As you may have read in the press, Qatar Airways has signed a deal to join the OneWorld alliance in the next 12-18 months.
As you can redeem Avios on all OneWorld carriers (current members include American Airlines, Air Berlin, Royal Jordanian, Japan Airlines, Iberia, Cathay Pacific, Qantas and Finnair, as well as BA) this will open up some interesting new redemption options. Qatar has a strong and growing route network, as the press release says:
Qatar Airways‘ network serves 120 destinations in 70 countries in the Middle East, Europe, Africa, North and South America, Asia and Australasia, including oneworld hubs Amman, Berlin Tegel, Buenos Aires Ezeiza, Hong Kong, London Heathrow, Madrid, Melbourne, Moscow Domodedovo, New York JFK, Osaka Kansai, Sydney, Tokyo Narita, and the Kuala Lumpur home of oneworld member elect Malaysia Airlines.
Fifteen of its destinations and three countries – Iran, Rwanda and the Seychelles – will be new to the one world map. More significantly, Qatar Airways will substantially strengthen oneworld’s customer offering by providing superior routing alternatives across many hundreds of city pairs. For example, passengers flying between Asia and Southern Europe or between Asia and Africa will now have convenient one-stop connections not previously available within the oneworld network.
Qatar also has very impressive First and Business Class cabin – here is the business class product going into their new Boeing 787’s:
Good news all round then. Keep an eye out in a year for the official joining date, because – when a new partner joins an alliance – there is usually a period where there is a huge amount of reward availability, before it all gets sucked up.
It is ironic, of course, that this news is announced 20 days before the existing BMI and Qatar partnership comes to an end! It seems there will only be a years gap before ex-BMI Diamond Club members, having transferred their miles to Avios points, will again be able to redeem on Qatar!