Which Miles Should You Choose When Flying Qatar Airways Business Class?

With the news that Qatar Airways Privilege Club is adopting Avios as its loyalty currency – certainly more appealing than QMiles if they can eventually be combined back and forth with British Airways / Iberia – it is worth revisiting the options for earning miles from your paid Qatar Airways flights.

To keep things simple, however, I will focus on the two cheapest Business Class fare buckets:

  • P – the new Lite fare that doesn’t include lounge access
  • R – the Classic fare that does include lounge access

The difference in price between ‘P’ and ‘R’ is sometimes not substantial. Besides the lounge access, ‘R’ might also be worthwhile in the cases where you can earn substantially more redeemable / elite qualifying miles…

American Airlines AAdvantage

Due to the new Loyalty Points system, any tier bonuses earned will count as Loyalty Points. As a result, AAdvantage elite members flying Qatar Airways in Business Class should pick up a large number of Loyalty Points.

  • 40% bonus for Gold members
  • 60% bonus for Platinum members
  • 80% bonus for Platinum Pro members
  • 120% bonus for Executive Platinum members

The standard mileage earning rate is:

  • ‘P’ class – 75% of miles flown
  • ‘R’ class – 100% of miles flown

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

Even though I think that Mileage Plan miles are potentially far less valuable than they used to be, you do pick up a ridiculous number of redeemable miles from the more expensive Business Class fares…

  • ‘P’ class – 75% of miles flown
  • ‘R’ class – 225% of miles flown

If you have elite status with Mileage Plan, you will earn your tier bonus on top…

British Airways Executive Club

Many people credit their Qatar Airways flights to British Airways Executive Club for one simple reason – TIER POINTS! Because of the connection in Doha, most Business Class return itineraries between Europe and Asia/Africa will earn you 560 Tier Points – i.e. 4 x 140 TPs. If you fly from North America to Doha in Business Class, you earn 160 Tier Points each way.  Assuming you can also fly 4 times on British Airways or Iberia, you can earn Oneworld Sapphire (BA Silver) easily.

When it comes to earning Avios, however, you will only pick up:

  • ‘P’ class – 75% of miles flown
  • ‘R’ class – 125% of miles flown

There is no tier bonus at all for Executive Club members with elite status.

Qatar Airways Privilege Club

Privilege Club might be an option worth considering, if you love Avios and think that you might be able to earn elite status with Privilege Club…

To earn elite status with Privilege Club, you require:

  • 300 QPoints for Gold (i.e. Oneworld Sapphire)
  • 600 QPoints for Platinum (i.e. Oneworld Emerald)

The number of QPoints you earn can vary substantially, but a flight between Doha and North America in ‘R’ would earn 100 QPoints each way. Depending on where you are connecting to, you might earn nearly enough QPoints for Gold status.

Elite status with Privilege Club could be important because, unlike with British Airways Executive Club, Privilege Club elites DO receive a substantial tier bonus when flying on Qatar Airways.

  • Gold members receive an additional 75% of miles flown
  • Platinum members receive an additional 100% of miles flown

When it comes to earning soon-to-be Avios, however, a Privilege Club member without status will only pick up:

  • ‘P’ class – 75% of miles flown
  • ‘R’ class – 125% of miles flown

 

Bottom Line

If you take one long-haul trip per year on Qatar Airways, I suspect that you would credit those flights to British Airways Executive Club, as you can essentially pick up Silver status from one return trip in Business Class.

If you fly several times per year on Qatar Airways, however, you might want to consider Privilege Club. Assuming that you can earn Gold or Platinum status, you will earn substantially more soon-to-be Avios. (than by crediting to Executive Club)

It is also easy for Alaska Mileage Plan members to salivate over a long haul return trip in ‘R’ class; it could earn you 225% of miles flown – more with elite status.

And if you’ve got elite status with American Airlines AAdvantage, the combination of long flights to Doha and tier bonuses means that you can earn a substantial number of elite-qualifying Loyalty Points along with the redeemable miles.

As a result, there are no “wrong answers” when deciding which miles to earn when flying Qatar Airways Business Class, just different perspectives…

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