The Qatar Airways Privilege Club isn’t a frequent flyer programme we’ve had much interest in over the last couple of years, following a significant stealth devaluation in May 2018, increasing award rates by over 40% with zero notice. That left many members with Qmiles balances seriously out of pocket, and rightly miffed over the situation.
Earlier this year Qatar Airways offered a status match for elite members of several other frequent flyer programmes, including Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, which is when the Privilege Club programme popped up on our radar again for the first time in a while.
The major benefit there was that a year of Privilege Club Gold or Platinum status was equivalent to holding oneworld Sapphire or Emerald tiers for that period, unlocking access to some great lounges at Changi Airport when flying Economy Class with a oneworld carrier like Malaysia Airlines or Qantas.
More recently the Qatar programme has come back under our spotlight when the airline changed to an activity-based miles expiry policy, and just last week when we revealed that the airline had rolled back its award rates to the far more attractive early 2018 levels.
New member promotion
This latest offer from Qatar provides new Privilege Club members with a bonus of 2,500 Qmiles just for signing up to the programme, plus an additional 5,000 Qmiles and 50 Qpoints (which help you climb the status ladder) when taking any paid Qatar Airways flight between now and 31st March 2021.
Join Qatar Airways Privilege Club using promo code OALQ320T12 and receive 2,500 bonus Qmiles right away. When you take your first flight as a Privilege Club member, fast-track your tier status with 50 bonus Qpoints, you’ll enjoy 5,000 bonus Qmiles too.Qatar Airways
In terms of status, the 50 Qpoints for those taking a paid flight before the end of March next year will get you one-third of the way towards the airline’s Silver tier.
It’s Gold or Platinum you really want though, for access to oneworld Business Class or First Class lounges when flying on one of the alliance’s flights, even in Economy Class.
The 2,500 miles you’ll be credited immediately upon joining, plus the potential 5,000 additional miles for taking a paid flight before the end of March next year, will be valid for at least 3 years under Qatar’s new activity-based miles expiry policy.
You can transfer credit card points in Singapore to Privilege Club from Citi and Standard Chartered credit cards.
Terms and conditions
Here are the full terms and conditions for this Privilege Club sign-up promotion:
- This offer is only applicable to main members who join Privilege Club using the promo code OALQ320T12
- Enrolment Period: 1 November 2020 to 31 December 2020
- Travel Period: 1 November 2020 to 31 March 2021
- Members who join with the applicable Promo Code will receive 2,500 bonus Qmiles at the time of enrolment.
- Members who did not quote the Promo Code at the time of enrolment will not receive the bonus Qmiles.
- First flight bonus of 5,000 Qmiles and 50 Qpoints will be credited to the membership account within 30 days of the first flight activity with Qatar Airways during the promotion period.
- Members need to ensure to quote their Privilege Club number at the time of booking or check-in so the Qmiles and Qpoints can be credited after the first flight travelled.
- In case of retro claims, 5,000 bonus Qmiles and 50 Qpoints will be awarded based if the member’s travel is within the offer period.
- Offer is applicable only for flights operated and marketed by Qatar Airways.
- Travel on Award tickets is not eligible for Bonus Qmiles and Qpoints.
- Existing Privilege Club members are not entitled to participate in this offer and any duplicate accounts will be cancelled by Privilege Club.
- Members need to earn 150 Qpoints to be upgraded to Silver tier.
Qatar redemptions are good value again
As we mentioned above, last week saw the welcome news that Qatar Airways had slashed award rates for members redeeming on its own flights, back to the more reasonable pre-devaluation levels of early 2018.
With no fuel surcharges applied on award tickets, this has elevated the programme to among the best value options for Business Class redemptions in the excellent Qsuite (see our review), especially from Singapore to Europe and back.
Here are some examples.
Business Class redemptions from Singapore
* S$148 if routing via FRA
As you can see, award rates from Singapore have fallen across the board, but it’s Europe flights that get the biggest benefit compared to KrisFlyer, costing 75,000 miles instead of 92,000 miles, with not dissimilar taxes.
Even better, closer cities in Europe like Athens and Sofia are priced at 70,000 miles one-way in Business.
For Singapore to USA flights the saving is less significant at 4,000 miles (95k vs. 99k), though it’s worth noting if you redeem a Business Saver to New York via Frankfurt with SIA the taxes are over S$50 more than using Qatar via Doha, in addition to the extra miles.
Qatar is also serving more cities in the US, including Boston, Chicago and Washington D.C.
Asia Miles is the only other widely held frequent flyer currency for our Singapore readers offering good value redemptions on Qatar Airways, but beware the fuel surcharge!
For example, even though Singapore to London via Doha on Qatar comes in at 70,000 Asia Miles (5,000 less than using Qmiles), S$482 of taxes and fees are payable due to the significant fuel surcharge Qatar Airways passes on to most partners. That significantly outweighs the miles saved.
Even if you’re flying on Qatar Airways without the Qsuite, chances are you’ll secure their flat-bed product with direct aisle access in a 1-2-1 configuration, such as on the Boeing 787 and some Airbus A350s.
These are still a great way to travel. See our full review of the experience between Athens and Doha.
Don’t forget Qatar’s lounges
With attractive redemption rates again, another benefit of flying Qatar Airways is the airline’s own lounges.
While the large facilities you’ll have access to on a Business Class award ticket during transit in Doha are nice, it’s the carrier’s ‘outstation’ Premium Lounges that really shine, including facilities at London Heathrow, Paris, Bangkok and right here in Singapore.
With à la carte dining, spacious shower suites and a martini bar, including a choice of two Champagnes, the new Singapore Lounge even puts SIA’s own First Class facility to shame.
Before last week, we really wouldn’t have been at all excited by the prospect of earning a ‘free’ 2,500 Qmiles (and up to 7,500 Qmiles for some) when you signed up for a Qatar Airways Privilege Club account, but things have changed.
The airline’s recent reversal of an unannounced devaluation some two years ago has shifted the redemption metrics significantly.
Even if you won’t be taking a paid Qatar Airways flight between now and 31st March 2021, the basic 2,500 Qmiles bonus for all new members would reduce your effective miles outlay for a Singapore to Athens redemption in Business Class to 67,500 miles.
With taxes of less than S$70 to pay and the Qsuite to look forward to between Singapore and Doha, that’s fantastic value.
Decent bonuses like this simply to join a frequent flyer programme are quite rare, so this is certainly a good time to sign up for the Qatar Airways Privilege Club scheme, even if you don’t think you’ll use it.
(Cover Photo: Qatar Airways)