Qatar Airways Privilege Club is dropping ‘QMiles’ and adopting Avios – the mileage of IAG airlines like British Airways and Iberia – as its currency in late March, with points transferring 1:1 into the new program. This is potentially huge for earning points in Qatar’s program, and may be a huge win for members of other Avios programs like British Airways Executive Club and Iberia Avios as well. The Doha-based oneworld airline owns 25% of IAG.
I hinted recently that you might want to sign up your whole family for Qatar Airways Privilege Club and earn free miles. This appears to be working out.
- 2,500 bonus miles instantly (join by March 31, 2022)
- 5,000 bonus miles after first Qatar Airways flight by September 30, 2022
Remember that British Airways Executive Club has family accounts. So sign up – say – 6 people, at 2500 points apiece, and those points will (soon) transfer into each member’s member’s BA account and can be pooled in a family account yielding 15,000 miles towards an award ticket for free.
Still I would not transfer points out of Qatar Airways. I’m much more likely to transfer Avios into Qatar Airways Privilege Club.
We do not yet know with certainty what changes are on the horizon for Privilege Club, however I’m told that they anticipate lower award costs and lower fuel surcharges on partners and aren’t anticipating raising award prices or imposing surcharges on Qatar Airways metal redemptions.
- In November 2020 Qatar cut award pricing on its own flights by 35%, reversing a 2018 devaluation.
- Some example values include 70,000 miles one-way in business class between New York JFK and Doha; 85,000 from New York JFK to Male, Maldives in business class; London or Paris – Doha is 43,000 miles one way and these are without fuel surcharges.
QSuites Business Class, Credit: Qatar Airways
British Airways Executive Club may be strong for short-distance awards especially in economy, and Iberia Plus good for transatlantic business class redemptions on Iberia but Qatar Airways Privilege Club is good for redemptions on Qatar – which has one of the world’s best business class products.
Previously it was tough for U.S. members to participate in the Privilege Club program. About the only way (besides crediting flights) was transfers from Citibank Thank You Rewards. But by making Avios their currency it means you can:
- Earn Avios anywhere that’s an option for U.S. members, opening up more credit card transfer partnerships (like Chase and American Express) and online shopping portal earning.
- Transfer those Avios from BA to Qatar.
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And by making Avios their currency Qatar Airways has an incentive to keep devaluations in check. If you can always pull your points and move it to another program, devaluations are risky since they’d have to buy Avios from the airline you’re moving th points to. Meanwhile by keeping their own prices low they may attract points from partner programs that must buy from them.
Now, while Qatar tells me to expect lower partner award pricing overall, we don’t know all of the details yet. We’re still several weeks away from this going into effect and some of those details may still be under development. The extent to which this change is good or bad for consumers overall hinges, I think, on what changes if any are imposed on award pricing for Qatar’s own flights. That will be revealed soon, but I am very hopeful. This certainly makes Qatar Airways Privilege Club more relevant to U.S. members.