Qatar joins oneworld by early 2014

By John Walton, October 9 2012

Qatar Airways is joining the oneworld alliance and will take its place alongside Qantas, Cathay Pacific, British Airways and other partner airlines by early 2014.

The deal, long rumoured but only officially announced this morning, will eventually see Qantas travellers able to earn and burn frequent flyer points on Qatar flights, enjoy access to Qatar's decidedly upscale lounges and tap into Qatar's own network to add flexibility to their flight schedule, especially from Melbourne and Perth where the airline currently operates.

British Airways is also said to be in discussions with Qatar Airways about a joint venture on routes between Australia and the UK, taking over from the Qantas-BA alliance which will be dissolved in March 2013.

Qatar is the Gulf region's second largest airline, behind than Emirates but ahead of Etihad, and was most recently the travel news for taking delivery of the first of 30 Boeing 787 Dreamliners (a total shopping bill of A$6 billion at list price).

The business class cabin inside Qatar's new Boeing 787 is a real trend-setter

Read: Photo tour – inside Qatar Airways' Boeing 787 Dreamliner

It's also the first of the three Gulf carriers to join an alliance, with both Emirates and Etihad consistently ruling out such a move.

In Australia, Qatar flies to its hub in Doha from Melbourne daily and Perth thrice weekly, with numerous connections on to Europe and Africa.

As for Sydney, while this might seem an obvious next step, last year the airline's CEO nixed Sydney flights, citing high costs and the overnight curfew as deal-breaking restrictions.

Even so, Qatar's network isn't as much about providing new destinations for Australian travellers as it is a chance to add extra schedule options to your flights while still earning Qantas points, and an alternative to the Qantas-Emirates alliance.

It's a long trek to Qatar's home hub in Doha – over 14 hours from Melbourne

Qatar Privilege vs Qantas Frequent Flyer

Qantas Frequent Flyers will enjoy full "earn and burn" for points plus reciprocal access agreements with Qatar Airways' Privilege Club program.

Privilege Club is a four-tier program, starting at the basic Privilege Club level, and ascending through Burgundy, Silver and Gold – here's how the tiers stack up against Qatar's new oneworld siblings.

  • Qatar Gold = Qantas Platinum = oneworld Emerald
  • Qatar Silver = Qantas Gold = oneworld Sapphire
  • Qatar Burgundy =  Qantas Silver = oneworld Ruby

For lounge access, we expect Qantas Platinums to have access to Qatar's Oryx Lounge at Doha, while Qantas Golds will head to the Silver Lounge.

Fully flat beds on the long haul to Doha

Qatar's long-distance A340 and some A330 planes have a three-class first/business/economy layout, while Boeing 777 planes, some A330s and smaller jets carry a two-class (business/economy) configuration.

Business class on the airline's Boeing 777s is a fully flat bed, while angled lie-flat seats are found in business on other planes.

With both Melbourne and Perth flights using Qatar's Boeing 777s, business travellers will find these more appealing than the angled lie-flat seats on Emirates' 777s or Qantas' Airbus A330s – especially when the flight to Doha is a length 14h15 from Melbourne, or 11h25 from Perth.

Need all the details of Emirates' business class offerings to make the comparison? We've got you covered.

Lounging around

Qatar's lounge network around the world is less developed than Emirates', but its home Oryx lounge for first and business passengers in Doha receives rave reviews from travellers.

There's even a Premium Terminal – yes, an entire terminal – exclusively for first and business class travellers with a range of dining options and, naturally, a spa.

First and business travellers stopping over in Doha can take advantage of Qatar's Premium Arrivals lounge.

At London Heathrow, Qatar's Terminal 4 lounge is the first the airline has built for itself outside Doha, and it's certainly dressed to impress.

A swish London lounge is a draw for passengers heading for Heathrow.

We'll keep you posted on developments with Qatar Airways, and for the latest news, follow us on Twitter: we're @AusBT.

John Walton
John Walton

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

KG

KG

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2011

Total posts 736

small correction: QR Gold equals QF Plat equals Oneworld Emerald (not the stated saphire). QR Silver would be equivalent to QF Gold and equaling  Oneworld Saphire

John Walton

John Walton

03 Jan 2011

Total posts 673

Thanks, KG. The journalist responsible for the error has been summarily flogged.

11sjw

11sjw

11 Mar 2012

Total posts 285

No love for One World Emerald's re the Premium Terminal or Premium Arrivals Lounge?

John Walton

John Walton

03 Jan 2011

Total posts 673

As the commenters downthread highlight, the premium terminal and arrivals lounge will be attached to a completely different airport by the time that Qatar joins oneworld.

Daniell

Daniell

26 May 2011

Total posts 58

I hold Gold status with Qatar, and even Gold doesn't get you into the Premium Lounge at Doha nor LHR, unless you are travelling in P or J, so I can't see them offering it to OneWorld Emerald unless travelling in the applicable class. You are, however, entitled to use the Oryx Lounge in Doha, and receive several guest passes. 

KG

KG

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2011

Total posts 736

Part of the Oneworld benefits as Emerald is access to First Class lounges. Is the Oryx lounge clasified as First Class Lounge or is the proper First Class lounge only at the premium Terminal? If the latter is the case they wil have to grant access for Emerald status holders. Of course they can make an arrangement as BA has, where Concorde (in this case premium temrinal) is only for F class ticket holders and Oryx will get a seperate F versuion / section (if not yet the case).

lsal0106

lsal0106

18 Jan 2012

Total posts 15

The discussion on lounges is a moot point - by the time QR joins oneworld, there will be a new terminal in Doha.

KG

KG

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2011

Total posts 736

Fail to see why it is a "moot" point. Do you have info on what lounges will be created in the new terminal? Will they keep the concept of a premium terminal? Regardless of a airport, it would still be nice to have access to a premium terminal with Emerald status if they still provide a dedicated terminal.

AusFlyer

AusFlyer

10 Mar 2011

Total posts 531

Great! More options for OneWorld flyers! Can't wait until this is all set up and going!

hutch

hutch

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1218

Great news as Qatar is a great airline. Now all oneworld needs is a Chinese mainland partner.... HU has been mentioned and hopefully CX will allow this to happen soon.

Alpal451

Alpal451

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2012

Total posts 6

Can hightly recommend flying Qatar


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