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Update 7/31/17: Qatar Airways has canceled flights put on hold, but ticketed flights are apparently still active — for now. Avoid booking onward airfare and other nonrefundable travel at this time.

Update 7/31/17: While it lasted longer than many may have expected, unfortunately this deal is no longer available.

Update 7/30/17 9:30pm ET: It turns out that you can put these flights on hold for 48 hours for free (or 72 hours for $20), so be sure to select the 48-hour hold option at checkout.

Update 7/30/17 9:10pm ET: This post has been updated to reflect Qatar’s 24-hour hold policy (in lieu of a 24-hour free cancel policy). Be sure to book through a third-party online travel agency if there’s a chance you may need to cancel your booking within 24 hours.

We will allow you to hold the reservation for 24 hours without payment for reservations made 7 days or more prior to the flight’s departure. Once payment is received and ticket is issued, the fare rules will apply.

While the airline’s policy is to allow 24-hour holds, it’s possible that Qatar may choose to honor only ticketed reservations.

This is easily one of the best business-class deals we’ve ever seen — currently, you can book round-trip business-class fares from Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) to many destinations around the world (including the US) starting at just $555 round-trip. These flights are operated by Qatar Airways, giving you a chance to try one of the world’s best biz products on the Airbus A350 and Boeing 777-300ER — which should soon offer Qsuite on flights between Doha (DOH) and New York (JFK).

Fares and Destinations

The cheapest fares appear to be to Johannesburg (JNB), but you can fly round-trip to the US for roughly $700 — an outrageous deal for business class.

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Note that these flights MUST originate at SGN, but, assuming you don’t have checked bags, you could, in theory, get off in Doha on your return and purchase an onward ticket to another destination — assuming you don’t want to return to Vietnam.

Discounted fares are available to the following US destinations:

  • Atlanta (ATL) — $711 round-trip
  • Chicago (ORD) — $711 round-trip
  • Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) — $711 round-trip
  • Miami (MIA) — $711 round-trip
  • New York City (JFK) — $711 round-trip
  • Philadelphia (PHL) — $715 round-trip

You can travel from now through the end of March 2018, with discounted fares available almost every day. Unfortunately Qatar’s other US destinations, such as Houston and Los Angeles, are not included.

To book one of these tickets, head to Google Flights and input your destination and dates — you can use this sample search to get started.

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It’s unclear if this is a mistake fare or part of an incredible unannounced sale — note that Qatar’s site displays these fares as a “Golden Ticket,” so it’s quite possible that this pricing is intentional, perhaps to drum up business during the travel embargo:

Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 8.49.45 PM

Either way, don’t delay, but I’d wait a few days before booking connecting flights or nonrefundable hotels, just in case the airline decides to cancel these tickets.

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Why are these tickets so cheap? For one reason or another, Qatar has dropped the base fare to $0, charging only a fuel surcharge, along with taxes and other fees:

Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 8.27.03 PM

Mileage Earning

These flights book into the “R” fare class, and they’re eligible to earn miles on Qatar partner American Airlines. You’ll earn AAdvantage miles and elite credit at the following rates:

  • 100% base miles
  • 1.5 EQMs per mile flown
  • 20% EQDs per mile flown

You’ll also be eligible for your standard elite member bonus of 40% for Gold members, 60% for Platinum, 80% for Platinum Pro and 120% for Executive Platinum. Using SGN-DFW as an example, a ~23,000-mile round-trip, you’ll earn at least:

  • 23,000 redeemable miles (more than 50,000 for Executive Platinum members)
  • 34,000 elite-qualifying miles
  • $4,600 elite-qualifying dollars

If you’re a top-tier elite, you’ll earn miles worth roughly the cost of the ticket, based on TPG’s 1.4-cent valuation of AAdvantage miles.

Maximize Your Purchase

Be sure to use a credit card that earns additional points on airfare purchases, such as the American Express Platinum Card (5x on flights booked directly with airlines or American Express Travel), Chase Sapphire ReserveAmerican Express Premier Rewards Gold or Citi Prestige (3x on airfare) or the Chase Sapphire Preferred (2x on all travel purchases). Check out this post for more on maximizing airfare purchases.

Bottom Line

Again, if you can make one of these flights work with your schedule, I’d book right away. If you’re booking a flight to a destination within the US, you should be able to cancel for free within 24 hours if purchased through an online travel agency, such as Expedia or Orbitz, so lock your ticket in now and then confirm that you’re able to travel. Note that Qatar allows you to hold tickets for 24 hours before purchasing, but once your flight is confirmed you won’t be able to cancel:

We will allow you to hold the reservation for 24 hours without payment for reservations made 7 days or more prior to the flight’s departure. Once payment is received and ticket is issued, the fare rules will apply.

Unfortunately it’s very unlikely that you’ll be able to make any changes later without a significant increase in fare — assuming the airline doesn’t end up canceling all of these discounted bookings.

Have you booked one of Qatar’s “Golden Tickets?”

H/T: One Mile at a Time

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