The great loyalty shake-up of March 2022 continues. Qatar Airways has announced today that as of late March 2022, it’ll stop offering Qmiles as part of its loyalty program and will instead join the Avios program – home to British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia and Vueling, as well as Level to some extent.
Qatar Airways is a large shareholder of IAG – International Airlines Group that those other five airlines are part of. Still, this is unexpected news but which could make sense for Qatar due to the familiarity that more people will have with the Avios program than Qmiles. It’ll also presumably offer some cost-saving opportunities.
Qatar has advised that their award chart won’t be changing, so you’ll need the same number of Avios as you would have for Qmiles in the past. They’ve also confirmed that any existing Qmiles balance will be converted to Avios on a 1:1 basis.
For US residents, it’ll be interesting to see how this affects transferable currencies when it comes to both Qatar Airways and Avios as a whole. At the moment, the only transfer partners for Qatar Privilege Club are Citi ThankYou and Marriott Bonvoy. While British Airways, Iberia and Aer Lingus are transfer partners of Marriott Bonvoy too, you can also transfer American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards to them, as well as Capital One miles to British Airways.
If Qatar Airways allows you to transfer Avios from a Privilege Club account to an account with British Airways, Iberia and/or Aer Lingus and remains a transfer partner of Citi, that’ll make ThankYou points transferable – albeit indirectly – to those other airlines. Similarly, if you can transfer Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards or Capital One miles to a British Airways Avios account, you’ll then hopefully be able to transfer those on to Qatar Airways in the event that they offer a better award opportunity, unless Qatar ends up becoming a direct transfer partner of those programs in March anyway.
Further information about these program changes is due to be announced in the coming weeks, but for now it’s an interesting development that’s worth keeping an eye on.