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Qatar joins oneworld by early 2014 – how Qantas travellers will benefit

By John Walton     Filed under: qantas, Qantas Frequent Flyer, OneWorld, Qatar Airways, Doha

Qatar Airways is joining the oneworld alliance and will take its place alongside Qantas, Cathay Pacific, British Airways and other partner airlines by early 2014.

The deal, long rumoured but only officially announced this morning, will eventually see Qantas travellers able to earn and burn frequent flyer points on Qatar flights, enjoy access to Qatar's decidedly upscale lounges and tap into Qatar's own network to add flexibility to their flight schedule, especially from Melbourne and Perth where the airline currently operates.

British Airways is also said to be in discussions with Qatar Airways about a joint venture on routes between Australia and the UK, taking over from the Qantas-BA alliance which will be dissolved in March 2013.

Qatar is the Gulf region's second largest airline, behind than Emirates but ahead of Etihad, and was most recently the travel news for taking delivery of the first of 30 Boeing 787 Dreamliners (a total shopping bill of A$6 billion at list price).

Read: Photo tour – inside Qatar Airways' Boeing 787 Dreamliner

It's also the first of the three Gulf carriers to join an alliance, with both Emirates and Etihad consistently ruling out such a move.

In Australia, Qatar flies to its hub in Doha from Melbourne daily and Perth thrice weekly, with numerous connections on to Europe and Africa.

As for Sydney, while this might seem an obvious next step, last year the airline's CEO nixed Sydney flights, citing high costs and the overnight curfew as deal-breaking restrictions.

Even so, Qatar's network isn't as much about providing new destinations for Australian travellers as it is a chance to add extra schedule options to your flights while still earning Qantas points, and an alternative to the Qantas-Emirates alliance.

Qatar Privilege vs Qantas Frequent Flyer

Qantas Frequent Flyers will enjoy full "earn and burn" for points plus reciprocal access agreements with Qatar Airways' Privilege Club program.

Privilege Club is a four-tier program, starting at the basic Privilege Club level, and ascending through Burgundy, Silver and Gold – here's how the tiers stack up against Qatar's new oneworld siblings.

  • Qatar Gold = Qantas Platinum = oneworld Emerald
  • Qatar Silver = Qantas Gold = oneworld Sapphire
  • Qatar Burgundy =  Qantas Silver = oneworld Ruby

For lounge access, we expect Qantas Platinums to have access to Qatar's Oryx Lounge at Doha, while Qantas Golds will head to the Silver Lounge.

Fully flat beds on the long haul to Doha

Qatar's long-distance A340 and some A330 planes have a three-class first/business/economy layout, while Boeing 777 planes, some A330s and smaller jets carry a two-class (business/economy) configuration.

Business class on the airline's Boeing 777s is a fully flat bed, while angled lie-flat seats are found in business on other planes.

With both Melbourne and Perth flights using Qatar's Boeing 777s, business travellers will find these more appealing than the angled lie-flat seats on Emirates' 777s or Qantas' Airbus A330s – especially when the flight to Doha is a length 14h15 from Melbourne, or 11h25 from Perth.

Need all the details of Emirates' business class offerings to make the comparison? We've got you covered.

Lounging around

Qatar's lounge network around the world is less developed than Emirates', but its home Oryx lounge for first and business passengers in Doha receives rave reviews from travellers.

There's even a Premium Terminal – yes, an entire terminal – exclusively for first and business class travellers with a range of dining options and, naturally, a spa.

First and business travellers stopping over in Doha can take advantage of Qatar's Premium Arrivals lounge.

At London Heathrow, Qatar's Terminal 4 lounge is the first the airline has built for itself outside Doha, and it's certainly dressed to impress.

We'll keep you posted on developments with Qatar Airways, and for the latest news, follow us on Twitter: we're @AusBT.

