Qatar Airways offers the world’s best business class product, with its amazing Qsuites. There are lots of partner airline frequent flyer programs that allow you to redeem miles for travel on Qatar Airways, and in very few cases do I actually book through Qatar Airways’ own Privilege Club program. Well, I just stumbled upon what I’d consider to be a pretty awesome sweet spot for the program.
Qatar Airways Privilege Club has improved considerably
Qatar Airways’ Privilege Club program has improved significantly in recent months, though I think the program still has so much more potential. Privilege Club recently lowered award redemption rates and also eliminated “junk” fees on award tickets, all of which is awesome. Privilege Club finally has somewhat competitive redemption rates for travel on Qatar Airways.
I’m hopeful we’ll see more positive program changes in the coming months and years. Despite the significant improvements, though, there still aren’t many cases where I find that it’s worth booking through Qatar Airways Privilege Club over American AAdvantage, even when trying to redeem for Qatar Airways Qsuites:
- Qatar Airways makes all the same award space available to partner airlines as to members of the Privilege Club program
- In almost all cases business class redemption rates are the same or cheaper through American AAdvantage than through Qatar Airways Privilege Club
Qatar Airways’ business class is excellent
Fly from the US to Europe on Qatar Airways
I’ve finally come across a practical situation where Qatar Airways Privilege Club offers significantly better value than American AAdvantage. Specifically, if you’re looking to travel between the US and Europe, Qatar Airways Privilege Club has quite attractive award pricing.
Why? Because Qatar Airways Privilege Club will let you travel from the US to Europe via Doha on a single award, while American AAdvantage would require two awards for that.
If you redeemed American AAdvantage miles from the US to Europe via Doha you’d pay 112,500 miles one-way in business class, since you’d have to book two separate awards. You’d pay:
- 70,000 miles for business class from the US to Doha
- 42,500 miles for business class from Doha to Europe
Meanwhile you can redeem 85,000-90,000 Privilege Club miles for a one-way award from the US to Europe (you can find Qatar Airways’ award calculator here, as there’s no award chart).
Now, you could take this to the extreme, and redeem 90,000 Privilege Club miles for a one-way business class ticket from Los Angeles to Doha to London.
That represents a huge detour, so would only be for someone who truly loves flying.
I’d say there are other more practical uses of this. For example, say you want to fly from Chicago to Mykonos. Rather than flying British Airways through London, you could fly from Chicago to Doha to Mykonos, and get a business class flat bed the entire way for 85,000 Privilege Club miles.
This is also useful for parts of Europe that aren’t as easily accessible from other major European hubs. For example, you could redeem 85,000 Privilege Club miles for one-way business class from New York to Doha to Tbilisi, Georgia.
Or you could redeem 85,000 Privilege Club miles for one-way business class from Houston to Doha to Yerevan, Armenia.
This certainly won’t be for everyone — if you’re looking for the fastest route, this isn’t the way to go. However, in many cases this will be the most comfortable way to fly. Also note that Qatar Airways Privilege Club doesn’t allow stopovers on these itineraries, so you’d either be connecting right away, or would spend just one night in Doha (and keep in mind that Doha is closed to most foreigners right now). Furthermore, any positioning flights to gateways on partner airlines would cost extra.
With the exception of the Los Angeles to Doha to London itinerary above, I’d gladly take any of the other routings over your typical routing via Frankfurt or London or Paris.
If you enjoy Qsuites, this could be a fun way to travel
How do you earn Qatar Airways Privilege Club miles?
Qatar Airways Privilege Club is transfer partners with Citi ThankYou, and points transfer at a 1:1 ratio. If you want to maximize the Citi ThankYou points you can earn, you can’t beat the Citi Premier® Card (review). The $95 annual fee card has a welcome bonus of 80,000 points after spending $4,000 within the first three months of card membership, and it offers 3x points on dining, gas stations, supermarkets, air travel, and hotels.
If you really want to maximize your points, it makes sense to pick up a no annual fee card complement:
- The Citi Rewards+® Card (review) rounds up purchases to the nearest 10 ThankYou points, and offers 2x points at supermarkets and gas stations, for the first $6,000 spent every year
- The Citi® Double Cash Card (review) offers 1% cash back when you make a purchase, and 1% cash back when you pay for that purchase, and rewards can be converted into ThankYou points at a ratio of one point per cent
There are lots of ways to earn Citi ThankYou points
I like calling out award chart sweet spots as I find them. While most people agree that flying Qatar Airways is great, there are lots of ways to redeem miles for travel on Qatar Airways that don’t include Privilege Club.
One fantastic Qatar Airways Privilege Club sweet spot is being able to redeem miles for travel between the US and Europe via Doha. For 85,000-90,000 miles one-way in business class, you can travel to almost any of Qatar Airways’ destinations in Europe.
While this probably isn’t that useful if your final destination is London, Paris, or Frankfurt, this could really come in handy if you’re considering going somewhere like Mykonos, Tbilisi, or Yerevan.
Could you see yourself redeeming Privilege Club miles for travel between the US and Europe?