A New Look at Qatar Airways Privilege Club as Per Segment Fees Return A New Look at Qatar Airways Privilege Club as Per Segment Fees Return

A New Look at Qatar Airways Privilege Club as Per Segment Fees Return

Bonus Points

AwardWallet receives compensation from advertising partners for links on the blog. Terms Apply to the offers listed on this page. The opinions expressed here are our own and have not been reviewed, provided, or approved by any bank advertiser. Here's our complete list of Advertisers.

Qatar Airways Privilege Club has brought back its ‘per segment' award fees, and recent changes to the program merit a new evaluation. The program dropped its award pricing and had previously cut surcharges on award tickets. Recently, Privilege Club adopted Avios as its miles currency. So how good or bad is the program now? Here's a renewed look at the program to see how good it is for award travelers.

Qatar Privilege Club is Qatar Airways' loyalty program

Qatar Airways Privilege Club Adopts Avios

We first covered this news here: Qatar Airways Will Adopt Avios, the Points of British Airways, Iberia & Aer Lingus. The change is live, and your old Qmiles have been converted to Avios.

Moreover, you can link your Privilege Club and British Airways Executive Club accounts to easily move miles from Qatar to British Airways accounts and vice versa. The price is free, instant, and moves Avios at 1:1. You can move as little as 1 or as many Avios as you have available.

Now that Qatar is using Avios, this link with British Airways allows you to further exchange Avios. Remember that you can move Avios between British Airways, Iberia & Aer Lingus. Thus, you could move all of your Avios from Iberia & Aer Lingus to your British Airways account and then send those to Qatar Airways Privilege Club. That means any credit cards earning miles with any of these programs could wind up in your Privilege Account.

On top of these, you can transfer Citi ThankYou Rewards 1:1 to Privilege Club (takes 1-2 days on average) and transfer Marriott Bonvoy points to Privilege Club at a 3:1 ratio (takes 3-4 days on average). Racking up Avios in your Privilege Club account is now easier than ever before, and this could make Qatar Airways' loyalty program gain value on certain awards.

‘Per Segment' Fee is Back

In May 2018, Qatar introduced a fee unlike what we are used to seeing on other airline loyalty programs. The “Award Flight Fee” was essentially a toll, charging Privilege Club members an extra $25, $50, or $75 per award flight in economy, business, or first class, respectively. Round-trip itineraries on Qatar typically include at least four segments (thanks to its ‘hub and spoke' route network). So, this fee regularly added $100 to 300 to the out-of-pocket cost on award redemptions.

In the world of award travel, we're no strangers to carrier-imposed surcharges. Fuel surcharges can be a nightmare for award travelers booking premium-cabin award redemptions, specifically with British Airways, Lufthansa, and Austrian Airlines. While I'm not too fond of those either, at least they present the illusion that they're linked to fuel costs—a tangible and variable expense that all airlines face.

Conversely, Qatar's “Award Flight Fee” seems groundless. What reasoning could the airline possibly cite for adding a fee for its own loyalty members to book flights operated by its own aircraft using its own currency? It seemed like nothing but a cash grab that only served to devalue the Privilege Club program further.

It Went Away in Mid-2020

In the middle of 2020, Privilege Club sent the following email to its members:

“As we continue to reinstate flights, with 59 destinations globally this June, we want to make it easier for you to use Qmiles to fly to those destinations when the moment is right to explore together again.

That’s why, we will no longer be applying Award Flight fees, usually USD 25 per segment in Economy, USD 50 per segment in Business, or USD 75 per segment in First. You can now choose to book using Qmiles, fee-free and with ease, at qmiles.com and the mobile app.”

The Fee Returned with No Announcement

As Loyalty Lobby noticed, this fee has come back during some award bookings. Fees are even higher than they were previously, which is unfortunate. You can expect the following fees added to each segment of an award booking with Qatar Airways Privilege Club:

  • $35 economy
  • $70 business class
  • $100 first class

These are ‘per segment' fees. If you would book a flight from Chicago (ORD) to Doha (DOH) on your way to Mumbai (BOM), you have two flights or two segments in this itinerary. You would pay $140 in fees each way when flying in business class. That's $280 round-trip per passenger.

That can really add up if you have a whole family flying together. Even in economy, a family of four would pay $560 in booking fees flying ORD-DOH-BOM and then returning home BOM-DOH-ORD.

Qmiles can book Qatar Airlines Business Class

Is the Qatar Privilege Club Worth a Second Look?

In addition to offering an incredible onboard product between an extensive network of destinations, Qatar Airways is also a member of Oneworld—partnering with other great airlines like AA, Cathay Pacific, JAL, and Qantas.

This position has all the makings of a very lucrative loyalty program — especially considering Qatar Privilege Club is a transfer partner of both Citi ThankYou Points and Marriott Bonvoy Points. (Capital One ended its partnership with Qatar in May 2020.)

Long-Haul Awards on Qatar

While Qatar doesn't publish an award chart, we can determine award pricing for flying Qatar and partner airlines using My Calculator.

Screenshot of Qatar Airways Privilege Club estimated award rates with My Calculator for flight JFK-DOH

Itineraries with connections add between 7,000–25,000 miles to the economy price, with business and first following the same multiplier. After searching for a while, it's apparent that Qatar still utilizes an expensive flight-distance based pricing scheme.

So, it seems that booking through partners is still going to be the better option for Qatar flights.

American Airlines AAdvantage: You could book the same flight in the same class of service using 40,000 (economy); 70,000 (business), or 115,000 (first class) AA AAdvantage miles. The downside is that AAdvantage isn't a transfer partner of any major transferrable currencies. Its only permanent transfer partner is Bilt Rewards.

