Details: Qatar Airways & Cardless USA Credit Cards

Details: Qatar Airways & Cardless USA Credit Cards

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Several weeks ago, Qatar Airways and Cardless announced plans to launch co-branded credit cards in the United States. The details of these products have now been announced, and they include some lucrative opportunities to earn oneworld elite status.

Qatar Airways’ new credit cards in the United States

Qatar Airways and Cardless are launching two personal credit cards in the United States, including the Qatar Airways Privilege Club Visa Signature Credit Card and Qatar Airways Privilege Club Visa Infinite Credit Card.

For those not familiar, fintech firm Cardless has been doing some really creative stuff in the credit card space. What makes Cardless unique is how quickly it’s able to launch new cards. Cardless can launch products faster and with lower startup costs than with other issuers, so it has allowed co-brand card portfolios to be introduced that might not otherwise be economically viable with one of the “big” players.

Qatar Airways’ new USA credit cards

Before we get into the details, I wanted to reflect on how it’s interesting that Qatar Airways is partnering with Cardless on these cards. Qatar Airways uses Avios as its rewards currency, and there are currently three Chase co-branded credit cards in the United States that earn Avios, comprised of the Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Card (review), British Airways Visa Signature® Card (review), and Iberia Visa Signature® Card (review). Keep in mind that Avios can be transferred between programs.

While it wasn’t a given that Qatar Airways would also launch a card with Chase, that’s what I would have expected by default. What’s interesting is that Chase hasn’t launched many co-branded travel credit cards in recent years, and seems to be heavily focused on both its Ultimate Rewards ecosystem, plus its partnership with United. So I wonder if Chase wasn’t interested in working with Qatar Airways, if Qatar Airways wanted to try something different, or what…

Anyway, let’s take a look at the details of these cards.

Qatar Airways Privilege Club Visa Signature Card details

The Qatar Airways Privilege Club Visa Signature Credit Card is the more basic of the two cards, and has a $99 annual fee. Here’s what you can expect in terms of the card details:

  • The card has a welcome bonus of up to 40,000 Avios — earn 20,000 Avios after the first transaction, and an additional 20,000 Avios after spending $3,000 within the first 90 days (if you joined the waitlist when the card was announced, you receive 5,000 bonus Avios)
  • The card offers a year of Privilege Club Silver status upon being approved, with perks like oneworld Ruby status, a 25% tier bonus, priority check-in and boarding, an extra baggage allowance, and more
  • The card has a rewards structure of 4x Avios on Qatar Airways spending, 2x Avios on restaurant spending, and 1x Avios on all other spending
  • The card offers two Qpoints for every $2,000 spent on the card, offering an opportunity to earn elite status with Qatar Airways Privilege Club
Earn 4x Avios on Qatar Airways purchases with the card

Qatar Airways Privilege Club Visa Infinite Card details

The Qatar Airways Privilege Club Visa Infinite Credit Card is the more premium of the two cards, and has a $499 annual fee. This is the first Visa Infinite product issued in the United States for a non-US airline, so that’s a pretty cool development. Here’s what you can expect in terms of the card details:

  • The card has a welcome bonus of up to 50,000 Avios — earn 25,000 Avios after the first transaction, and an additional 25,000 Avios after spending $5,000 within the first 90 days (if you joined the waitlist when the card was announced, you receive 10,000 bonus Avios)
  • The card offers a year of Privilege Club Gold status upon being approved, with perks like oneworld Sapphire status, a 75% tier bonus, priority check-in and boarding, lounge access an extra baggage allowance, and more
  • The card has a rewards structure of 5x Avios on Qatar Airways spending, 3x Avios on restaurant spending, and 1x Avios on all other spending
  • The card offers 150 Qpoints upon approval, plus two Qpoints for every $1,500 spent on the card, offering an opportunity to earn elite status with Qatar Airways Privilege Club
  • The card offers Visa Infinite perks, like concierge service, rental car privileges, and more
Earn Privilege Club Gold status with the card

My take on Qatar Airways’ new credit cards

It’s exciting to see how Cardless is evolving its co-brand airline portfolios. For one, it’s fun that there are two different cards, including a Visa Infinite Card, which is rare.

