There was a big scare this week for many frequent flyers when British Airways removed discount business class R fares on Qatar Airways from earning miles and elite status credits.
This was a concern not only for British Airways elites, but for elites with other oneworld carriers as well because Qatar often has super reasonably-priced business class tickets and as earning status becomes more revenue-based cheap partner business class tickets are one way to earn credit towards elite status quickly since they generally earn based on the distance flown and fare class rather than price.
If this was being taken off the table for British Airways, would it soon follow with other oneworld airlines and even other oneworld airlines that have revenue-sharing joint ventures across the Atlantic with British Airways like American?
It turned out to have been a mistake on British Airways’ part to remove these ‘R fares’ from their mileage-earning chart, compounded by British Airways confirming that these fares wouldn’t earn miles. They’ve since clarified.
Nonetheless, I thought it would be instructive to take a look at a cheap Qatar Airways First Class fare.
You can fly in first class — not business class, first class — on Qatar for $1254 between Cairo and Bangkok via Doha.
Between Cairo and Doha it’s ‘really’ business class as we would usually think of it but since it’s sold as first class it:
- Earns miles and elite qualifying miles like a first class ticket
- Grants access to Qatar’s amazing first class lounge in Doha
This is less than $500 each way in base fare for the trip.
Between Cairo and Doha you’ll fly on a Qatar Airways Boeing 777. Then between Doha and Bangkok you’ve got three-cabin first class on their Airbus A380.
This is 9130 flown miles. American awards:
- 1.5 redeemable miles per mile flown on a Qatar A fare
- Elite bonus, 120% for Executive Platinums
- 1.5 elite qualifying miles per mile flown
- 20% elite qualifying dollars per mile flown ($1820 towards status)
Alternatively this would earn 13,670 British Airways Avios and 540 tier points.
Update: since I wrote this post yesterday the price has dropped even further: