Qatar Airways’ award-winning Qsuite has long been among the world’s best business-class products.
The innovative design features sliding-door suites, high walls (offering incredible privacy), dine-on-demand food and drinks, and an excellent ground experience in Hamad International Airport in Doha (DOH). In short, flying Qsuite is a terrific way to travel.
But it gets even better.
The product has typically been bookable using points and miles, especially when booked in advance and with some flexibility in your dates. For many U.S.-based travelers, this has centered around the American Airlines AAdvantage program, which has traditionally offered Qsuite redemptions at reasonable prices — even using a published award chart.
However, TPG readers have recently questioned if Qsuites are still bookable with AA miles.
Here is the current state of play, and tips to redeem your AA miles for maximum value.
BENJI STAWSKI/THE POINTS GUYThe basics of booking Qsuites with AA miles
AAdvantage has adopted dynamic pricing for flights operated by American Airlines. For now, though, redemptions operated by Oneworld and other partner airlines still use a zone-based award chart, and the redemption rates are terrific. These airlines include Qatar, British Airways, Qantas, Cathay Pacific, and Iberia.
You will need just 70,000 American Airlines miles plus minimal taxes and fees to fly Qatar Qsuite one-way between the U.S. and the Middle East or Indian subcontinent.
You could also add a flight between Doha and one of several African cities that Qatar serves for just 5,000 more miles each way in business class. This means you can fly one-way between the U.S. and Africa for just 75,000 AAdvantage miles and minimal taxes and fees.
Suppose you don’t live near a Qatar Airways gateway. In that case, you may be able to find an itinerary that allows you to connect domestically in the U.S. on American or Alaska Airlines for the same cost.
AA.COMAre these awards available?
Qatar Airways’ approach to releasing award seats has been unpredictable for some time. However, some unique events in the past 18 months may help to explain the current state of play:
In early 2022, Qatar Airways announced it would adopt Avios as the loyalty currency for its Privilege Club program. Since then, this has led to some changing prices of awards bookable with Avios. Privilege Club aligned pricing with other programs that use Avios, like British Airways Executive Club; you can easily move Avios between the programs in any direction at a 1:1 rate at no cost.
In July 2022, American began flying to Doha for the first time. So, it started offering award seats on its flights in addition to those on flights operated by Qatar Airways.
Qatar hosted the 2022 World Cup, which brought enormous demand for flights to Qatar’s hub in Doha. As a result, cash fares during the event were high, and award availability was very scarce.
Business-class award seats on Qatar Airways were always capacity-restrained. Still, earlier this year, they became virtually impossible to book through partner airline programs like AAdvantage or British Airways Executive Club.
This was a major change, especially with American charging 300,000 miles for its own flight in business class (compared to a 70,000-mile partner award operated by Qatar).
It was a similar story with other partner airlines like British Airways, as I can’t see Qatar’s availability between the U.S. and Doha through these programs.
Even members of Qatar Airways’ own Privilege Club program are only offered business-class seats to and from the U.S. as “Flexi” awards— for which the airline charges twice the number of Avios (170,000 per flight) as the usual saver level.
QATARAIRWAYS.COMAre there any solutions?
Unfortunately, on the dozens of searches I ran at the time of publication, I did not see any Qsuite (or Qatar business class) availability to or from North America using AA miles.
That said, given the unpredictability of how Qatar Airways releases award seats — both to its members and partners — the current situation may not be permanent.
It’s not all bad news, though. Economy class seats on Qatar Airways using AA miles are widely available on most routes — though Qatar does not have a premium economy product.
Additionally, several Oneworld airlines — including British Airways, Finnair and Iberia — now fly between the U.S. and Doha via Europe; availability is excellent in business class across the next 12 months. This is still charged at the same 70,000-mile rate. Just remember that British Airways imposes fuel surcharges on its own flights, so you may wish to avoid BA itineraries.
You can also redeem AAdvantage miles for flights Etihad operates to the Middle East with a terrific business-class product, especially on the new A350 aircraft. Etihad is a smaller airline than Qatar but it flies from several of the same U.S. gateways. Like Qatar, availability from the U.S. to Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) isn’t fantastic, but some seats are available in advance.
Flyertalk members have reported some success by searching for connecting itineraries that include a domestic leg within the U.S. on American or Alaska before continuing on a long-haul Qatar flight.
You may also find success searching for itineraries beyond Doha to other destinations in the Middle East, South Asia or Africa.
If you’re super flexible with your travel plans, you could also wait until the last minute, as there tends to be decent Qatar Airways availability on popular routes for 70,000 American miles.
Finally, consider booking Qsuite awards from other regions, like Europe. These are still readily available and bookable online using American miles or other partner miles like British Airways Avios.
How to earn AAdvantage miles
Beyond flying with American (and its partners), one of the easiest ways to earn American AAdvantage miles is through American Airlines credit cards. For example, you can apply for the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® and earn 70,000 miles after you spend $7,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening (see rates and fees). This card also comes with an array of perks to make your travel with American even more comfortable.
You can also transfer Bilt Rewards points directly to your American AAdvantage account at a 1:1 ratio. However, note that these transfers can take up to 24 hours, so you may want to put your Quite award on hold if you’re planning to top up your American account in this fashion.
Unfortunately, Qatar Airways’ Qsuite redemptions using AAdvantage miles between the U.S. and Doha are largely unavailable when booked at least a week in advance. While you may have some success adding a short-haul sector before (or after) the long-haul flight, this did not yield success in our searches.
That said, Qsuite flights to or from the U.S. can become available last minute, and you can still find them when traveling from other regions to Doha and beyond. You could also consider booking AAdvantage award flights on these routes operated by partner airlines like Iberia, Finnair or Etihad for the same low price (pending availability).