Spend your Avios on Qatar Airways from October

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Back in October 2012, Qatar Airways signed an agreement to work towards membership of the oneworld alliance, which includes British Airways.

This would allow British Airways Executive Club members to spend Avios points on Qatar flights, as well as earn Avios and tier points when flying with them.

Qatar is planning to join in October 2013. This would represent impressive progress compared to some other sign-ups with oneworld and Star Alliance, but Qatar is likely to have better existing IT systems than many other non-European airlines.

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:

Qatar Airways 787

Good news all round then. Keep an eye out for the exact 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.

(Want to earn more Avios? Click here to see our latest articles on earning and spending your points and click here to see our list of current Avios promotions.)

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  1. James67 says:

    Only good news if you are happy to fly 787. Apparently Sri Lankan will join quickly to. I flew them twice already this year from LHR to HKG and BKK in J. I was pleasantly surprized how good they were.

    • Phillip says:

      Sri Lankan was announced at the same time as Malaysian and are still in progress – they are certainly taking their time! An exciting addition nevertheless.

      • James67 says:

        No, IIRC MAS announced intention to join June 2011 while Qatar and Sri Lankan were a yesr later in 2012. The latter being expected to complete by end of this year. However, there were reports a few months ago that they were ahead of schedule and could be ready by this summer. No news since then though.

        • Phillip says:

          Ok, we’re talking about two different things, intention and invitation. You are right in terms of the formal invitations from oneworld being a year apart. I was thinking more of expressions of interest, so to speak.

        • James67 says:

          The more the merrier and the sooner the better 🙂

      • Sri Lankan’s IT systems are probably up to Qatar’s level!

  2. Courtster says:

    Looking forward to this, just a shame we can only use our 241s on BA metal!

  3. Roger says:

    This could significantly open up redemption possibilities for South Africa.

    When I was checking final Diamond Club Star Alliance redemptions, Qatar Airways came up time and time again for SA with not unreasonable connections in Qatar and arguably higher inflight standards. Assuming similar availability in OW, I could be looking at much more choice to CPT – even the dates I want! – though unfortunately as noted not using a BA AmEx 2-4-1.

    • littlefish says:

      Qatar to South Africa is indeed something to potentially look forward to, despite the extra time via ME. However, do they not require many more miles each way than the European airlines? (I certainly recall looking in to this a while back on the Middle Eastern carriers, and the extra miles needed [+no doubt fuel surcharges now] was a deal breaker).

      • Roger says:

        In the end, I booked a combination of LX and SA flights. I’m pretty sure but don’t actually know that QR flights booked then with BD would have used BD’s zones.

        However, that’s history. Speculating, I’d guess that redeeming QR flights with Avios would mean combining UK-Qatar and Qatar-SA flights, so it would all depend on what values the sectors incur.

      • If booked with Avios, it will price off the Avios award chart. However, because of the change of plane, it will price up as London to Qatar and Qatar to Cape Town, ie two flights. You would need to price up each of those legs and compare the total to a direct London to Cape Town flight.

        If using AA miles, as they don’t charge leg by leg but only by start and end point, it would be exactly the same number of miles whether you took BA or Qatar.

  4. Sir Stamford says:

    Qatar Airways will provide an excellent opportunity for a Tier Points run especially to Asia or South Africa, given that their prices are usually competitive too.

    For instance,
    LHR-HKG return in J direct with BA or CX will earn you 280 TPs.
    The same trip with QR (LHR-DOH-HKG return) will earn you a very nice 560 TPs.

    Just make sure you try to avoid their older planes (e.g. certain A343/A333) with angled lie-flat seats.

    Sir Stamford

    • Londonbus says:

      Yes – I suspect the cheapest way to hit Silver is:

      QR to BKK – in J (fares are £1,900 ish if you book ahead) – 560 TPs

      then MAN-LHR-AMS in WhY for c. £160 – 40 TPs.

      • Phillip says:

        All 777s in the QR fleet have fully flat beds, although the 787 product is in a league of its own! QR normally has excellent sale fares to India as well, around the £1200 mark from London.

      • Sir Stamford says:

        I would have thought the following is a better option if you need 600 TPs, without the need of a separate tier run in Y to AMS, assuming you need to go to Thailand.

        LHR-DOH-KUL-HKT (Phuket) with QR in J.

        The QR flight to KUL normally continues to HKT. So, you could stay a day or two in sunny KUL and then continue to HKT usually without any significant incremental ticket cost and earn an extra 40 TPs.

        Sir Stamford

  5. Andy says:

    The Business cabin in the 777 is very impressive as well.

  6. richard says:

    sorry in advance but i’m pretty new to all this, so this may be a stupid question.
    If i want to fly Qatar before they join , say next week, can i earn points (both tier+miles) in their frequent flyer scheme and later combine them with my BAEC account?

    • Phillip says:

      Unfortunately not. You will not be able to combine the two. QMiles are valid for five years after which they expire – you are unable to renew them with any activity, like you can on BAEC.

    • No. However, if you flew with Qatar next week, those miles (in the Qatar scheme) will be redeemable on BA flights after October. You just can’t merge them with your Avios. You could, however, book a one way flight with your Qatar miles on BA and book the return with Avios.

      • richie says:

        thats a shame ,I don’t think i would earn enough miles to be worrying about it. its just an economy ticket to Dubai for a couple of days. only reason i was interested in Qatar was it had 3 of 4 legs on a 787. and the price was the cheapest at £315. will most probably use Qantas again for the tier points.

        • gary says:

          I have actually asked can I put the Qmile on my BAEC on the phone with a staff on the phone last week, she told me aparently we can, but i am still 100% sure, I am not flying until june, so I will find out can I ask the ground staff to put the miles on my BAEC card!

  7. Sir Stamford says:

    You will not be able to earn Avios and Tier Points for flying with QR prior to them officially joining OneWorld.

    If you have to fly with QR very soon and are unlikely to do so frequently going forward, I would credit them to US Airways Dividend Miles. You can also credit your other Star Alliance flights (for now anyway) and US Airways have frequent mileage purchase promotions. Admittedly, the miles expire after 18 months of inactivity but any activity (e.g. from Theater Trivia) will reset the clock.

    Please check the mileage earning chart as not all travel classes earn miles –

    For completeness, US Airways is merging with AA and will join OneWorld in the near future. So, your QR flights could ultimately be used for BA (via American Airlines redemption).

    Sir Stamford

  8. Thywillbedone says:

    Hope they so join in October – I have biz class tickets to Tokyo via Doha in November – would help me avoid a TP run to get to silver with BA.

  9. What about Fuel Surcharge on Qatar? Does anyone know?

  10. james leverett says:

    If you are flying LHR-DOH-DXB and return, by the time you get back to Doha on return you should have the miles from the first three legs credited to your account. U can then go to Duty Free and use the miles as currency to buy anything (including alcohol and tobacco). Something else to think about.

  11. richie says:

    iv just had a thought…. could i fly them today and not enter any frequent flyer info, when they join oneworld i could then go to ‘Claim missing Avios points on partner flights’ on baec ad get miles through that… or would it not credit flights that were flown prior to them becoming oneworld members

    • Correct. You won’t get anything for flights before the start date. Better to credit to the Qatar scheme and hope you have enough for a one-way BA redemption.

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