Wide Open Business Class Awards On Qatar Airways, November Through February

Several readers have complained recently that Qatar Airways simply has not been releasing business class award seats to and from the United States. My refrain has been that this is typical, not something new. Qatar releases business class awards in batches. It’s feast or famine.

This also means, of course, that the airline has not been keeping to its commitment to release award seats (including in business class) when opening their schedule for a flight. While award availability tends to be best far in the future, towards the end of the schedule of flights they’re selling (when they’re offering awards), this isn’t always the case.

American Airlines is dropping its New York JFK – Doha flight in favor of Philadelphia – Doha, with the last flight October 28 and first Philadelphia departure the next day. Qatar, then, is adding a third New York JFK – Doha flight on October 30.

And business class award availability for two passengers turns excellent for Qatar from the launch of this new flight through the end of February. (While it’s easy to complain about the lack of business awards from Qatar, they do make traditional saver awards available in that cabin in a way that American rarely does.)

  • This award space appears available to those using points from Qatar Airways Privilege Club (an Amex and Citi transfer partner) and British Airways Executive Club (a Chase, Amex, Capital One and Bilt transfer partner).

  • It doesn’t appear available to members of other oneworld programs. I haven’t called American to verify, and AA.com often has not shown available Qatar space, but I’ve checked three other oneworld programs that report not seeing the availability.

  • There’s currently a 30% bonus on American Express transfers to British Airways through August 31.

Credit: Qatar Airways

Credit: Qatar Airways

Here’s an award search of BA.com for two passengers. The cost per passenger is 70,000 Avios plus $103.25. If you’re transferring from Amex that’s just 54,000 Membership Rewards points apiece. (Qatar Airways charges the same number of points but $39 per person less cash for the redemption.)

You can use this award space to and from anywhere along Qatar’s extensive route network, such as Africa, the Mideast, India or even Southeast Asia, though of course additional flights cost more, for instance flying all the way to Nairobi runs 85,000 Avios and all the way to Johannesburg bumps the price to 95,000.

(HT: @findflightsforme via Award Wallet)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Interestingly Qatar’s own website also does NOT show that availability (only flexi at 140000)

  2. I get that this availability might just not be available to AAdvantage, but has AA actually answered why the functionality to see QR award space just doesn’t exist on aa.com anymore? It’s a regression in features that’s pretty ridiculous for them to just ignore.

  3. Please beaware that this flight is a Non-Q suite flight. It’s on one of Qatar’s old business class 777-300ER in 2-2-2 configuration.

  4. Here’s an award search of BA.com for two passengers. The cost per passenger is 70,000 Avios plus $103.25.

    No one In Qatar CSR has proper knowledge of this information. I have been trying to use my AVOIS points of over 250,000 but they said I can’t use it in December. It is frustrating that I have talked to several booking agents and no one on Qatar airlines can help. Very frustrating.

  5. I was playing around on AA’s site to see about award travel to the Maldives next summer. I was shocked to see QR flights coming up in the search, as I thought the functionality was broken. Granted, I wasn’t looking for 2 Business Class tickets… I was looking for Economy Class for my family. Still, things like MIA-DOH-MLE were showing up and were bookable.

    A question about QR and their award inventory: From my searches, it seems that QR only has 4 Economy Award seats open at a time. I get QR flight results when searching for 2 or 4 tickets, but not when searching for 5 or more. Does anyone happen to know if they’ll typically release additional Economy Award space after the standard 4 are sold? My extended family is 7, but it seems I’d have to book us as 4 on one day and, hopefully, 3 on another day if/when they open more space.

  6. I was successful in booking with miles Qatar Q Suites from LAX to Doha and Johanessberg through Doha and back to LAX. If you need a specific date it’s best to book through Qatar as they open space 361 or 362 days in advance. British Air is 355 days and AA is 332 days. So, seats may be gone if you wait for them to show up on AA. An odd quirk: When the seats first opened up they were 140000 points per seat. A few days later they had 2 seats at 70000 points. That seemed to be the pattern for all my bookings. I was able to rebook most of our flights at lower point amounts.

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