Qatar Airways Privilege Club: the unofficial guide

Qatar Airways Privilege Club: the unofficial guide

This article is part of our ongoing Business Travel 101 series for newcomers to the world of business travel.

Last updated January 2019.

With free upgrades to business class, a ‘meet and greet’ service in Doha and worldwide Oneworld lounge privileges for top-tier Gold and Platinum members, Qatar Airways’ Privilege Club is a great alternative to Qantas Frequent Flyer for travellers heading to the Middle East and beyond.

And for less-frequent flyers who won’t make it past the Silver rung, you’ll also enjoy lounge access in many airports worldwide whenever flying with Qatar – including to the Qantas business class lounges in Melbourne and Perth: the airline’s two Australian destinations.

If Privilege Club piques your interest, here’s what you need to know about the program.

Qatar Airways Privilege Club 101

As a member of the global Oneworld alliance, Privilege Club cardholders can earn miles in Australian skies with Qantas, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, LAN, Malaysia Airlines, and of course, Qatar Airways itself.

Add to that list American Airlines, Dragonair, Finnair, Iberia, Royal Jordanian, S7 (Siberian), SriLankan Airlines and LATAM when jetting further abroad within the Oneworld family, along with Asiana, GOL, Middle East Airlines and also Virgin Atlantic.

Like most loyalty programs, Privilege Club is free to join – simply visit the Qatar Airways website to sign-up, and remember to attach your frequent flyer number to your reservation when you next travel with Qatar or one of its partners.

The miles you earn – or ‘Qmiles’, in Qatar Airways lexicon – are valid for at least three years, and expire twice per year: that’s on June 30 and December 31, excluding Platinum members whose Qmiles won’t expire for as long as they maintain their Platinum status.

For example, if you earn 10,000 Qmiles in April 2016 and a further 15,000 Qmiles in September 2016, those 10,000 miles will expire on June 30 2019, and that chunk of 15,000 on December 31 2019. Expiry dates can also be extended by a further 12 months at a fee of US$0.015 per Qmile.

Qatar Airways Privilege Club tiers

Members begin at the entry-level Burgundy tier before making their way through Silver, Gold and Platinum as they begin to notch up ‘Qpoints’.

Somewhat confusingly for Aussies who are more familiar with the concept of ‘points’ and ‘status credits’, Qpoints are Qatar’s version of status credits (or of tier points, if you’re a Brit), while Qmiles are akin to frequent flyer points or frequent flyer miles.

Qpoints can be picked up whenever travelling with Qatar or a Oneworld airline including Qantas, American, BA or Cathay Pacific, but aren’t earned with the program’s non-Oneworld partners such as Virgin Atlantic.

If you’ll be joined in the air by family members, you can also pool their Qmiles – although not status-earning Qpoints – to your account at 1/4 of the usual earning rate.

Qatar Airways Privilege Club Silver

After earning 150 Qpoints in any 12-month period you’ll step up from Burgundy to Silver status, and in future years will need only 140 Qpoints in the same period or 280 Qpoints over any 24-month window to retain your Silver card.

That comes with a serve of 25% more Qmiles whenever travelling on a Qatar Airways flight with a QR flight number (an ‘operated and marketed flight’), and access to the Privilege Club priority check-in counters in Doha and to the airline’s business class check-in desks in other airports including Melbourne and Perth.

Add to that free business class lounge access in most airports whenever travelling with Qatar, two free passes each year to bring a guest into the lounge with you at Doha’s Hamad International Airport, priority boarding and an extra 10kg of baggage allowance on Qatar flights.

You’ll also be given priority over Burgundy travellers and non-members when stuck on stand-by or waitlist, and will earn 1/2 the regular number of Qmiles if pooling from your family’s accounts: twice that of entry-level members.

Through Qatar’s Oneworld membership, Privilege Club Silver members enjoy Oneworld Ruby status that grants alliance-wide priority check-in privileges, plus access to preferred or pre-reserved seating – usually a little closer towards the front of the cabin.

