The ultimate guide to Qatar Airways Privilege Club

Aug 31, 2020

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Qatar Airways is one of the world’s most premium airlines, with an excellent business-class product and great lounges at its hub in Doha (DOH). The airline has a huge route network as well, with U.K. gateways in many of the country’s major cities like London (LHR and LGW), Birmingham (BHX), Edinburgh (EDI), Manchester (MAN) and others.

The Oneworld member has its own loyalty programme called Privilege Club. With this loyalty programme, you can earn and redeem miles when flying Qatar Airways and its Oneworld partners. Plus, it has three elite status levels that give frequent flyers special privileges like lounge access and access to preferred seating.

New to Privilege Club? You’re in the right place. Here, I’ll run through earning and redeeming Qatar miles and discuss Privilege Club’s elite status tiers.

Let’s dive in!

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In This Post

Programme partners

(Photo by Cassiohabib / Shutterstock)
(Photo by Cassiohabib / Shutterstock)

Being a member of the Oneworld alliance, Qatar Airways has a number of different airline partners both inside and outside of the alliance. You can earn and redeem points on all of these airlines — here’s a quick overview.

American Airlines

Dallas-based American Airlines has hubs around the U.S., including cities like Chicago, Philadelphia, New York City and Los Angeles, among others. You can earn and redeem Qatar miles on all of American’s routes. See the American partner page for more information.

Bangkok Airways

Bangkok Airways is one of Qatar’s non-alliance airlines. The Thai airline is based in Bangkok and operates a network of domestic flights in Thailand as well as a small number of short-haul, international routes. Check out its partner page for earning and redeeming info.

British Airways

British Airways is one of the world’s largest airlines, operating hundreds of routes from its hub at London-Heathrow (LHR) airport. You can view up-to-date information about the airline’s Oneworld partnership with Qatar on its partner page.

Cathay Pacific

The Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific offers service to many of the world’s largest cities like New York, London and Tokyo — and offers an incredible first-class product. Learn more about earning and redeeming Qatar miles on Cathay Pacific on its partner page.

Finnair

Finnair is another Oneworld partner that has a global route network from Europe to Asia, North America and beyond. As you’d expect, you can earn and redeem Qatar points with the airline — check the Qatar website for more information.

Gol Airlines

Gol is a Brazillian carrier that has a nonalliance partnership with Qatar Airways. You can learn more about said partnership on the Qatar Airways website.

Iberia

Flying to Spain? You can earn and redeem Qatar miles when you fly with Madrid-based Iberia. Check the airlines’ partner page for more information. Like Qatar, Iberia is a Oneworld carrier.

Japan Airlines

Japan Airlines — commonly referred to as JAL — is one of the largest airlines in Japan. Check the airline’s Qatar Airways partner page for more information.

LATAM

LATAM may no longer be a Oneworld member, but Qatar decided to keep its partnership with the South American airline. You can use your Qatar miles to redeem for flights on the carrier and earn Qatar miles on paid fares. Check out Qatar’s LATAM partner page for up-to-date info on this partnership.

Malaysia Airlines

Malaysia Airlines is an Asian Oneworld carrier based in Kuala Lumpur. You can fly the airline around Europe and to select cities elsewhere in the world. Check its Qatar partner page for more information on earning and redeeming Qatar miles.

MEA Middle East Airlines

Middle East Airlines — MEA for short — is a Lebanese airline that offers flights around Europe and the Middle East. MEA is a part of the SkyTeam alliance but has a non-alliance partnership with Qatar. Learn more about earning and redeeming Qatar points on the airline on its partner page.

Qantas

Qantas is Australia’s largest airline, operating a huge international and domestic route network. You can learn more about earning and redeeming Qatar points on Qantas’ partner page.

Royal Air Maroc

Royal Air Maroc is the newest member of the Oneworld alliance. You can earn and redeem Qatar miles on the carrier’s flights to and from its Casablanca (CMN) hub and beyond. See its partner page for more details.

Royal Jordanian

Royal Jordanian is based in Amann, Jordan and offers flights to major cities in Asia, Europe, North America and the Middle East. See its Qatar partner page to learn more about the airline and how to earn and redeem Qatar points when flying.

S7 Airlines

S7 is a Russian airline with an extensive domestic route network. You can learn more about its Oneworld partnership with Qatar Airlines by visiting its partner page.

SriLankan Airlines

SriLankan Airlines is a Oneworld airline based in Colombo (CMB). It has a solid route network, and you can earn and redeem Qatar points on all flights. See the airlines’ partner page for more information.

