Qatar Airways Will Fly To Seattle, Partner With Alaska

Filed Under: Alaska, Qatar

Several weeks ago Qatar Airways announced that it would start flying to Seattle. The airline has now moved forward the launch date of this route by several weeks, from March 15 to January 29.

This is part of Qatar Airways’ continued US expansion — the airline recently began flying to San Francisco, and Seattle is its next US gateway.

Qatar Airways will fly from Doha to Seattle

As of January 29, 2021, Qatar Airways will launch 4x weekly nonstop flights between Doha and Seattle. The new flight will operate on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, with the following schedule:

QR719 Doha to Seattle departing 8:00AM arriving 12:20PM
QR720 Seattle to Doha departing 5:05PM arriving 5:15PM (+1 day)

The ~7,400 mile flight is blocked at 14hr20min westbound and 14h10min eastbound.

The service will initially be operated by a Boeing 777, and then by an Airbus A350:

  • A Boeing 777-300ER will be used between January 29 and February 26; this features 354 seats, including 42 Qsuites business class seats and 312 economy seats
  • An Airbus A350-900 will be used starting March 1; this features 283 seats, including 36 Qsuites business class seats and 247 economy class seats

Qsuites business class will be offered to Seattle

With this addition, Qatar Airways will offer 59 weekly flights to 11 US destinations, which represents more destinations than the airline served pre-coronavirus.

Qatar Airways’ new Doha to Seattle route

Why has the route been moved forward by several weeks? My guess would be because of Emirates. Emirates used to be the only Gulf carrier flying to Seattle, though the airline suspended service due to coronavirus. Emirates will be resuming Seattle flights as of February 2, and it looks like Qatar Airways wanted to beat Emirates to the punch.

Award seats are available

The new Doha to Seattle flight is already bookable, and award seats are wide open in both business class and economy. I see at least four business class award seats per flight, which is awesome.

The best value for redeemingĀ for Qsuites would be to book through American AAdvantage:

  • You can redeem 70,000 miles for a one-way business class ticket between the US and the Middle East/India
  • You can redeem 75,000 miles for a one-way business class ticket between the US and Africa

Note that these award seats don’t yet show on aa.com. They should be bookable through American’s call center, or otherwise they should be available online shortly.

Best of all, you can make this award bookings with no risk. American AAdvantage no longer charges award change and redeposit fees, so you can lock in an award now, and then cancel later at no cost.

See this post for the best credit cards for earning American AAdvantage miles.

Redeem miles for travel in Qsuites

New Qatar Airways & Alaska Airlines partnership

Alaska Airlines will be joining the oneworld alliance as of March 31, 2021. As of that date Alaska will be partnering with all oneworld airlines.

However, a partnership with Qatar Airways has launched even before that. As of December 15, 2020, Alaska Airlines and Qatar Airways are offering a partnership:

  • The airlines are codesharing, to maximize connectivity at US gateways
  • The airlines have a frequent flyer partnership, allowing reciprocal mileage earning and redemptions
  • Reciprocal mileage earning is available as of December 15, 2020, while reciprocal mileage redemptions will only be available as of March 31, 2021, when Alaska Airlines joins oneworld

I can’t wait to see what Mileage Plan redemption rates are like for travel on Qatar Airways, though unfortunately we’ll have to wait a bit. There’s still a big question mark about whether Alaska will create a unified award chart when it joins oneworld, or if it will continue to offer separate award charts for each partner airline, as is currently the case.

Alaska Airlines & Qatar Airways will launch a partnership

Earn Alaska Mileage Plan miles on Qatar Airways

Alaska Mileage Plan has published mileage earning rates for travel on Qatar Airways, and they’re excellent, as you’d expect. Here’s the chart, valid for flights taken as of December 15, 2020:

As you can see, you can earn 225% redeemable miles for all business class fares, and that doesn’t include elite mileage bonuses of up to 125%. NICE!

My thoughts on Qatar’s new Seattle flight

I figured it was a given that either American Airlines or Qatar Airways would launch this route:

The only other Gulf carrier to fly to Seattle is Emirates Airline, and it has a partnership with Alaska Airlines as well. Hopefully these two partnership can coexist, though I could also see the possibility of Alaska being pressured to end the Emirates partnership. Hopefully not.

Emirates flies from Seattle to Dubai

Lastly, with Qatar Airways adding Seattle to Doha flights, I think this makes American’s Seattle to Bangalore flight (due to launch in October 2021) even less likely. The route already doesn’t have sufficient demand due to United launching San Francisco to Bangalore flights, and now this creates a great one-stop alternative.

Will American still fly from Seattle to Bangalore?

