6 Best Ways to Redeem Qatar Qmiles for Max Value [2018]

qatar business class

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The Qatar Airways Privilege Club program is not one that receives much attention, especially after a recent devaluation.

As you’ll see below, the airline requires quite a few miles for most redemptions and passes on fuel charges to customers, which can be expensive.

With that said, there’s still value to be found — especially when the revenue cost of a flight is high.

Redeeming Qmiles With Airline Partners

Qatar does not offer a co-branded credit card for U.S. travelers, but they do partner with 3 of the 4 transferable point programs: American Express, Citi, and Marriott.

Here are our favorite credit card options for accruing points that can be transferred to Qatar.

Recommended Amex Cards (Personal)

Recommended Amex Cards (Business)

Marriott-SPG Cards

In addition, you can earn Citi ThankYou Points and transfer those to Qatar as well.

The 6 Best Ways to Redeem Qatar Qmiles 

With an understanding of some of the ways to earn Qmiles, below you will find the best ways to use them.

When you are calculating the number of miles required for a flight, it’s important to note Qatar uses both a mileage calculator and partner award chart, both of which are shown below.

1. Fly American Airlines U.S. to Europe: 70,000+ Miles in Business Class, One-Way

american airlines business class 777
Use Qmiles to fly American Airlines business class! Image courtesy of aa.com.

American Airlines offers a number of nonstop flights from the U.S. to cities in Europe.

With 70,000-120,000 Qmiles, you can book a one-way business class flight from the U.S. to Europe. Booking an economy award also provides value, with 35,000-60,000 Qmiles required for a one-way flight.

American Airlines flies the following non-stop routes to Europe that you can book with Qmiles. The bolded cities are routes that offer first class:

  • New York (JFK) – Barcelona (BCN), London (LHR), Madrid (MAD), Milan (MXP), Paris (CDG)
  • Chicago (ORD) – London
  • Miami (MIA) – Barcelona, London, Madrid, Milan, Pais 
  • Dallas (DFW) – London, Madrid, Paris 

Taxes and fees for a one-way business class flight vary from $93-$323.

Need help booking an award flight? See our best ways to book American Airlines business class.

Bottom Line: While 70,000-120,000 miles for a one-way business class flight is much higher than I would recommend paying, if you have Qmiles and the revenue flight cost on your dates of travel are high, you can receive outstanding value. 

2. Fly Cathay Pacific North America to Asia: 225,000+ Miles in First Class, One-Way

Cathay Pacific First Class Seat 2A - Front View
Use your Qmiles to fly Cathay Pacific first class! Image courtesy of Upgraded Points.

Cathay Pacific flies from 8 North American cities to Hong Kong, which makes finding award space much easier.

With 225,000-255,000 Qmiles, you can book a one-way first class flight from the U.S. to Hong Kong. Booking an economy or business class award ticket will likely not result in much value for your points.

If you do end up booking economy or business class, you will need 75,000-85,000 Qmiles for economy or 100,000-150,000 Qmiles for business class.

Nonstop Cathay Pacific flights to Hong Kong (HKG) that can booked with Qmiles include: Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD)Los Angeles (LAX)New York (JFK)San Francisco (SFO), Seattle (SEA), Vancouver (YVR), and Washington (IAD).

(Again, the bolded cities are routes that offer first class.)

Taxes and fees for a one-way first class flight vary from $251-$274.

Need help booking an award flight? See our best ways to book Cathay Pacific first class.

Bottom Line: I only recommend using the number of miles required for first class if 1) you already have Qmiles, and 2) you are intent on flying first class. 

3. Fly Japan Airlines North America to Asia: 180,000+ Miles in First Class, One-Way

japan airlines first class
Use Qmiles to fly JAL first class! Image courtesy of jal.co.jp.

Japan Airlines flies from nearly as many U.S. destinations as Cathay Pacific — 7 compared to 8.

With 180,000-225,000 Qmiles, you can book a one-way first class flight from the U.S. to Japan. Similar to Cathay Pacific, economy and business class award tickets typically do not yield much value.

If you need an economy or business class flight, Qatar requires 50,000-75,000 Qmiles for economy or 100,000-150,0000 Qmiles for business class.

Nonstop Japan Airlines flights to Tokyo (NRT) that can be booked with Qmiles include: Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), Dallas (DFW), Los Angeles (LAX), San Diego (SAN), and Vancouver (YVR).

Additional Japan Airlines nonstop flights that can be booked with Qmiles include New York (JFK) and San Francisco (SFO) to Haneda (HND). The bolded cities are routes that offer first class.

Taxes and fees for a one-way first class flight are around $351.

Need help booking an award flight? See our best ways to book Japan Airlines first class.

