Qatar Airways has announced that it is to adopt Avios as its reward currency.
From some point in late March (the rumoured date is 22nd March), the airline will drop Qmiles, the currency of its existing loyalty programme.
If you currently have a Qatar Privilege Club account, your existing Qmiles balance will be converted into Avios at the rate of 1:1.
You can find out more on the Qatar Airways website here.
If you have a Qatar Privilege Club account, note that Qpoints and Qcredits will not change. There will also be no change to the current Qmiles expiry rules when the currency switches to Avios.
What does this mean to UK Avios collectors?
It’s not clear yet.
The announcement this morning has been done to give Privilege Club members the required advanced notice of major changes to the programme.
There will be a further announcement in a couple of weeks which will let us know exactly how the new relationship will work in practice.
You can, of course, already use Avios to book flights on Qatar Airways. To that extent, this is not a revolutionary change.
We don’t know if it will be possible to use ‘Combine My Avios’ to move Avios directly to and from British Airways Executive Club and Qatar Privilege Club. Even if you can, why would you? The benefits won’t be totally clear until we compare reward charts, taxes and charges.
Qatar Airways has promised its members (see the Q&A here) that its own reward charts will be unchanged.
If you can move Avios between the programmes, it will open up new partnership opportunities. You can convert Qmiles into Accor Live Limitless points, for example, so it may soon be possible to move Avios into Accor points. Privilege Club has different hotel and car hire partners to British Airways, which would broaden your collecting opportunities.
Some readers may find it more profitable to credit flights to Privilege Club and not Executive Club. Unless the schemes are fully aligned, certain classes of ticket on certain airlines will earn more Avios in one scheme than the other. Some readers may find they want to earn status in Privilege Club instead of Executive Club, given that they no longer need to give up earning Avios to do so.
We’ll obviously be looking at all this in detail as more information emerges.
All we know officially for now is that:
“IAG Loyalty and Qatar Airways are working to introduce new customer benefits from the partnership, as well as more ways to earn and collect Avios around the world in the coming months.”
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive His Excellency Mr Akbar Al Baker, said:
“The transition from Qmiles to Avios marks a ground-breaking new era for Privilege Club, enabling our loyal members to participate in the most compelling loyalty network and the largest portfolio of partners in the industry. As the World’s Best Airline, Qatar Airways continues to redefine loyalty through the adoption of exciting digital innovations to create unique world-class experiences for our members. We look forward to revealing more details of this exciting change over the coming weeks, as we explore even more ways to reward our valued members both on and off the ground.”
For clarity, Qatar Airways is not buying an equity stake in IAG Loyalty. It will remain a wholly owned subsidiary of International Airlines Group. It’s not clear, economically, how the swap from Qmiles to Avios will be treated in terms of the Qatar Airways balance sheet.
You can find out more on this special Avios page of the Qatar Airways website.
PS. Here’s something you can do whilst you wait
Qatar Privilege Club is, until 31st March, offering 2,000 Qmiles as a bonus for signing up.
You don’t need to take a flight. You receive the Qmiles immediately.
In late March, these 2,000 Qmiles will become 2,000 Avios. There is a good chance that you will be able to move them across to British Airways Executive Club.
If you DO take a Qatar Airways flight before 30th September, however, you will earn between 3,000 and 5,000 additional bonus Qmiles depending on your travel class.
You can sign up for Qatar Privilege Club and pick up your 2,000 free Qmiles by clicking here.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 2023)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
Run your own business?
We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.
You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.
EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.
There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.