In late February we learned about major changes coming to the Qatar Airways Privilege Club loyalty program. With this, Qatar Airways is adopting Avois as its rewards currency, which I’d consider to be pretty exciting. These changes are now live, and we’ve also learned all the details, so I wanted to recap all of that in this post.
Qatar Airways replaces Qmiles with Avios
As of March 2022, Qatar Airways Privilege Club has adopted Avios as its points currency. This replaces Qmiles, which has historically been the program’s rewards currency, and can be used to redeem for flights, upgrades, and other experiences.
For those not familiar, Avios is the points currency of International Airlines Group (IAG) carriers, including British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, and Vueling. With this transition, Qatar Airways Qmiles have converted at a 1:1 ratio into Qatar Airways Avios. When you go to Qatar Airways’ website, you should now exclusively see references to Avios rather than Qmiles.
While each airline loyalty program maintains its own “flavor” of Avios, there are hundreds of Avios partners for earning and redeeming rewards, including in travel, leisure, shopping, and financial services. With this change, not only does Qatar Airways have its own Avois currency, but Avios can also be transferred between accounts at a 1:1 ratio if some basic requirements are met.
Note that nothing has changed to how Qatar Airways Privilege Club status is earned. Status is still earned based on how many Qpoints you earn. Furthermore, redemption rates on Qatar Airways remain unchanged, and continue to follow current pricing.
For that matter, British Airways Executive Club and Qatar Airways Privilege Club are aligning redemption rates for travel on Qatar Airways, which is for the most part good news for British Airways Executive Club members. The only catch is that fees may differ between programs, and you’ll generally find lower fees with Privilege Club.
Qatar Airways adds award seat guarantee
Here’s another exciting development with this change — Qatar Airways has introduced an award seat guarantee, as there will now be at least two business class and two economy class award seats per flight.
This is a policy that British Airways has had for quite some time, so it’s nice to see Qatar Airways adopting this. It’s exciting to think that you could potentially redeem rewards for travel on any Qatar Airways flight, if you’re quick enough. You can expect that these award seats will be loaded in the coming days.
How to link your BA & QR loyalty accounts
Want to link your Qatar Airways Privilege Club and British Airways Executive Club accounts? Fortunately the process is pretty easy. First of all, keep in mind that Qatar Airways Privilege Club currently has a new member bonus, which is worth taking advantage of if you’re not yet a member.
To link your accounts, first log into your Qatar Airways Privilege Club account. On your account dashboard you should see a button that says “View my Avios balance.”
On the next page you’ll see a section that reads “Link your accounts,” so click that.
You’ll then see a pop-up, and at the bottom you’ll want to click “Link accounts.”
You’ll then be prompted to log into your British Airways Executive Club account. As an added security measure you’ll have to enter your phone number, and then you’ll be sent a text with a six digit code. At this point you’ll be given a recovery code that you can keep in the event that you ever can’t log into your account.
It’s that simple — at that point you’ll receive a message confirming that your accounts are linked.
Your dashboard should now list your total of Qatar Airways Privilege Club Avios plus British Airways Executive Club Avios. If you want to actually combine Avios, you’ll have to click on the “Combine Avios” button under the “More to explore” section.
There you can easily transfer Avios between your accounts. Your Avios balances for both programs will be displayed, and you can enter how many Avios you’d like to move, and in which direction. The process is free and instant.
What’s the logic for Qatar Airways adopting Avios?
What’s the logic of Qatar Airways adopting Avios as its points currency? A few general thoughts:
- Qatar Airways is the single largest shareholder of IAG, so while Qatar Airways isn’t an IAG airline, the Doha-based carrier does have a real connection to these airlines
- Avios is a much larger points program than Qatar Airways Privilege Club, so there’s something to be said for the efficiency and existing infrastructure that Qatar Airways can benefit from by joining the program, rather than forming all kinds of individual partnerships
- Many of IAG’s biggest markets are also huge markets for Qatar Airways, so this could create more loyalty and brand awareness in places like the UK and Spain, and even the United States
Is Qatar Airways adopting Avios good news?
I’ve long said that I thought Qatar Airways Privilege Club had a lot of potential, given that Qatar Airways is such a phenomenal airline, but historically the loyalty program has been pretty lackluster. Where does that leave us with this major change?