Qatar Airways Privilege Club Gold

After flying enough with Qatar and Oneworld to reach Silver twice-over in any 12-month period you’ll be escalated to Privilege Club Gold and Oneworld Sapphire status.

That brings with it alliance-wide priority boarding, baggage handling and lounge access – including to the business class lounges of Qantas, British Airways and Cathay Pacific, and the American Airlines Admirals Clubs whenever travelling onwards with any Oneworld airline.

Head to the Qantas Int'l Business Lounge in Sydney when jetting abroad...

You can also bring a guest into those and other Oneworld lounges, including Qatar’s Doha business class lounge without needing numbered guest passes as you would as a Silver member – but you’ll receive four of these anyway to use for extra guests throughout the year.

(In Doha and London, Qatar uses separate lounges for frequent flyers travelling in economy – so head to the SkyTeam lounge in London or the 'business class lounge' in Doha rather than the Qatar 'Premium lounge' or the Al Mourjan Lounge, which are only for passengers holding a business or first class ticket.)

Gold members also collect 75% more Qmiles on Qatar Airways flights, receive the full haul of Qmiles when pooling from family members (100% of what the family member would have otherwise earned), and can pack an extra 15kg into their checked baggage or bring along an extra suitcase.

There’s also a free ‘meet and greet’ service for Gold frequent flyers arriving at, departing from or transiting through Hamad International if specifically requested at least 24 hours beforehand; priority baggage handling, a 5% saving when booking award tickets online with Qmiles (which also come with more availability for Gold and Platinum members) and various fee waivers when changing award bookings.

Add to that 40 ‘Qcredits’ each year which can be swapped for free upgrades from most economy fares to business class. For example, an upgrade from Melbourne to Doha needs 35 Qcredits, while Doha-London takes just 25.

Finally, Gold members can also nab a confirmed economy seat on an already-full Qatar Airways flight when booking within 48 hours of departure.

Qatar Airways Privilege Club Platinum

Reel in 600 Qpoints in a year: twice what’s needed for Gold or four times for Silver, and a shiny Privilege Club Platinum card is yours for the taking, along with Oneworld Emerald status that’s on-par with Qantas Platinum.

That comes with 60 Qcredits each year – enough for a free one-way business class upgrade from Melbourne to London – and a 100% Qmiles bonus on Qatar Airways flights.

You’ll also have access to Oneworld first class check-in counters worldwide, with the exception of Doha where you’ll use the same priority counter as Silver and Gold Privilege Club members, and first and business class lounges across Oneworld including the Qantas First Lounge in Melbourne:

When flying with Qatar you’ll be able to bring in two guests at no charge – or one guest when travelling with other Oneworld airlines including Qantas – and will receive five single-use guest passes to redeem when travelling with a larger crowd through Doha.

You can also lug along an extra 20kg of checked baggage or one extra suitcase on most Oneworld flights (with the exception of British Airways’ ‘hand baggage only’ fares), and can access Fast Track or Express Path channels at selected airports including in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and London.

Earning Qatar Privilege Club Qmiles and Qpoints

In general, the more you spend on your ticket, the more Qmiles and Qpoints you’ll earn.

Case in point, a single return trip from Melbourne to Doha pulls in 3,714 Qmiles and 40 Qpoints for Burgundy members on the cheapest economy tickets, 18,570 Qmiles and 90 Qpoints on the least-costly business class fares, and 29,712 Qmiles and 110 Qpoints on the most flexible seats at the pointy end.

It’s a similar story on the airline’s Perth-Doha flights, with 2,900 Qmiles and 40 Qpoints on offer with the cheapest tickets, 14,498 Qmiles and 90 Qpoints up for grabs on the most-affordable business class fares, and 23,196 Qmiles and 110 Qpoints on the most expensive tickets.

