Qatar Airways is dropping an 'award flight fee' applied to any booking made using frequent flyer points, in a welcome move which will put hundreds of dollars back in passengers' pockets.
The fee, introduced some two years ago, was set at the following rates:
- US$25 for economy
- US$50 for business class
- US$75 for first class
However, those charges were applied to each segment of a booking, rather than the entire journey.
For example, using points to book a Qatar Airways flight from Sydney to Paris in business class would see two US$50 fees applied – one for the flight from Sydney to Qatar Airways' Doha hub, and another for the Doha-Paris leg. This added US$200 to the cost of a return flight.
As almost all journeys on Qatar Airways involve changing flights at Doha, the award flight fee meant a charge of US$100 to US$300 on return bookings.
The airline has now decided to axe the award fee, with emails to members of its Privilege Club loyalty program stating:
"As we continue to reinstate flights, with 59 destinations globally this June, we want to make it easier for you to use Qmiles to fly to those destinations when the moment is right to explore together again. That’s why, we will no longer be applying Award Flight fees, usually USD 25 per segment in Economy, USD 50 per segment in Business, or USD 75 per segment in First."
As previously reported, Qatar Airways is ramping up flights to about half of its network by the end of June, as governments around the globe start easing travel restrictions following months of lockdown.
The Gulf airline and Qantas partner is also launching a joint business agreement with British Airways covering flights between the UK, Europe and Australia, which will go well beyond the current "arm’s length codeshare and interline arrangements" relationship of both airlines.
It will allow for BA and Qatar to co-ordinate on schedules, pricing, sales and marketing, capacity, frequent flyer programs and lounge access on routes "between four Australian cities and the UK/Europe (which) operate via Doha" – those cities currently being Canberra, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.
The northern hemisphere end of the alliance taps into over 100 destinations predominately in the UK, France, Germany and Spain.