How to find Qatar Q-Suites award space

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Qatar’s Q-Suites business class is widely considered to be one of the best business class products available worldwide.  Seats can be configured to be either very private or with shared space as shown below.  And service and food is reportedly first class quality.  I haven’t personally had a chance to fly Q-Suites yet, but it’s high on my list!  In this post, I’ll show how to easily find Q-Suite award availability.

Q-Suite awards can be booked with points from AA, Alaska, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Qatar, and more.  If you don’t have any of those miles, you’re still in luck if you have transferable points since most currencies offer transfers to one or more of these programs.

My understanding is that Qatar offers Q-Suites flights to Doha from each of these North American airports (please let me know if I missed any): Atlanta (ATL), Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), Dallas (DFW), Houston (IAH), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), Montreal (YUL), New York (JFK), Philadelphia (PHL), San Francisco (SFO), Seattle (SEA), Washington DC (IAD).  From Doha, you could continue on to nearly anywhere in the world:

Image courtesy of FlightConnections

Finding Award Space Step by Step

In this guide, I’ll show how to find Qatar award space using American Airlines’ website.  If you don’t have AA miles, that’s fine.  You can use this technique to find award space and then separately book the award with non-AA miles.

1. Find Nonstop Q-Suites Routes First

The trick is to first find the long-distance Q-Suites route and date that has award availability and then expand out to find award space on connecting flights.  For example, suppose you want to fly from Denver to the Maldives.  In that case, you’ll want to first find award space from Qatar served airports in North America to Doha.  Start with the airports that are easiest to get to from Denver, and ideally those with nonstop OneWorld flights (AA, Alaska Airlines) from Denver.

As a reminder, here are the airports in North America that I believe have Q-Suites flights to Doha: Atlanta (ATL), Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), Dallas (DFW), Houston (IAH), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), Montreal (YUL), New York (JFK), Philadelphia (PHL), San Francisco (SFO), Seattle (SEA), Washington DC (IAD).

FlightConnections shows the following OneWorld routes from Denver within the U.S.:

The airports that have both non-stop OneWorld flights from Denver and are served by Qatar Q-Suites to Doha are: Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia, and Seattle.  Since Los Angeles and Seattle would require significant backtracking, I’d start with the other airports first.  If you have a preference for flying to any one of the remaining airports over another, start with that one.

For the purpose of this guide, I’m going to choose Chicago as the starting point.  If that weren’t to pan out, I’d go back to the list and try the next airport (maybe Dallas, for example) and so on until I found one with award space when I needed it.  So, our first route to search for award space is Chicago (ORD) to Doha (DOH).

2. Start an award search on AA.com

On the AA.com home page, you can begin your search.  You do not need to log in first.  Make sure to select the following in the home page dialog:

  • One way: Make sure to select this instead of Round trip
  • Redeem miles: Check the box!
  • From: ORD (or, whichever Qatar-served airport you want to start with)
  • To: DOH
  • Number of passengers: How many people will be traveling together?
  • Depart: Put the earliest date that you’d be willing to depart. You will not be limited to finding awards on that date.
  • Press Search

3.  Go to AA’s Calendar

After pressing Search, above, you’ll get to a results screen.  Ignore it and click directly to AA’s award calendar.  Click the word “CALENDAR” on the right:

Once the calendar pops up, change the two drop-down boxes to: “Nonstop only” and “Business / First“.  Now you’ll see dates where non-stop award flights are available on your non-stop route for 2 adults (or however many you put into the initial search screen).  Since Qatar is the only airline that flies non-stop on this route, the display below means that Qatar business class is available for 2 adults from Chicago to Doha on Jan 4, 6, and 10.  We don’t know for sure from this that the available flights offer Q-Suites, but it’s very likely.

4. Navigate within the Calendar

If you have a lot of flexibility with dates then press the arrow on either side of the calendar to advance (or go back) a month.  In my Chicago to Doha example, I found that March, May, June, July, and September had no available dates at all, but April, October, and November had plenty of available dates.  Here are the results I found for April and October, for example:

5. Expand search to final destination

As mentioned before, the scenario explored here is the goal of booking an award from Denver to the Maldives and to fly Q-Suites most of the way.  Let’s say that April is a good time to go.  In that case, take a screenshot of the non-stop availability from above (or write down the available nonstop dates) and then return to AA’s home page to start a new search:

  • One way
  • Redeem miles
  • From: ORD (or, whichever Qatar-served airport you want to start with)
  • To: MLE (Velana International Airport in Malé, Maldives)
  • Number of passengers: How many people will be traveling together?
  • Depart: Put the earliest date that you’d be willing to depart based on available dates found earlier.
  • Press Search

6. Use AA’s Calendar Again

Click to view the calendar and then change the drop-down menus to “1 stop or fewer” and “Business / First“:

Only one one-stop flight shows up, but unfortunately even that one is not on Qatar.  I can tell at a glance because 115K is too much (AA charges 70K for Qatar business class to the Maldives) and because when I select the available date, AA shows $373.40 in taxes/fees (not shown in screen capture above) and that’s too much for a Qatar flight (expect to pay $15.70 in fees).

