With more than 100 weekly flights from 10 cities in the US, Qatar Airways has become one of the major airlines for Americans going abroad. If you haven’t already done so, it’s time for you to get to know the airline’s loyalty program Privilege Club.
Serving more than 160 destinations worldwide, Qatar Airways has become a great option for Americans traveling abroad. Especially for traveling to the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Oceania. With a modern a fleet, an award-winning business class product and competitive prices, the airline has become a preferred option for many of our readers. At InsideFlyer, we are committed to getting you the best possible benefits and value for points. In this guide we will show you how to get the most out of your membership in Qatar Airways loyalty program Privilege Club.
Qatar Airways Privilege Club has four elite tiers. These are Burgundy, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Burgundy is your starting level and the higher your membership tier, the more benefits you will enjoy. As a oneworld member, your membership tier will also grant you benefits when flying with other oneworld carriers.
As you can see from the above table, the requirements for retaining your membership tier is slightly lower than the requirements for upgrading. For example, if you have earned the 300 Qpoints required to upgrade to Gold tier, you will only need 270 Qpoints to retain for another year. Qatar Airways will also look at your Qpoints balance 24 months prior to renewal. This means that if you earned 400 Qpoints during the first 12-month period and 140 Qpoints during the second period, you would still retain your membership tier for another year.
Miles and points
With Qatar Airways Privilege Club, there are three types of points you need to know of:
Qmiles are the reward miles you will earn when you travel with Qatar Airways, oneworld member airlines and other airline partners. The amount of Qmiles earned will depend on your membership tier, which airline you are traveling with, the class of travel and distance.
Apart from flying, there are many other ways of earning Qmiles. We will return to this later.
Qmiles are valid for a minimum period of three years and will expire at the end of the six-month calendar period, January to June or July to December. For example, Qmiles earned between January and June 2017 will expire on 30 June 2020 and Qmiles earned between July and December 2017 will expire on 31 December 2020. For Platinum members, Qmiles will never expire for as long as you retain your membership tier.
To upgrade or retain your Privilege Club membership tier you need Qpoints. You will earn Qpoints on any flight marketed and operated by Qatar Airways or any oneworld member airline. You will however not earn Qpoints with airline partners outside of oneworld.
It is not too hard to upgrade to a higher membership tier with Qatar Airways Privilege Club. Especially if you travel on Qatar Airways flights. Depending on your booking class, you’re almost Silver tier after a single return trip from New York to Hong Kong in economy class. If you’re traveling in business class, the same journey will almost take you to Gold tier.
If you’re a few Qpoints short of upgrading or retaining a certain membership tier, you can buy Qpoints once in a 36-month period at a rate of $25.
Qcredits are the latest addition to Qatar Airways Privilege Club. As a Gold or Platinum tier you are awarded 40 or 60 Qcredits respectively for each 12-month period. As a Platinum member you can earn additional 10 Qcredits for every 100 Qpoints you earn above 600 Qpoints.
Qcredits can be used to redeem award upgrades and excess luggage. You can also you Qcredits to pay award fees.
As a Qatar Airways Privilege Club member, the Qcalculator is one of your most important tools. With Qcalculator, you can easily calculate the amount of Qmiles needed to redeem an award booking. The Qcalculator can also tell you how many Qmiles or Qcredits you will need to redeem an award upgrade, and how many Qmiles and Qpoints you will earn for a specific flight.
With Qatar Airways Privilege Club, like any other loyalty program, you must travel to upgrade to higher membership tiers. In return, you get significant benefits starting at Silver tier when flying with Qatar Airways. The higher membership tier, the more and better benefits you get.
You can find a complete overview of all member benefits on Qatar Airways’ website. We will not cover all of them in this guide but summarize some of the most important ones.
As a Silver tier, you earn 25% tier bonus on Qmiles on Qatar Airways flights. If you’re using the Family program, family members will also earn additional Qmiles. You will also get business class check-in, 25% discount on preferred economy class seats and lounge access in Doha and at selected lounges worldwide.
As a Gold tier you will receive a 75% tier bonus on Qmiles and even more mileage per family member. You and a guest can access even more lounges, and you will also receive 4 “one visit” guest lounge passes at Hamad International Airport. You can also make use of Al Maha Gold service when you arrive, depart, or transfer through Hamad International Airport. Enjoy a 5% discount on online redemptions, better award availability, award-fee waivers and complimentary Qcredits.
