How the Qatar Airways Treasure Hunt is actually doable


Last Friday, I was patiently waiting while the Qatar Airways website kept crashing and crashing from the weight of all those wanderlusting animals (myself included) hunting for the chance of finding the golden ticket.

The Qatar Airways treasure hunt will unveil mystery destinations at close to zero costs, during the Qatar Airways Travel Festival.

What you have to do is find the golden ticket within the booking results on , on the day the treasure hunt starts in your country.

What is a Golden Ticket?

A golden ticket is a single, zero-fare ticket to a specific destination, valid for travel between 11 January and 15 December 2017. Only taxes and surcharges apply.

How to find the Golden Ticket?

  1. On the day the treasure hunt is scheduled for your country, enter one of the featured destinations in booking window, and select travel dates within the months specified in the promotion.
  2. Keep trying until you find a date where the golden ticket is hidden.
  3. Once you have found the golden ticket, finalize the booking on

I will admit, I was a bit adamant and at some point all I could think was: smart move Qatar, there’s no such thing as golden tickets, it’s all an elaborate and smart hoax to get people to check out destinations and actually find your January promo fares. (Which are not to overlook either!)

Then I Hit Jackpot

A jackpot called Auckland, at Promo fare 450 € outbound fare, and the amazing 34 € (!) return fare. I’m going to New Zealand in November, and it’s for only 500 €!

Auckland skyline. Getty images.

I take it back, Qatar. I take it back!

Before you say I got lucky (I most certainly did!) but the whole thing is still a hoax, here’s why I think it’s not.

Booking System Outages are a Nightmare for Airlines

You may think they’re doing it on purpose (crossed my mind too) but that would mean shooting themselves in the leg.

When the booking engine doesn’t work, companies lose – beyond reputation and credibility – a lot of $$ business per minute.

In 2010, the average cost of data center downtime across industries was approximately $5,600 per minute according to Gartner.

On average, businesses lose between $84,000 and $108,000 for every hour of system downtime, according to estimates from studies and surveys performed by IT industry analyst firms. So try not to be the sore loser – and be a persistent wanderluster instead.

Things to consider for the Next Qatar Treasure Hunt


Make enough time for the Hunt

If you’re thinking this will be over in 5 minutes, you’ll probably not hit anything. Be prepared to spend the full hour, and bring your best bag of patience with you.

Be prepared to spend some money

You will most probably not find 2 golden tickets for both outbound and return. 

Have flexible travel dates

This one is a no-brainer. The treasure will not follow you, it’s you who has to follow.

While travel dates are broad, January to November 2017, golden tickets will be found in certain months only, for select destinations.

Qatar posts a short video with clues on golden destinations and golden months, so keep that into account.

Also, the Qatar treasure hunt was scheduled late morning for Spain, which meant they started at around 11 AM.

Now, this is not an exact science so as with anything, use common sense and be there earlier than scheduled.

Don’t just hit refresh in Chrome.

Go ahead and open that super modern (ahem) Internet Explorer. Seems to be working better for winning this game, and it’s how I managed to actually book my golden ticket.

404, 401, 504.. 

Also, no matter what error codes you get while trying to book, don’t despair. Try until the very end, else you might miss the brief window when the booking engine is actually stable.

Expect Disappointment, Prepare for Flexibility

It may be that your country was one of those where the hunt crashed, was rescheduled, then canceled.

Don’t be disappointed, rather be flexible and look at booking from elsewhere. If you’re in based in Europe, it shouldn’t be that hard to get from A to B.

Still a lot to go until November, but keep an eye out for my golden New Zealand post.

So: did you catch the golden ticket? Where would you go if you did?

Happy wandering!

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