Qatar Airways will adopt Avios as the rewards currency of its Privilege Club loyalty program, replacing its native Qmiles and joining Oneworld members British Airways and Iberia in cementing Avios as a powerhouse unit of exchange among airlines.
When the switch takes effect from late March 2022, QRPC members will see their existing Qmiles balance automatically transformed into Avios at a 1:1 ratio.
The move will make Qatar Airways the fifth carrier to have its reward program powered by Avios and swell the reach of Avios to more than 35 million frequent flyers worldwide.
Also in the Avios camp are Aer Lingus and low-cost European carrier Vueling – and it’s no accident they, like British Airways and Iberia, are all owned by International Airlines Group, in which Qatar Airways is the largest shareholder with a commanding 25.1% stake.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker said “the transition from Qmiles to Avios marks a ground-breaking new era for Privilege Club, enabling our loyal members to participate in the most compelling loyalty network and the largest portfolio of partners in the industry.”
That portfolio stretches to over 200 global brands where Avios can be collected by spending on not only travel but shopping, leisure and financial services.
Standardising on Avios will also simplify the process of Qatar Airways Privilege Club members obtaining upgrades on British Airways and Iberia, ahead of Oneworld launching alliance-wide upgrades later this year.
Executive Traveller understands both British Airways and Qatar Airways will increase the number of Avios-based reward seats across their flights, to accomodate an expected jump in demand once both airlines are sharing a ‘common currency’.
However, while Qmiles will make way for Avios, Qatar Airways plans to retain its other loyalty currencies of Qpoints, which track and determine status, and Qcredits, which are earned by QRPC Gold and Platinum members to be used for upgrades, award booking fees and excess luggage.