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Qatar launches Avios transfers, British Airways lowers the price of Qsuite awards

March 22, 2022
5 min read
Qatar Airways Airbus A350-1000 parked at Doha (DOH)
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Qatar Airways has officially implemented Avios as its new frequent flyer point program, replacing Qmiles.

Avios is the frequent flyer currency used by British Airways Executive Club, Iberia Plus, Aer Lingus Aer Club and Vueling Club. As of this morning, Qatar's Privilege Club members can link their account to their British Airways account and transfer Avios between the two. Right now, it isn't possible to transfer Avios from other programs directly to Qatar.

In addition to this change, British Airways has lowered the award price of Qatar Qsuite business class redemptions — including the taxes and fees on those tickets. These redemptions are now in-line with booking through Qatar Privilege Club, which has historically offered a better deal on Qsuites awards. This positive change was first reported by Thrifty Traveler.

Let's take a closer look at how to transfer Avios between accounts and what this means for you.

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How to link your Qatar and British Airways accounts and transfer Avios

If you hold frequent flyer memberships with Qatar and British Airways, you can link your accounts here.

When I logged into my Qatar Privilege Club account, I was prompted to link my British Airways Executive Club account to my Qatar account.

(Screenshot courtesy of qatarairways.com)

After selecting "Link account with British Airways Executive Club," I was asked to log into my BA account.

(Screenshot courtesy of qatarairways.com)

With another click, I had linked my British Airways and Qatar accounts and could see my balance in each.

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Then, you can transfer your Avios between accounts by clicking the "Combine Avios" button. The next page will ask which account you'd like to transfer to and from, and how many Avios you'd like to transfer. You can confirm your transfer by clicking the "Move my Avios" button. In our testing, transfers from British Airways to Qatar and vice-versa processed instantly.

Note that you can also link your British Airways and Qatar Airways accounts on the "Combine my Avios" tab on the British Airways website.

What this means for you

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Overall, we view Qatar joining the Avios currency to be a favorable development.

With numerous partners and a plethora of sweet spots, Avios points are some of the more valuable points out there. Additionally, you can transfer American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy to British Airways, and from there, you could transfer the points to Qatar.

However, you should keep in mind that even if your Qatar and British Airways accounts are linked, lower award rates might be available when booking directly with British Airways on some tickets.

For example, a partner Alaska Airlines from Los Angeles (LAX) to Maui (OGG) would require 13,000 Avios when booking with British Airways. The same flight would require 35,000 Avios when booking with Qatar. In this case, you would want to use Avios with British Airways for the ticket.

The same goes for Cathay Pacific awards. In this example, British Airways charges 7,500 Avios for an economy flight between Hong Kong and Taipei while Qatar Airways charges 15,000 Avios.

It's possible that we may see Qatar more closely align its partner award chart with British Airways in the future, but it's in your best interest to cross-compare prices for the time being.

As discussed, British Airways has also reduced taxes and fees when booking Qsuite business class, bringing its rates in line with what's available when booking with Qatar Airways. On a Qsuite flight from New York to Doha, the taxes and fees on British Airways are within $5 of what was available when booking directly with Qatar. It also appears that Qatar Airways has matched British Airways' price on BA-operated tickets.

Bottom line

With Qatar Airways shifting to Avios as its loyalty currency, you can now transfer your rewards between Qatar Airways and British Airways. And along with this new functionality, British Airways has significantly lowered both the award rate and surcharges on Qsuite redemptions, bringing its rates roughly in line with those of Qatar Privilege Club. This is great news for anyone with Avios (or with transferable points that can be converted to Avios), as it opens up a new, cheaper way to redeem points for one of the world's best business-class products.

We'll monitor these changes and keep you posted on additional updates as we receive them. Additionally, TPG has reached out to Qatar Airways for more information on what this means for the future of Privilege Club.

Additional reporting by Andrew Kunesh.

Featured image by Qatar Airways Airbus A350-1000 parked at Doha (DOH) (Photo by Kyle Olsen/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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    Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.

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    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
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Why We Chose It

Sometimes it's worth a large investment to reap the benefits of a great credit card. That's exactly the case with the Amex Platinum card. In exchange for the annual fee, you'll unlock access to the Amex Membership Rewards program that let you access airline and hotel transfer partners, along with new lifestyle and travel credits. This card is also incredibly rewarding for travel purchases, helping you rack up a ton of Membership Rewards points for your next award trip.

Pros

  • The current welcome offer on this card is quite lucrative. TPG values it at $1,600.
  • This card comes with a long list of benefits, including access to Centurion Lounges, complimentary elite status with Hilton and Marriott, at least $500 in assorted annual statement credits and so much more. (Enrollment required for select benefits.)
  • The Amex Platinum comes with access to a premium concierge service that can help you with everything from booking hard-to-get reservations to finding destination guides to help you plan out your next getaway.

Cons

  • The high annual fee is only worth it if you’re taking full advantage of the card’s benefits. Seldom travelers may not get enough value to warrant the cost.
  • Outside of the current welcome bonus, you’re only earning higher rewards on specific airfare and hotel purchases, so it’s not a great card for other spending categories.
  • The annual airline fee statement credit can be complicated to take advantage of compared to the broader travel credits offered by competing premium cards.
  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Ups are excluded.
  • American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. There are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only.
  • Get up to $300 back per calendar year on the Equinox+ digital fitness app, or eligible Equinox club memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card. Enrollment required. Learn more.
  • Breeze through security with CLEAR® lanes available at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your membership when you use your Card. Learn more.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees