Deals Oneworld Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways selling Qmiles from 2 US cents each

Get up to 50% bonus when you top-up your Qatar Airways Privilege Club Qmiles balance from 5,000-250,000 miles.

Qatar Airways is offering a bonus of up to 50% when you buy or gift its Qmiles over the next few days, giving you the opportunity to top up your balance in this recently-revalued frequent flyer programme from 2 US cents per mile (around 2.7 Singapore cents per mile).

You can buy up to 250,000 Qmiles per calendar year, which is also the purchase limit during this bonus promotion.

(Image: Qatar Airways)

This 50% bonus isn’t to be confused with the more generous 50% discount Qatar was offering for miles purchases in December last year, which meant purchasing miles at just 1.5 US cents each (around 2 Singapore cents), a much better proposition.

Pro Tip: The current 50% bonus is equivalent to a 33% discount, so it’s probably worth holding off any purchase in case a 50% discount (i.e. 100% bonus) offer comes along later this year.

Another downside about this promotion is that the highest 50% bonus level kicks in only at 40,000+ Qmiles purchased, so if you just need a small top-up it’s going to be even more expensive.

Here’s how the cost of Qmiles looks under this 50% bonus offer:

Miles purchased Usual
Cost per mile
Promotion
Cost per mile
1,000 – 4,000 3.50 US ¢ 3.50 US ¢
(no discount)
5,000 – 10,000 3.50 US ¢ 2.69 US ¢
11,000 – 25,000 3.30 US ¢ 2.36 US ¢
26,000 – 39,000 3.00 US ¢ 2.14 US ¢
40,000 – 250,000 3.00 US ¢ 2.00 US ¢

Notice how Qatar’s variable price banding leads to the strange situation where buying 25,000 miles is actually more expensive than buying 26,000 or 27,000 miles!

2,500 Qmiles sign-up promotion

Even if you’re not planning to buy Qmiles in this promotion, and you’re probably not at these rates, Qatar Privilege Club is still offering a 2,500 Qmiles welcome bonus for new members signing up, even without taking a flight.

That makes it a good time to join if you’re not already a member, so you can take advantage of future promotions with a reasonable (free) miles balance already in place.

(Image: Qatar Airways)

One snag with buying Qmiles was that you must have earned at least 1,000 Qmiles since you first joined the programme in order to be eligible to buy.

Signing up as a new member with the promotion code for 2,500 free miles will solve this issue.

Deadline: 21st March 2021

This bonus offer ends at 11.59pm on Saturday 20th March 2021 in Qatar, which is 4.59am on Sunday 21st March 2021 Singapore time.

  Buy Qatar Airways Qmiles

Qmiles are valuable again

In November last year, Qatar Airways cut its award rates, bringing redemption prices on its flights back to pre-May 2018 levels (when an unannounced and significant devaluation occurred).

With no fuel surcharges passed on to its own members redeeming Qatar Airways flights since 2015, this is now among the cheapest redemption options from Singapore to Europe in Business Class, with the excellent Qsuite also on offer.

The Qatar Airways Qsuite. (Photo: Qatar Airways)

Here are some example redemption options using the programme, showing miles rates and taxes payable for redeeming on Qatar Airways flights one-way from Singapore using Qmiles, against some other programmes.

Qatar Business Class redemption from Singapore
FFP Doha London Athens New York
QRtrans 50k
+S$58
75k
+S$68
70k
+S$68
95k
+S$91
AM Logo trans 61k
+S$422
70k
+S$482
70k
+S$482
90k
+S$605
AVIOStrans 62k
+S$422
124k
+S$482
84k
+S$482
170.25k
+S$605
QFFtrans 75k
+S$422
119.2k
+S$482
90k
+S$482
159k
+S$605
MHtrans 82k
+S$422
131k
+S$482
131k
+S$482
165k
+S$605

As you can see even though you’ll pay slightly less to fly in Business Class from Singapore to London on Qatar Airways using Asia Miles, the fuel surcharge payable through that programme significantly increases the cash outlay to nearly S$500, compared to just S$70 using Privilege Club Qmiles.

Unfortunately Qatar’s partner award chart, for redemptions on oneworld carriers like Qantas, Cathay Pacific and British Airways, remains relatively poor value. For example, Singapore to Hong Kong in Business Class on Cathay will set you back a whopping 50,000 Qmiles + S$55!

For comparison, Asia Miles is charging 25,000 miles in Business Class on that route, with Avios coming in even cheaper at 22,000 miles.