Qatar Airways elite status

The lounge of the first and business class of an Airbus A380 of Qatar Airways is pictured at Le Bourget airport on June 16, 2015, north of Paris, on the second day of the International Paris Air show which will be held until June 21, 2015. AFP PHOTO / MIGUEL MEDINA (Photo credit should read MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty Images)

Qatar Airways has three elite status tiers: Silver, Gold and Platinum. You can qualify for these tiers by earning a certain number of Qpoints. These are earned when you fly with Qatar Airways and its partners — you can view how much each route earns using the Qcalculator.

Here’s how many Qpoints you’ll need to qualify for each tier. You must earn these within a single 12 month period. Once you’ve qualified for Silver, you can upgrade by earning a higher number of points within 12 months of earning Silver. This is considered your “renewal date”.

Tier Qpoints required
Silver 150
Gold 300
Platinum 600

Interestingly enough, fewer Qpoints are required to renew your elite status. You can either earn a smaller number of Qpoints in a 12-month period or a higher number in a 24-month period — each calculated from your renewal date.

Tier Qpoints required (12 months from renewal date) Qpoints required (24 months from renewal date)
Silver 135 270
Gold 270 540
Platinum 540 1,080

If you fail to meet renewal requirements, you’ll drop to the tier you did qualify for. For example, if you’re a Platinum member and only earned 700 Qpoints in a 24-month period, you’ll drop to Gold status.

Additionally, you must earn at least 20% of your Qpoints on flights marketed or operated by Qatar Airways to qualify. Alternatively, you can fly four segments on 12-month renewals or eight segments on 24-month renewals on Qatar Airways to meet this requirement.

Qatar Airways Silver elite status benefits

Silver is Qatar’s lowest elite status tier, but it comes with a handful of interesting benefits. These include:

  • Discounted seat reservation: Get 25% off all seat selections when flying in economy class
  • Bonus miles: Earn 25% more Qatar miles on all flights credited to Privilege Club
  • Family member bonus: Earn 50% mileage per family member on Qatar Airways flights
  • Lounge access: Access select business-class lounges when flying with Qatar Airways, regardless of your class of service
  • Guest lounge passes: Receive two, one-time guest passes to the Doha business-class lounge every year
  • Free checked baggage: Check a bag for free on all flights, and enjoy an additional 15kg of baggage allowance
  • Priority boarding and check-in: Enjoy business-class boarding and check-in on Qatar Airways flights
  • Personalized bag tags: Qatar Airways will send you a personalized bag tag upon qualification
  • Priority waitlisting: Receive higher priority on flight waitlists
  • Oneworld Ruby status: Receive benefits like priority check-in and seating on all Oneworld flights.

As far as low-tier status goes, Silver offers pretty solid benefits. Those based outside of Doha won’t be able to use them with much frequency, so we only recommend earning it if you can use the benefits on a regular basis.

Qatar Airways Gold elite status benefits

Things get a little more interesting with Gold status. This tier includes Oneworld Sapphire status, giving you benefits on other Oneworld carriers like American Airlines, British Airways and — soon — Alaska Airlines.

Gold status includes all Silver benefits plus the following:

  • Preferred seating: Access to preferred seat selection when flying in economy class
  • Guaranteed economy seating: Guaranteed access to economy seating on sold-out flights
  • Bonus miles: Earn 75% more Qatar miles on all flights credited to Privilege Club
  • Family member bonus: Earn 100% mileage per family member on Qatar Airways flights
  • 5% discount on redemptions: Receive a 5% discount on all Qmiles redemptions
  • Lounge access: Access business-class lounges when flying with Qatar Airways, regardless of your class of service; one guest is included
  • Guest lounge passes: Receive four, one-time guest passes to the Doha business-class lounge every year
  • Priority baggage handling: Your bags will be among the first to deplane
  • Extra baggage: Receive one piece of baggage or 20kg of excess baggage allowance
  • Priority phone support: Be connected to a support representative faster when calling Qatar Airways
  • Al Maha Gold Service: Meet-and-greet service when flying to/from or connecting through Doha airport for you and one guest
  • Oneworld Sapphire status: Includes all Ruby benefits plus partner business class lounge access, priority baggage handling, extra checked bags and priority boarding on Oneworld partner flights

Gold status is significantly more powerful than Silver status, especially on partner airlines. You can access all Oneworld business-class lounges — including American’s Admirals Clubs — no matter where you fly. This is an amazing perk for those that travel frequently.

In addition, you’ll earn 40 Qcredits when you qualify for status. These can be redeemed for upgrades, checked baggage and guest lounge passes. You can redeem Qcredits on the Account page on the Qatar Airways website.

Qatar Airways Platinum elite status benefits

Finally, we have Platinum, Qatar’s top-tier elite status. This is the crown jewel of all Qatar elite status tiers, offering the best benefits and most premium experience. The tier includes all Gold status benefits plus:

  • Bonus miles: Earn 100% more Qatar miles on all flights credited to Privilege Club
  • Lounge access: Access business-class lounges when flying with Qatar Airways regardless of your class of service; two guests are included
  • Guest lounge passes: Receive five one-time guest passes to the Doha business class lounge every year
  • Extra baggage: Receive two extra pieces of baggage or 25kg of excess baggage allowance
  • Al Maha Gold Service: Meet-and-greet service when flying to/from or connecting through Doha airport for you and two guests
  • Oneworld Emerald status: All of the Sapphire benefits, plus access to fast-track security and first-class lounges and check-in when flying on Oneworld partners.

This tier includes 60 Qcredits every time you qualify. Like Gold, you can use these for upgrades, lounge access and more.

While these benefits are great, we only recommend chasing this tier if you live in Qatar and frequently fly Qatar Airways out of Doha airport. Otherwise, look into earning BA elite status or status with another Oneworld carrier based in your home country.

How to earn Qatar Airways Privilege Club miles

Qatar Airways miles aren’t the most popular here in the U.S., so there are only limited ways to earn. Here’s a look.

Transfer from Marriott Bonvoy

You can transfer Marriott Bonvoy points to Qatar Privilege Club at a 3:1 ratio plus a 5,000-mile bonus when you transfer 60,000 points. This means a 60,000 transfer equals 25,000 Qatar miles, which is a nice chunk of miles.

There are a number of ways to earn Marriott Bonvoy points. The easiest way is by spending on a Marriott credit card — here’s a look at the current offer:

Earn with other partners

Qatar has a number of other earning partners too, like rental car companies and hotels. Check out the airline’s partner page to see all the other ways you can earn Qatar miles on your travel purchases.

Redeeming Qatar miles

A Qatar Airways Boeing 777-200LR like the one used on the Doha - Sao Paulo - Buenos Aires route (Photo by Alberto Riva/The Points Guy)
A Qatar Airways Boeing 777-200LR like the one used on the Doha – Sao Paulo – Buenos Aires route (Photo by Alberto Riva/The Points Guy)

You can redeem Qatar miles for flights on both Qatar Airways and its various partners. Unfortunately, the programme was massively devalued in 2018, but those with existing miles can find some interesting redemptions.

Related: A review of Qatar Airways’ Qsuite business class on the 777-300ER

Before we jump into specific redemptions, there are a few nuances you should be aware of before you transfer miles. Here’s a quick list:

  • You can’t book first class on A380 flights between London-Heathrow (LHR) and Doha (DOH).
  • Miles expire after 36 months of no activity — you can extend this by earning or redeeming miles.
  • You can’t book infant tickets in first or business class.
  • Stopovers and open jaws are not allowed on award bookings.
  • Qatar removed fuel surcharges from award bookings in 2015. That said, you still have to pay minimal taxes and fees.

Perhaps the most annoying thing about Privilege Club is that you can’t look up tickets unless you have enough miles in your account to actually book it. This makes finding award space tough — unless you already have a huge balance.

This means that you have two options for finding award space: calling Qatar Airways or using another Oneworld search tool. I recommend using AA.com to find award space and then calling the airline to confirm that it’s actually bookable before transferring points from Marriott.

Booking Qatar Airways flights with miles

(Photo by Liam Spencer/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Liam Spencer/The Points Guy)

Here’s where things get weird. The airline doesn’t publish an award chart for its own flights — instead, you’ll have to rely on the Qcalculator. This works the same as the earning calculator discussed earlier, so simply enter your route and class of service to see pricing.

Pricing is extremely high for many of the airlines’ premier routes. For example, its flagship New York-JFK to Doha route costs a whopping 101,500 miles in business class. You can book this same ticket for 70,000 AAdvantage miles.

So, is there any logic to how Qatar awards are priced? From the looks of it, it’s distance-based. We priced out a handful of awards departing the U.S. and found flights from New York and Philadelphia (PHL) to Doha cost 101,500 miles while flights from Chicago (ORD) cost 108,500 miles.

Here’s a quick overview of how much flights from North America to Doha cost using Qatar miles. All prices listed are for one-way tickets.

