Qatar launches Avios transfers, British Airways lowers the price of Qsuite awards
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Qatar Airways has officially implemented Avios as its new frequent flyer point program, replacing Qmiles.
Avios is the frequent flyer currency used by British Airways Executive Club, Iberia Plus, Aer Lingus Aer Club and Vueling Club. As of this morning, Qatar’s Privilege Club members can link their account to their British Airways account and transfer Avios between the two. Right now, it isn’t possible to transfer Avios from other programs directly to Qatar.
In addition to this change, British Airways has lowered the award price of Qatar Qsuite business class redemptions — including the taxes and fees on those tickets. These redemptions are now in-line with booking through Qatar Privilege Club, which has historically offered a better deal on Qsuites awards. This positive change was first reported by Thrifty Traveler.
Let’s take a closer look at how to transfer Avios between accounts and what this means for you.
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How to link your Qatar and British Airways accounts and transfer Avios
If you hold frequent flyer memberships with Qatar and British Airways, you can link your accounts here.
When I logged into my Qatar Privilege Club account, I was prompted to link my British Airways Executive Club account to my Qatar account.
After selecting “Link account with British Airways Executive Club,” I was asked to log into my BA account.
With another click, I had linked my British Airways and Qatar accounts and could see my balance in each.
Then, you can transfer your Avios between accounts by clicking the “Combine Avios” button. The next page will ask which account you’d like to transfer to and from, and how many Avios you’d like to transfer. You can confirm your transfer by clicking the “Move my Avios” button. In our testing, transfers from British Airways to Qatar and vice-versa processed instantly.
Note that you can also link your British Airways and Qatar Airways accounts on the “Combine my Avios” tab on the British Airways website.
What this means for you
Overall, we view Qatar joining the Avios currency to be a favorable development.
With numerous partners and a plethora of sweet spots, Avios points are some of the more valuable points out there. Additionally, you can transfer American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy to British Airways, and from there, you could transfer the points to Qatar.
However, you should keep in mind that even if your Qatar and British Airways accounts are linked, lower award rates might be available when booking directly with British Airways on some tickets.
For example, a partner Alaska Airlines from Los Angeles (LAX) to Maui (OGG) would require 13,000 Avios when booking with British Airways. The same flight would require 35,000 Avios when booking with Qatar. In this case, you would want to use Avios with British Airways for the ticket.
The same goes for Cathay Pacific awards. In this example, British Airways charges 7,500 Avios for an economy flight between Hong Kong and Taipei while Qatar Airways charges 15,000 Avios.
It’s possible that we may see Qatar more closely align its partner award chart with British Airways in the future, but it’s in your best interest to cross-compare prices for the time being.
As discussed, British Airways has also reduced taxes and fees when booking Qsuite business class, bringing its rates in line with what’s available when booking with Qatar Airways. On a Qsuite flight from New York to Doha, the taxes and fees on British Airways are within $5 of what was available when booking directly with Qatar. It also appears that Qatar Airways has matched British Airways’ price on BA-operated tickets.
With Qatar Airways shifting to Avios as its loyalty currency, you can now transfer your rewards between Qatar Airways and British Airways. And along with this new functionality, British Airways has significantly lowered both the award rate and surcharges on Qsuite redemptions, bringing its rates roughly in line with those of Qatar Privilege Club. This is great news for anyone with Avios (or with transferable points that can be converted to Avios), as it opens up a new, cheaper way to redeem points for one of the world’s best business-class products.
We’ll monitor these changes and keep you posted on additional updates as we receive them. Additionally, TPG has reached out to Qatar Airways for more information on what this means for the future of Privilege Club.
Additional reporting by Andrew Kunesh.
Featured photo by Kyle Olsen/The Points Guy.
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