Bottom line

Qatar Airways will be launching Doha to Seattle flights as of January 2021, which is the carrier’s second new US destination since the start of the pandemic. The airline has just moved forward the launch of this flight by several weeks. I figured that either American or Qatar would launch this route, so it’s not surprising to see it be Qatar, especially with Alaska joining oneworld.

You’re also now able to earn Alaska Mileage Plan miles for travel on Qatar Airways, though you’ll have to wait until March 31 to redeem miles.

What do you make of Qatar Airways’ Seattle flight?

Comments
  1. Hi Ben, how long will the flight take in both directions?

    Calculating the flight time by the departure and arrival time is a bit of a pain for my brain šŸ™‚

  2. @ Ryan — Hah, I was being lazy because it was kind of hurting my (lazy) brain too, thanks for calling me out. šŸ˜‰ Updated the post to add that info.

  3. @Ryan : I’ve flown SEA-DXB a couple times, and it’s pretty short overall. ~13.5hrs if memory serves me?

    Gotta imagine Alaska and Emirates will announce a breakup in 2021.
    Time to cash in for more EK F!

  4. Emirates used to fly up to 2x daily to Seattle. Well looks like that will be gone now.

    And this is going to eat into British Airways and Luftansa’s services which funnel people to India.

  5. It seems like it’ll definitely eat into LH/ BA’s share of the pie but as a member of the Indian diaspora who used to fly only European carriers 10-20 years ago, I have to say they shot themselves in the foot by reducing checked bag allowance in economy to 1 per passenger and introducing the annoying transit visa. They have only themselves to blame for losing US-India traffic.

  6. It now makes more sense for american to launch the Bangalore flight from its fortress DFW rather than Seattle. DFW has a sizeable Indian market and no one captured it yet. How likely is that?

  7. @ Ben — Can’t wait to see the earn rates! We have 4 QR roundtrips LAX-DOH-SE Asia that we will hopefully take in the second half of 2021. Two is (almost) enough to re-up for EXP in 2021, so I was wondering what we would do with the crediting for the other two. It would be nice to re-up MVPG 75k with Alaska in 2021, but they have basically eliminated their best benefit (GGUs), so I question the program’s value right now…

  8. @ Ben — It sounds like you already knew this, but EARN rates are up on Alaska’s website. R class on QR earns 125% EQM and 350% RDM for MVPG75k! That means one roundtrip LAX-DOH-BKK would earn about 81,000 RDMs. Nice…

  9. i was mildly amused by how the dallas thingie one might call an “airline” thinks a barely emerging partnership with Alaska (which had a checkered history to begin with),

    is all the feed necessary to justify a super high financial risk route like SEA-BLR, and somehow think UA wouldn’t respond, especially considering the fact that

    (1) UA is indeed the largest airline at 2 of BLR’s biggest demand sources – SFO and NYC,
    (2) even prior to the announcement UA has shown no qualms on pushing 787-9 to insane distances one can scarcely fathom, like SFO-SIN and IAH-SYD etc, and
    (3) UA, by way of CO, also have a long history of sustained service to DEL and BOM (pre-COVID),

    let alone extra nails in the coffin, first by AI, and now by QR.

  10. Emirates has quietly pulled the popular Seattle to Mumbai twice a day route. Looks like a preview of a soon to be broken partnership with Alaska. This change was done very quietly in early November without any announcement. Hope OMAAT covers it in more detail.

  11. Best news of 2020 by far but would have preferred YVR.

    @Karthikeyan SEA makes a lot of sense considering the very large market just north of the border (Surrey (Vancouver) or BC for that matter) has a very large Asian population.

  12. @Alan
    QR would love to fly to YVR and YYZ, but the canadian government is far too protective of Air Canada to let QR in

  13. Nice! Always wanted to fly Qatar and now with the AS partnership it’s an even easier decision. I do hope they amend their lounge policy on award tickets or discounted biz.

  14. For AS mile users I dont think loss of EK partnership would be big, AS redemption rate on EK F is already horrible.

  15. @Bali

    Uh, Emirates has never flown a Seattle-Mumbai nonstop. Perhaps you’ve confused Mumbai with DUBAI?

    And, well, gosh, there’s this obscure pandemic called COVID you probably haven’t heard about that may just have a teeny TINY affect on the Emirates network. I mean, it’s really obscure and you probably haven’t been following it, but…

  16. @Alan:

    SEA is a terrible connection point for a Canadian passenger, because there’s no sterile transit. You’re required to enter the United States. Might not be bad for US preclearance ex-Canada but I guarantee it will suck coming back to Canada. Have to deal with CBP, claim luggage, get inspected on entry to the US and return to Canada, etc.

    Now add in if you’re bringing someone from India to visit you in Canada… oh, right, Indian citizens REQUIRE A VISA for entry to the US. Just to make a connection to get to Canada. Pretty garbage experience if you ask me.

