines near you because you may have to call in multiple times. Also, making the booking through the phone after getting the verbal confirmation that your desired change is possible takes away the nervous gap between making the payment and calling multiple times for the change. I highly recommend doing it this way, given the inconsistent information that people from flyertalk are getting from these CSOs.

After the initial booking is made, you will receive a plain old confirmation email that looks like this:

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This ticket booked me into fare class “I” but after the change, it switched to “D”. You will still get 125% mileage accrual with Asia Miles for either.

Fare class “D”

Fare class “D”

Once you have confirmed your change details, you will receive another confirmation email and Electronic Receipt for each passenger (with colours this time).

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Once you have this, it is more or less done. I went ahead to manage my booking on and there were no other seats reserved except for the two that are usually blocked.

Qsuite seat map

Qsuite seat map

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What if you are told that AKL is not within 5,000 miles from PNH?

Auckland is actually 5,627 miles away from Phnom Penh but it is also 4,889 nautical miles away. I guess it depends on how your CSO does the calculation.

But do not be disheartened if you can’t route to AKL, it is really not the end of the world as you should not face this problem with Perth, Sydney, Adelaide or Melbourne which are still amazing options for an incredible value. Although you may want to avoid Perth and Melbourne if you want to fly in a Qsuite.



The Oceania region is very attractive here because of the backtracking routing that would give you as much as 31,000 miles. But as I mentioned in my previous article, you can also fly to some parts of Europe, if you don’t mind getting less miles. And why isn’t anyone considering the First Class route that I mentioned in the previous article? 😛

Hope this helped. All the best!

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9 thoughts on “Qatar Airways change policy: How I switched a 50 minutes Business Class journey to a 24 hours one”

  1. I booked the route from CMB-DOH-MCT, and yes it’s was business from CMB-DOH and then first from DOH-MCT, but once u change the destination from Muscat to places like Paris/Frankfurt, the flight from DOH to whichever country you choose will be placed under business class instead of first class aa the booking is originally booked under business. I have already changed my flight and I wasn’t able to get first class

      • Welcome! Could you comment here if anyone still managed to get first class even after changing? Would like to know as I didn’t manage to haha
        Thanks for the share anyway! You’re great!

        • I will. This is evolving really fast and some of the rules are already different from what it was when I booked mine 20 hours ago. Thank you for your readership and stay safe!


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