- From an efficiency standpoint this makes sense
- The fact that you can now transfer Avios 1:1 between Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia, and Qatar Airways, is pretty awesome
- I love that Qatar Airways now has an award seat guarantee, so that each flight will have at least two business class awards available
- For now Qatar Airways redemption rates remain unchanged, but you have the flexibility to transfer to another Avios currency and book through there if the pricing is better, including for travel on partner airlines
- This is an incredibly innovative concept, as it’s not often you see an airline adopt another carrier’s points currency (though in this case there is an ownership stake)
Personally I’m really excited about this. It’s great that you can now transfer Avios between Qatar Airways and IAG airlines, especially when you consider that Qatar Airways’ redemption rates are remaining unchanged. Qatar Airways’ rewards currency suddenly has so much more flexibility.
Major changes have been made to Qatar Airways Privilege Club. The program now uses Avios as its rewards currency, rather than Qmiles. The way that status is earned remains unchanged, and redemption rates are mostly remaining the same. Furthermore, there’s now an award seat guarantee, so that there are a minimum number of award seats per flight.
I’d say this is a big win for consumers, who can now easily transfer Avios between programs, to take advantage of the best opportunities with each program. This also gives Qatar Airways Privilege Club members lots more ways to rack up rewards.
What do you make of Qatar Airways adopting Avios as its points currency?
AA redemptions on QR seem to be changing independently of this development, due to the start of AA's JFK-DOH service in June. Now searching for business class redemptions on the AA website produces multiple connection options through NYC on AA metal (with First as well as Business since AA is using a 3-cabin 777 on that route), and often no options with QR. So arguably the new AA service (for as long as it lasts)...
AA redemptions on QR seem to be changing independently of this development, due to the start of AA's JFK-DOH service in June. Now searching for business class redemptions on the AA website produces multiple connection options through NYC on AA metal (with First as well as Business since AA is using a 3-cabin 777 on that route), and often no options with QR. So arguably the new AA service (for as long as it lasts) may take some pressure off Avios redemptions on QR, at least to/from the USA and Doha, if AA basically "forces" traffic through DOH onto that JFK-DOH route. The interesting question is how much award space AA is loading for JFK-DOH - at least as of this week, it seems to be a considerable amount.
I was able to move Avios back and forth between QR and BA. Qatar award tickets are searchable with just 1 avios in the account. When I search for 1 or 2 one-way award tickets ( economy ) it shows as 42500 avios per person ( 85000 total ) but for 3 award tickets (still one-way) for same date, it jumps to 85000 per person ( 255000 total ) . Is this a glitch or award rates increase based on number of ticktets ?
This sounds a positive development. I have some Qatar miles due to expire in coming months and no flights or partner activity planned (tho of course I would look to arrange some to maintain). But do you think if I transferred the Qatar Avios to BA, they'd be gain the same expiry as my BA Avios? That may not be known and apologies if I've misunderstood the process. Best all
Is it possible to transfer Avios directly from my Iberia Plus program account to Qatar ?
Or do I first need to create a BA account and from there transfer to Qatar ?
Booked 2 seats LHR-DOH-LAX, all Q-suites, for 90k BA Avios + 400GBP each. A lot less than BA was trying to charge. Linked my accounts but didn’t have to transfer any Avios to Qatar- When I booked through Qatar’s site it just pulled Avios direct from my BA account. Great change for BA Executives (so far) as good redemptions on BA long haul have been so hard to come by.
Redemption rates HAVE changed. Qatar airways have now reverted to the ‘blockade’ pricing for intra-Middle East routes, pricing them as per the ‘first class’ bucket. A return award from LHR-KWI in Business Class (booking via Qatar Airways Privilege Club) is now 123k Avios + £560 of fees. I booked this same itinerary 6 weeks ago for 85k Qmiles + £300 of fees. It’s absolutely NOT the same. This is a real devaluation for ME-based QRPC...
Redemption rates HAVE changed. Qatar airways have now reverted to the ‘blockade’ pricing for intra-Middle East routes, pricing them as per the ‘first class’ bucket. A return award from LHR-KWI in Business Class (booking via Qatar Airways Privilege Club) is now 123k Avios + £560 of fees. I booked this same itinerary 6 weeks ago for 85k Qmiles + £300 of fees. It’s absolutely NOT the same. This is a real devaluation for ME-based QRPC members and a serious mistake, in my opinion.
I assume that this is because IAG have enforced that QR adopt the ‘correct’ pricing for ‘First Class’ sectors, whereas previously they were only charged at a ‘Business Class’ rate.
I updated my dashboard on Privilege Club account.
But am waiting till later to link my Privilege Club account to my British Airways Executive Club account.
I don't have an BA account but been a QR flyers for 6 years.
