Qatar Airways Pulls Plug On JetBlue Awards?

Qatar Airways Pulls Plug On JetBlue Awards?

12

Several days ago, Qatar Airways Privilege Club introduced award redemptions on JetBlue. This was an exciting development, since Privilege Club has a distance based award chart, with much more attractive redemption rates than through JetBlue’s revenue based program.

Well, unfortunately these redemptions didn’t last long, at least with the initial pricing and conditions…

Qatar Airways pulls JetBlue awards, hikes prices

For a couple of days, it was possible to book JetBlue awards directly on Qatar Airways’ website. Unfortunately that’s no longer the case. Qatar Airways has removed the ability to directly redeem for JetBlue through its website, and customer service advises that “redemptions on JetBlue are on hold until further notice due to technical issues” and because Qatar’s “systems are being updated.”

When you go to Qatar Airways’ redemption page to request an award (which doesn’t allow instant ticketing), pricing for JetBlue awards has also changed. All transatlantic JetBlue Mint awards are now showing pricing of 78,000 Avios one-way, while previously the cost was 62,000 Avios (or 38,750 Avios between Boston and Dublin, since it clocks in at just under 3,000 miles).

Qatar Airways Privilege Club redemptions on JetBlue
Qatar Airways Privilege Club redemptions on JetBlue

Meanwhile transcon JetBlue Mint awards now show as costing 74,000 Avios one-way, while previously the cost was 38,750 Avios.

Qatar Airways Privilege Club redemptions on JetBlue
Qatar Airways Privilege Club redemptions on JetBlue

It’s anyone’s guess if that updated pricing is accurate or not, since even when you submit a request, you now get an email saying the redemptions are offline.

It’s possible that the above pricing is accurate, it’s possible that JetBlue is updating the inventory associated with its award buckets (so that not as many tickets are booked), and/or it’s possible that Qatar Airways is adding carrier imposed surcharges to these redemptions.

JetBlue awards aren’t currently available with Privilege Club

What should we make of this development?

I have no inside knowledge as to what exactly transpired between Qatar Airways and JetBlue in recent days that caused availability to be pulled, though I can certainly imagine. Dare I say that this kind of seems like a preventable situation on their part?

I mean, of course these redemptions were going to be very popular:

  • JetBlue has fantastic premium products, and the airline doesn’t currently have any redemption partners aside from Qatar Airways
  • JetBlue puts a ton of availability into the bucket that’s tied to Mint availability, but that’s because it’s the same fare bucket used for discounted Mint tickets when paying cash; for a while now, no one was actually able to redeem for that bucket, since JetBlue had no redemption partners
  • Qatar Airways nowadays has a lucrative distance based award chart for partners, and pricing on JetBlue was attractive

So I’m not sure who pulled the plug here:

  • Maybe JetBlue noticed that a vast majority of its new Mint transatlantic bookings coming in were those booked using Avios, and the airline wasn’t happy about that
  • Maybe Qatar Airways didn’t fully consider the costs associated with these redemptions, and didn’t anticipate the number of tickets that would be booked

Some of these redemptions — especially Boston to Dublin for 38,750 Avios in Mint — were just too good to be true. And maybe back in the day they would have stuck around a bit longer, but there are a lot more people in this hobby than back then, and information spreads a lot faster as well.

I’m curious to see in what form these redemptions come back. One thing is for sure — introducing redemptions at this rate was a rookie mistake, at least if volume of bookings was going to be an issue. They should have expected this level of redemptions.

I’m not surprised this didn’t last in its current form

Bottom line

Recently, Qatar Airways Privilege Club introduced award redemptions on JetBlue. This was exciting, as it was a great value, and I imagine the volume of bookings exceeded what the airlines were expecting.

These redemptions have now been pulled due to “technical issues,” and Qatar Airways’ award calculator also shows higher redemption costs for these tickets.

I’ll be sure to report back when there’s an update, but unfortunately for the time being these redemptions are offline.

What do you make of this JetBlue & Qatar Airways award development?

Conversations (12)
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.
Type your response here.

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Anyone can comment, and your email address will not be published. Register to save your unique username and earn special OMAAT reputation perks!

  1. SMR Guest

    Any great deal that is published in here… wil be destroyed within days. Dont you understand that?

  2. UnitedEF Guest

    I was able to book a BOS-LGW in Mint. Not having to pay the crazy taxes for BA redemption was fantastic! Being in no man's land trying to go TATL on a J award for the last few months was frustrating as I have tons of points with all the programs but no saver inventory anywhere. Hope it comes back.

  3. Tim Dunn Diamond

    Ben's assessment is likely correct.
    JBLU does not have the revenue management sophistication to distinguish between paid (in any form) and some type of award bookings and/or the cost to provide miles transfer bookings is not profitable for either party.
    Without joint ventures, JetBlue and Alaska have the disadvantage of having to sell seats to other airlines at prices that are comparable to what it can sell that seat to on a local...

