March 9, 2017
How to Book Qatar’s Business Class Suite for Free
Featured Image Courtesy of Qatar
Qatar’s New Business Class
Yesterday we wrote about Qatar Air’s brand new QSuite business class launching in June 2017. It’ll feature fully-enclosed seats with privacy doors that can turn into double beds or a ‘family room’ for for travelers to enjoy. Now I want to discuss how to actually book awards on Qatar Air so you can fly the new QSuite for free using airline miles!
What Points to Use
Qatar is a partner of the 14-member oneworld alliance, which means you can book Qatar award tickets using partner frequent flyer miles. The best way to book Qatar awards in most cases is by using partner American Airlines miles. American uses a zone-based award chart, which you can find here. This means American will prices award tickets based on which zones you’re flying between. But before we get into award pricing, let’s first look at how to actually find award seats on Qatar.
How to Find Qatar Award Space
The American Airlines website generally doesn’t show Qatar award space. So instead, you need to search for Qatar awards on oneworld partner British Airways. If a Qatar award shows up on British Airways’ website, it should be bookable with American miles. Now, BA’s website doesn’t have the most intuitive website for searching partner awards so let’s walk through the process. First, you need to make a British Airways Executive Club account (that’s their free frequent flyer program).
Once you’re logged in, scroll over the ‘Executive Club’ tab and click ‘Spending Avios’. Then scroll down and select ‘Book a Reward Flight’. Now you can input your flight route, date, and class. With the British Airways search engine, you want to search individual flights one at a time. For example, if you want to fly from Boston to Cape Town, you should search the Boston-Doha segment separately from the Doha-Cape Town segment. Searching from Boston-Cape Town will only show you awards on British Airways operated flights because the flight requires a connection.
Remember, we’re only checking to see which flights have bookable award space. Once you find the flights you need, you’ll book the actual flights with American Airlines.
Booking the Award Flight
Once you know which flights you want to take, you can check how many American Airlines miles it’ll cost by checking out the AA Award Chart. American allows you to use Doha as a connecting hub between the following regions:
- US to Africa
- Europe to Asia 1, Asia 2, and South Pacific
- Africa to Asia 1 and Asia 2
For Qatar operated flights between the above regions on the award chart, American will price out the ticket as a one-segment award ticket. For example, a flight from Boston-Doha-Cape Town would cost 75,000 American miles in business class since it’s a US to Africa flight. Alternatively, if you booked something like Boston-Doha-Bangkok, those two flights would price out separately. (70K miles for Boston-Doha + 40K miles for Doha-Bangkok in business class=110K AA miles). Now that you know how many miles you need, call up American Airlines and tell them which flights you want to book on Qatar Air with your American miles.
When to Book Using British Airways Avios Miles
British Airways Avios miles are a good option for short flights. Their award program is distance based-so the further you fly the more miles it’ll cost. However, the problem is they charge very high fuel surcharges on long flights, so it rarely makes sense to book a long-haul award flight using Avios miles. But for short flights, award prices are generally reasonable and fuel charges are cheap so it can make sense. If you’re taking a short flight on Qatar, just look up the route on the British Airways search engine like before, and you can book the award ticket online without calling anyone.
How to Get American + British Air Miles
Of course you can earn miles by flying these airlines or their oneworld partners and crediting the flights to the frequent flyer program of your choice, but that’s hardly the best way. American Airlines offers three Citi credit cards with a minimum sign-up bonus of 30,000 miles which each offer their own perks and earn American miles for spending. Alternatively, Starwood points can be transferred to American Airlines at a 1:1 ratio and when you transfer 20,000 points, you get a 5,000 point transfer bonus! It’s a bit easier to accumulate British Airways Avios-you can transfer points from Starwood (transfer 20,000 points to get a 5,000 points bonus), Chase Ultimate Rewards, or American Express.
Qatar’s new QSuite business class looks fantastic and I can’t wait to try it out. I typically only book award flights on long-haul flights, so I’ll be transferring miles into my American Airlines account to book one of these seats. The first route Qatar has announced for the new QSuite is Doha-London, launching in June 2017. I’ll be waiting until longer flights begin offering the new seats to book this award flight.