With free upgrades to business class, a ‘meet and greet’ service in Doha and worldwide Oneworld lounge privileges for top-tier Gold and Platinum members, Qatar Airways’ Privilege Club is a great alternative to Qantas Frequent Flyer for travellers heading to the Middle East and beyond.
And for less-frequent flyers who won’t make it past the Silver rung, you’ll also enjoy lounge access in many airports worldwide whenever flying with Qatar.
If Qatar Airways’ Privilege Club program piques your interest, here’s what you need to know about it.
Qatar Airways Privilege Club 101
As a member of the global Oneworld alliance, Privilege Club cardholders can earn miles in Australian skies with Qantas, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, and of course, Qatar Airways itself.
Add to that list American Airlines, Finnair, Iberia, Royal Jordanian and SriLankan Airlines when jetting abroad within the Oneworld family, along with LATAM, jetBlue, Middle East Airlines, Bangkok Airways, S7 Airlines, Oman Air and Virgin Australia.
Like most loyalty programs, Privilege Club is free to join – simply visit the Qatar Airways website to sign-up, and remember to attach your frequent flyer number to your reservation when you next travel with Qatar or one of its partners.
The miles you earn – or ‘Avios’, in Qatar Airways lexicon – are valid for at least three years, and expire twice per year: that’s on June 30 and December 31, excluding Platinum members whose Avios won’t expire for as long as they maintain their Platinum status.
For example, if you earned 10,000 Avios in April 2022 and a further 15,000 Avios in September 2022, those 10,000 miles will expire on June 30 2025, and that chunk of 15,000 on December 31 2025.
However, every time you earn or redeem an Avios, your balance will be valid for a further 36 months. You may also extend or revalidate expired Avios by a further 12 months at a fee of US$0.015 per Avios.
Qatar Airways Privilege Club tiers
Members begin at the entry-level Burgundy tier before making their way through Silver, Gold and Platinum as they begin to notch up ‘Qpoints’.
Somewhat confusingly for Aussies who are more familiar with the concept of ‘points’ and ‘status credits’, Qpoints are Qatar’s version of status credits, while Avios are akin to frequent flyer points.
Qpoints can be picked up whenever travelling with Qatar or a Oneworld airline including Qantas, American, BA or Cathay Pacific, as well as with the program’s non-Oneworld partners such as Virgin Australia.
Aditionally, you'll be able to rack up Avios on the ground through a range of over 100 non-flight partners available worldwide
If you’ll be joined in the air by family members, you can also pool their Avios – although not status-earning Qpoints – to your Privilege Club account at 1/4 of the usual earning rate.
Qatar Airways Privilege Club Silver
After earning 150 Qpoints in any 12-month period you’ll step up from Burgundy to Silver status, and in future years will need only 135 Qpoints in the same period or 270 Qpoints over any 24-month window to retain your Silver card.
That comes with a serve of 25% more Avios whenever travelling on a Qatar Airways flight with a QR flight number (an ‘operated and marketed flight’), and access to the Privilege Club priority check-in counters in Doha and to the airline’s business class check-in desks in other airports including Melbourne and Perth.
Add to that free business class lounge access in most airports whenever travelling with Qatar, two free passes each year to bring a guest into the lounge with you at Doha’s Hamad International Airport, priority boarding and an extra 15kg of baggage allowance - or one extra piece - on Qatar flights.
You’ll also be given priority over Burgundy travellers and non-members when stuck on stand-by or waitlist, and will earn 1/2 the regular number of Avios if pooling from your family’s accounts: twice that of entry-level members.
Through Qatar’s Oneworld membership, Privilege Club Silver members enjoy Oneworld Ruby status that grants alliance-wide priority check-in privileges, plus access to preferred or pre-reserved seating – usually a little closer towards the front of the cabin.
After flying enough with Qatar and Oneworld to reach Silver twice-over in any 12-month period you’ll be escalated to Privilege Club Gold and Oneworld Sapphire status.
That brings with it alliance-wide priority boarding, baggage handling and lounge access – including to the business class lounges of Qantas, British Airways and Cathay Pacific, and the American Airlines Admirals Clubs whenever travelling onwards with any Oneworld airline.
You can also bring a guest into those and other Oneworld lounges, as well as Qatar’s Doha Gold Lounge without needing numbered guest passes as you would as a Silver member – but you’ll receive four of these anyway to use for extra guests throughout the year.
(In Doha and London, Qatar uses separate lounges for frequent flyers travelling in economy – so head to the Qatar Frequent Flyer Lounge in London or the Qatar Gold Lounge in Doha rather than the Qatar 'Premium Lounge' or the Al Mourjan Lounge, which are only for passengers holding a business or first class ticket.)
Gold members also collect 75% more Avios on Qatar Airways flights, receive the full haul of Avios when pooling from family members (100% of what the family member would have otherwise earned), and can pack an extra 20kg into their checked baggage or bring along an extra suitcase.
There’s also a free ‘meet and greet’ service for Gold frequent flyers arriving at, departing from or transiting through Hamad International if specifically requested at least 24 hours beforehand; priority baggage handling, a 5% saving when booking award tickets online with Avios (which also come with more availability for Gold and Platinum members) and various fee waivers when changing award bookings.
Add to that 40 ‘Qcredits’ each year which can be swapped for free upgrades from most economy fares to business class. For example, an upgrade from Melbourne to Doha needs 39 Qcredits, while Doha-London takes just 28.
Finally, Gold members can also nab a confirmed economy seat on an already-full Qatar Airways flight when booking within 48 hours of departure.
Qatar Airways Privilege Club Platinum
Reel in 600 Qpoints in a year: twice what’s needed for Gold or four times for Silver, and a shiny Privilege Club Platinum card is yours for the taking, along with Oneworld Emerald status that’s on-par with Qantas Platinum.
That comes with 60 Qcredits each year – enough for a free one-way business class upgrade from Melbourne to London – and a 100% Avios bonus on Qatar Airways flights.
You’ll also have access to Oneworld first class check-in counters worldwide, with the exception of Doha where you’ll use the same priority counter as Silver and Gold Privilege Club members, and first and business class lounges across Oneworld including the Qantas First Lounge in Sydney and Melbourne:
When flying with Qatar you’ll be able to bring in two guests at no charge – or one guest when travelling with other Oneworld airlines including Qantas – and will receive five single-use guest passes to redeem when travelling with a larger crowd through Doha.
You can also lug along an extra 25kg of checked baggage or one extra suitcase on most Oneworld flights (with the exception of British Airways’ ‘hand baggage only’ fares).
Earning Qatar Privilege Club Avios and Qpoints
The number of Avios and Qpoints you'll earn on Qatar Airways flights is based on the fare class distance flown and status level. The more you spend on your ticket, the more Avios and Qpoints you’ll earn.
Case in point, a single return trip from Melbourne to Doha pulls in 3,714 Avios and 36 Qpoints for Burgundy members on the cheapest economy tickets, 11,142 Avios and 76 Qpoints on the least-costly business class fares, and 29,712 Avios and 192 Qpoints on the most flexible seats at the pointy end.
It’s a similar story on the airline’s London-Doha flights, with 1,622 Avios and 20 Qpoints on offer with the cheapest tickets, 4,866 Avios and 40 Qpoints up for grabs on the most-affordable business class fares, and 12,976 Avios and 80 Qpoints on the most expensive tickets.
Privilege Club members travelling with Qantas and other partner airlines can also pocket Avios. However, every partner earns at a different rate, and these are usually less rewarding than flying Qatar Airways.
On that same London-Doja route, for instance, flying with Oneworld partner British Airlines instead of Qatar Airways would earn you 811 Avios and 10 Qpoints on the cheapest economy fare, 4,055 Avios and 30 Qpoints in business class - with all fare classes earning at the same rate - and 4,866 avios and 40 Qpoints in first class.
Redeeming Qatar Privilege Club Avios
Your Avios can be traded in for free flights and upgrades to business and first class with Qatar, and for free flights only with QR’s long line of partners including Qantas and Cathay Pacific.
A Qatar Airways flight from Melbourne to Doha can be had for 35,000 Avios one-way in economy or 70,000 Avios in business class, or if travelling onwards to London on the same booking, you’ll part with just 45,000 Avios in economy and 90,000 Avios in business class overall.
If you’ve already booked your flights to Doha but are stuck in economy, 37,000 Avios can get you a business class upgrade from the most flexible tickets, as can 73,500 miles from those least-expensive.
For the London-bound already booked on confirmed business class tickets, an upgrade to first class costs just 30,000 Avios from Doha. Passengers can also upgrade straight to first class from economy for between 60,000 and 80,000 Avios on the same Doha-London flight.
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