Qatar Airways silently reintroduces redemption fees per segment

Apr 6, 2022

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In February, we learned that Qatar Airways would soon use Avios as its loyalty currency. Then, in March, Qatar launched Avios transfers and British Airways lowered the price of Qsuite awards.

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However, now the good news is souring a bit. On 31 March, Qatar Privilege Club silently reintroduced redemption fees per segment on Qatar-operated flights after removing them in 2020. This change was first noticed by LoyaltyLobby.

To check the redemption fee on an award, you’ll need to go through the booking process on Qatar’s website until you reach the “trip summary” page and can finally click on “fare breakdown.”

Trip summary page when booking a Qatar Avios award
(Screenshot from qatarairways.com)

The redemption fee is $35 (£27) per segment on Qatar-operated economy flights, as you can see on this economy flight award from Atlanta to Male, Maldives, via Doha, Qatar:

Economy award pricing from Atlanta to Male via Doha
Qatar Avios economy award pricing from Atlanta to Male via Doha. (Screenshot from qatarairways.com)

Further, the redemption fee is $70 (£54) per segment on Qatar-operated business flights, as you can see on this business-class award from Atlanta to Male via Doha:

Qatar Avios business-class award pricing from Atlanta to Male via Doha
Qatar Avios business-class award pricing from Atlanta to Male via Doha. (Screenshot from qatarairways.com)

 

The redemption fee is 260 Qatari riyals (about £54) per segment on Qatar-operated first-class flights, as you can see on this first-class award on a Cathay Pacific-configured 777-300ER from Doha to Male:

First class award pricing from Doha to Male
Qatar Avios first-class award pricing from Doha to Male. (Screenshot from qatarairways.com)

And to make matters worse, British Airways is passing on surcharges when you book Qatar-operated flights with British Airways Avios.

When you reach the “Your price quote” page when booking a Qatar-operated award through British Airways, click on the “i” next to “Taxes, fees and carrier charges per person.” For a two-segment business-class award from Atlanta to Muscat, Oman, via Doha, I saw the following:

British Airways passes on Qatar's redemption fee
(Screenshot from britishairways.com)

This shows that British Airways passes on Qatar’s $70-per-segment (£54) redemption fee.

Related: How Qatar Airways’ new 787-9 business class compares to Qsuite

You won’t need to pay the redemption fee when redeeming Qatar Avios for a British Airways-operated flight, though. For example, here’s a look at the Qatar Avios, fees and taxes when booking a British Airways-operated flight from London to Madrid:

Qatar Avios pricing for a British Airways-operated economy award from London to Madrid
Qatar Avios pricing for a British Airways-operated economy award from London to Madrid. (Screenshot from qatarairways.com)

But, if you booked this same flight with British Airways Avios, you’d only need to redeem 11,750 Avios and pay $1 (75p).

Cost when booking London to Madrid with British Airways Avios
(Screenshot from britishairways.com)

Although Qatar isn’t charging a redemption fee for British Airways flights, you’ll still want to avoid using Qatar Avios for these flights.

We couldn’t quickly confirm whether Qatar charges a redemption fee for other partner awards. Even though I have enough Qatar Avios to book an American Airlines-operated award, Qatar only gives me the option to request a partner award ticket and then wait for an email.

Related: Watch us fly Qatar Airways 2 different ways: Qsuite business class vs. economy

Bottom line

Overall, the addition of this redemption fee is a negative for anyone who was excited about redeeming Qatar Avios for Qatar-operated flights. Unless you want to originate or terminate in Doha, you’ll need four segments on Qatar if you plan to fly with the airline round-trip. You’d need to pay $140 (£108) in redemption fees per person in economy (and $280/£214) in redemption fees per person in premium cabins) for a four-segment round-trip itinerary.

Redeeming American Airlines miles for Qsuite awards remains a more compelling option if you can earn enough American Airlines miles. After all, the taxes and fees on Qatar-operated flights booked with American Airlines are still modest. For example, you can redeem 70,000 AAdvantage miles plus $42 (£32) to fly from Atlanta to Male via Doha:

American Airlines award for Qatar-operated flights from Atlanta to Male via Doha.
Redeeming American Airlines miles for Qatar-operated business class from Atlanta to Male via Doha. (Screenshot from aa.com)

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.

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