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About John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

 

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1 on 9/10/12 by KG

small correction: QR Gold equals QF Plat equals Oneworld Emerald (not the stated saphire). QR Silver would be equivalent to QF Gold and equaling  Oneworld Saphire

1 on 9/10/12 by John

Thanks, KG. The journalist responsible for the error has been summarily flogged.

2 on 9/10/12 by 11sjw

No love for One World Emerald's re the Premium Terminal or Premium Arrivals Lounge?

1 on 9/10/12 by John

As the commenters downthread highlight, the premium terminal and arrivals lounge will be attached to a completely different airport by the time that Qatar joins oneworld.

3 on 9/10/12 by Daniell

I hold Gold status with Qatar, and even Gold doesn't get you into the Premium Lounge at Doha nor LHR, unless you are travelling in P or J, so I can't see them offering it to OneWorld Emerald unless travelling in the applicable class. You are, however, entitled to use the Oryx Lounge in Doha, and receive several guest passes. 

1 on 9/10/12 by KG

Part of the Oneworld benefits as Emerald is access to First Class lounges. Is the Oryx lounge clasified as First Class Lounge or is the proper First Class lounge only at the premium Terminal? If the latter is the case they wil have to grant access for Emerald status holders. Of course they can make an arrangement as BA has, where Concorde (in this case premium temrinal) is only for F class ticket holders and Oryx will get a seperate F versuion / section (if not yet the case).

1 on 9/10/12 by John

My understanding is that Oryx is the first/business lounge. Think Cathay at San Francisco/Paris, or Emirates' outstation lounges.

But, of course, the premium terminal will be in a completely different airport by the time this becomes relevant!

4 on 9/10/12 by lsal0106

The discussion on lounges is a moot point - by the time QR joins oneworld, there will be a new terminal in Doha.

1 on 9/10/12 by KG

Fail to see why it is a "moot" point. Do you have info on what lounges will be created in the new terminal? Will they keep the concept of a premium terminal? Regardless of a airport, it would still be nice to have access to a premium terminal with Emerald status if they still provide a dedicated terminal.

1 on 9/10/12 by lsal0106

It is moot for three reasons;1) Qatar Airways will be operating out of a new terminal that from my understanding will have airbridges currently lacking in the present Doha Airport. So there will be a new lounge situation.

2) The only other QR lounge is in Terminal 4. I imagine once QR joins oneworld, they will move over to T3 with all the other oneworld airlines. So you will have access to all the other oneworld lounges plus potentially a new QR facility.

3) In other ports, QR will have to provide lounge access in accordance with oneworld rules.

1 on 9/10/12 by KG

Your points are based on assumptions / your own understandings, so until there is something officially published and the exact terms on which QR are joining I think discussion is fine and the purpose of this website and comment section are just for that reason.

2 on 9/10/12 by John

Let's not forget that Heathrow has its own terminal move coming up, with whatever Terminal 2 is being called this week coming online in 2014.

2 on 9/10/12 by moa999

I agree it is mostly moot.

New Doha Airport is opening in 2013... Qatar will not join onweworld till 2014

http://www.qatarairways.com/global/en/new-doha-international-airport.page

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Doha_International_Airport

The existing Doha Airport is cramped which I suspect caused the Premium Terminal construction originally.

The dated project website does not mention a premium terminal (apart from the Royal Terminal) and with all the increased duty free shopping I suspect they will want everyone in the main terminal.

http://www.ndiaproject.com/main.html

 

As for London who knows...I doubt there is space in T3 unless Virgin Atlantic moves.

5 on 9/10/12 by AusFlyer

Great! More options for OneWorld flyers! Can't wait until this is all set up and going!

6 on 9/10/12 by hutch

Great news as Qatar is a great airline. Now all oneworld needs is a Chinese mainland partner.... HU has been mentioned and hopefully CX will allow this to happen soon.

7 on 11/10/12 by Allan

Can hightly recommend flying Qatar

 

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