If your dates are very flexible, you can now use the arrows to advance month by month to search for award space.  In this Chicago to the Maldives example, October looked much better:

7. Identify the best candidate dates/times

If you couldn’t find good dates with your original origin city (Chicago, in my example), then repeat steps 2 to 6 with different starting cities until you find dates that work for you.  Click through each available date to confirm that the flight details really match what you want.  In some cases you may find really bad connection times and/or mixed cabin awards (e.g. maybe the flight onward from Doha is in economy instead of business class).  Write down the details about each of the good departure dates, including the time of departure from the U.S. (this is very important because if the flight leaves very early in the morning, you’ll want to look for a connecting flight from your home airport that leaves the day before).  For example, some flights from Chicago depart at 1:25am and so you would want to fly to Chicago on the day before.

For the example at hand, lets assume that the following dates worked best from Chicago:

  • Oct 12: Depart 1:25am, Arrive MLE Oct 13 at 3:20pm
  • Oct 17: Depart 1:25am, Arrive MLE Oct 18 at 3:20pm
  • Oct 17: Depart 7:50pm, Arrive MLE Oct 19 at 8:35am

8. Expand search to include home airport

While you could book the award found above and separately book a flight to get to the starting airport on time, that’s not ideal.  By booking the entire one-way journey on a single itinerary, you get the following benefits:

  • Save miles/points: Depending on what miles/points you use to book the trip, you may not have to pay extra miles or points to depart from Denver rather than Chicago (in the example given above).  AA, for example, won’t charge more, but British Airways will.
  • Protection when things go wrong: If you book separately and you can’t get to the first Q-Suites flight on time, you may be out of luck.  When you book everything together and things go wrong, the airline will do what they can to get you all the way to your destination.
  • Check bags through: If you’re planning to check bags, you might as well do so from your home airport if possible.

In the example, above, I want to originate in Denver and I know that I’d have to leave Denver on October 11th, 16th, or 17th to catch one of the flights I found.  So, I return to the AA home page to search Denver to the Maldives, starting on October 11th:

  • One way
  • Redeem miles
  • From: DEN (enter your home airport)
  • To: MLE (Velana International Airport in Malé, Maldives)
  • Number of passengers: How many people will be traveling together?
  • Depart: Put the earliest date that you’d be willing to depart based on available dates found earlier.
  • Press Search

9. Return to AA’s Calendar

Go to the Calendar screen again and select “2 stops or fewer” and “Business / First“.

As you can see, there appear to be many dates that would work, but the results are deceiving.  Often you’ll see many dates that look good but only because AA found British Airways flights instead of Qatar flights.  In those cases, if you click on the date, you’ll notice that the taxes are way too high.  That’s not the case here, though…

My first thought was that the calendar showed many good dates because AA found other good connecting cities besides Chicago.  And that is part of the explanation, but not the main thing.  In reality, many of the dates shown on the calendar seem to be phantom results.  That is, they show up on the calendar screen, but not on the full results screen when I click through.  By clicking on each of the October dates that showed availability in the calendar, I found the following bookable business class awards:

  • Oct 11 (Seattle): Alaska Airlines economy DEN-SEA; Qatar Business Class SEA-DOH-MLE
  • Oct 12 (Seattle): Alaska Airlines economy DEN-SEA; Qatar Business Class SEA-DOH-MLE
  • Oct 18 (Los Angeles): AA First Class DEN-LAX; Qatar Business Class LAX-DOH-MLE
  • Oct 25 (Seattle): Alaska economy DEN-SEA; Qatar Business Class SEA-DOH-MLE
  • Oct 25 (Dallas): AA First Class DEN-DFW; Qatar Business Class DFW-DOH-MLE
  • Oct 26 (Seattle): Alaska Airlines economy DEN-SEA; Qatar Business Class SEA-DOH-MLE
  • Oct 28 (Seattle): Alaska Airlines economy DEN-SEA; Qatar Business Class SEA-DOH-MLE
  • Oct 28 (Chicago): AA First Class DEN-ORD; Qatar Business Class ORD-DOH-MLE
  • Oct 30 (Dallas): AA First Class DEN-DFW; Qatar Business Class DFW-DOH-MLE

We now have a list of bookable Qatar business class award flights from Denver or Chicago.  If you are using miles that allow free or cheap changes (AA allows free changes, for example), then book whatever is closest to what you actually want and check back frequently to see if something better opens up.  For example, you could book a flight from Chicago and keep checking over time to see if AA award flights open up between Denver and Chicago.

