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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard
In case you missed it, Qatar’s Qsuite was the winner of the 2018 TPG Awards Best International Business Class of the Year — scoring a 90 in TPG‘s new numerical review scoring system. If you want to check out the product for yourself, you’re in luck: Qatar is adding three new US destinations to its Qsuite route network in early 2019 and it’s easier than ever to search Qatar award availability.
Let’s review when and where you can check out the award-winning product for yourself to/from the US:
Routes Currently Operating
There are five daily flights between the US and Doha currently using Qatar’s Qsuite:
- Chicago (ORD): QR Flights 725/726 (Boeing 777-300ER)
- Houston (IAH): QR Flights 713/714 (Boeing 777-200LR and 777-300ER)
- New York Kennedy (JFK): QR Flights 701/702 (Airbus A350-1000) and 703/704 (Airbus A350-900 through Mar. 30, 2019 then switching to an Airbus A350-1000)
- Washington Dulles (IAD): QR Flights 707/708 (Boeing 777-300ER)
However, be careful when booking these flights. Based on spot-checking these routes, sometimes a non-retrofit aircraft will be used to operate every once in a while. For example, flights 703/704 between Doha and New York JFK randomly has a non-Qsuite A350-900:
Qatar is expanding the award-winning business class product to three more US routes in the next four months.
- Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW): QR Flights 729/730 — starting January 16, 2019 using a Boeing 777-300ER and then switching to an Airbus A350-1000 starting July 1, 2019
- Los Angeles (LAX): QR Flights 739/740 — starting February 2, 2019 using a Boeing 777-200LR
- Boston (BOS): QR Flights 743/744 — starting March 31, 2019 using a Boeing 777-300ER
Routes Without Qsuite (Yet)
This leaves just three of Qatar’s US destinations without plans to get Qsuite:
- Philadelphia (PHL): QR Flights 727 and 728
- Atlanta (ATL): QR Flights 755 and 756
- Miami (MIA): QR Flights 777 and 778
Currently all three of these routes are using the same Qatar A350-900, which has the airline’s second-best business class product. While it’s not Qsuite, it’s still pretty spectacular — especially paired with Qatar’s legendary on-board service.
However, the Atlanta route is being switched to a not-so-award-winning 2-2-2 business class product on the unretrofit 777-300ER from Dec. 16 to Mar. 30, 2019. Starting Mar. 31, 2019, the route is being switched back to an A350-900 without Qsuite.
Searching Award Availability
Searching for Qatar award availability used to be a huge pain. Now, for better or worse, it’s incredibly easy. At the end of October 2018, AA added Qatar award availability searching and booking to its website. Now, you just have to head to AA.com and enter your desired routing to check your options.
While AA will combine domestic and international award availability, there’s no way of limiting the calendar search results to only include Qatar award availability over the Atlantic. If you have flexible dates, I’d recommend searching specific Qsuite routes to find which dates have what availability from the US to Doha, using AA’s “non-stop only” calendar feature to limit the results to Qatar award availability.
Once you have the over-water flight availability figured out, then you can figure out domestic and onward connections if needed.
How To Book
Qatar Qsuite remains one of the few awards where it’s generally best to use American Airlines AAdvantage miles. So, once you find award availability, you’ll want to book right there on the AA.com website.
Awards cost 70,000 miles each way between the US and the Middle East (e.g. Qatar, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE) or Indian Subcontinent (e.g. India, Sri Lanka, Maldives), or 75,000 miles each way between the US and anywhere in Africa (e.g. Seychelles, Mauritius, South Africa). However, you can’t use Qatar to route to any other regions — such as back to Europe or onward to Asia Regions 1 and 2 — on the same ticket.
Taxes are minimal booking through AA. For example, flights from the US to Doha cost just $7.65 one-way.
Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles is an alternate way of booking Qatar awards between the US and Doha, with rates running 75,000 miles one-way or 150,000 miles round-trip. You can get Asia Miles by transferring points from American Express Membership Rewards (1:1 ratio, 48-hour transfer time), Citi ThankYou Rewards (1:1, less than 24-hour transfer time) and/or Marriott Rewards (3:1 ratio with a 5,00-mile bonus for transferring 60,000 points).
Qatar’s other options aren’t going to be as good. For example, British Airways charges 105,000 Avios each way, plus an absurd $643 in taxes/fees on the shortest nonstop flights from the US to Doha. Connections will add even more mileage and out-of-pocket cost. Iberia Plus requires a round-trip award when booking Qatar. While the mileage is slightly better — Boston to Doha runs 175,000 Avios — the taxes/fess are just as awful (e.g. $1,278 round-trip BOS-DOH).
If you need to stock up on American Airlines AAdvantage miles to accomplish your Qsuite dreams, here are the best options right now:
- Buy AAdvantage miles for as little as 1.77 cents per mile. This is the easiest way of getting miles at the moment for an award. At 1.77 cents per mile, one-way awards between the US and the Middle East or Indian Subcontinent costs just $1,239 before minimal taxes/fees. Award flights all the way down to South Africa would cost just $1,328 before taxes/fees.
Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard: 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,500 in purchases in the first 3 months.
CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard: 70,000 miles after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months.
Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard: 50,000 miles after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months — plus Admirals Club lounge access for up to 33 travelers.
This post was originally published on Dec. 6, 2018 and updated Dec. 30, 2018 with the latest information.
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Based on TPG’s most recent valuations, the 50,000 miles are worth $700. In addition, you can earn 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) toward elite status after spending $40,000 in a calendar year. As of July 23, 2017 this is the only card that offers Admirals Club lounge access so if you are an AA flyer this card might make sense for you. Aside from lounge access the primary cardholder will receive a Global Entry application fee credit every 5 years, first checked bag free for up to 8 travel companions on domestic itineraries and a 25% discount on eligible in-flight purchases on American Airlines flights.
- Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
- Admirals Club® membership for you and access for guests traveling with you*
- Complimentary Admirals Club® lounge access for authorized users
- Earn 10,000 AAdvantage® Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) after you spend $40,000 in purchases within the year*
- No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases*
- Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases*
- First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to 8 companions traveling with you on the same reservation*