Qatar Privilege Club Slashes Award Rates by up to 49%, Becomes Relevant Again

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Qatar Privilege Club has undergone several significant updates over the last few months, but the latest takes the cake. The airline recently announced that it has lowered the number of Qmiles required for an award redemption by up to 49%! Finally, it seems that Qatar realized it needed to make the Privilege Club program great again.

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Qatar Privilege Club Lowers Award Rates

Qatar Airways is arguably one of the best airlines in the world in terms of onboard product, route network, and customer service. Unfortunately, its loyalty program (Qatar Privilege Club) has recently not held up its end of the bargain. Beyond imposing gratuitous carrier-imposed surcharges, the program also began charging steep award rates after a no-notice devaluation in 2018.

Now, it seems like things are finally looking up for the loyalty program. After dropping the “Award Flight” Fee and improving the Qmile expiration policy, the airline has now lowered award rates by up to 49%.

Qatar's press release is refreshingly straightforward about it, forgoing the usual marketing spin that I've come to expect. Instead, Qatar simply states:

Privilege Club’s Qmiles requirements will be reduced for award flight for all members travelling with Qatar Airways on connecting flights through the Best Airport in the Middle East, Hamad International Airport (HIA), as well as those travelling to or from Doha to Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Oceana.

Basically, the reduction only affects redemptions when flying Qatar Airways (not partner redemptions). However, the real elephant in the room is that these “new rates” are simply the reinstated pre-devaluation rates. Whichever way you look at it, it's a massive improvement.

Lucrative Qatar Award Rates

Qatar Privilege Club doesn't use an award chart. Instead, it utilizes an award ‘Qcalculator' that displays the Qmiles earning and redemption rates for any given itinerary. I've plotted the one-way prices of some of the most interesting routes here:

RouteEconomy Business First Class
U.S. to Qatar35,000 70,000 105,000
U.S. to India 40,000 80,000 120,000
U.S. to Eastern Europe / Middle East / Maldives42,500 85,000 127,500
U.S. to Western Europe45,000 90,000 135,000
U.S. to South Africa47,500 95,000 142,500
U.S. to Thailand47,500 95,000 142,500
U.S. to Japan 50,000100,000150,000
U.S. to Australia & New Zealand60,000 120,000 180,000

Qatar slashed the award price to Doha to 70k Qmiles

Quick Thoughts

Right away, the 70k business class rate from the U.S. to Doha stands out. This is the same number of miles required when booking via AAdvantage — the program we typically recommended for flying to the Middle East and beyond. That makes Privilege Club a fantastic alternative for those low on AAdvantage miles but rich in ThankYou Points. Plus, Qatar operates aircraft sporting the famed Qsuites product on most itineraries between the U.S. and Qatar!

Fly Qatar Qsuite for much cheaper after this revaluation

Next, with Qatar's hub in Doha, you can end up with some interesting award routings. For example, it's possible to book an award itinerary flying Qatar from Los Angeles to Lisbon via Doha for 45,000 Qmiles in economy—even though this route involves backtracking over 3,000 miles. Moreover, Privilege Club allows members to book awards from the U.S. to South East Asia in a single itinerary. Though not necessarily a bargain miles-wise, this otherwise requires two separate bookings and more miles if booked via AA.

Lastly, Qatar lets Privilege Club members book awards that aren't available to partner airlines. These “Flexi awards” are typically double the price. That's typically not going to be worth it, but it could make sense to secure flights on preferable dates.

Privilege Club Considerations

There are a few things worth considering when working with Qatar Privilege Club:

Bottom Line

Qatar has made several positive changes to its loyalty program over the last year. The latest update lowers award redemption prices considerably, returning them to far-more competitive levels.

It's wonderful to see all of these changes to Qatar's Privilege Club program. Where before the program was essentially a total write-off, now it's worth considering — especially if you collect Citi ThankYou points.

Are you reconsidering the Qatar Privilege Club with these lowered award rates?

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Comments

  • When we checked our status and miles lately, we were unpleasantly surprised that even with the miles having an expiry which is two years ago, the tier status will disappear end of 2021. If the original expiry date was in November for instance, you will only get one month extra.

