Qatar Airways will join the Avios loyalty family next month. The carrier announced its Privilege Club loyalty program will transition from Qmiles to Avios as the currency of record from March 2022.
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 Group Chief Executive His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker
The company does not anticipate much changing, at least initially, with the transition. Earning and redemption rates should hold steady, for example. Existing Qpoints will transition to Avios at a 1:1 ratio.
Qatar Airways is the fifth airline to adopt Avios as its loyalty currency, joining IAG airlines British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia, and Vueling. Qatar Airways is also a part owner of IAG, with approximately a 25.1% stake in the group.
A bigger deal for IAG Loyalty
A transition to IAG Loyalty and the Avios program allows Qatar Airways to reduce its direct overhead for running the Privilege Club program. By shifting the account management and most back office membership management functions to the shared platform it can reduce direct costs.
The move will also allow Qatar Airways to offer earn and burn across a broader range of negotiated partners, with IAG Loyalty handling the heavy lifting on that front. IAG Loyalty offers access to more than 200 global brands today, and can integrate the existing local partners for Qatar Airways as needed to assist with the transition.
It also, however, leads to the homogenization of of the program. Because so much around the partnerships will be managed by the centralized group, Qatar Airways loses much of its ability to deliver a unique loyalty proposition for members.
If it means that the company can bring reward redemptions back online in a reasonable manner, however, the transition might prove a win for consumers. Currently reward redemption is only available via an email request, an approach that rarely is helpful for snagging the limited seats on offer in many markets.
If the program transitions to use more of IAG Loyalty’s digital infrastructure this booking option could change for the better.
Of course, if the program adopts IAG Loyalty members’ penchant for significant fuel surcharges on awards, that’s not nearly as good for consumers.
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