From Melbourne to Dubai on Oneworld partner Qantas, you’ll pull in 3,616 Qmiles and 40 Qpoints on economy fares – but only on the more pricey tickets, with all ‘Economy Sale’ fares and some ‘Economy Saver’ tickets earning nothing at all – 10,846 Qmiles and 70 Qpoints in business class and 14,462 Qmiles and 110 Qpoints in first class.

Redeeming Qatar Privilege Club Qmiles

Your Qmiles can be traded in for free flights and upgrades to business and first class with Qatar, and for free flights only with QR’s long line of partners including Qantas and Cathay Pacific.

That same jaunt from Melbourne to Doha can be had for 35,000 Qmiles one-way in economy or 70,000 Qmiles in business class, or if travelling onwards to London on the same booking, you’ll part with just 45,000 Qmiles in economy and 90,000 Qmiles in business class overall.

Swap your Qmiles for a business class seat on Qatar's Australian flights

If you’ve already booked your flights to Doha but are stuck in economy, 42,500 Qmiles can get you a business class upgrade from the most flexible tickets, as can 50,000 miles from those least-expensive.

For the London-bound already booked on confirmed business class tickets, an upgrade to first class costs just 30,000 Qmiles from Doha, although Qatar doesn’t offer first class on its Australian flights. Passengers can also upgrade straight to first class from economy for between 51,000 and 60,000 Qmiles on the same Doha-London flight.

Award flights on partner airlines don’t present the same value, with Qantas’ similar Melbourne-Dubai flight requiring 75,000 Qmiles for an economy seat, 112,500 for premium economy, 150,000 for business class and 225,000 for first class, one-way.

Also read: Photo tour: Qatar’s Airbus A380 first, business class

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT

Chris Chamberlin
Chris Chamberlin is a senior journalist with Australian Business Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!
 

14 comments

  • bossaboy

    bossaboy

    27 Apr, 2015 01:32 pm

    This sounds almost as complicated as the U.S. tax code  !!!!    . lol....

    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    27 Apr, 2015 08:37 pm

    We do try to keep things as simple as we can, but it does take a little while to get your head around 'Qpoints', 'Qmiles' and 'Qcredits' when you're used to 'points' and 'status credits', that's for sure!

    No member give thanks

  • ashnic7g

    ashnic7g

    27 Apr, 2015 03:09 pm

    As a QR gold member, I'm often frustrated by the lack of availability for redemption flights, especially between Australia and LHR. As for the Q credits, these proved next to impossible to use for upgrades, and were cashed in for lounge passes before they expired.

    I've also got a bugbear about regional flying, eg. Doha - Dubai being classed as F, and thus subject to higher redeem rates.

    No member give thanks

  • TheRealBabushka

    TheRealBabushka

    27 Apr, 2015 08:18 pm

    ashnic7g,

    Glad you raised the point about the lack of availability for upgrades. I'm always sceptical about offers for upgrades. I'm even more intrigued that forums like this do not discuss these matters with greater candour. Although I suppose it makes for easier reading to describe the free upgrade feature without critically assessing its accessibility. 

    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    27 Apr, 2015 08:36 pm

    Hi TRB,

    This isn't something that we cover in our '101 guides', which are designed as an introduction to the loyalty program, its tiers and how to reach them, the published benefits of the program and how to earn and redeem points.

    Our dedicated 'upgrade guides' focus more on providing tips to secure upgrades (such as with Qantas domestic, where you can either lock one in immediately or can choose to waitlist if one isn't available when you request, and you can also ask again in the lounge for further consideration if it's still a 'computer says no'.)

    To do this fairly and thoroughly with Qatar would require the mapping of at least a few months of Melbourne/Perth-Doha flights for available upgrades (which would show both last-minute availability and when planning in advance) before any definite statement could be made.

    This isn't even possible in bulk via ExpertFlyer as Qatar isn't a supported airline for that feature, and given the hours it would take to manually ascertain this information it ultimately doesn't stack up when the research would add perhaps one or two sentences to a 1,600-word article.

    It's still a good fact to know, though, which is why the comments are so useful for readers to share their own real-world experience as ashnic7g has done above (thank you ashnic7g!).