First time here -= just thought I'd share this as I don't know how I feel about the QR/BA marriage so to speak. Hopefully it will smooth operations - if only they will waive those fees. lol - Very expensive!
Linking one's Exec Club account to Qatar, does it give you acess to just the Avios in your account or total household Avios?
I was able to transfer Avios from my BA account to my Qatar account. But when I go to transfer the same Avios back from my Qatar account to my BA account, I get the error, "Sorry. The transfer was unsuccessful Unfortunately, we are not able to process your request. Please try again after some time."
Can anyone please check to see whether they are facing the same issue?
Fuel surcharges have now increased dramatically on many routes when booking on the Qatar website. This is a devaluation for those of us that have a decent balance of Qmiles.
yes big devaluation, previously 40€ for taxes and fee and now same route Europe to Asia 200€.
How to screw your loyals customer, good job QR...
After linking accounts, its not possible to check reward flight availability and Avios required for redeeming on Qatar Airways flights on the Qatar website. It gives you the error, "You do not have sufficient Avios to proceed with booking."
It is ridiculous that Qatar will not allow you to see reward flight availability and Avios required till you actually transfer the Avios into the Qatar account.
There is a way around that. Search for a flight as if you're paying cash. On the page where you choose your fare, look above and to the right. There is a button that says something like "Book an Award Flight" or "Pay with Miles and Cash"....I can't remember. It will then have you login. Once logged in, it will show you the miles/avios required.
When I transferred 1 Avios into my account from BA, the problem disappeared. It seems to be restricted to completely empty accounts.
It’s brilliant! I just managed to book 4 reward flights back from Hanoi that I’ve been looking for.
Such a positive move from oneworld (for a change!).
Typo in the updated opening...
Well, these changes are no wlive.
Worthless Avios are now going to flood the market on QR redemptions, great. I expect fuel surcharges to skyrocket following BA's lead.
Just checked various routes, LOL they already have. Enjoy your first round of devaluations/fuel surcharges, everybody!
Yep, they DOUBLED on one QR route I looked into yesterday vs. today, to the amount that BA charges.
And on BA.com the mileage INCREASED, not decreased, from 19k to 24.5k Avios (and no change in fees).
Great, higher surcharges on QR.com or higher mileage requirement on BA.com: take your pick!
Avios is more and more becoming more and more like a currency. And BA/IB/EI/VY and now QR are the "central bank" issuing it ... Obviously, for the time being, Avios are still intangible rights and not a currency, because the still miss several features, in particular that they can be used as a legal tender (unrestricted exchangeability). But QR's decision is certainly a step into this direction.
Will i still be able to use my AA miles to redeem on Qatar Airways flights? Thanks
Sure, the decision does not affect you.
The end times are near.
Yea what happens to qmiles we have at the moment
@ Saliya -- They'll be converted into Avios at a 1:1 ratio, and it's not expected that redemption rates will change.
This is a curious development and it will be interesting to see whether, and how much integration there will be between Avios-issuing programs. This does not form a new Flying Blue where the airlines have a single FF program, and it's probably premature to assume it will look anything like that. Rather, it looks like they will remain separate. It remains to be seen whether QR will allow the sorts of transfers that are possible...
This is a curious development and it will be interesting to see whether, and how much integration there will be between Avios-issuing programs. This does not form a new Flying Blue where the airlines have a single FF program, and it's probably premature to assume it will look anything like that. Rather, it looks like they will remain separate. It remains to be seen whether QR will allow the sorts of transfers that are possible between IB/BA/AL, much less allow a free-for-all for transfers. It's not even clear that the airlines will have a common awards chart. Carrier fees, after all, aren't the same across the existing three airlines.
It makes me wonder if this presages increased cooperation between One World FF programs, and even others adopting Avios. These programs are too valuable to the airlines for them to cede too much control to a shared entity, so I expect that QR and the other three will maintain their differences. Time will tell.
Will new points expire? It seems as if current points will have the same expiration date.
@ Nevsky -- That's a great question, but we don't have the answer to that yet. I'm sure we'll find out soon.
Dashboard says: "Qmiles
active until: 22 February 2025"
As long as they don't start charging the same outrageous taxes and fee like BA. *Fingers crossed*
The 'other' site indicates that points will be transferred 1-1 from QR to Avios.
This is incredible news for Canadians as there are two ways to transfer points to Avios - the AMEX Gold and the RBC BA Visa. Finally a way to get out of AC and into an airline that travels where we want to go (from SEA or eastern Canada) with points we can collect. The only downside is the potential rate problems.