Booking QSuites Awards

Qatar is a OneWorld airline and so you should be able to use any OneWorld airline’s miles to book these flights.  If you have AA miles, though, I recommend starting there.  AA offers the following advantages:

  • No change or cancellation fees
  • Ability to mix and match partners (e.g. fly Alaska Airlines or JetBlue and then Qatar on the same award)
  • Very good award prices (70K to the Middle East or Indian Subcontinent, 75K to Africa)
  • No fuel surcharges when booking Qatar flights

There are some downsides to booking with AA, though:

  • Routing rules: AA will let you book a single award flight on Qatar from the U.S. to the Middle East, the Indian Subcontinent, or to Africa.  But if you want to end up in Europe, Asia, or the South Pacific you would have to book two separate awards.  Some other mileage programs will allow a wider range of destinations on a single award.
  • Booking far in advance: AA will allow you to book 330 days in advance while some other programs allow booking further out.  For example, I believe that Qatar and Cathay Pacific allow booking ~360 days in advance.

Note that Alaska Mileage Plan has similar advantages and disadvantages as booking with AA except that Alaska charges more and does not allow mixing partners on the same itinerary (e.g. you can book an Alaska Airlines flight plus Qatar, but not AA plus Qatar).

Award prices by program

Using the example of Chicago to the Maldives via Doha in business class one-way, here are the prices I found:

  • AA: 70,000 miles + $15.70
  • Alaska Airlines: 85,000 miles + $29
  • Qatar: 85,000 miles + ? (Unfortunately, you can’t see award availability and prices online without already having the miles needed to book the award.)
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles: 90,000 miles + ? (surcharges are usually less than with British Airways but still might be steep)
  • Qantas: 139,200 miles + ?
  • British Airways Avios: 193,250 Avios + $521 (wow that’s expensive!)

Here’s how you can get any of the above listed points by transferring from various programs:

Rewards ProgramAmex Transfer Ratio
(and transfer time)
Chase Transfer Ratio
(and transfer time)
Citi Transfer Ratio
(and transfer time)
Marriott Transfer Ratio
(and transfer time)
Capital One Transfer Ratio
(and transfer time)
Brex Transfer Ratio
(and transfer time)
Bilt Transfer Ratio
(and transfer time)
Alaska MileagePlan60K to 25K (~2 days)
American AAdvantage60K to 25K (~2 days)1 to 1 (1 Day)
British Airways Avios1 to 1 (Instant)1 to 1 (Instant)1 to 1 via Qatar (1 to 2 days)60K to 25K (~10 hours)1 to 1 (Unknown)1 to 1 (~1 Minute)
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles1 to 1 (Instant)1 to 1 (Instant)60K to 25K (~1 day)1 to 1 (4 to 5 days)1 to 1 (Unknown)1 to 1 (~1 Minute)
Qantas Frequent Flyer1 to 1 (Instant)1 to 1 (~1 day)60K to 25K (~2 days)1 to 1 (~1 day)1 to 1 (Unknown)

Wrap up

Despite the fact that Qatar’s Q-Suite awards are among the most coveted flights around, it’s not too hard to find award availability if your dates are flexible.  And American Airlines helps in a couple of ways: 1) AA provides an easy way to find Q-Suite award availability via their award calendar; and 2) In most cases, AA miles are the best currency to use to book these awards.

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WhereTo2Next

Do you know if any of this information is still valid.
I booked Qsuites for October using this information, but was considering changing my flights if possible, but I am finding nothing available.
I have entered city after city, but can find neither nonstops, or Qatar flights.

WhereTo2Next

Did the number of points to book Qsuites increase recently?

Vanessa

Lucked out and was able to book MIA-DOH in business with AA miles for Feb. 2023. But DOH-MLE leg only available in economy. Noticed that there are hardly any dates with business available for the second leg. Historically, do you think they will open up more space closer to the date?

Steven Block

Great article Greg. Booking Qsuite do DOH, then BKK. Only 4 available at a time, regardless of origin. Need a 5th. Is there a norm as to if/when Qatar opens more Qsuites prior to departure? How likely is there to be a 5th open up?

terry

anyone has luck to find a qsuite during the world cup period the end of this year?

