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Qatar Airways: How does the Free Transit Program (STPC) in Doha work?

To the point Qatar Airways offers two programs to obtain free or discounted accommodation during a long stopover in Doha. Here are the details of the STPC and Discover Qatar programs.

Qatar Airways is an airline with a proven track record. Its huge network makes it possible to reach almost any destination from Montreal or Paris with a stopover in Doha. However, these layovers are often long and overnight.

Qatar Airways offers two programs to benefit from free or discounted accommodation when you fly into Doha airport. Let’s take a look at the details and what you need to do to qualify.

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Qatar Airways - STPC Program

The STPC program (Stopover paid by carrier) has very strict rules and eligibility criteria.

Right from the start, flights booked with Avios are not eligible. If you have an award ticket, you can skip to the next section, which details other discounts on accommodation in Doha.

The STPC package includes :

  • Hotel accommodation ;
  • Transfer from airport to hotel;
  • Transit visa if required;
  • A meal allowance if the stopover is longer than 11 hours.
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Eligibility

Full details of the terms and conditions are on this page. Here is a summary of the most important points:

  • Transit time in Doha must be a minimum of 8 hours and a maximum of 24 hours.
  • There must be no earlier flight available, i.e. your layover must be as short as possible. You cannot voluntarily choose a later flight to stay longer in Doha.
  • The two segments must be on the same reservation (i.e. self-connecting is not possible).
  • The ticket must have a value of over US$400.
  • Eligible fare classes are Y, B, H, K, M, L, V, S, N, Q in economy class ; J, C, D, I, P in business class and F, A in first class.
  • Tickets booked with Avios points are in fare classes X (economy), U (business), Z (first) and are not eligible for free STPC.
  • For fare classes not eligible for free STPC (except Z and E), it is possible to pay US$125 economy or US$150 business/first class for the STPC package.
  • If a schedule change makes your layoverless than 8 hours, your STPC package will be cancelled.

To find the fare class of your ticket, check your booking confirmation email or visit the Qatar Airways website in the Upcoming trips section on your profile.

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Exemple d’un billet classe « X » réservé en points Avios, non éligible au STPC
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Exemple d’un billet classe « K » réservé en argent, admissible au STPC

Hotel reservation

Overnight or day accommodation is provided subject to availability and the class of your ticket. Qatar Airways agents will try to give you a room at the Oryx Airport Hotel or the Oryx Garden Hotel for short stopovers, but this may not always be possible during busy periods.

If the hotels in the terminal are fully booked, they will offer you a room in another partner hotel in town. Transportation to the hotel will be provided, as will your transit visa if required.

Here’s what you can expect as a hotel depending on the class of your ticket:

Ticket class Type of accommodation
Economy 3 stars, possibility of 4 or 5 stars if 3-star rooms are sold out
Business 5 stars, possibility of 4 stars if 5-star rooms are sold out
First class 5 stars
Mixed cabin 5 stars

For Economy class passengers, the name of the hotel will not appear on your STPC package confirmation. For travelers in superior cabins (Business and First), the name of the hotel will be mentioned on your confirmation.

To book your package, you must contact Qatar Airways Customer Service by telephone or online chat.

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To access chat, you must be logged in to your Privilege Club account.

Make sure you have all the details of your booking, your passport and the method of payment used. You can book the STPC package for another traveler if you know all this information.

By chatting, the agent will check the eligibility of the reservation and you will receive an e-mail confirmation shortly afterwards.

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Once at Doha airport, in the transit area, you must go to a Qatar Airways counter and present your passport and boarding pass for the next flight. An employee will complete the hotel reservation and give you an STPC voucher to present at the reception desk of the designated hotel.

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During this layover, I was traveling with a friend. Having paid for my ticket with Avios, I wasn’t eligible for STPC, but my friend was. At the Qatar Airways counter, the agent could not change the accommodation to a double room.

However, at the check-in desk of the Oryx Garden Hotel, I was able to pay an additional fee of 200 QAR (about C$75 or €50) to access the room. Money well spent so I don’t have to spend my night on airport benches!

Meal allowance

If your stopover is longer than 11 hours, you’ll be entitled to a meal voucher that you can use at your hotel restaurant. The amount of the allowance depends on the class of your ticket and the duration of your transit:

  Layover from 11 to 19 hours Layover from 19 to 24 hours
Economy 100 QAR 150 QAR
Business class 175 QAR 250 QAR
First class 175 QAR 250 QAR

1 Qatari riyal (QAR) is equivalent to around 0.37 Canadian dollar or 0.25 euro.

Your checked baggage will be taken to your final destination. You will therefore not be able to collect your baggage at Doha airport. Make sure you have everything you need in your hand luggage.

Qatar Airways - Discover Qatar Program

This program is offered to passengers with a minimum stopover of 12 hours in Doha. It is especially designed for travelers who are voluntarily stopping off to discover Qatar before their final destination.

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What we’re interested in here is the potential discount on accommodation you can get if your ticket is not eligible for STPC.

Hotel rates vary according to type:

  • Standard: from 50 QAR per room (about C$19 or €13) in a 4-star hotel
  • Premium: from 85 QAR per room (about C$32 or €22) in a 5-star hotel
  • Premium with beach access: from 110 QAR (about C$41 or €28) in a 5-star hotel on Doha Sands Beach
  • Luxury: from 296 QAR (about C$111 or €75) per room in a 5-star luxury hotel, including breakfast for one person

To see the different hotels on offer and to make a reservation, click here. Please note that the Oryx Airport Hotel and the Oryx Garden Hotel, directly in the terminal, are not among the choices. So you’ll need to get out of the airport and into town.

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Booking accommodation with Discover Qatar is much simpler than with STPC. You can choose your hotel on the website, and all you need is your ticket number. To give you an idea, here are some 4-star hotels that are available with the Discover Qatar program:

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A “one-night” reservation gives you access to the room for 24 hours. The reception desks are always open, so you can arrive and leave at any time. This comes in handy when your stopover is during the day and you want to freshen up and take a little nap before your next flight.

If your stopover is less than 24 hours, you will not be able to collect your checked baggage at Doha airport. Make sure you have everything you need in your hand luggage.

Bottom Line

In short, if your stopover at Doha airport is between 8 and 24 hours, you may be eligible for the stopover paid by carrier (STPC) program by Qatar Airways. Only certain fare classes are eligible, and tickets booked with Avios miles are not. The STPC package includes one night’s accommodation in a hotel, transfers between the airport and the hotel, and a meal allowance for stopovers of over 11 hours.

Finally, if your ticket is not eligible for the STPC program and your stopover is longer than 12 hours, you have access to a discounted room with the Discover Qatar program.

For more specific details about your reservation and for any questions, please contact Qatar Airways customer service via online chat.

Do I need a visa to leave Doha airport?

Canadian and French passport holders do not need a visa to visit Qatar. The exemption is valid for a maximum stay of 30 days for Canadians and 90 days for French nationals. As these criteria can change at any time, be sure to check the most up-to-date information before leaving.

Come to discuss that topic in our Facebook Group!
Alexandrine
Always on the lookout for exotic destinations, Alexandrine shares her strategies for traveling while saving with points and miles. She's an avid cook, both at home and abroad.

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