4 Reasons to Be Glad You Can Book Qatar Airways With Avios

By joining the Avios program, Qatar has opened up a new range of redemption options.
JT Genter
By JT Genter 

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On March 23, Qatar Airways dropped the name Qmiles and adopted Avios as the name of its mileage currency. If that name sounds familiar, that's because Avios is the mileage currency of British Airways, Iberia Airlines, Aer Lingus and Vueling.

While all of these airlines use the same name for their mileage currency, each airline maintains a different award chart. Likewise, Qatar confirmed that it will continue to use its existing award pricing. So how do you book Qatar Airways with Avios, and why does this name change matter for travelers?

Here we take a look at four reasons why Qatar's transition to Avios is great for travelers.

1. Greater ability to earn and transfer Avios between airlines

Even before Qatar joined the Avios program, travelers could transfer Avios between Avios-participating airlines at a 1:1 transfer ratio, with no fee. That means you can transfer British Airways Avios to Iberia Avios — or vice versa. This gives travelers the ability to earn Avios in whichever program they prefer and then redeem Avios in the program that gives them the best redemption rate.

With the adoption of Avios as its currency, Qatar joins the ranks of point transfer partners for British Airways. This means even more ways to earn and redeem Avios and makes the Avios currency even more valuable.

2. More transfer point options to Avios

Currently, you can transfer Citi ThankYou points or Marriott Bonvoy points to Qatar, but before Qatar joined Avios, travelers with other types of transferable points — such as American Express or Chase — were out of luck if they wanted to take advantage of Qatar Airways' sweet spots.

However, now that Qatar accepts point transfers from other Avios programs, travelers have gained the ability to transfer points from every major transferable program to the airline. That's because you can transfer points between the other major transferable point programs to other airlines that use Avios:

  • American Express Membership Rewards to Aer Lingus, British Airways or Iberia Avios.

  • Chase Ultimate Rewards® points to British Airways or Iberia Avios.

  • Capital One Rewards miles to British Airways Avios.

Simply transfer your credit card points to one of its eligible Avios-friendly transfer partners, then transfer the points yet again to Qatar.

3. Better ability to optimize between programs

The other positive of this change is that it opens the ability to optimize redemptions between programs.

When Qatar's award chart provides the cheapest award rate, you can redeem for flights through its Privilege Club program. When British Airways offers a better award price, you can choose to book award flights through the Executive Club program instead.

Qatar confirmed that it won't change the amount of Avios needed for a reward flight. That means you'll only need to redeem 35,000 Qatar Avios for economy or 70,000 Qatar Avios for Qsuite business class flights between the U.S. and Doha.

British Airways used to charge a whopping 51,500 Avios for economy or 154,500 Avios for business class for the same award flights. Plus, British Airways charges hundreds of dollars of taxes and fees on the same awards.

Perhaps realizing the award arbitrage possibilities, British Airways dropped its rates on Qatar-operated flights once Qatar officially joined the Avios program in March.

Similarly, Qatar's program offered the best rates for Qsuite flights to India (80,000 Avios each way) or the Maldives (85,000 Avios each way). In both cases, British Airways now charges the same rates for these awards.

However, Qatar's award chart isn't always going to come out on top. British Airways charges just 13,000 Avios each way for American Airlines or Alaska Airlines nonstop award flights between the U.S. West Coast and Hawaii. Meanwhile, Qatar charges nearly triple — a whopping 35,000 Avios for the same award flight.

4. Easier ways to accumulate points in one program

In addition to being able to effectively transfer points from more transferable point programs, having another airline in the Avios family means that it's easier to accumulate Avios.

For example, consider the welcome bonus that comes with the British Airways Visa Signature® Card. Earn 75,000 Avios after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. Depending on your travel goals, that bonus might not be very exciting if you were limited to using the British Airways Executive Club award chart.

But those Avios might be a lot more valuable to you now that you're able to transfer them to Qatar.

Flying as a group? To book the entire four-seat Qsuite quad for a flight from the U.S. to Doha, you'd need a whopping 280,000 Qatar Avios each way. That number of miles may seem impossible if you don't already have a pile of Qatar miles, Citi ThankYou points and Marriott Bonvoy points.

However, it can become achievable once you're able to transfer points from British Airways, Iberia and Aer Lingus. In addition to the welcome bonus you earn from the British Airways Visa Signature® Card, you can earn more points when you sign up for the Iberia Visa Signature® Card. Earn 75,000 Avios after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

Add in a bonus from an American Express Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards® card and you'll find yourself within striking distance of having enough Avios to book this award.

It could be a good deal to book Qatar Airways with Avios

Qatar ditched its Qmiles mileage name and joined the Avios loyalty program in late March. On the surface, this may just seem like a name change. However, Qatar's joining of Avios has big implications for award travelers.

Travelers can now transfer Avios from British Airways to Qatar — and vice versa. And hopefully, you'll soon be able to transfer from Qatar to Iberia and Aer Lingus.

Qatar joining the Avios program also means you can now transfer points from any major transferable points program to Avios, giving headway to award travelers who want to take advantage of even more sweet spots.

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