    Ben's assessment is likely correct.
    JBLU does not have the revenue management sophistication to distinguish between paid (in any form) and some type of award bookings and/or the cost to provide miles transfer bookings is not profitable for either party.
    Without joint ventures, JetBlue and Alaska have the disadvantage of having to sell seats to other airlines at prices that are comparable to what it can sell that seat to on a local market basis. Legacy airlines such as American, Delta and United have joint ventures and also the ability to allocate seat pricing based on the network contribution for a passenger and not just the value of a single segment. ie the JAX-EWR revenue from a passenger flying JAX-EWR-DUB on UA or the DSM-DTW revenue on a passenger flying DSM-DTW-AMS-DEL on DL/KL would not economically make sense if it weren't for the long-haul segment. But DL and UA (in these examples) can accept low local revenue because of the total network value of that passenger including to the JV, AS and B6 cannot do that when they sell tickets to foreign airlines either as part of a revenue or award ticket.

    and that was precisely one of the reasons why the previous "analysis" of DL's SEA hub was flawed since the author did not have access to the international part of the revenue.

  4. NathanJ Diamond

    This, perhaps, was Admiral Akbar’s final revenge on us poor infidels and Qatar after they gave him the shaft.

    1. Lee Guest

      What a uniquely insightful comment.

  5. Bob Guest

    Write this before and will write this again? What is so good abt Mint? We flew Mint last week and the only redeeming quality was the catering. Everything else were from ground ops, cleanliness, FA, IFE were all atrocious.

    1. Lee Guest

      Bob, adding to your point, JetBlue's operational record is terrible. When we look at operational performance, 1) legacy carriers group together with the fewest delays and cancellations and 2) ULCCs group together with the most delays and cancellations. Whether or not we tag JetBlue with the ULCC label, it is in that group. (Southwest is slightly better than the ULCC group but clearly below the legacy carrier group.)

  6. Anthony Diamond

    When you posted this originally, I stated this was a massive devaluation of the JetBlue experience for JetBlue customers, particularly those redeeming JetBlue points or upgrading to Mint via their certificates. Why should anyone be able to book these awards with cheap credit card points (which is what Avios awards at ~37K or whatever are) while JetBlue customers need an over 100K points or whatever? Why have the Mint cabin full of non Jet Blue...

    When you posted this originally, I stated this was a massive devaluation of the JetBlue experience for JetBlue customers, particularly those redeeming JetBlue points or upgrading to Mint via their certificates. Why should anyone be able to book these awards with cheap credit card points (which is what Avios awards at ~37K or whatever are) while JetBlue customers need an over 100K points or whatever? Why have the Mint cabin full of non Jet Blue customers? If these awards were limited, it is precisely the right move

    1. Chris W Guest

      All Qatar needed to do was slap a $500 surcharge on each Mint redemption and the problem would be solved.

  7. Gull Air ACK Guest

    I think you have your answer. Just after launching a much hyped but seasonal DUB and EDI route, word spread like wildfire about the Avios/QR access to Mint seat for home based EI and BA card holders. A good way to destroy you seasonal service is to fill it with redemption points. I find it crazy they had a shared fare bucket for the lead in Mint fares needed during a route launch and the award redemptions.

  8. Chris W Guest

    This screams Privilege Club not understanding what partner redemptions should cost or how they should work.

    They loaded something that was far too generous, members snapped it up, and now their knee-jerk reaction is to shut the whole thing down without notice.

    1. Lee Guest

      There is no evidence pointing to it being completely shut down. They realized that the point levels were anomalous and they are right-sizing them. Until the numbers reflected in online booking are corrected, there is a manual process. Online booking will be back. Not as juicy but it will be back.

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.

SMR Guest

Any great deal that is published in here… wil be destroyed within days. Dont you understand that?

3
NathanJ Diamond

This, perhaps, was Admiral Akbar’s final revenge on us poor infidels and Qatar after they gave him the shaft.

1
Chris W Guest

All Qatar needed to do was slap a $500 surcharge on each Mint redemption and the problem would be solved.

1
Meet Ben Schlappig, OMAAT Founder
5,163,247 Miles Traveled

32,614,600 Words Written

35,045 Posts Published

Keep Exploring OMAAT
  • November 24, 2023
  • Ben Schlappig
0
Best Western Selling Gift Cards With 20% Bonus
  • November 22, 2023
  • Ben Schlappig
1
Deal: Download IHG App, Earn 500 Points
  • November 16, 2023
  • Ben Schlappig
3
Malaysia Airlines Adds Boeing 737 MAX To Fleet