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Qatar Airways Joins the Avios Loyalty Program (New Qsuites Sweet Spot!)

As was first announced a few weeks ago, Qatar Airways, one of the world’s leading airlines, has adopted Avios as its currency.

Avios is the points program for Aer Lingus, British Airways, and Iberia, and points are interchangeable 1:1 between the three flavours of the currency even though the three programs’ reward charts and redemption rules are different.

Qatar Airways has now entered this select group, offering game-changing new ways to book Qatar Airways flights at a great value.

Link Your Qatar Airways and British Airways Avios Accounts

As of March 22, 2022, it’s now possible to link your Qatar Airways Privilege Club and British Airways Executive Club accounts to pool your Avios between the two. 

Until now, the trio of Avios flavours operated by British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus has been combinable between accounts as part of Avios’s “Combine My Avios” feature. However, the Qatar Airways linkage exists separately of the traditional method of “Combine My Avios”. 

Instead, the best way to link your accounts is via your Qatar Airways Privilege Club dashboard.

Upon logging in, you’ll be invited to link your British Airways Avios account:

You then simply log in to the British Airways Avios side, and then your accounts will be linked and your Avios balance pooled. The process is very straightforward.

You can click the “Combine My Avios” button on the dashboard here to transfer Avios freely between your British Airways Executive Club and Qatar Airways Privilege Club accounts.

Any existing Qmiles from before has now been converted into Avios at a 1:1 ratio as well. If you’ve earned any Qatar Airways Qmiles (potentially by converting Citi ThankYou or Marriott Bonvoy points), those should now show up as Qatar Airways Avios in your account. 

While it may be confusing to see one airline adopting the rewards currency of another set of airlines, it’s important to note that Qatar Airways owns 25% of International Airlines Group (IAG), the parent company of the aforementioned trio of European airlines, so this move certainly makes quite a bit of sense on paper. 

New Qsuites Sweet Spot + A Huge Boost to the Avios Program!

Qatar Airways taking a place in the Avios program carries some major implications. That’s because Qatar Airways offers one of the world’s best business class products in the form of Qatar Airways Qsuites.

Qatar Airways Qsuites

Qsuites hasn’t always been the easiest airline product for Canadian travellers to book with rewards points, but the ability to use Avios now makes it a lot easier to book Qsuites, and thereby elevates the value of Avios as well.

The Qatar Airways Privilege Club program charges very reasonable rates and levies minimal surcharges for a Qsuites flight. For example, you can pay 70,000 Qatar Airways Avios for a one-way flight from Montreal to Doha in business class, or 85,000 Qatar Airways Avios to continue your journey onwards to the Maldives.

Indeed, after linking my British Airways and Qatar Airways Avios accounts, I’m then able to use my pooled Avios to proceed with a Qsuites booking at those exact rates:

British Airways Avios Aligns Qsuites Pricing Too!

And here’s yet another exciting development: the new partnership means that British Airways has aligned their pricing with Qatar Airways – leading to lower award rates and surcharges across the board!

Indeed, you can now book Qsuites at these favourable rates through either the British Airways or Qatar Airways Avios programs.

 

However, British Airways continues to calculate the pricing of each flight segment individually and then charge the cumulative total, which is less favourable than Qatar Airways’s treatment for multi-segment flights. Compare the pricing on Montreal–Doha–Maldives: 105,000 British Airways Avios below vs. 85,000 Qatar Airways Avios above.

So if you’re booking a Qatar Airways itinerary with a connection in Doha, it’s still best to transfer Avios to Qatar Airways and book through there.

Keep in mind that Avios can be earned very plentifully in Canada: it’s a 1:1 transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards and RBC Avion, as well as a 25:10 transfer partner of HSBC Rewards. All three points programs also routinely offer 30–50% transfer bonuses into Avios to sweeten the deal further.

Compare that to, say, American Airlines AAdvantage, the current best sweet spot for booking Qsuites at 70,000 American miles one-way prior to today. American miles can only be earned effectively by converting RBC Avion points at an inferior ratio of 1:0.7, and with much less frequent transfer bonuses to boot.

With the recent elevated welcome bonus on American Express credit cards, a single Amex Gold Rewards Card application can earn you enough MR points to unlock a one-way flight in Qatar Airways Qsuites! 

Sign Up for Qatar Airways Privilege Club Now

Until March 31, 2022, you can sign up for a Qatar Airways Privilege Club membership if you don’t have one already and earn an easy 2,500 Qmiles by entering the code “FLYQR3”. Travel with Qatar Airways before September 2022 to earn a further 5,000 Qmiles upon completing your first flight.

These easy bonus Avios can get you closer to a high-value Qsuites redemption, so it’s definitely worth taking a minute to register for an account now. 

Conclusion

In a move that has major implications for our prevailing loyalty strategies, Qatar Airways has now adopted Avios as its reward currency, and it’s now possible to link your British Airways and Qatar Airways Avios accounts to pool your Avios freely between the two. 

This change gives rise to a significantly better-value pathway to booking Qatar Airways Qsuites, one of the world’s best business class products, using points that we can easily earn in Canada. If you haven’t started meaningfully collecting Avios through Amex MR, RBC Avion, and HSBC Rewards points yet, there’s no better time than now to get involved with the program.

