Frequent flyers are used to waiting anywhere from hours to days after a trip for points to be credited to their account, but Qatar Airways is changing that up for the better.
As of today, January 24, members of the airline’s Privilege Club loyalty program will receive their full serve of Avios before their Qatar Airways flight leaves the ground.
It’s a welcome break from convention, and also means those Avios can be used to apply for an upgrade right away.
Qatar Airways says its frequent flyers will see those Avios land in their account up to 120 minutes before their flight’s departure – indeed, “within 120 minutes maximum of checking in”, a Qatar Airways executive tells Executive Traveller, and that includes online check-in.
For example, a Qatar Airways business class flight from Sydney to Doha earns up to 15,000 Avios, which a traveller would find at their disposal while still sitting in the lounge, well before boarding the flight.
Those Avios might typically be used towards an upgrade, such as an On Departure upgrade for the first leg of their trip or on a connecting flight from Doha to elsewhere on the QR network, or even transferred across to your British Airways Executive Club account to redeem against a later points-based BA ‘reward flight’.
The innovation ‘soft launched’ as a live trial in recent weeks and is now available to all 12 million Privilege Club members.
However, the spokesman confirmed that only Qatar Airways Privilege Club members can enjoy this near-instant crediting of Avios – the perk is not available for members of other programs.
Turn your Doha stopover into a ‘shopover’
Another fresh opportunity for frequent flyers is the ability to earn and spend Avios at Doha’s Hamad International Airport, in partnership with Qatar Duty Free.
The proposition covers almost 200 retail and dining outlets at the sprawling hub.
“We want our customers to be able to earn and burn using Avios on every trip” explains Thabet Musleh, Vice President of Qatar Duty Free. “be it buying a cup of coffee or a Louis Vutton handbag.”
“There’s nobody else in the world that can do this on the scale we do… having the whole one ecosystem makes us very unique,” he reasons.
In addition to making your Doha stopover an obvious points-earning ‘shopover’, purchases can be made using a cash+Avios mix.
And being armed the right Avios-earning credit card from the likes of Qatar Airways or British Airways unlocks that valuable ‘double dip’ on Avios earned at this ‘emporium within an airport.’
“We’re also working with various brands to create exclusive products just for our members,”
Musleh says, “such as kids eating for free at certain restaurants etc. So it’s super exciting for us and our Privilege Club members.”
Smooth transition to Avios
It’s been almost a year since Qatar Airways Privilege Club adopted the same Avios currency as British Airways, Iberia and Aer Lingus, and the airline says the move went “surprisingly well, better than expected” given its relative complexity.
“The actual technical side went well, and (the Avios proposition) has been very well received” relates Noora Al-Ansari, Qatar Airways’ Manager of Loyalty Marketing.
A key metric for Al-Ansari was the number of loyalty accounts which would be linked with the likes of British Airways Executive Club, enabling the fast and free transfer of Avios between programs.
“We were expecting in the first year we could get around 100,000, although we didn't have a baseline for having done this before… we actually have in excess of 250,000 linked accounts, which is very significantly above what we were expecting.”