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles: Cathay Pacific's Asia Miles program offers close to the same mileage rates as AAdvantage. Even better, Asia Miles is a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards (1:1), Bilt Rewards (1:1), Brex Cash (1:1), Capital One Miles (1:1), Citi ThankYou points (1:1), and Marriott Bonvoy (3:1 with a 5,000-mile bonus for transferring 60,000 points). However, Asia Miles passes along hefty carrier-imposed fuel surcharges.

Asia Miles is cheaper than Qatar Privilege Club

Qatar Airways Privilege Club Awards on Partners

Qatar Privilege Club's partner pricing is even worse. Let's look at Royal Air Maroc. This Oneworld partner operates four non-stop routes from its hub in Casablanca (CMN) to North America: Miami (MIA), Montreal (YUL), New York City (JFK), and Washington, D.C. (IAD). These hops across the Atlantic are between 3,520–4,320 miles long and take between 6.5-8.25 hours.

Short Haul Privilege Club price in Qmiles

While Qatar requires 50,000 Qmiles for a one-way economy redemption, you could use Etihad miles to book yourself in business class for only 44,000 miles. You read that right. Qatar charges 6,000 more miles to fly in economy than Etihad charges for flying in business class on the same flight!

Short-Haul Awards on Qatar

While distance-based award charts aren't good for long flights, they can often be lucrative for short-haul flights. And that seems to be the case with Qatar Airways Privilege Club as well.

Qatar has one of the most spectacular first-class ground experiences in the world—including a separate sit-down check-in area, private immigration and security, and a first-class lounge that's considered one of the best in the world. Unlike Qatar's Oneworld partners, Qatar doesn't make its first-class experience available to Oneworld elites. Instead, you must be flying Qatar's first class to access this experience.

One of the shortest routes on which you can fly Qatar first class is between Doha (DOH) and Muscat, Oman (MCT). This route costs just 21,000 Avios in first class.

Qmiles for a very short flight

This 95-minute flight would set you back just over $1,000 in cash.

ITA Matrix fees for QR first class flight DOH-MCT
ITA Matrix fare construction for QR flight DOH-MCT in first class.

Unfortunately, even when redeeming 21,000 Avios, you'll still have some money to fork over. You'll need to pay $87.50 in taxes and fees from the ticket itself, plus the $100 first class ‘per segment' award fee discussed above.

Finding Qmiles Availability

Further complicating the process, Qatar Airways Privilege Club doesn't allow you to view award availability if you don't already have enough Qmiles in your account. This means that unless you already have a bunch of miles sitting in your account from flying, you'll have to either call Qatar's Contact Centre or search using a partner website such as American Airlines, British Airways or Qantas. Only after confirming availability should you transfer miles into your Privilege Club account to proceed with the booking process.


Final Thoughts

While I'm glad to see Qatar Airways Privilege Club make some positive changes, not everything is perfect. The program quietly brought back its per segment booking fee on award flights, and this fee can add up quickly. This negates previous, positive changes in terms of fees when booking award flights with Privilege Club.

In terms of redemption pricing, Privilege Club can be decent for short-haul flights and for flights on Qatar Airways itself when partners don't have access to any more seats. Always be sure to check the best option, since loyalty programs will charge different prices for booking the exact same flight. Always go with the one that offers you the best price.

What are your thoughts on recent changes to Qatar Airways Privilege Club? Do you think it's gaining or losing value?

5 / 5 - (6 votes)
AwardWallet Tip of The Day
Did you know that AwardWallet doesn’t solely focus on travel-related loyalty programs? We support many retail loyalty programs including grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies and more. You can browse the full list of the programs that AwardWallet supports.
Show me how

The comments on this page are not provided, reviewed, or otherwise approved by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  • Is the redemption fee refundable? I’ve heard conflicting information on this m. Does anyone have any experience of this?

  • Good to know. Great post!

  • Too many far superior options. Have never seeN any use for this program and Even with the removal of the fees, I still don’t.

  • I don’t think that the programme is so attractive to replace some other one.
    Moreover, in the othere there are already miles and I know much more.

  • Juan Cruz Guillamondegui says:

    I love it !

  • Pair this with their nice status match campaign.

  • The change is certainly a step in the right direction. Qatar is lovely to fly with in First and Business, but seems using Oneworld partners to burn points on Qatar is still better.

  • Never a fan of these fees and other fuel service charges- this is a step in the right direction if only it was easier to use Qatar Airlines from the US. I find myself avoiding BA award flights because of their fuel service charges!

    • You are not alone in avoiding BA because of the fuel charge. Almost any article on AW referencing BA will get a few negative comments about the charge.

  • Another airline has dropped the fees. Please keep it coming.

  • While the ME3 are good to travel on by redeeming partner miles, none of the ME3 actually have a useful award program. Maybe Etihad a is a tad bit better than the others to utilize on their partner but that’s about it.

    • You are spot on. These programs are just not worth the effort if you do not live in the region especially.

    • Actually Emirates Skywards is pretty good. We just used it to go to Dubai. The RT J award was 145K with a $300 fee. Better than any other program other than using AA on Qatar which would have been 140K RT for J. And despite all the negativity of Emirates J cabin, we found the seats do lie flat and offered a nice experience with excellent service.

      When one is looking to travel to a specific destination, you have to be able to use all the tools in your arsenal. This is where flexible points make the most sense. I’ll give the example of Australia. Emirates has codeshares with Qantas. Getting a first class seat on Qantas is the unicorn of award travel. But it isn’t that difficult on Emirates.