Qatar Airways slashes award rates, becomes a competitive option again

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Qatar Airways Privilege Club is a Citi ThankYou transfer partner. I haven’t paid much attention to Qatar’s program, in large part because of a no-notice devaluation a couple of years ago. However, as times have clearly gotten tight in the travel industry, Mainly Miles reports that Qatar Airways has reversed its 2018 devaluation. That’s excellent news and could make Privilege Club a useful ThankYou transfer partner once again.

How to pronounce Qatar

Qatar Airways uses an award calculator rather than an award chart, so you’ll have to play around a bit to check prices to your preferred destination. They don’t offer the absolute best deal in many situations, but they offer a reasonable deal that could make for an acceptable value with ThankYou points, particularly when you consider how highly regarded their QSuites are.

For example, New York to Doha rings in at 70K miles one-way in business class.

That isn’t the best award price for travel between North America and The Middle East, but QSuites is arguably the best way to get there in business class by a large margin.

There was recently some hubbub over whether or not those traveling on business class award tickets would be able to select seats and get lounge access in Doha because Qatar has begun selling business class fares that do not come with those benefits. However, One Mile at a Time updated to report that Qatar confirmed that business class awards will still have all the same benefits. That’s good news: the business class lounge in Doha is fantastic. At least, it was the one time I was there on an overnight layover. I haven’t been to the first class lounge, but I imagine that isn’t bad, either.

Keep in mind that if you’re transferring ThankYou points, in many cases award rates for business class travel will be significantly cheaper if booked through Turkish Miles & Smiles, though Qatar does not add fuel surcharges on award tickets for travel on its own metal, whereas Turkish does pass on fuel surcharges (though not all Star Alliance programs have them or have high charges).

Overall, a “re-valuation” instead of a devaluation is a welcome sign. Hopefully this isn’t the last we see of customer-friendly loyalty program changes.

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