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.
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.
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.