Your Qatar Airways status match includes a free business class upgrade

Whether you've just grabbed Gold or even picked up Platinum, there's a complimentary business class upgrade waiting for you.

By Chris Chamberlin, June 18 2020
Your Qatar Airways status match includes a free business class upgrade

Has your status match to Qatar Airways Privilege Club just landed? There's a little surprise waiting in your account: enough 'Qcredits' for a business class upgrade, without having to earn a single mile.

For Gold members, the gift is enough for an upgrade from economy to business class between Australia and Doha, while Platinum cardholders receive ample Qcredits to upgrade from Australia right through to Europe and the USA.

Here’s what you need to know about those all-important Qcredits, and how to use them to upgrade to business class when you next take an international Qatar Airways flight.

How to earn Qatar Airways Privilege Club Qcredits

Every year, Qatar Airways gives its Privilege Club Gold and Platinum cardholders a balance of Qcredits, which are now valid for two years from the date of issue – or one year, if you don’t retain your Gold or Platinum frequent flyer tier after the first year.

Gold members get 40 Qcredits every year, while Platinum members receive 60 Qcredits. This includes Privilege Club Gold and Platinum members who reached that level via Qatar’s recent status match offer.

Eligible Privilege Club members can check their current balance of Qcredits by logging into the Qatar Airways website, and scrolling down the “My dashboard” page. This section also shows the expiry date of those Qcredits:

Qcredits are a benefit exclusive to Gold and Platinum travellers, and aren’t offered to Privilege Club Silver members – regardless of whether that Silver status was earned the hard way, or via a status match.

Qatar Airways also gives extra Qcredits to Platinum members who retain their tier each year and continue flying beyond the mere retention requirements, but for this exercise, we’re just looking at the Qcredits available to spend as a result of your recent status match.

How can you spend Qatar Airways Privilege Club Qcredits?

Privilege Club Qcredits can be used in a variety of ways, with the most enticing being complimentary upgrades on Qatar Airways flights.

Qatar Airways allows members to upgrade from economy class to business class using Qcredits, as well as to upgrade from business class to first class.

However, first class upgrades aren’t available on any Qatar Airways flights to or from London at any time – but regardless, with all of Qatar Airways’ Airbus A380 aircraft currently grounded until at least the second half of 2021, and no first class cabin on other long-range jets, landing a first class upgrade using your Qcredits isn’t currently possible.

There’s one exception, and that’s short-range Qatar Airways flights to and from Doha, which offer two levels of service: first class and economy class, similar to the approach in North America, where the better-than-economy seats are sold as “first class”, with no “business class” in between.

On these flights, it’s possible to use Qcredits for an upgrade straight from economy to first class, as this is the next-best class of service.

Qcredits can also be traded in for single-use airport lounge passes (used for additional guests), excess baggage, and towards the payment of the fees and charges when booking a flight using your Qmiles (frequent flyer points).

These are great alternatives if you won’t have the opportunity to otherwise use your Qcredits before they expire, but by far, the best value from your Qcredits is using them for a complimentary upgrade from economy to business class on an international flight.

How many Qatar Airways Qcredits do you need for an upgrade?

The number of Qcredits required for an upgrade depends on where you’re travelling to.

As a rule, longer flights command more Qcredits, and shorter routes demand fewer Qcredits. The number of Qcredits also differs when you upgrade two connecting flights separately, versus upgrading an entire day’s connecting journey, such as Sydney-Doha-London.

Here’s how many Qcredits you’d need for a one-way upgrade on a variety of Qatar Airways non-stop routes, as well as connecting journeys when that entire journey is upgraded via a single upgrade request.

We’ve also indicated whether that upgrade would be possible for Privilege Club Gold and Platinum members based on their initial serve of Qcredits after earning that tier or being status matched – again, that’s 40 Qcredits for Gold, and 60 Qcredits for Platinum.

One-way flight (either direction)

Qcredits for a business class upgrade

Available to Gold members?

Available to Platinum members?

Australia to Doha

39

Yes

Yes

Australia to Turkey, Eastern Europe (e.g. Athens)

44

No

Yes

Australia to UK; Central and Western Europe (Paris, Rome, Frankfurt etc.)

55

No

Yes

Australia to USA

58 (New York)
60 (Los Angeles)

No

Yes

Doha to Turkey, Eastern Europe

24

Yes

Yes

Doha to UK; Central and Western Europe

28

Yes

Yes

As you can see, newly-minted Privilege Club Platinum members have enough Qcredits for a one-way upgrade from Australia to many of the furthest places on the Qatar Airways network, whereas Privilege Club Gold members have fewer options, given they receive fewer Qcredits.

For Australian Privilege Club Gold members, the best use of their 40 Qcredits will be for a one-way upgrade from economy to business class between Australia and Qatar Airways’ Doha hub, particularly on an overnight flight where the goal is to sleep.

Even so, Platinum members would be wise to use their Qcredits towards an upgrade on a connecting flight – such as from Australia to the UK, Europe or USA via Doha – because more Qcredits are needed when these sectors are upgraded separately, and with a starting balance of 60 Qcredits, a Platinum member wouldn’t have enough to take that separate approach.

Which economy class fares can be upgraded using Qcredits?

Qcredits can only be used for upgrades on flights operated by Qatar Airways, although the airline is generous in that most paid economy class tickets are eligible for Qcredit upgrades, subject to availability.

All flights booked under Economy Flexi, Economy Value and Economy Saver fares are eligible for upgrades using Qcredits.

Economy Promo and Group fares, and flights booked using frequent flyer points from any program, are not eligible for a Qcredit upgrade.

(For more advanced frequent flyers, this makes all fares sold under the Y, B, H, K, M, L, V, S, N and Q banners upgradeable – as well as T and O fares when sold as Economy Saver, but not when sold as Economy Promo.)