These cards have respectable sign-up bonus, solid rewards structures, and it’s particularly cool how you can earn elite status, which is something I wish we’d see on more foreign co-branded airline cards.

In particular, it’s cool how the premium version of the card offers Qatar Airways Privilege Club Gold status for a year, which is the equivalent of oneworld Sapphire status. That’s a great incentive to pick up the card. Not only does this offer perks for travel on Qatar Airways, but it also offers valuable benefits on other oneworld airlines.

For example, oneworld Sapphire members with Qatar Airways could access all oneworld Sapphire lounges within the United States, even when traveling on domestic flights. If you had this status, you could access American Flagship Lounges on wholly domestic itineraries, which is a tempting opportunity.

What’s the value proposition like of earning status on an ongoing basis? As mentioned above, you can earn two Qpoints per $1,500 spent on the premium version of the card, which comes out an average of one Qpoint per $750 spent. Below you can find the Privilege Club elite requirements, which differ based on whether you’re qualifying or renewing.

Qatar Privilege Club elite requirements

At the rate of earning one Qpoint per $750 spent:

  • Privilege Club Gold status would require $225,000 in spending to upgrade, or $202,500 to renew
  • Privilege Club Platinum status would require $450,000 in spending to upgrade, or $405,000 to renew

Those requirements are definitely on the steep side, though perhaps at the margins (in addition to crediting flights to Privilege Club), some people might find this to be worthwhile.

Access Flagship Lounges with oneworld Sapphire

Bottom line

Qatar Airways and Cardless are partnering on new co-branded credit cards in the United States. There are two cards — a $99 annual fee Visa Signature Card, and a $499 annual fee Visa Infinite Card. These are some well rounded cards, though the most intriguing development is the ability to earn elite status.

In particular, I think many may be interested in getting the more premium version of the card, to be able to earn oneworld Sapphire status for a year.

What do you make of these new Qatar Airways & Cardless credit cards?

Conversations (24)
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  1. Bill n DC Diamond

    Just got approved for the infinity version. Allocating AF to Greet and meet service at DOH for at least two transits this year and any slumming at Admiral’s Clubs :-)

    Can I get one of each?

    1. Bill n DC Guest

      Oops. Only OW sapphire so no Admiral’s club for me. Ha! Still getting the transit service will be nice. Although last time a fellow First Class passenger knew the way. And we were first to transit security in any event.

    2. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Bill n DC -- oneworld Sapphire *does* get you Admirals Club and Flagship Lounge access on domestic itineraries. Enjoy!

  2. iamhere Guest

    The annual fee on these cards is hard to justify. Other than the return there are no benefits.

  3. Manny Guest

    So what am i getting for the $499 fee ?

  4. Lee Guest

    Both versions of the card are nothing-burgers. At a minimum, the "dining" bonus category should be "dining and other travel." What the heck is someone getting for $499 per year? Airfare purchases? Use the Amex Platinum for 5X, then wait for a 30% transfer bonus to BA (for 6.5X), then transfer Avios to Qatar. One-time tier status? No thanks. Ongoing tier status from card spending is easier at Delta (tongue-in-cheek).

    1. Lee Guest

      Ben, if you're going to get and then maintain BA tier status, what's the point of Qatar tier status? Especially, a single-year situation.

  5. TravelGirl Guest

    The $3,000 spend in 90 days for the basic card suddenly changez to $5,000 spend during online application

  6. Matt Guest

    I suppose if you're over 5/24 then this is a quick way to some cheap Avios. But I'll likely pass even though I'm on the early signup. I'm definitely not paying $499 for one world status for just a year. The signature card holds more appeal but it's still a tough sell, at least for me

  7. No can do Guest

    Not being rude but are you being paid by Cardless? This is a horrible proposition and only makes sense if you are chasing Qatar status.

    Why wouldn't I get the BA or Iberia or ....card from Chase and get the 85K bonus points on a much lower annual fee

    Only premium card out there with that fee without any offsets......

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ No can do -- No, this isn't a sponsored post, and I don't have any affiliate links for this card. The main reason to get the premium card would be for the oneworld Sapphire status. That's cheaper than any Admirals Club membership, at least for the first year, and gets you Flagship Lounge access. It's not for everyone, but it's for some...

