Qatar Airways sent an email to its frequent flyer members this week which appears to confirm the entry date of Qatar into the oneworld alliance. More interestingly, it confirmed that it is bringing forward its partnership with British Airways.
The first point is that Qatar’s partnership with British Airways is kicking off in advance of their entry into oneworld – next Monday, to be precise. As they write:
Effective 2nd September 2013, Qatar Airways and British Airways will enter into a frequent flyer partnership. As a Privilege Club member, you will now have the opportunity to earn Qmiles on all qualifying British Airways flights. Qmiles can be earned on all flights with a British Airways flight number and being operated by British Airways. You will earn up to 150% of Qmiles flown depending on the booking class (type of fare) you purchase.
Now, whilst it is not specifically stated, I would expect the arrangement to work both ways from the same date. It is therefore likely that you will be able to earn Avios points when flying on Qatar Airways on or after Monday 2nd. You probably won’t earn tier points until the formal entry into oneworld, however.
Which brings us to the second quote ….
You will also be able to redeem your Qmiles for award tickets on all British Airways flights effective 1st October 2013.
This implies very strongly that 1st October is the day Qatar is joining oneworld. This means that, from that day, you will be able to redeem your Avios points on Qatar Airways flights.
Here is the business class cabin on Qatar’s new Boeing 787’s:
And here is some background on the route network:
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.
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.
One of the most popular redemptions will probably be to The Maldives, given how tricky it is to get BA reward flights. Qatar offers a good routing, with a total travel time from London of 12 hours. There is an option to arrive at 2pm as well, which is a lot better than arriving in the early morning and not being able to access your accommodation. The BA flight, by comparison, arrives at 10am and takes 10 hours.