How to request an upgrade using Qcredits?

If you already have a Qatar Airways flight booking that you’d like to upgrade using Qcredits, login to your Privilege Club Gold or Platinum account via the Qatar Airways website, and head to the “My dashboard” membership page.

From there, scroll down to the Upcoming Trips section and follow the prompts to access your booking and see whether you can be upgraded – as upgrades are subject to availability.

If your existing booking doesn’t yet appear in this section, you may need to link your frequent flyer number first by clicking “Add a trip”. Have your six-character Qatar Airways booking reference handy:

You can also request an upgrade using Qcredits at the airport before departure, both in Doha and a range of cities including Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Canberra.

However, upgrades requested at the airport are only available for the next onward leg – so if you’re flying from Australia to Doha and then onwards to London, you’ll only be able to upgrade that first leg to Doha while on the ground in Australia.

To upgrade the Doha-London flight as well, you’d need to enquire after your arrival in Doha, before the onward flight.

From the earlier Qcredit upgrade table in this article, you’ll see that it costs more Qcredits to process these upgrades separately – that is, Sydney to Doha, and later, Doha to London – versus requesting a single ‘Sydney to London’ upgrade: but of course, if you were unsuccessful in upgrading online, upgrading at the airport can still be a good alternative.

How to check whether upgrades using Qcredits are available before booking

Qatar Airways doesn’t have a clear process that allows members to confirm whether a flight could be upgraded using Qcredits before booking (and paying for) a flight: short of contacting Qatar Airways customer care and asking the staff to check manually.

However, one thing to consider is whether or not your intended flight can be booked using frequent flyer points in the cabin you hope to upgrade into.

For example, if you’re booked from Sydney to Doha in economy class and are angling for a business class upgrade using Qcredits, head to the Privilege Club website, search for your exact flight, and check whether a business class reward seat is available for booking on that flight using frequent flyer points.

If so, there’s a reasonable chance that you may be able to upgrade using Qcredits from an eligible upgradeable fare – but if you can’t use miles to book that same flight in the higher cabin, it’s unlikely that an upgrade would be available using Qcredits.

As with all upgrades using frequent flyer points, upgrades using Qcredits are limited. Just because a seat is available for sale in the higher cabin doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be able to grab it by using Qcredits.

Also read: Qatar Airways Qsuites review, Doha to Sydney

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 444

Good to Know Chris thank you

Etihad - Etihad Guest

21 Jul 2019

Total posts 34

Of all the 'free' gifts and inducements over these past few months such as extra status credits, extension of status period etc etc offered by various airlines, this one is for me the most impressive and tangible benefit by any airline so far.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

20 Dec 2016

Total posts 12

Interesting but question does this only apply to the holder or to their partner as well?

Hi Howdy1956, the rates indicated in the article are for one-way upgrades for one adult.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Apr 2017

Total posts 121

They're definitely going all out to make the most of this pandemic.

It's a no wonder they've been awarded best airline in the world before, Qatar, Singapore Airlines and even Air New Zealand. Better start catching up Mr Allan Joyce

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Aug 2014

Total posts 107

Can anyone share availability generally in the past of upgrades on Qatar? I know each route and flight will be different, but on Qantas for example business class upgrades can be very difficult/almost impossible to find on some routes.

05 May 2016

Total posts 10

It seems the status match offer ended in May. Is this correct?

For Virgin Australia Velocity members, that's correct. People have been receiving their status matches over the past couple of weeks (mine came through Wednesday night, for instance, and I applied a few weeks back).

05 May 2016

Total posts 10

Thanks, Chris. Sadly I've missed the boat this time :-(

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

10 Jan 2019

Total posts 3

i somehow missed these articles on ET and only enquired of qatar whether i had definitively missed the boat/plane on june 20. they replied promptly and told me that they had a deadline for submission of info regarding status matches within the next 24 hours. i received a status match of my VA silver via email today - so clearly the extension was inclusive of (at least some) virgin customers and perhaps a month beyond the initial cut-off.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Feb 2014

Total posts 9

I tried to do the Status Match offer, and sent them my Platinum Card and also a copy of my statement and they did not Status Match at all. Not going to bother with them as I had trouble with them at all.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Feb 2014

Total posts 9

That was meant to read, not going to bother wasting my time as their website is very difficult and does not work correctly.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 May 2018

Total posts 7

I lived in Doha for a couple of years and flew Qatar Airways very regularly, attaining Gold status two years in a row and using this great upgrade offer - both times MEL-DOH. It was pre QSuite, but in my view Qatar Airways is second to none. Food, service and now the hard product. Hamad International Airport in Doha is also a sight to behold and once we are all back in the air again, I'd encourage fellow fliers to do a stopover there. Sensational hotels and the Museum of Islamic Art is an architectural masterpiece. As far as lounges go, you really want to be flying Qatar business rather than using your OW lounge access. A very second rate lounge is on offer for those without the golden Qatar ticket.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 May 2020

Total posts 6

Hi Chris,

It's perfectly possible to check upgrade availability before booking. To do that you need to use the app, log in and chose book with miles option. Then it looks like a normal booking screen. I highly recommend searching by segments, ie MEL-DOH-MEL and then DOH-chosen destination-DOH. Searching for both flights at once often shows no availability for the route which is available if searched separately. I've used this method multiple times and it never fails. I flew in January 2020 between EU and Tanzania and managed to get all my flights upgraded to business class using this method. I had to spend one extra day in Arusha and o/n in Doha but it was well worth it.

Upgrade availability on flights between Qatar and Australia is almost non-existent since UAE introduced the blockage back in 2017. Saying that though I saw availability from/to Adelaide in April/may 2021. Give it a shot.


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