Bottom Line: As with Cathay Pacific, I only recommend using this many miles to fly first class if you already have the Qmiles and are dead set on flying first. 

4. Fly Finnair U.S. to Finland: 100,000 Miles in Business Class, One-Way

finnair lounge
Check out the Finnair lounge after you land in Helsinki! Image courtesy of shutterstock.com.

Finnair currently offers 1 nonstop flight from the U.S. to Finland out of JFK.

With 100,000 Qmiles, you can book a one-way business class flight from the U.S. to Finland. Economy flights also represent good value at 50,000 Qmiles for a one-way flight.

Starting in March, you’ll be able to book Finnair flights from both New York (JFK) and Los Angeles (LAX) to Helsinki (HEL).

Taxes and fees for a one-way economy flight are around $188, and around $531 for business class.

Bottom Line: Fuel surcharges are steep on Finnair business class flights at $531 each way. It’s important to take this into account when you are determining the value you’re getting for your points and miles. 

5. Fly Iberia U.S. to Spain: 70,000+ Miles in Business Class, One-Way

Iberia Business Class
Fly Iberia business class to Spain! Image courtesy of Stefan Krasowski.

Iberia flies from 5 U.S. cities to Spain; you can book these nonstops to Madrid (MAD) with Qmiles: Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), and New York (JFK).

With 70,000-120,000 Qmiles, you can book a one-way business class flight from the U.S. to Madrid. You can also receive respectable value by booking an economy flight at 35,000-60,000 Qmiles one-way.

Taxes and fees for a one-way economy flight are around $188, and business class fees are around $531.

Bottom Line: Boston to Madrid requires the least number of Qmiles for both economy and business class at 35,000 and 75,000 miles one-way, respectively. 

6. Fly Qatar U.S. to Doha: 101,500+ Miles in Business Class, One-Way

qatar business class
One of the world’s best business class products is on Qatar Airways. Image courtesy of dailymail.co.uk.

Qatar doesn’t make it cheap to fly in its premium cabin from the U.S. to its Middle East hub.

With 101,500-108,500 Qmiles, you can book a one-way business class flight from the U.S. to Doha. Economy award redemptions typically do not offer value since you can usually find affordable economy flights.

However, if economy flights are expensive on your dates of travel and you would prefer to use miles, you’re looking at 50,750-54,250 Qmiles for a one-way economy flight.

Non-stop Qatar flights to Doha (DOH) that can be booked with Qmiles include: Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), Dallas (DFW), Houston (IAH), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), New York (JFK), Philadelphia (PHL), and Washington (IAD).

Taxes and fees for a one-way economy flight are around $270, and fees for a business class flight are around $643.

Bottom Line: Qatar passes on fuel surcharges for its own and partner airline flights. It’s important to take into account the steep fuel charges on Qatar business class flights since this affects the value of the points and miles you are redeeming. 

Booking Award Flights With Qatar

The main Qatar Airways Privilege Club page outlines the membership tiers, how to earn both Qpoints and Qmiles, how to redeem Qmiles, and more.

If you have a question not answered in this article, you’ll likely find it answered in the Privilege Club section.

Using Your Qatar Qmiles 

Privilege Club is the frequent flyer program of Qatar Airways, and Qmiles are the miles you earn by flying on Qatar or its partner airlines flights.

Qatar is a member of the Oneworld alliance, and the airline also has partnerships with airlines outside of the Oneworld alliance.

Oneworld Qatar Airline Partners

Oneworld Partners
American Airlines
Malaysia Airlines
British AirwaysQantas
Cathay PacificQatar Airways
FinnairRoyal Jordanian
IberiaS7 Airlines
Japan AirlinesSriLankan Airlines
LATAM Airlines

Non-Alliance Qatar Airline Partners

Non-Alliance Partners
GOLMEA
Royal Air MarocBangkok Airways

Qatar Qmiles Award Chart

Qatar uses a mileage calculator when flying on its own flights, and this functions as a distance-based award chart.

Flights from the Eastern U.S. to Doha price out at one rate, while flights from the Central and Western U.S. to Doha price out at another rate.

There is a separate award chart when flying Qatar’s partner airlines, which include the Oneworld alliance. The partner award chart is distance-based, so it’s helpful to use Great Circle Mapper to calculate the distance of your itinerary.

Qatar Airways partner award chart
Qatar Airways partner award chart

Awards Bookable Online vs. Phone

What makes the Qatar program frustrating is the booking process. Based on research and from personal experience using the Privilege Club search engine, you need to have Qmiles in your account to search for award space.

When I attempted to search for both Qatar and partner airline award space, the website redirected me to a new login page every time, which made me start the process over again.

