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Qatar launches Avios transfers, British Airways lowers the price of Qsuite awards

March 22, 2022
5 min read
Qatar Airways Airbus A350-1000 parked at Doha (DOH)
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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.

(Screenshot courtesy of qatarairways.com)

After selecting "Link account with British Airways Executive Club," I was asked to log into my BA account.

(Screenshot courtesy of qatarairways.com)

With another click, I had linked my British Airways and Qatar accounts and could see my balance in each.

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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

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

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.

Bottom line

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 image by Qatar Airways Airbus A350-1000 parked at Doha (DOH) (Photo by Kyle Olsen/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
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Why We Chose It

It's hard to find a card that competes with the mile-long list of benefits that come with the Amex Business Platinum. While it's certainly not the card for the average consumer, a business owner with tons of expenses -- especially related to travel -- will find this card incredibly valuable. This card is similar to the consumer version that Amex offers, but with more business-oriented perks around statement credits and earning rates that are a better fit for business owners.

Pros

  • An up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four to five years
  • Up to $400 annual credit for eligible U.S. Dell purchases (enrollment required)
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  • Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Hotel Collection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • International Airline Program and Cruise Privileges Program

Cons

  • Steep annual fee
  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high-bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for checked baggage fees, lounge day passes, and more at one selected airline.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.