Qatar Qsuites A350-100
Qatar Qsuites A350-100
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I almost spit out my coffee this morning when I read this article from Gary Leff (which HTs a Mainly Miles article for uncovering the news) with regards to Qatar’s QMiles program.

It’s a program that I’ve not only never directly used, but also lost all possible interest in using after a 2018 “no-notice” devaluation made it not even remotely worth considering given the other options for booking Qatar award flights – namely on the planes featuring the famous QSuites Business Class product.

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Qatar Airways “Un-Devalues” QMiles Frequent Flyer Program

Well, apparently in the last couple of days, Qatar reversed the 2018 devaluation to try and make the program relevant again. After all, if zero people buy QMiles or transfer bank points to QMiles, they aren’t going to make much money off the program – especially while few people are flying.

Using QMiles for Award Travel

Now, you can hunt for sweet spots using the QMiles Calculator, but Gary already mentioned the best deals for a US flyer in his post, namely 70,000 miles from the US to Doha or 85,000 miles to the Maldives. There are no fuel surcharges, which makes this appealing to those with Citi ThankYou points and that don’t have American Airlines AAdvantage miles (which would still be a better deal at 70,000 – 75,000 miles and no surcharges).

That’s because other popular Oneworld partners like British Airways and Cathay Pacific add huge fuel surcharges to a Qatar award booking. IIRC when I looked into booking with Cathay, it was over $600 one way. I anxiously wait to see if Alaska will pass on fuel surcharges on Qatar when Alaska joins Oneworld next year.

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It’s great news that you could get a one way in QSuites to Doha for just a few miles more than the signup bonus on a new Citi Premier card, which is giving you 60,000 points for $4,000 in spend within 3 months.

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Downsides of the Qatar Airways QMiles Program

But there’s a pretty big downside to QMiles even with this change: No award holds.

Citi ThankYou points take 24-48 hours to transfer to QMiles and Qatar isn’t known for having particularly great availability in premium cabins. So it would be dicey, at best, to transfer your ThankYou points when you find the availability – as it may well vanish. This means you’d really have to speculatively transfer the points, which has obvious downsides like winding up stranded vs. remaining flexible. QMiles don’t expire for 3 years and validity can be extended with activity – so that’s good. But they also devalued with no notice in 2018 – so that’s an obvious risk.

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MilesTalk Musings

I think it’s overall positive that a program, any program, would undo a prior devaluation. It shows that they realize they need us right now. But I’ve also been doing this long enough to know that the pendulum swings in both directions.

If Qatar allowed award holds, this would be in the “major news” category. But without holds, I find it a bit more Meh. For those without American Airlines credit card miles, though, this may be a worthwhile way to get on those QSuites.

And ICYMI, Qatar awards are not losing seat selection and lounge access as we thought on Tuesday. 

Thoughts?

Let me know below in the comments, on Twitter, or in the private MilesTalk Facebook group.

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I got "in the game" in 2003 and since then I've collected literally millions and millions of frequent flyer miles and hotel points. I've flown around the world in first class seats that would cost $29,000 using frequent flyer miles and a few bucks in tax. And I've stayed in some of the finest hotels - all for free! A few years ago I realized many of my friends actually thought I was paying for these!! So I started sharing my tips. It's long been a passion, but when I hosted a session on Miles and Points at this year's South by Southwest festival, my love of the game intensified and this blog was born.

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