If you have the miles in your account, you’ll be able to search for and book award space. If not, you’ll need to call Qatar at 800-988-6128 to request award availability.

Award Redemption Rules

Qatar has several rules that are important to know before making an award booking:

  • Qmiles are valid for 3 years and will expire in the 6-month period in which the points were earned. For example, points earned between January and June 2018 will expire June 30, 2021.
  • Qpoints are earned for the purpose of your elite tier status.
  • Qmiles are the miles earned that can be used to book award flights.
  • Qmiles can be purchased in blocks of 1,000 Qmiles starting at $35.
  • Qatar imposes an award booking fee of $25 for economy, $50 for business class, and $75 for first class per flight.
  • First class award flights on the A380 service to/from London and Doha are not available.
  • Business or first class award flights are not available for infants (<2 years).
  • Award flights for infants on partner airline flights are not allowed.
  • Open jaws are permitted, but stopovers are not permitted.

Conclusion

Personally, the Qatar Airways Privilege Club program isn’t one I’m running to for my next redemption.

Their combination of expensive redemptions, difficulty searching for and booking award space, and fuel surcharges have me checking out better options.

However, the program does provide value if you already have Qmiles and/or you’re looking to experience the incredible product offered by Qatar!

FAQ

How can I earn miles on Qatar?

You can earn Qmiles for flights on Qatar and its partner airlines by booking trips with its hotel and car rental partners, and/or using credit cards that earn points that can be transferred to Qatar.

Is it possible to earn Qatar Qmiles by using credit cards?

Qatar does not currently offer co-branded credit cards that earn Qmiles for U.S.-based travelers.

What are Qmiles worth?

You should be able to find redemption values greater than 5 cents per mile, particularly for premium cabin award flights.

When I was searching for economy award space, I was able to find 2-5 cents per mile in value.

Are Qmiles refundable?

The date for expiring Qmiles can be extended for a non-refundable fee. After the miles are extended, the miles will be valid for an additional 12 months.

If your Qmiles have already expired, you may extend the expiration date for a non-refundable fee. Revalidated Qmiles will be valid for an additional 12 months.

When do Qmiles expire?

Qmiles are valid for 3 years and will expire in the 6-month period in which the miles were earned. For example, miles earned between January and June 2018 will expire June 30, 2021.

Is Qatar part of American Airlines?

Qatar is not part of American Airlines, but both airlines are part of the Oneworld alliance.

The alliance means you can redeem your Qatar miles for flights on American Airlines and your American Airlines miles for flights on Qatar.

While you can use miles from one airline to fly another airline, it’s not possible to combine miles between the 2 programs.

How much does it cost to buy Qmiles?

You can buy up to 60,000 Qmiles in 1 calendar year for your own account. You can also buy up to 60,000 Qmiles in 1 calendar year as a gift for another Privilege Club member.

You must have earned at least of 3,000 Qmiles since you enrolled in a new account to purchase additional Qmiles.

Qmiles can be purchased in blocks of 1,000 starting at $35, and prices drop as low as $30 depending on the number of Qmiles you purchase.

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2 comments

  1. Some of the information here is no longer correct. Let me summarise:

    – you cannot check award space availability for partners online or by phone. You can only request availability after which you will have to wait 2 days to get an answer.
    – you cannot book or check award space availability by phone, or do anything by phone for that matter. I’ve tried, but I’m not from the US (I am from Europe).
    – when you finally do get an answer the answer will always be ‘no available space’. At least for me and i’ve made 20+ requests for different routes and airlines, mostly short flights of max 2 hours. Note these were always partner awards, not QA itself.
    – the value per mile is nowhere near 5 cents (I wish..). Example: a oneway from amsterdam to bangkok in economy will cost you about 56000 miles. I value this at about 300 USD. So the value per mile is closer to 0.5 cent per mile. And I’m not even including the surcharges here which are 50 USD (for booking 2 segments) and fuel surcharges.

    Unfortunately the huge devaluation of qatar made the whole program useless. The best value you can get now is convert any points you have to accor points (haven’t tried this myself). Partner awards seemingly get ok value but they are unbookable. Qatar awards are ridiculously expensive, both in miles and surcharges.

    Take my advice and stay very far away from this rewards program. And for me personally I will never fly qatar again as they really screwed me bad with this (unannounced) devaluation. It’s a shame because I do like their product but this is no way to treat frequent flyers.

    • Michael McHugh · October 17, 2018 · Reply

      Hi Stef

      Thanks for bringing this to my attention as I was not aware Qatar doesn’t allow you to book partners online or by phone.

      Just to confirm, you called 800-988-6128, requested availability for a Qatar partner multiple times, and each time Qatar stated ‘no available space’?

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