Qatar Airways Privilege Club is awesome again!

Qatar Airways Qsuite Business Class

Qatar Airways Qsuite Business Class

Qatar Airways butchered their frequent flyer program (FFP), Privilege Club, in 2018 but made an unannounced reversal of it a few days ago. And it is awesome once again! But at what cost? Surely I am not the only one who has trust issues with this FFP.

I arrived in Dubai a couple of days ago and found out that qatarairways.com is blocked by UAE. I understand that there is a rift between GCC nations and Qatar but do they really have to block the website of Qatar’s national carrier? I finally found a VPN with decent speed to analyze this change so let’s dig a little deeper and weigh out the pros and cons of this FFP revival.

Key points to note

  1. Only Citibank points/miles transfers to Privilege Club at a good rate.

  2. No fuel surcharges when redeeming Privilege Club miles for flights on Qatar Airways.

  3. Very easy to find award availability, even for 4 adults in one flight.

  4. Gold members get 5% discount on miles requirement, even for other passengers in the same booking.

  5. Qmiles do not expire with at least 1 activity every 3 years.

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Best value to Europe in Business Class

DestinationFrequent Flyer
Program
AirlineMiles
Required
Taxes
& Fees
AthensPrivilege ClubQatar Airways70,000$55
Asia MilesQatar Airways65,000$483
Miles&SmilesTurkish Airlines45,000$294
MilanPrivilege ClubQatar Airways75,000$55
KrisflyerSingapore Airlines92,000$55
Asia MilesCathay Pacific65,000$95
Asia MilesQatar Airways70,000$489
Miles&SmilesTurkish Airlines45,000$310
LondonPrivilege ClubQatar Airways75,000$55
KrisflyerSingapore Airlines92,000$55
Asia MilesCathay Pacific85,000$97
Asia MilesQatar Airways70,000$483
Miles&SmilesTurkish Airlines45,000$310

In other words…

Cheap: Turkish Airlines with Miles&Smiles
Direct: Singapore Airlines with Krisflyer
Best value: Qatar Airways with Privilege Club

What about flights to the Americas?

With only 50,000 miles from Singapore to USA, Alaska’s FFP is the undisputed king for this route. Although you can’t transfer Singapore credit card points/miles to Alaska, you can buy Alaska miles or buy Marriott points to transfer to Alaska.

If your goal is to enjoy Qatar’s world-class Business Class for as long as possible, you may consider flying the long way (about 25 hours of flying time) to the west coast of USA for 95,000 miles.

Flying to Sao Paolo, Brazil will cost you 95,000 miles too and this is hands down the best way to travel to South America from Singapore.

What if you love Qatar’s Business Class so much that you want to fly them even longer than 25 hours? For this, fly between Auckland, New Zealand and Los Angeles, USA for a total flying time of *drum rolls* 34 hours for 120,000 miles.

Citibank points/miles revaluation

Citibank is currently the only bank that has Privilege Club as a transfer partner with a good transfer ratio. Flying from Singapore to Europe for just 75,000 miles + $55 in taxes in what’s arguably the best Business Class seat in the world forces me to make Privilege Club a part of my future redemption plans.

I value Qmiles at $0.02 now and this directly pushes up my valuation of Citibank’s points/miles too.

Should you transfer your expiring Citi points/miles to Qatar NOW?

Probably not. This FFP looks like it is run by a temperamental teenager who makes rash decisions every now and then. While it is reeeally tempting to transfer my expiring credit card points/miles to a high-value FFP with activity-based expiration, I would only transfer them here just before making a redemption. Just like how I use Turkish Airline’s Miles&Smiles.

New member? Receive up to 7,500 Qmiles

From now till 31 December 2020, receive 2,500 Qmiles (worth $50) when you join for free with promo code OALQ320T12. On top of that, new members who travel on Qatar Airways by 31 March 2021 will receive an additional 5,000 miles (worth $100), though it’s hard to imagine a travel bubble westward by then.

Click here for the full terms and conditions.

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Bottom line

If I need to get to Europe as soon as possible and/or need uninterrupted sleep, I may probably prefer a direct flight with Singapore Airlines and spend about 23% more miles for a similar redemption. Otherwise, I much prefer Qatar Airways’ Business Class as a bed, as a seat, for their inflight meals and for their airport lounge. There is no contest, IMHO.

I did a Gold status match from Alaska to Qatar earlier this year and it’s great to know that I will receive a 5% discount on my redemptions with Privilege Club too!

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