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Qatar Airways drops Qmiles in favour of Avios

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Qatar Airways will drop its Qmiles rewards currency in favour of the Avios loyalty scheme next month.

The airline has announced that from late March, it will adopt Avios as its preferred reward currency for all privilege club members.

It said members will “experience a seamless transition” into the loyalty programme’s new reward currency, with existing Qmiles balances automatically changed to Avios on a ratio of one Avios to one Qmile. For example, if you have 35,000 Qmiles in your account, you will have 35,000 Avios.

Further, there’s no change to Qpoints, Qcredits or the current Qmiles expiry rules after the switch.

What does this mean for Qmile and Avios customers?

Avios is the rewards scheme for British Airways Executive Club, AerClub, Iberia Plus and Vueling Club.

Qatar said customers will be able to collect and spend Avios in the same way as Qmiles; through flights, holidays, shopping and 200 partners including Nectar, American Express and Marriott.

Customers can already use Avios to book flights on Qatar Airways so “to that extent, this is not a revolutionary change”, according to Rob Burgess of frequent flyer website Headforpoints.

More details are set to be announced in a couple of weeks so until then, it’s not clear as to exactly how the new partnership will work in practice. Qatar will email customers with further details soon.

However, Qatar confirmed that the amount of Avios required to book an award ticket or use Cash + Avios will not change.

Burgess added: “We don’t know if it will be possible to use ‘Combine My Avios’ to move Avios directly to and from British Airways Executive Club and Qatar Privilege Club. Even if you can, why would you? The benefits won’t be totally clear until we compare reward charts, taxes and charges. Qatar Airways has promised its members that its own reward charts will be unchanged.

“UK Avios collectors will have to wait a little longer for full details to see what opportunities this partnership will bring. It does look promising however, with Qatar Airways bringing in new earn and spend partners and being known for charging lower surcharges on air miles flights.”

‘Most compelling loyalty network’

Avios is 10 years old and there are more than 35 million members worldwide, collecting 3,000+ Avios every second.

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.

“Qatar Airways continues to redefine loyalty through the adoption of exciting digital innovations to create unique world-class experiences for our members. We look forward to revealing more details of this exciting change over the coming weeks, as we explore even more ways to reward our valued members both on and off the ground.”

CEO of IAG Loyalty – which owns and manages Avios currency – Adam Daniels, said: “Qatar Airways have recognised the power of Avios. By adopting Avios they will be able to offer their customers a wider range of benefits and support their business development ambitions. It’s an exciting step for IAG Loyalty as we extend our leadership in loyalty, increase Avios’ global reach, and build out our partnership strategy even further.”

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