At Platinum tier you get a 100% tier bonus on Qmiles and 60 complimentary Qcredits every 12 months. You will also earn an additional 10 Qcredits for every 100 Qpoints you earn over 600 Qpoints. You and two guests can access even more lounges and if you fly business class, you can even experience the amazing Al Safwa First Class Lounge at Hamad International Airport.
Earning Qmiles and Qpoints
There are several ways to earn Qmiles
Let’s start with the obvious one, traveling. You earn Qmiles and Qpoints flying Qatar Airways and oneworld airlines. What might be less obvious is that you also earn Qmiles on airline partners and codeshare airlines, where the airline partner is not a oneworld carrier.
The amount of Qmiles you will earn depends on your membership tier, booking class, distance and airline. You can always use the Qcalculator to determine how many Qmiles and Qpoints you will earn for a specific flight.
In addition to offering several co-branded credit cards, Qatar Airways Privilege Club also partners with a few transferable points credit cards. The latter, using cards from Capital One or Citi Bank, is probably the easiest way for Americans to earn Qmiles from credit card spend. Marriott Bonvoy also offers a decent rate for converting Marriott Points to Qmiles, so using a Mariott Bonvoy credit card can make sense too.
Privilege Club har partnership with most international car rental companies like Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt. You can also earn Qmiles through Rentalcars.com when you book through Qatar Airways’ Rentalcars microsite.
Qatar Airways Privilege Club has more than 50 hotel partners that will either earn Qmiles directly or transfer points to Qmiles. On this list you will find the major international brands like Accor, Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, Shangri-La and Radisson, but also more local brands like Anantara, Kempinski and Swissôtel. You can also earn Qmiles through online travel agencies like Agoda, Booking.com or Rocketmiles.
Travel and services
Qatar Airways also partners with several retailers and service providers. Many of these are located in Doha and out of reach unless Doha is your final destination. One very interesting partner however is Qatar Duty Free. Since traveling with Qatar Airways will always involve arrival, departure or transfer through Hamad International Airport, Qatar Duty Free will actually let earn Qmiles while spending time at the airport.
You will find a complete overview of Qatar Airways Privilege Club partners on this page.
With the Privilege Club Family Program, you can share your benefits with your family and pool Qmiles earned by family members into a single account for quicker awards. Each family member will receive their own membership cards, but only the main member will be able to redeem award flights and other services.
The main member can nominate up to nine close family members, choosing from their spouse, children older than two years and parents.
Family members’ flight activities do not earn Qpoints
Spending your Qmiles
There are several ways to spend Qmiles but for most of you, award travel is the best way to spend your Qmiles. You can redeem award flights with Qatar Airways and oneworld member airlines, but generally redeeming with Qatar Airways will provide better value. Award upgrades to business class can also be a good way to spend your Qmiles. One really great about Qatar Airways award upgrades is that redeeming upgrades are cheaper with higher fare classes.
Recommended reading: You can fly Qatar Airways Qsuite on these routes
Qatar Airways award flights are priced per sector. This means that amount of Qmiles needed to book an award flight from New York to Colombo through Doha, is the same as booking New York-Doha and Doha-Colombo separately. This also goes for award booking fees.
The same goes for oneworld award bookings as well. When considering a oneworld partner award booking, you need to be aware that you cannot combine multiple airlines on a single booking. If you need to use multiple airlines to reach your destinations, this must be done with separate bookings.
Again, the Qcalcualtor is a great tool for planning your award bookings or upgrades.
If you don’t have enough Qmiles to redeem flights or upgrades, you can use your Qmiles for excess luggage, convert your Qmiles to Accor points or spend them on Qatar Duty Free.
Easy Deals and Flexi Awards
The best way to use your Qpoints is by using Easy Deals from Qatar Airways Privilege Club. Easy Deals is a monthly promotion with up to 50% discount on selected destinations. The range of destinations to choose from is usually quite good and you will often find 30 to 50 destinations to choose from.
If you have fixed dates where you need to travel and cannot find regular award tickets, you can use Flexi Awards provided you have enough Qmiles. With Flexi Awards, you can book award flights as long as there are seats available on the plane, if you are willing to pay double the amount of Qmiles.
How to succeed with Qatar Airways Privilege Club
Getting to know all the sweet spots of Qatar Airways Privilege requires a bit of an effort but is well rewarded. You will often find promotions where you can earn double or even triple Qmiles flying Qatar Airways. Combine this with using the widely available Easy Deals promotions and you will get great value for your Qmiles.
Upgrading and retaining your membership tier is also fairly easy, compared to other loyalty programs. A single return trip to Asia in business class will almost upgrade you to Gold tier. With two return trips Platinum tier is well within reach.
Photo credit: Qatar Airways