26 Comments
  1. Maria

    Hi, I am fairly new at this. If looking to book a flight from YVR to Maldives in March 2023 using points- is it better to search the segments separately – ie YUL to Maldives to try for Qatar Airways Q suites and the figure out the YVR to YUL or any other connections separately? Or how to best search for this? Thanks

    1. Rachel YYZ

      Yep, you’ll want to for point-to-point for Qatar flights and then book the positioning flight separately. From Vancouver, California ports are likely more convenient (Los Angeles LAX, San Francisco).

  2. RDM

    I have tried to search for three seats from Canada to DOH and always ge Q2 Flexi awards at double the points. When I search for two seats, then the regular award pricing is offered. So flying Qatar on Avios requires way too many Avios if you need more than two seats, unless you split the booking in two and can successfully get another seat at the regular pricing after you have made your first booking. Does anyone know if that works?

    1. Rachel YYZ

      That likely wouldn’t work as it seems like only two seats are offered at the “saver” pricing.

  3. HKZ

    I signed up for the Q Privilege Club, linked it to my BA Executive Club account and was expecting to see 2,500 avios in my account but there is nothing in it. Since I used the link provided here, the promo code was already indicated. Does anyone know how long it takes for the bonus points to be credited ?

  4. Will

    SIN -> DOH -> JFK is 190k + 300 CAD.

    1. Ricky YVR

      It should be 95K, for example on February 23. Make sure to avoid search results marked with a “Q2” green flag, which represents dynamic pricing at double the usual rate.

      1. Bhanu Verma

        I noticed something strange. I was trying to find fligts from seattle to India. With 2 Pax the price was 85k while with 3 it jumped to double the cost i.e 480000 for 3 Pax. I did not know about Q2. Thanks…

    2. Will

      I think if the layover is >8 hours, they treat it as two separate flights

  5. Paul

    Hmmm…we have a family Avios account (5 members) with BA. I’m guessing that by “pooling” with Qatar, it will only let me pool my individual BA with Qatar, not the family pool?

    1. Raul

      HI, any update on this ? I am in the same boat( not quite) , I am going to transfer AMEX > BA for family members , I wanted to know if I can use the entire family pool in BA to book with Qatar privilege?

      1. Rachel YYZ

        Yep, you’d have to open a pool with Qatar Airways Avios.

  6. Timbo2

    Can you book a stopover using Avios through the BA site on Qatar metal ? How about a stopover on Qatar metal booked using Qatar Avios ?

    1. Ricky YVR

      Through British Airways, you can effectively have as many stopovers as you want, because you pay for each segment individually. Qatar Airways Avios doesn’t support a stopover on a single one-way, so you’d pay separately for two bookings (at the same rate as through British Airways) if you wanted a longer stay in Doha.

      1. Sam A

        Hey Ricky (or anyone who may know),
        After linking my accounts, do I have to transfer BA Avios to QA Avios to use them for an update to biz class?
        Thank you!

        1. Rachel YYZ

          You technically do, but it’s a seamless process as after linking to your BA and QR Avios account (from QR website), you can search on the QR website and when you click book, it seamlessly transfer Avios over from BA.

      2. Cecil Liu

        Hi Ricky, just following up that question by Timbo, so basically if I can find a layover in DOH using multi-city searching, the award ticket will still be priced at ‘discounted’ rate? Let’s say YUL-DOH (<24 hrs)-DXB will still be 75000 Qatar Avios? Thx!

  7. Sam

    YUL-DOH-MLE costs 105k, not sure where 85k comes from?

    1. Ricky YVR

      It’s 85k Qatar Airways Avios or 105k British Airways Avios.

      1. Josee

        Hi Ricky, I already booked last month yul-doh Qsuite 92750 avios and doh-mle first 50000 avios. The flights are in 12 days so I think its too late for a secure change isn’t it?
        Thank you

        1. Ricky YVR

          Might be worth giving Avios a call to see if they can adjust the prices for you.

  8. Alex

    Does Qatar airway allow Layovers and/or stopover when using Qmiles/Avios? For example the YUL-MLE for 85,000 points, can a stopover by added in DOH?
    Thanks!

  9. TravelSnapp

    It’s now been confirmed by Qatar Airways Privilege Club that Avios “will be fully transferable between Privilege Club and British Airways Executive Club”, this allows travellers on both airlines to pool their Avios into a single account.

    In addition, BA and Qatar Airways will increase the number of Avios-based reward seats across their flights, to accomodate an expected jump in demand once both airlines are sharing a common currency’.

    1. Ricky YVR

      Awesome news.

  10. DenB® YTO

    Qatar’s search interface is okay for QR flights, except that traditionally it blocks results if one hasn’t got enough QMiles. This is silly for a program that allows transfers from bank programs. I’d hope that they removed this restriction, along with these other possibly welcome changes.

  11. Chico

    This could be a real game changer. I find looking for Avios redemptions right now with BA to be about as much fun as completing a tax return, so hopefully Qatar will provide a better alternative.

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