    -Chris

    No member give thanks

  • TheRealBabushka

    TheRealBabushka

    27 Apr, 2015 09:00 pm

    Hi Chris,

    I take your point about beginner's guide, although one might argue the effectiveness of a guide if it was too basic. Nevertheless providing information such as the booking inventory for upgrades on QR or any other conditions attached to upgrading might be beneficial without requiring too much research. After all what's the point of rehashing information readily available on the airline's website without giving it a bit of a zing? 

    I would prefer a more of an exposé, highlighting the fine print, ABC's Checkout style. But that's just my opinion. 

    No member give thanks

  • BeijingBogan

    BeijingBogan

    29 Apr, 2015 11:23 am

    The flip side of this is that you should be able to access the Al-Safwa F only lounge when it opens. 

    No member give thanks

  • Daylan78

    Daylan78

    27 Apr, 2015 03:14 pm

    This may seem like a silly question but i cannot so fdar find the answer, is it possible to earn points/miles on both QANTAS and QATAR for the same flight on their respective FF programs? 

    Im dragging my proverbials trying to get QFF points to get anywhere on my own steam, my company doesnt fly anymore, we prefer video conferencing.

    Cheers, D

    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    27 Apr, 2015 03:16 pm

    Hi Daylan, no, you can only earn points with one frequent flyer program on any given flight.

    No member give thanks

  • andrewboj

    andrewboj

    28 Apr, 2015 01:34 am

    How does lounge access work for a QR Gold member (or any other OW member with status for that matter) if I book a flight using QF miles, when I am only QF Bronze.

    I'm flying NTL-BNE-HKG in July booked using QF miles I acquired when I was in Australia.  Can I add my QR number to this booking?  I realise I won't earn Qmiles or Qcredits, but am more worried about lounge access in BNE.

    As an aside, having been a QR Gold member for four years (even before they joined Oneworld), I second ashnic7g's comments about the usefulness of QCredits! Predominantly flying DOH-LHR and MEL-DOH I've never been able to upgrade using them, and they have always expired.

    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    28 Apr, 2015 10:23 am

    Hi Andrew,

    Yes, you can link your Qatar Privilege Club number to a Qantas award booking for lounge access and other status-related perks such as priority boarding, priority check-in and an increased baggage allowance via the Oneworld rules, even if that booking wouldn't earn frequent flyer points.

    (If you're having trouble linking this up online, you can always do it over the phone by asking to remove your Qantas number and then adding your Qatar number.)

    I don't believe Qantas has a lounge in Newcastle, although with Qatar Gold (Oneworld Sapphire) you'll have access to the Qantas international business class lounge in Brisbane, and if you're returning along the same route, also to the Qantas Hong Kong lounge and then the domestic Qantas Club in Brisbane before the final flight to Newcastle.

    No member give thanks

  • andrewboj

    andrewboj

    28 Apr, 2015 04:10 pm

    Thanks Chris!

    No member give thanks

  • eight10man

    eight10man

    30 Apr, 2015 11:36 pm

    Hi Chris,

    In general, is there a 'hard' requirement to add one's frequent flyer number of a particular program to the booking in order to benefit from its perks (like priority check-in and boarding, and lounge access)..?

    Example:

    Being Gold with both Air Berlin and Etihad (thanks AusBT for pointing out status matches with my Aegean Gold) but wanting to amass all my points with Virgin's Velocity program, can't I just add my Velocity number to the booking but still benefit from the perks through one of the other Gold cards?

    As far as I read through the T&Cs of the frequent flyer programs, I never read that in order to be allowed to make use of the perks of one's status, that one must also claim the miles to that program. I've never seen that written anywhere black-on-white..

    Regards, Ruben 

    No member give thanks

  • flatout

    flatout

    2 Feb, 2016 08:01 pm

    Unlike the Al Mourjan lounge, I find the Business Class Lounge a disappointment.

    No member give thanks

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17 Jul, 2019 01:18 pm

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