For those sitting on a stash of points in either Citi or Standard Chartered, there’s a new transfer bonus on offer from Qatar Airways running between now and 2nd November 2021, which will give you 20% more Qmiles than usual.
That’s a potentially attractive offer now that travel is beginning to unlock, plus the programme is good value again following a return to 2018 redemption levels, including the Qsuite from Singapore to Europe for 70,000 miles with no fuel surcharges.
20% bonus miles offer
For transfers made between 3rd October 2021 and 2nd November 2021, Qatar Airways will award a bonus 20% Qmiles for any transfer from its bank and credit card partners, with no upper cap.
Here’s how it works:
- Log in to the rewards account that you have with your bank.
- Choose to convert your reward points into Qmiles with Qatar Airways Privilege Club.
- Enjoy 20% bonus Qmiles credited to your Privilege Club account.
Note that bonus Qmiles will not be awarded instantly.
You’ll have to wait 30 to 60 days after the Qmiles are credited to your account at the regular transfer rate, before receiving the bonus miles as a separate transaction.
Full terms and conditions for the transfer bonus are available here.
Citi to Qatar Privilege Club
Citi Miles, earned exclusively through the Citi PremierMiles card, usually transfer into Qatar Privilege Club at a 1:1 ratio.
With this offer you’ll get 12,000 Qmiles for every 10,000 Citi Miles converted instead (1:1.2 ratio).
Citi Miles Qmiles
10,000 : 12,000
Citi ThankYou Points, earned through cards like the Citi Prestige and Citi Rewards, usually transfer into Qatar Privilege Club at a 2.5:1 ratio.
With this offer you’ll get 12,000 Qmiles for every 25,000 Citi Miles converted instead (2.08:1 ratio).
Citi ThankYou Points Qmiles
25,000 : 12,000
Citi Miles transfer into KrisFlyer miles at a 1:1 ratio and Citi ThankYou Points at a 2.5:1 ratio, the same as the regular Qatar conversion rates, so this 20% bonus it’s definitely worth considering if you think you’ll use Qatar Qmiles in the near future.
Standard Chartered to Qatar Privilege Club
When Standard Chartered first revealed its transfer ratios to a range of new airline partners with the launch of the X Card in 2019, its Rewards Points transferred into the Qatar Airways programme at a 3:1 ratio.
Unfortunately in late 2020 this was quietly devalued to 3.5:1, making it even less attractive, especially while Citi retained its 2.5:1 ratio for equivalent points into Qatar.
With this offer you’ll get 1,200 Qatar Miles for every 3,500 Citi Miles converted instead (2.92:1 ratio).
SC Reward Points Qmiles
3,500 : 1,200
Given that Standard Chartered Rewards Points convert into KrisFlyer miles year-round at a 2.5:1, it’s unlikely that this offer will entice too many people to convert to Qmiles instead, leaving those with Citi Miles / ThankYou Points as the main benficiaries.
Business Class to Europe from 58,400 miles
For our readers based in Singapore, the best value redemption on Qatar Airways is to Europe and back in Business Class.
Here’s an example of how you can use this 20% bonus to fly from Singapore to Athens and some other cities in Business Class on Qatar Airways for just 58,334 Citi Miles + S$66 in taxes.
Business Class redemptions from Singapore
|QRPC Rate||Citi Miles
* S$110 if routing via FRA
As you can see, a transfer of just 58,334 Citi Miles to Qatar Privilege Club is enough to net you 70,000 miles in the programme, including the bonus, enough to get you from Singapore to Athens via Doha in Qatar Airways Business Class with just S$66 in taxes and fees to pay.
That shorter Europe zone also includes destinations like Bucharest, Sofia and Mykonos.
Granted you can’t actually transfer 58,334 Citi Miles into QRPC, since the transfer blocks are in 10,000-mile denominations, but even assuming you have a zero Qatar balance right now – 60,000 miles is a great deal (giving you 72,000 in QRPC after the bonus pays out).
The equivalent of 62,500 Citi Miles to fly Business Class to or from Qatar’s more expensive Europe zone, including London, Paris and Frankfurt, may be where the best value lies – coming in significantly cheaper than the 92,000 KrisFlyer miles required on these routes for non-stop SIA services.
Singapore – USA trips in Business Class don’t normally represent a huge saving using Qmiles on Qatar Airways versus KrisFlyer on SIA, but with this bonus running you’d only need to transfer 80,000 Citi Miles (79,167 in fact) for such a routing – a great deal compared to 99,000 under KrisFlyer.