  17. @Bali – Instead of re-posting the same thing on multiple blogs as you’ve done and asking for more coverage, why don’t you start your own blog and write about it?

  18. @MM Air Canada is starting YYZ to DOH so they can carry traffic.

    @Chidambaram Technically the AA flight into BLR is routed via SEA onto DFW, ORD, or LAX so SEA is just a stop.

  19. Cool for me, I have Qatar ticket purchased for early January, can now credit to AS. Nice start to earning status on Alaska in 2021.

    Lucky, As far as I can tell, Emirates is not currently operating SEA-DXB. Don’t know the long term status of that.

  20. Hmmm…one can start to redeem MileagePlan miles for Qatar flights starting March 31st…one day prior to Emirates dropping first class awards using MileagePlan…I think we know where this is heading.

  21. I’m waiting for the Emirates announcement that they’ll return immediately due to customer requests, improving demand, Alaska Airlines partnership, etc. Even if they returned next week, they would only have 2-3 months of potential. Once Qatar Airways starts up, they’ll take all the traffic due to Alaska’s loyalty program now being tied to oneworld and thus having a larger benefit for one’s money. As much as I enjoyed flying Emirates to SEA for my Canadian connections, I’ll glady book with Qatar for the better product and now enhanced benefit of my miles/money. This will be interesting to see unfold, but I would bet money on it that Emirates is trigger happy and announces something without really thinking it through. They seem to have an ax to grind with their ex-CCO who is at Qatar now and doing all the things that Emirates should have done long ago.

  22. I don’t see any award availability showing on BA. I don’t even see the flights available for cash bookings on AA or google flights. What am I missing?

  23. @eponymous

    Good points about transfer to Canada. Hopefully SEA might get onboard with a sterile transfer.

    So used to having to transfer via SEA and with the crappy schedule to YLW we generally take an overnight in SeaTac both ways (mattress run as well). I guess some flights will connect especially with AA onboard.

  24. The pricing on the flights out of SEA to India on QR are insane at present – well over double what BA are offering with longer total trip time.

  25. This flight doesn’t seem bookable with AAdvantage yet. Saw availability a few days back on BA and called AA to book, but the agent could not find the availability. Also it seems that availability has disappeared from BA.

  26. Almost definitely the nail in the coffin for the EK service from SEA. Have flown it numerous times as they had the cheapest fares to India from western Canada with the Alaska partnership – the AS flights that lined up to connect to EK were mostly connecting passengers. Prior to boarding Emirates would ask all connecting passengers to come to the counter for reprinted boarding passes and the lineup would fill the corner of the S gates.

  27. @Thomasdub

    “Almost definitely the nail in the coffin for the EK service from SEA. ”

    Yes, because every time QR enters an EK market, EK leaves the market. That’s why EK doesn’t fly to SFO, LAX or JFK any more, because they leave the market when QR starts flights.

  28. And someone is going to say “But AS won’t partner with EK now that they have QR as a partner”.

    You mean like how CX doesn’t partner with AC, CA and LH because CX is in oneworld? Oh wait, they do.

    Maybe you mean like how UL doesn’t partner with AC, AI and EY because UL is in oneworld? Oh wait, they do.

    You mean like how AA doesn’t partner with EY because AA is in oneworld? Oh… are you getting the idea now?

    Oneworld isn’t a death cult. Airlines are allowed to partner outside the alliance.

  29. Well…just another nail in the coffin of my UA loyalty.
    1.5 BIS miles and Gold for life is ok with me at this point.
    Can’t wait to status match with AS in 2021. It’ll be a breeze. I got vax access at a tier 1A and am quite excited to take advantage of the cheap prices all over the world.

  30. Guys, news just in:

    Emirates to restart flights to SEA , operating a two class 777W from the beginning of February!

    Guess this is in response to QR?
    Wonder how Alaska will react?

    Cheers

  31. Will there ever be a Seattle – Delhi/Mumbai? How can there not be a flight from Seattle to one of the most lucrative markets abroad especially to the most populated cities on the planet and am surprised no one has bothered to try it out yet. It would be awesome if some carrier could start this route as it’ll feed better into other cities than AA’s flight because of better hub connectivity.

  32. Any chance you can do a post on the best redemption strategies for US to India flights? Or does that conflict with your award booking service?

  33. Christian has mentioned it above but there seems to be something wrong with Qatar flights. I see a BLR-> DOH flight. And a separate DOH-> BER flight but don’t see the combined route. This happens with a lot of destinations such as BOS. This is for cash tickets. Due to this there are no award flights available neither. Any idea Ben what’s going on?

  34. Lets hope AS updates their Award Map to include miles needed to redeem on QR flights to points beyond DOH.

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