Laurie

Looking at AA website and you can’t pick your seats on The Qatar flight while booking through AA. Do you check the seat availability on Qatar first for that flight and hope the seats are still there when you book on AA?

[…] If you were looking to fly this: How to find Qatar Q-Suites award space. […]

Lonnell

Are there particular planes that you know have A-suites?
is there a way to know which flight, or plane will have Q-suites?

[…] Finding Q-Suite Award Space:  If you’ve been saving up your miles to book an extra lux flight on Qatar’s Q-Suites, then you came to the right space.  Q-Suites are arguably the best business class product around.  Here’s how to find award space. […]

Jackson Waterson

Greg,

Westerners have no business traveling on that Q given unspeakable events that took place. It’s not worth it to travel just for an elevated business class experience which many airlines are close to anyway. What happened on Q should cause a complete and permanent boycott. It’s not that the small country has anything special to offer.

Dick Bupkiss

I see quite a lot of grousing on FT from disappointed people who booked expecting QSuites, but due to aircraft swaps ended up on a far less attractive ride (it sounds like this happens a lot). Any tips for avoiding that or at least minimizing the chances of it happening? This would be a lot of trouble to go through for that to happen…

Jerry

The only sure fire way to guarantee a Q suite would be the book from JFK where they have 2x Daily flights. Qatar knows that the New York market is the most premium market in the United States and therefore less likely to swap out aircraft to a subpar product

Cavedweller

I have 200K AA points .They use to have a suite (380) flt from Houston to SYD (40K) so if they start it again I’ll book it. I’m surprise they still have anything like that and not long around too.

Last edited 11 months ago by Cavedweller
Slaven

Too bad I was unable to get in the simplymiles deal.

Jerry

I flew the qsuite from from JFK to AMM this past October. Booked with cash through Amex intl airline program where a $2600 fare was widely available, but no AA award space on that route. The DOH – AMM leg was in first class was scheduled on a 787 but was swapped out for the older A330.

The 2nd leg allowed to use the first class Al Safwa lounge. The lounge is more the size of a convention center, and never had more than about 50 people in it, it looked empty even during the morning rush. The La Grande Am 2008 champagne, the food, the entire experience was the best inflight and ground experience to date.

Last edited 11 months ago by Jerry
LarryInNYC

Worth noting that much of that availability will probably disappear in about 13 days or so. . .

Dick Bupkiss

Holiday blockouts….or expecting all the simplymiles folks (bloggers) to arrive at the table?

LarryInNYC

Simplymiles. Those gazillion points aren’t going to spend themselves!

Dick Bupkiss

Makes sense, thanks. I haven’t been paying attention the timing details (I had no interest in playing). The timing of things points to the glut of points should hit around 01/02/22? (is there an exact date?). I may be looking to spend some AA points before the table gets too crowded to eat, so I guess I should make a note of when the feeding frenzy will start. Thanks.

John

I just returned from a trip to the Middle East. I booked qatar Q suites from Boston to Doha. To my surprise, as I boarded the plane, they switched planes at the last minute. I flew on the older business class seats. Still a good, flat bed seat, but disappointed that it wasn’t the experience I was looking forward to. I heard other passengers on the plane complaining.

Justin

For quite some time, due to the A350 groundings in Qatar, QR has been forced to substitute aircraft in. It appears that, generally, their shortest U.S. flight has taken the axe, that being DOH-BOS.
Every other flight seems to have QSuite consistently, but not Boston.
A good technique is to check ExpertFlyer or the QR seat map.

Lonnell

So is the A350 the only plane with Q-suites? I have been looking at flights using the suggestions in the article. It seems there is no sure fire way to know the particular flight will have Q-suites.

jeph36

At least right now, it is easy to find 4 seats in Oct in business (presumably Qsuites) ORD-DOH and back. <dreaming> If the SimplyMiles donation miles come thru, I could conceivably put together a full round-trip for all 6 of us with only 2 being stuck on the back of the plane. We would have to figure out how to explain to the schools that the kids will be virtual schooling for a few weeks while visiting Asia or Africa or wherever, but it would not be the first time. </dreaming>

Brant

Thanks Greg!

This is just an excellent breakdown of a tedious, but worthwhile process. I figured out a lot of it while trying to find Qsuites to MLE in September for my 10 night stay at Le Meridien Maldives, but as you mentioned, B/F Qatar is virtually unavailable during that time period from any domestic point. However, I did score Qsuites on the return flight! For those who want this experience, it might be worth mentioning that the return trip could open up this possibility.

Ravi

Can anyone share how far out Qatar awards come onto AA website? Is it 300 days out etc?