Yesterday I published details of Qatar Airways entry into the oneworld alliance, which now seems set for 1st October (but possibly still 31st October, depending on what you read). From that date, you will be able to redeem Avios for Qatar Airways flights.
There is an interesting side effect to this, though.
As well as being a oneworld member, Qatar Airways has partnerships with a number of other airlines. These include ANA, Asiana, GOL, MEA, US Airways and Virgin Atlantic.
You are able to redeem your Qmiles (Qatar’s award currency) for flights on any of their partners – including Virgin Atlantic.
This is the partner award chart they use. It is distance based, like the Avios chart. At first glance, it seems more expensive than usual, and more expensive than the BA or Virgin charts.
With Virgin, there is also a nasty catch. If you want Upper Class, you need to pay Qatar’s First Class redemption rate. If you want Premium Economy, you need to pay the Business Class rate! This is a joke, frankly.
However, ignoring the above, Qatar now offers a unique package. You could choose to credit all your BA flights and almost all your Virgin Atlantic flights to Qmiles. You would then have the choice of whether you redeemed on British Airways or Virgin Atlantic, using the same pot of miles!
(I say ‘almost all’ because Virgin Atlantic flights to/from Dubai are not available for credit to Qmiles. All other routes are OK.)
Note that I am NOT recommending you do this. The option is there, however, for someone who wanted to be VERY strategic in how they spent their miles! One of the downsides is that Virgin flights credited to Qatar do NOT count for status with Qatar, although BA flights will.
There is no word yet, by the way, on whether Qatar will charge fuel surcharges on BA redemptions. BA will almost certainly charge fuel surcharges on Qatar flights.
One other thing ….
It was pointed out in the comments yesterday that a number of Qatar routes to Doha – including some which use the new Boeing 787 fleet pictured above – fall into the Zone 4 banding (2001 – 3000 miles). This means that a business class return flight from, say, Frankfurt to Doha (2,847 miles) will only cost you 50,000 Avios return, compared to 80,000 Avios return from London. This routing would also save you over £100 in Air Passenger Duty as well.
I will do some more work on the Qatar Airways network in Europe and what planes are used, and write a longer post as soon as Qatar flights are available to book.