Qatar Airways has launched a new ‘Part Pay With Avios’ feature called ‘Avios Max’.
This allows you to use Avios to fully pay (apart from the taxes) for ANY Qatar Airways flight.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that, as you may expect, the value per point is weaker than doing a ‘standard’ Avios redemption.
There are also some quirks to the booking process to note if you are planning to explore this.
How does Avios Max work?
Let’s jump back a bit for the benefit of new and irregular readers.
Back in 2022, Qatar Airways adopted Avios as its loyalty currency. It also allowed you to link your British Airways Executive Club and Qatar Privilege Club accounts – this HfP article explains how.
There are two benefits of opening a free Qatar Privilege Club account and linking it to your British Airways Executive Club account:
- you can earn Avios from companies like Hertz and Virgin Australia who are Qatar partners but NOT BA partners. You give your Qatar Privilege Club number when travelling and, when the Avios arrive, you can transfer them to your linked British Airways Executive Club account.
- you can redeem Avios via Qatar Privilege Club. As well as redeeming on partners such as Virgin Australia who are not BA partners, you can also benefit from extra Qatar Airways Avios reward availability by booking at qatarairways.com. However, the extra Qatar Airways redemption seats you see (vs booking at ba.com) will cost double the standard Avios price.
Booking using Avios Max
There is a core difference between booking a standard redemption and a new ‘Avios Max’ redemption on the Qatar Airways website.
For a standard redemption, it doesn’t matter whether your Avios sit in the Executive Club or Qatar Privilege Club. As long as the accounts are linked, you can book – the Qatar website will suck the Avios from your BA account automatically if needed.
You can’t do this with Avios Max. Your Avios need to have been transferred into your Qatar Privilege Club account following the method here. Whilst the Qatar Airways website can still ‘see’ your BA balance, it can’t use it for an Avios Max transaction. You need to move the Avios across.
What value do you get?
Here is an example Economy booking between London and Doha.
Payment option 1:
The cash fare for my example return flight is £581:
Payment option 2:
The ‘Cash + Avios’ option allows me to pay up to 50% of the value of my flight with Avios. I am offered:
This works out at 0.64p per Avios. It’s not outstanding (on a par with converting Avios to Nectar) but for large amounts it is a better deal that using ‘Part Pay With Avios’ for British Airways flights on ba.com.
Payment option 3:
Finally you have the new ‘Avios Max’ option. This lets you redeem Avios for 100% of the cost of your flight, but EXCLUDING the taxes and charges element.
This is, admittedly, a bit clunky and confusing for the inexperienced Avios user, although similar to what British Airways does. I prefer the Aer Lingus and Vueling system where you can pay for EVERYTHING with Avios meaning that the flight is genuinely free.
Doing the maths, you save (£580.81 – £175.01) £405.80 in return for using 65,251 Avios. This works out at 0.62p per Avios.
Slightly confusingly this means that there are two ways of using Avios to part-pay:
- ‘Cash + Avios’ which lets you pay up to 50% of the total cost of your flight
- ‘Avios Max’ which you pay 100% of the ex-taxes cost of your flight
Both offer similar value at just over 0.6p per Avios.
Some people get confused when booking ‘Part Pay With Avios’ deals. Just because you are using Avios to pay for some or all of the cost of your flight, your ticket remains non-cancellable and non-refundable.
On the upside, your ticket will earn Avios and tier points back.
You still have a cash ticket, with all the benefits and drawbacks of a cash ticket. You have NOT turned a cash ticket into a fully refundable, changeable Avios ticket just because you used Avios to reduce the cost.
If you want the ability to cancel or change your flight, book a standard Avios redemption instead (or book a fully flexible – but painfully expensive – cash flight and use Avios to reduce the cost).
If you are Avios rich and cash poor, ‘Avios Max’ now allows to pay for the bulk of a Qatar Airways cash flight using points.
The good news is that you can book any flight, any class, any day and earn Avios and tier points back. The bad news is that you will only get around 0.6p per Avios, which is less than the 1p or so I would expect from a standard (but capacity constrained) Avios flight redemption in a premium cabin.
You can have a play around with Avios Max on the Qatar Airways website here.
Remember that you need to move your Avios across from British Airways Executive Club to Qatar Privilege Club to use Avios Max. Simply linking your two accounts is not enough.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (December 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. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
Crazy 100,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY) and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review
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.
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.