Route Economy Business
Atlanta (ATL) to Doha (DOH) 54,250 miles 108,500 miles
Chicago (ORD) to Doha (DOH) 54,250 miles 108,500 miles
Dallas (DFW) to Doha (DOH) 54,250 miles 108,500 miles
Houston (IAH) to Doha (DOH) 54,250 miles 108,500 miles
Los Angeles (LAX) to Doha (DOH) 54,250 miles 108,500 miles
Miami (MIA) to Doha (DOH) 54,250 miles 108,500 miles
Montreal (YUL) to Doha (DOH) 50,750 miles 101,500 miles
New York-JFK to Doha (DOH) 50,750 miles 101,500 miles
Philadelphia (PHL) to Doha (DOH) 50,750 miles 101,500 miles
Washington-Dulles (IAD) to Doha (DOH) 50,750 miles 101,500 miles

You’ll also pay more miles for connecting tickets. A business-class flight from New York-JFK to Hong Kong (HKG) via Doha costs a whopping 169,000 Qatar miles one-way. This is more than what many airlines charge for a round-trip flight between the two cities.

JFK to HKG via DOH Qatar Pricing
(Image courtesy of Qatar Airways)

What about taxes and fees?

While Qatar Airways used to charge a per-segment booking fee on award tickets, these have since been removed. Like AAdvantage, the airline doesn’t pass along fuel surcharges, so you’ll only pay the cost of mandatory, government-imposed taxes when booking Privilege Club award tickets.

This is one place where Privilege Club shines over currencies like British Airways Avios or Asia Miles. While you’ll need fewer miles to book through the Asia Miles programme, you’ll be charged relatively-high fuel surcharges. With that in mind, always price-compare and see if the mileage savings is worth the added fees.

Upgrading Qatar Airways flights with miles

You can also use your Qatar miles to upgrade paid flights operated by the airline. Like award tickets, you have to use the Qcalculator to find the cost of upgrading a specific flight — which depends on your route and fare class.

For example, you can upgrade an O-fare economy ticket to business class for 73,500 miles one-way. This isn’t much cheaper than simply booking an award ticket, so we generally recommend steering clear of these.

Pricing DOH to JFK Upgrades From Economy
(Image courtesy of Qatar Airways)

Additionally, you need to find available upgrade space in order to upgrade your ticket. You can do this by calling the airline or by attempting to upgrade a ticket online. Additionally, online reports show that some travellers have had luck upgrading at the check-in counter. Regardless, upgrade space has been historically limited.

Booking partner flights with miles

The airline’s partner award chart is distance-based, meaning that longer flights will cost more miles. We’ve put a copy of the airline’s award chart below — this applies to both Oneworld and non-alliance partners.

Qatar Airways Partner Award Chart
(Image courtesy of Qatar Airways)

You can price an award ticket using GCmap.com. Just enter your route (using airport codes) and look at the total mileage listed under the “Distance” header. Then, match the mileage to its respective entry on the award chart.

ORD to LHR On GCMap
(Image courtesy of GCmap)

For example, a flight from Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) to London-Heathrow (LHR) clocks in at 3,953 miles one-way. This means that you’d pay 100,000 Qatar miles for a one-way business class ticket on American Airlines, which is quite high compared to other partners.

Routing rules for partner flights are pretty straightforward:

  • Stopovers are not allowed.
  • Open-jaws are allowed.
  • You’re allowed up to four sectors (in other words, four individual flights).
  • Your itinerary must be operated by a single partner.
  • You cannot book award tickets for infants.

Actually booking these tickets is, again, complicated. You must find award space using your Oneworld search tool of choice and then call Qatar Airways to book. Alternatively, you can fill out a partner award request form online.

Other redemption options

Finally, you can use your Qatar miles for merchandise, duty-free items, hotel stays and more. We generally recommend staying away from these types of redemptions though. They’ll almost always give you less value than a free flight, often dropping the value to half-a-cent per mile or lower.

Bottom line

In this guide to Qatar Airways Privilege Club, we walked you through earning and redeeming Qatar miles and discussed details on the carrier’s elite status programme. If you got this far, you should have a good understanding of how the programme works and how to best redeem your Qatar miles.

That said, Privilege Club isn’t the best programme out there. Unless you really value the airline’s elite status, you’re generally better off crediting Oneworld flights to another partner for better redemption rates.

Some to consider are American Airlines AAdvantage, British Airways Executive Club and Cathay Pacific Asia Miles.

Feature photo by Jordan Tan/Shutterstock

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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