Qatar Airways will officially join the oneworld airline alliance on October 30 this year, in a move which will further enhance Qantas' global network and provide the Australian airline with a second Gulf powerhouse partner alongside Emirates.
Qatar's membership will 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, which are Qatar's two Australian ports.
Oneworld counts Qatar as a king-sized feather in its cap, not least of all because it’s the first of the three powerhouse Gulf carriers to sign up to an alliance.
“Qatar is a really, really good fit for us" oneworld CEO Bruce Ashby told Australian Business Traveller earlier this year.
“They connect to a lot of places that we didn’t have a member already serving so Qatar is actually quite complementary.”
“They can carry people into a lot of points into Southern Europe and Africa where we didn’t have much presence before, and there are a lot of niches like that where they offer great value to flesh out our network.”
Qatar Airways will be oneworld’s second member airline based in the Middle East, alongside Royal Jordanian, which joined oneworld in 2007.
Qatar joins oneworld: how Qantas travellers will benefit
Qantas Frequent Flyers will enjoy full "earn and burn" for points plus reciprocal access agreements with Qatar Airways' Privilege Club program.
Qatar has also introduced a new Platinum status level to line up against the top tiers of other oneworld member airlines.
Here's how the Qatar and Qantas tiers stack up.
- Qatar Privilege Club Platinum = Qantas Platinum = oneworld Emerald
- Qatar Privilege Club Gold = Qantas Gold = oneworld Sapphire
- Qatar Privilege Club Silver = Qantas Silver = oneworld Ruby
Qatar Airways will also open up some new routes for Qantas passengers, although many will effectively duplicate those of Emirates.
In Australia, Qatar flies to its hub in Doha from Melbourne and Perth daily, with a swath of connections on to Europe and Africa.
But while Sydney may seem an obvious next step for Qatar, the airline's CEO has previously nixed Sydney flights citing high costs and the overnight curfew as deal-breaking restrictions.
Fully flat beds on the long haul to Doha
Qatar's long-distance A340 and some A330 planes have a three-class layout of first/business/economy; the Boeing 777s, 787s and some A330s plus smaller jets carry a two-class (business/economy) configuration.
Business class on the airline's Boeing 777s and 787s is a fully flat bed, while angled lie-flat seats are found in business on other planes.
With both Melbourne and Perth flights currently 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.
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.
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