In a significant shift for the global frequent flyer community, Qatar Airways has announced its plans to transition from its native Qmiles currency to adopt Avios, the loyalty currency well known to British Airways and Iberia patrons.
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Qatar’s Game-Changing Move
Beginning late March, with whispers suggesting the 22nd, Qatar Airways will phase out Qmiles from its loyalty program, the Qatar Privilege Club. Current members need not fret, as all existing Qmiles balances will transition to Avios at a straight 1:1 conversion rate.
This switch also spells good news for members of other airlines using Avios as their primary loyalty currency. With this transition, loyalists of British Airways Executive Club, Iberia Plus, Aer Lingus Aer Club, and Vueling Club can potentially gain greater accessibility to Qatar Airways’ acclaimed offerings, including their widely-lauded QSuite in business class.
Avios Broadens its Horizon
Avios, traditionally associated with British Airways and Iberia, offers its members an extensive array of rewards. From flights across the Oneworld alliance to upgrades and even everyday essentials like groceries, Avios has dominated the loyalty landscape in the West. With this announcement, Avios is now expanding its footprint to Doha.
For those who frequently fly Qatar Airways and are members of the Privilege Club, this change signifies that they will accrue Avios points for their flights. An added advantage? These points can be conveniently transferred between British Airways and Qatar Airways at a 1:1 ratio.
Guaranteed Seats with Avios
One standout feature of this transition is Qatar Airways’ decision to guarantee a minimum number of seats on their flights for Avios users, barring the first class. This initiative mirrors British Airways’ previous commendable move to ensure availability for Avios members, ensuring more transparency and access for loyal customers.
An Exciting New Chapter
Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways group chief executive, expressed enthusiasm about the switch, stating, “The transition from Qmiles to Avios marks a groundbreaking new era for Privilege Club.” He hinted at more exciting announcements in the coming weeks that would further enhance the rewards for their loyal customers.
Despite being an integral member of the Oneworld alliance alongside British Airways and Iberia, Qatar Airways’ alignment with Avios is not just restricted to this partnership. Its deeper connection lies in the fact that Qatar Airways is the most substantial shareholder of the International Airlines Group (IAG), which owns every airline that currently uses Avios.
Decoding the Decision
For many, this move might come as a surprise, prompting questions about the commercial reasoning behind such a monumental shift. Indeed, while sharing Avios is a straightforward affair for airlines under the IAG umbrella, Qatar Airways operates as an independent entity, notwithstanding its 25.1% stake in IAG. Hence, the intricacies of “combining Avios” between Qatar Airways and an IAG-affiliated loyalty program would be interesting to explore, considering potential financial implications.
In summary, this seismic shift in the loyalty space is bound to redefine the frequent flyer landscape, not just for Qatar Airways patrons but for all Avios members. As the dust settles and more details emerge, the broader implications of this change will become clearer. Until then, Avios’ embrace by Qatar Airways holds promise and piques curiosity.