  8. Super Diamond

    Two huge downsides to picking up the Infinite version:
    1. Sign-up bonus has terms about not having any other cardless products. So if some other better card comes along later, you're most likely out of luck.
    2. No offsets for $500 AF.

    Essentially the main reason to get this is if you want to spend $500 for OneWorld Sapphire for 1 year (which could be worth it, say instead of a yearly Admirals Club pass)

    1. Peter Guest

      Well, the 50k points (or 60K if you signed up) offsets the $500 AF and you have free admirals club for a year (>$500).
      Year two is worthless, I agree.

    2. Bill n DC Diamond

      Agree but most of cc are useless the second year and beyond ;-)

    3. Bill n DC Diamond

      Most of “MY” cc are useless after SUB

  9. Nawaid Ladak Guest

    Lucky, I believe the T&C state that you earn 2 QPoints per 1,500/2,000 Avios earned, so that would mean every $300/$500 in Qatar Airways purchases or $500/$1,000 in restaurant spend.

    There might be quite a bit of value here for folks specifically booking flights on Qatar Airways with this card.

  10. mjonis Member

    Hmm, no mention of the ONE card (across ALL cardless lines) per lifetime?

    1. Eskimo Guest

      There are a lot of shady unpublished 'enhancements' for this card issuer.

      This is like "Truth Social" of credit cards. They are anything but truth.

      The grandfathered cards are still good cards to keep. Not the best overall but best for a no AF card.

    2. Kenny Guest

      I have heard this elsewhere as well, that currently Cardless only allows you one Cardless card for all time, so even more restrictive than the Amex language (1 card of a certain family for a lifetime). So anyone who already has had a Cardless card is locked out of these upcoming cards. Hopefully they amend this policy, but if not,that would be one rather large caveat.

  11. Biglaw V10 Partner Guest

    Those requirements are definitely on the steep side, though perhaps at the margins (in addition to crediting flights to Privilege Club), some people might find this to be worthwhile.

    (emphasis added)

    No Ben! Don’t be Gary. “At the margins” isn’t a thing people say unless they’re poseur economists trying to sound smart. Your message is clear without these three words.

    Gary is not an economist. He’s an advocate for award travelers. We can appreciate that....

    Those requirements are definitely on the steep side, though perhaps at the margins (in addition to crediting flights to Privilege Club), some people might find this to be worthwhile.

    (emphasis added)

    No Ben! Don’t be Gary. “At the margins” isn’t a thing people say unless they’re poseur economists trying to sound smart. Your message is clear without these three words.

    Gary is not an economist. He’s an advocate for award travelers. We can appreciate that. At the same time we can appreciate he has a lot of problems, many of which you have explicitly avoided. For example, you’ve asserted on this blog that you won’t be covering people in mental health breakdowns at the airport. You’ll forgo these salacious pageviews. Good on you.

  12. jason Guest

    It all sounds great until found no credit given to offset the ~$500 annual fee.

  13. David Guest

    Qpoints are earned on Avios earned, not dollars spent. So you can earn Qpoints faster if you spend in a bonus category.

  14. Brent Guest

    I've been waiting for another card to pick up on the Flying Blue CC difference: they give 3x on all SkyTeam, not just Flying Blue.

    5x on Qatar is interesting, and the 3x on restaurants is usable. But for $495, that's a little much. There is a niche for the cards, but...I still can't use it.

  15. Redacted Guest

    Decent cards but the lack of a no-fee downgrade option is somewhat problematic.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Ben Schlappig OMAAT

@ No can do -- No, this isn't a sponsored post, and I don't have any affiliate links for this card. The main reason to get the premium card would be for the oneworld Sapphire status. That's cheaper than any Admirals Club membership, at least for the first year, and gets you Flagship Lounge access. It's not for everyone, but it's for some...

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Peter Guest

Well, the 50k points (or 60K if you signed up) offsets the $500 AF and you have free admirals club for a year (>$500). Year two is worthless, I agree.

1
Nawaid Ladak Guest

Lucky, I believe the T&C state that you earn 2 QPoints per 1,500/2,000 Avios earned, so that would mean every $300/$500 in Qatar Airways purchases or $500/$1,000 in restaurant spend. There might be quite a bit of value here for folks specifically booking flights on Qatar Airways with this card.

1
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