Wow. I’m a little surprised since it wasn’t that long ago when Akbar Al Baker was calling British Airways stuff like “a low-cost carrier” and “two out of ten”. Also, how is this going to affect the Student Club program they have?
Admiral Ackbar smelled the money.
You may want to remind everyone that on Feb 4 you posted about a sign-up bonus. I wasn't going to bother, but given the upcoming Avios conversion I just did (and the 2500 miles were credited to my new Qatar account immediately).
This will result in Very Bad Things for readers of this blog.
There's a huge pool of people collecting Avios. It's easy to amass a huge pile of them from a variety of credit cards. Points-collectors will be all over Qatar and award redemptions will become nearly impossible, and with all that demand, two things are certain: a major devaluation, and high YQ charges. It's already pretty easy to book QR awards if you have...
This will result in Very Bad Things for readers of this blog.
There's a huge pool of people collecting Avios. It's easy to amass a huge pile of them from a variety of credit cards. Points-collectors will be all over Qatar and award redemptions will become nearly impossible, and with all that demand, two things are certain: a major devaluation, and high YQ charges. It's already pretty easy to book QR awards if you have AA miles. It's hard to imagine that will remain an option.
This "enhancement" is a huge shake-up for Qatar. I expect they will take this opportunity to "fix" what's wrong with their program (that is, there are far too many undesirable customers -- all the readers of this blog, for example -- riding in premium cabins). The glory days of points collectors enjoying QSuites easily and cheaply are going to end.
LOL, AA has always been better redemption for QSuites and it isn't like there are millions of AA points from a recent promo ;)
It is not a good news for us Qatar Airways Privilege Club members who lives in Middle East.
Qmiles are generous comparing from what I saw with Iberia and BA. And 1:1 and sometimes actually even more.
Interesting development for sure.
Implication: Avios will be a Citi TY transfer partner.
What implications does it have to someone with BA avios.
You'll theoretically be able to transfer your BA Avios to Qatar and vice versa.
Not theoretically. The functionality is already there (in the Q site) and it's quite simple. Did it myself today
Sounds good let the actual details come in for redemption hope there is no catch.
this seems like overall good news, but doesn't it mean competition for award seats will be far higher than currently? my assumption is that Qatar allows for X amount of award seats per flight between AAdvantage/Avios and that number will not increase.
Avios are easy to collect and non-BA carriers don't necessarily have big surcharges, as with Aer Lingus for example. Maybe Avios will be redeemable on Qatar at reasonable prices. No reason to assume not.
"As of late March 2022, major changes are coming to Qatar Airways Privilege Club."
Don't you mean as of today? Or perhaps you mean something different.
Granted, this announcement is a change to the program but I think the major changes (taking place late March 2022) refers to something Ben said earlier in the article "...We’re told to expect more details in the next couple of weeks, as today was just the initial announcement to give members notice."
I used American miles to book Qatar award flights for June and July later this year. Will Qatar’s switch to Avios impact people with existing non-Avios award bookings?
It should not have any effect.
I have a pant full of Avios that I rarely use, pretty much for two reasons, crappy IB service and huge BA surcharges. As long as Qatar don't load up with the latter, this sounds OK.
LOL ‘a pantful’ … like a ‘shirtload’, as we call it down under (if we’re trying not to swear ;-P )
If they allow cross currencies transfers this will be a bonus. I've stopped using whatever Avios I do accumulate for flights as BA surcharges are stupidly high. I've just been using Avios to book cars for when I'm in Germany.
So all QMiles balances need to be spent by March 2022 or they will be lost?
@ Sean M. -- They'll be converted into Qatar Airways Avios at a 1:1 ratio and redemption rates will stay the same, so they should maintain their value.
There may be a corporate reason. BA is in bother with the EU thanks to Brexit. Air France and Lufthansa say it is no longer truly European. If upheld then BA's non-European longhaul may have to be separated. Q's 25% holding is also an EU issue. So maybe the solution might be recreate BOAC make the ownership link with Qatar more formal and let BA fight it out inside the EU with all those low...
There may be a corporate reason. BA is in bother with the EU thanks to Brexit. Air France and Lufthansa say it is no longer truly European. If upheld then BA's non-European longhaul may have to be separated. Q's 25% holding is also an EU issue. So maybe the solution might be recreate BOAC make the ownership link with Qatar more formal and let BA fight it out inside the EU with all those low cost guys like Ryanair? Having a prelim tieup with the frequent flier operation could be a step along the way.