It is this time of the year where many Muslims want to perform Umrah during Ramadan. I have received a large amount of emails asking me about Umrah visas and how they can get them “cheaper’ since the prices are extortionate. I have always been quite outspoken about the Umrah packages and how people are actually being overcharged to perform a religious obligation.
Umrah packages for the last 10 nights of Ramadan are the most popular and the most expensive. I have seen five star packages costing up to £4000 /$6000 for a double room per person. This is a similar price to performing Hajj, which is an obligation upon every able Muslim. I honestly find this disturbing considering that some Muslims will save for years to be able to do this. Now, you might say well they don’t need to go for a five star Umrah they can go for a three star. Totally acceptable but the 3 star Umrah wasn’t much of a difference costing £2000 for a quad room or £3000 for a double. Costs for Visas alone range from £250-£350 if you want to do a “do-it-yourself Umrah”. And the best part is that visas are actually free from the Saudi embassy but it all comes down to a monopoly of agents and their fees.
It is sad to see people struggling to pay these amounts in order to perform Umrah with their families. I have had many who email me as they want to take their old parents for Umrah once before they depart from this world. I know it is a business and they want to make the most of the most expensive property on earth. Even hotels during the last 10 nights block their reward rooms; there is no way you can find rooms on points in Ramadan in Makkah. The rooms are worth much more in cash and up to £2000/$4000 more per night, since the agencies book most of them and the only available are suites. In Medinah you are more likely to find some decent rooms for good prices rather than in Makkah.