Cardless releases new Qatar Avios cards (but don’t get excited)


It’s been two years since Qatar Airways moved over to using Avios as its rewards currency. The other three main airlines that use Avios – British Airways, Iberia and Aer Lingus – all have their credit cards issued by Chase, but Qatar chose to release its cards via the most oxymoronically-named issuer of them all – Cardless.

About a month ago, Cardless announced that the cards were on the way, inviting folks to join a waitlist that would guarantee them an additional 5K-10K sweetener on top of the opening welcome offer if they decided to apply for one of the cards. We didn’t know what any of the card details were, but with the rest of Avios cards hanging out there with 85K welcome offers, surely Cardless was going to in that same range with the initial launch…right?

Not so much. The new cards certainly seem to be “less” than “more.”

Card Details and Welcome Offers

Card Offer and Details
40K Avios
20K Avios after first transaction, then an additional 20K after $3,000 spend within the first 90 days
$99 Annual Fee
Information about this card has been collected independently by Frequent Miler. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.
FM Mini Review: Outside of the welcome offer, there's not much of a compelling reason to carry this card.
Earning rate: 4x Qatar purchases ✦ 2x dining ✦ 1x everywhere else
Base: 1X (1.09%)
Dine: 2X (2.18%)
Brand: 4X (4.36%)
Card Info: Visa Signature issued by FEB. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Big spend bonus: Receive 2 Qpoints for every 2,000 Avios earned
Noteworthy perks: Complimentary Qatar Silver/oneworld Ruby status for one year
Card Offer and Details
50K Avios + 150 Qpoints ⓘ Non-Affiliate
25K Avios after first transaction, then an additional 25K and 150 Qpoints after $5,000 spend within the first 90 days
$499 Annual Fee
Information about this card has been collected independently by Frequent Miler. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.
FM Mini Review: Getting complimentary oneworld Sapphire for one year could be appealing for folks who value the Admiral's Club access. Beyond that, the card's steep annual fee will probably make this most appealing for those who actually fly Qatar regularly.
Earning rate: 5x Qatar purchases ✦ 3x dining ✦ 1x everywhere else
Base: 1X (1.09%)
Dine: 3X (3.27%)
Brand: 5X (5.45%)
Card Info: Vsa Infinite issued by FEB. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Big spend bonus: Receive 2 Qpoints for every 1,500 Avios earned
Noteworthy perks: Complimentary Qatar Goldr/oneworld Sapphire status for one year (includes access to domestic AA Admirals Clubs and Alaska Lounges) ✦ Global Entry/TSA Precheck credit ✦ Travel accident insurance ✦ Trip cancellation reimbursement ✦ Trip delay reimbursement
Not all card launches are hot

Quick Thoughts

Of these two new releases, the higher-priced Infinite card is easily the more intriguing, primarily for one reason: you get Privilege Club Gold/oneworld Sapphire status for one year as part of the welcome bonus, with the ability to renew that status via spend in subsequent years. For those who fly Qatar a lot, Privilege Club Gold could be very useful, but most US consumers are going to be more interested in the foreign airline oneworld Sapphire status that comes with it, because that gets you into Alaska and American lounges, even on domestic itineraries (oneworld Sapphire members whose status is through American/Alaska don’t get lounge access when traveling within the United States).

For the first year, that’s a great deal, as the card’s annual fee is less than a lounge membership to either airline, and you’ll get some Avios and Qatar benefits to boot. After that first year, however, the value proposition becomes more marginal.

You get a 150 Qpoint head start towards the following year’s status as part of the welcome offer. 270 Qpoints gets you back to Gold/Sapphire, meaning that you need to earn an additional 120 Qpoints within the first 12 months.

That seems easy-peasy, the Infinite gives you 2 Qpoints for every 1500 Avios earned. So, if you were doing nothing but spending towards status (ie, not crediting any flights), it would cost you $90K to get oneworld Sapphire in year 2. Comparing that to putting $90K on a 2% cashback card, you’d effectively be spending $1,800 for 90,000 Avios and oneworld Sapphire status. That might be worth it for some folks, especially those that can generate a high amount of 3x restaurant or 5x Qatar spending (which would make the total spend needed to retain status much lower), but it will be a stretch for most…and that’s before you lose the 150 Qpoint head start for year 3.

You’re also paying $499/year for a card with no Priority Pass, and whose other benefits are effectively the same as any other Visa Infinite card. And don’t forget that the welcome offer (if you didn’t join the waitlist) leaves you 35K Avios poorer than any of the other three Avios cards.

I don’t get the use case for the Qatar Signature card at all, outside of the welcome offer (and even that seems lackluster given Cardless’ ridiculously restrictive one-card-per-lifetime restriction). There’s no reason to put any spend on it given the bonus categories, and if you’re a frequent Qatar flyer, there’s no reason to get this instead of the Infinite card. The status it provides is close to meaningless and the card still charges $99 for the “privilege” of having it. It should be called “Pointless.” (h/t: GtFM)

In the end, if Cardless is serious about one card per lifetime, I could see burning that one shot on the Infinite card for a year of free domestic lounge access and a possible shortcut in year 2. Beyond that, unless you fly Qatar enough to make pursuing status worthwhile, I’m not seeing much to justify holding onto it for $499/year.

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And this is why I trust this site vs. all of the other credit card shills who never saw a bad offer.


I fly Qatar often enough that I might be interested, but I’m not interested enough to use up a lifetime supply of application opportunities for what I see here.

L 3

good summary.
Why does any entity choose Cardless as their issuer?


Perhaps no better card issuer was interested in offering a QR card? (better for points maximizers, I mean)

Perhaps QR didn’t want a card that appeals to benefits/points maximizers?

L 3

Read the Cardless conditions before commenting. Your comments are ignorant.


Thanks for your kind words.


R-O-T-T-E-N cards. $400k in spending to attain One World Emerald? (Ed Bastian is taking notes.) Reader comments to other articles state that calls with Cardless reps confirm one card per lifetime means ANY card issued by Cardless, not just the same card. Why shoot your wad on this card, which is only worth the SUB? Save your one bullet for a card with true value.


You guys are late on this. Other blogs wrote about this on Monday.


but this is the only blog that was critical, the rest were all positive (as usual)


M2M were critical as well.


Better to wait for the right answer than rush a wrong answer.


You threw in the part about Cardless being serious about one card per lifetime, but did not provide background information for those of us u familiar with Cardless.
Are you saying that Cardless will only allow you to get that particular one time, and if you cancel, you can no longer obtain that particular card again ever?


Even more draconian; DPs suggest you can only open 1 card from the entire Cardless portfolio – ever. Even if you close that 1 card


He linked to a blog post the other day that went into detail on this 🙂