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.
Would it be a good idea to transfer to Qmiles ahead of the official change? I plan on using the miles before the expiration period, but want get any opinions on transferring now vs later.
I guess a case could be made for transferring them if you have Citi ThankYou points you want to redeem with Qatar in case they get removed as a transfer partner seeing as other Avios airlines aren’t currently transfer partners of Citi. There’s always risk with transferring points before you need to make a reservation though.
The other thing to consider is that you might have better transfer options in the future. If Amex, Chase and/or Capital One offer transfer bonuses to Avios in the future like they’ve done in the past, it might be better to redeem those currencies and save your ThankYou points for other types of redemptions.
Thank you so much. You helped me making my decision.
Just because Qatar promises the award chart won’t change, that doesn’t mean we won’t see an increase in fuel surcharges. If it’s anything like BA avios, that will be horrible.
I have found it marginally useful to be able to transfer Avios between BA and IB, so if this adds more options to the mix it could be interesting. Being based near ORD, I will be trying out IB business class ORD-MAD later this year, and I am excited by the possibility of flying QSuites with my stash of AA miles. All that said, I have never had a Qmiles account and am not sure why I would get one after this … but as long as they add options without devaluing anything, I welcome the change.