    I understand they can’t just keep everyone on their gold/whatever status, but this is something I think is better at AA or so.

    Also, it has no use to buy miles but you need to buy points, called QPoints if you can’t fly and want to retain (or upgrade) your tier. But in reality this is a bit of a joke; first of all you can only buy a limited amount of QPoints, e.g. 40. And that once in 36 months so if you need more, no avail. To retain a Gold level you need 270!! Secondly, the points are amazingly expensive; $25 per point! Gloop, that means for 40 QPoints you have to cough up $1,000.

    So it seems that many people who are unable to fly will lose their tier status.

  • I wonder why it’s cheaper to fly to India via Doha than other parts of the Middle East from the US.

    • Well, Doha is the major Qatar Airways hub. So it makes perfect sense they use that to connect, Don’t forget that many surrounding countries blacklisted QA flights so they won’t even be able to get you to those countries, let alone make a transfer there.
      So if you want to fly to India and make another transfer in the region, you will have to take another airline as Emirates, Oman Air or Etihad.
      I don’t think they are more expensive, often flying via Dubai or Abu Dhabi is even cheaper than via Doha.

  • Are rates to other parts of Africa the same as South Africa, the Middle East or not competitive? I didn’t see that listed, but my apologies if I overlooked it.

  • Wow, this is a positive development! I had 5,000 Q-miles I got from signing up for a free account during the promotion last year, but I converted them to 1,000 Iberia avios via Accor since I found Q-miles useless.

    This is similar (but not as dramatic) as when I acquired my 6,500 turkish miles for flying with them when other programs wouldn’t have earned any miles on the low fare. Turkish had a bad award chart at the time, so 6,500 miles was practically useless. After I found a way to use them for gift cards at bad value, Turkish came out with a new award chart for 7,500 mile flights from NYC to Hawaii.

  • Useful for when I resume traveling; thank you.

    (Patrick, you should refrain from using phrases evocative of MAGA, in this instance, “Finally, it seems that Qatar realized it needed to make the Privilege Club program great again.”)

    • That was actually a joke put in there by me, Patrick’s editor. I figured it would be a lighthearted play on words, and I definitely didn’t mean any offense!

  • Obviously a membership is not only for collecting miles. For us lounge access is very important, esp. since we make extremely long trips. In Doha you’d have to cough up $100 per person which I think is rather steep for taking a shower and access to a free buffet. So being a member with a higher rating is very interesting. It can even better than the perk of flying business since it gives you access to the better Doha lounge. In other countries you have access to the partner airlines lounges like BA.

    Also, by flying Qatar Airways, you make much faster progress in the OneWorld track than with American Airlines for instance. My wife became member and moved much faster onto the OW ladder than me with my AAdvantage.

    • Interesting! I hadn’t taken a look at Qatar’s elite-earning rates yet. I’ve been an AAdvantage elite for years, but it’s nice to have non-AA elite status so you can get lounge access when flying domestically in the US.

      Lounge access should still be included on awards though. There was a rumor recently that lounge access was being removed for award tickets, but Qatar confirmed that’s not the case. That said, it can be worth paying to upgrade to a nicer lounge (the Al Safwa Lounge is incredible!)

  • Are the discounts “temporary”?

    • Qatar hasn’t said that it’s temporary… but it could be. Qatar frames it as: “Qatar Airways Privilege Club has cut the number of Qmiles required to book award flights by up to 49 per cent in a major development in its transformation to provide more and better rewards to its loyal members.”

  • Wow, this is quite interesting. I had looked at Qmiles in the past and it never seemed to make sense to use them for anything, let alone for flights on Qatar itself. For that, using AA miles seemed much more meaningful but specifically looking at US to India for 80K, that’s a pretty good deal, its weird that US to Europe is actually 90K. I just don’t understand that.

  • Steven William Van Meter says:

    Quatar airlines is a great company, but we have to wait until the silly lockdowns are over in order to take FULL advantage of Thas offer.