While a transit in Doha is inconvenient, do remember that Qatar Airways is serving many cities in Europe and the USA which require a transit anyway when you fly with SIA – like Madrid or Washington.
One downside at the moment of course is that Singapore currently puts Qatar in its highest risk ‘Category 4’ ranking for arrival restrictions, meaning if you transit in Doha on your way back to Singapore (or within 14 days of your trip back), you’ll face a mandatory 10-day hotel quarantine period.
Hopefully this will change in due course and we can get back to redeeming more freely on transit routings, but it’s something to bear in mind if you’re considering locking up miles in the programme speculatively.
Careful if you want the Qsuite
As we reported last month, Qatar Airways stopped serving its Singapore – Doha route exclusively with Qsuite-equipped aircraft in Business Class in May 2021, for the first time in nearly two years.
Currently it’s the airline’s ‘halfway house’ Adient Ascent Business Suite on the Boeing 787-9 serving the route, then the Qsuite is back for six weeks in November and early December, before the older Collins Super Diamond product takes over until the end of March 2022.
While none of Qatar’s wide-body Business Class products are bad, the Qsuite certainly has the edge, and it’s a shame the product is no longer guaranteed for at least the Singapore – Doha part of the journey.
Be sure to check the aircraft type and seat map before booking to know what product to expect on each stage of your journey.
Transferring resets the expiry clock
Since July 2020, Qatar’s Qmiles work on an activity-based expiry policy, meaning any earning or redemption will ‘reset the clock’ for all miles in your account – keeping them alive for another 36 months.
That means any miles you transfer during this campaign will be valid for three years, even if your account is empty right now. Alternatively a transfer will not only top up any existing Qmiles, but then ensure the entire balance is good for another three years.
It’s also worth remembering that it’s relatively easy for Singapore-based members to ensure their Qmiles don’t expire, even if they don’t use the programme regularly, with a top-up from as little as 1,200 GrabRewards points doing the trick.
Remember the lead time
One important condition for this promotion is that you won’t receive a 20% bonus for Qmiles credited to your account after 2nd November 2021, even if the transfer from your bank was initiated before that date.
It’s therefore vital to allow sufficient time between initiating the transfer at the bank side and the closing date of this offer.
We have converted Citi Miles in Singapore across to Qatar Privilege Club (QRPC) in the past, and like most Citi partners the miles reflected in our frequent flyer account the next day (24 hours).
We have never transferred Standard Chartered Rewards points to QRPC, but it takes a week (4-5 working days) for these to reach KrisFlyer in most cases – so do build in a comfortable buffer if you’re going to make an SC > QRPC transfer, since it’s likely to be no quicker.
Other bank transfer partners are included
If you have credit card points in banks outside Singapore, don’t forget this Qatar Privilege Club offer is open to all partner banks (except Qmiles earned with a Qatar Airways credit card).
For a full list of QRPC’s global bank partners – click here.
Is Privilege Club trustworthy?
Here’s the biggest thing that puts us off this deal, apart from Qatar still being in Singapore’s ‘Category 4’ high-risk list when transiting in Doha.
Qatar Airways has previously devalued its Qmiles overnight, without notice, by a whopping 40% (and on some routes 80%).
That has always led us to recommend that QRPC is not a frequent flyer programme to trust with a large miles balance in your account for too long.
We would only recommend transferring miles if you have a specific redemption in mind to book in the near future, even with this bonus rate on offer.
In late 2020 and early 2021 we saw 15-20% bonus miles rates for bank and credit card points transfers into the KrisFlyer programme and a 10-15% bonus into Asia Miles.
Now Qatar Privilege Club is following suit with a generous 20% boost to similar transfers made into its scheme, by 2nd November 2021.
If you’re going to take advantage, build in a good lead time for the transfer to complete before the cutoff. Qatar’s terms are quite clear – if the miles land in your account on or after 3rd November – no bonus for you.
There are certainly some attractive equivalent miles rates on offer during this promotion, especially for those transferring from Citi, but we do advise to have a redemption plan in mind before too long, given Qatar’s history of decimating its redemption rates without notice.
Will you be transferring your Citi or Standard Chartered points into the Qatar Privilege Club during this deal? Let us know which route gives you good value in the comments section below.
Hat-tip to Suitesmile
(Cover Photo: Qatar Airways)