A major development has just been revealed for the Privilege Club loyalty program. I'm cautiously optimistic, but I can't say for certain whether it's good or bad news.

Qatar Airways replaces Qmiles with Avios

Qmiles are the points currency that you can redeem for flights, upgrades, and other experiences, and currently you can earn Qmiles with the program. Qmiles will be replaced by the points currency of Avios as of late March 2022.

British Airways, Aer Lingus, and Vueling are some of the airlines that use the points currency of the International Airlines Group. Qmiles will be converted into Qatar Airways at a 3:1 ratio.

There are hundreds of Avios partners who can earn and redeem rewards, including in travel, leisure, shopping, and financial services. If some basic requirements are met, it's possible that we'll see a transfer between accounts at a 1:1 ratio.

At the moment, nothing is changing to how Privilege Club status is earned. Status will be determined by how many Qpoints you earn. It is expected that redemption rates on the airline will stay the same. British Airways Executive Club has adopted a pure distance based award chart, but it sounds like it won't be adopted by Qatar Airways.

Qatar Airways is replacing Qmiles with Avios

What’s the logic for Qatar Airways adopting Avios?

What is the logic behind the adoption of Avios as the airline's points currency? There are a few general thoughts.

  • Qatar Airways is the single largest shareholder of IAG, so while Qatar Airways isn’t an IAG airline, the Doha-based carrier does have a real connection to these airlines
  • Avios is a much larger points program than Qatar Airways Privilege Club, so there’s something to be said for the efficiency and existing infrastructure that Qatar Airways can benefit from by joining the program, rather than forming all kinds of individual partnerships
  • Many of IAG’s biggest markets are also huge markets for Qatar Airways, so this could create more loyalty and brand awareness in places like the UK and Spain, and even the United States
Qatar Airways owns a 20%+ stake in IAG

Is Qatar Airways adopting Avios good news?

I've said before that I thought the Privilege Club had a lot of potential, but the loyalty program has been lackluster. Where does that leave us?

  • From an efficiency standpoint this makes sense
  • Assuming points earning and redemption rates remain the same, this seems like good news, since there will be more ways to earn and redeem Qatar Airways points, and potentially the ability to transfer Avios between various currencies
  • This is an incredibly innovative concept, as it’s not often you see an airline adopt another carrier’s points currency (though in this case there is an ownership stake)
  • We’re told to expect more details in the next couple of weeks, as today was just the initial announcement to give members notice

I'm cautiously optimistic. Improvements to Privilege Club have been seen in the past couple of years, and program leadership is trying to improve. I suppose only time will tell if there will be negative changes.

I’m cautiously optimistic about these changes

Bottom line

Changes are coming to the Privilege Club. Qmiles will be replaced by the points currency of Avios. A lot is not changing as of now. The way that status is earned will stay the same, and the redemption rates aren't expected to change either.

Time will tell if this is good or bad news. This definitely has the potential to be good news, so I'm hoping that's the case.

What do you think of the new points currency adopted by the airline?