Using Qmiles to redeem partner awards is poor value. (Photo: Cathay Pacific)

Qatar also passes on fuel surcharges (where they are applied) when you redeem Qmiles on partner airlines, so it’s altogether a poor deal and therefore these miles are really best used on Qatar Airways flights themselves.

Qmiles don’t expire

As we reported in July last year, your Qatar Qmiles will no longer expire, provided you earn or redeem at least one mile every three years.

Buying miles also ‘resets the clock’ and keeps your entire Qmiles stash safe for another three years.

That welcome change replaced a former three-year fixed validity policy, not too dissimilar to KrisFlyer’s.

Terms and conditions

Full terms and conditions for this offer are as follows:

The Promotion provides an eligible member with the opportunity to earn a percentage of the Qmiles purchased, gifted as an additional complimentary bonus Qmiles (the “Bonus Qmiles”) during the promotion period from 00.01 GMT +3 on 14th March 2021 to 23.59 GMT+3 on 20th March 2021.

The bonus Qmiles an eligible member can earn will be based upon the number of Qmiles purchased (the “Offer”) when a minimum of 5,000 Qmiles purchased or gifted.

This offer is available only for transactions made to the Buy Qmiles, Gift Qmiles store on qmiles.com via the Points Platform only and cannot be applied in combination with another offer that may be available on the Buy or Gift product.

Qmiles bought or gifted through this Offer will count towards the maximum limit of 250,000 Qmiles allowed in a calendar year. 

Which card to use

If you are going to buy in this promotion, and assuming like most of our readers you are based in Singapore, you’ll want to achieve the maximum number of credit card miles for the purchase itself when buying Qmiles.

The transaction happens in US dollars (i.e. non-SGD) and is processed by points.com.

Pointsdotcom

You can earn the most extra miles for the purchase transaction by using one of the following Singapore issued credit cards if you can:

Card Miles per S$1 Notes
Citi Rewards MC 2019Citi Rewards Visa / MasterCard
(see our review)
4.0 4 mpd on all online spend in a statement period, capped at S$1,000 per card.
Card.pngDBS WWMC*
(see our review)
4.0* 4 mpd on all online spend in a calendar month, capped at S$2,000.
Card.pngUOB Visa Signature
(see our review)
4.0 4 mpd on all overseas spend of at least S$1,000 in a statement period, capped at S$2,000.
image_standard-chartered-visa-infinite@2x02.pngStandard Chartered Visa Infinite
(see our review)
3.0 For non-SGD spend, provided total card spend (any currency) is S$2,000 or greater in the same statement cycle.
UOB-PRVI-MC.pngUOB PRVI Miles (see our review) 2.4 All non-SGD spend.
Card.jpgOCBC Voyage Visa
(see our review)
2.2 All non-SGD spend.
Card2019.pngCiti PremierMiles (see our review) 2.0 All non-SGD spend.
Card2019.pngCiti Prestige (see our review) 2.0 All non-SGD spend.

* Note: Our readers have reported that using the DBS WWMC card via points.com does not automatically award the higher 4 mpd earn rate. You must usually appeal and claim the bonus miles later.

Summary

2.7 Singapore cents per mile is not really a competitive rate to pick up Qatar Airways Qmiles, even now that the programme has been ‘revalued’, plus it requires a hefty commitment to purchase at least 40,000 miles (for 60,000 miles awarded) during this promotion.

A new member signing up with the current 2,500 Qmiles welcome promotion would have to top up 67,500 miles to achieve a Business Class redemption from Singapore to Athens (70,000 Qmiles), at a cost of US$1,350 during this offer.

At S$1,800 that’s almost certainly not worthwhile, with the equivalent cost under the Qmiles December 2020 50% discount promotion coming in at a much more palatable US$900 (S$1,200).

Buying Qmiles in this promotion doesn’t really make sense. (Photo: Qatar Airways)

We would definitely therefore recommend giving this one a miss, since hopefully a 50% discount (100% bonus) offer will be repeated this year.

Remember you can also transfer Citi credit card points at a 2.5:1 ratio (1:1 for PremierMiles cardholders) and Standard Chartered credit card points at a less attractive 3.5:1 ratio, so there is no particular need for most of our readers to buy Qmiles, unlike Alaska Miles for example.

Another word of warning – given Qatar’s previous no-notice Qmiles devaluation, we would only recommend buying miles if you have a specific redemption in mind to book in the near future. This is not a frequent flyer programme to trust with a large miles balance in your account.

  Buy Qatar Airways Qmiles

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(Cover Photo: Qatar Airways)

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