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How to Use American AAdvantage Miles for Qatar Airways Flights
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Qatar Airways is one of the three global Gulf carriers. With a hub in Doha, Qatar, it’s well-known for superior food and service in all classes of service.
Qatar is a member of oneworld, an alliance of 13 airlines that work in partnership to expand international booking and travel options for flyers. You can use the AA.com website to look for and book Qatar’s flights with American AAdvantage® miles. Here is what you need to know about finding award space and booking your flight.
Routes from the U.S.
The list of Qatar routes between Doha and the U.S. is impressive. Qatar flies to 10 cities in the U.S.: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York–Kennedy, Philadelphia, and Washington–Dulles.
If you use Doha as a connecting point, Qatar can fly you to almost 150 other destinations around the world (however, see the AA routing rules that we’ll discuss further).
Where to search for space
The British Airways website was once the best source to find Qatar award space online. In most cases, what you see is what you get, so if the award space is available on BA.com, it will be bookable with American. To make a reservation, jot down the itinerary from the British Airways website and contact AAdvantage® directly to book the trip using your AAdvantage® miles (phone booking fees may apply).
Availability on Qatar flights from the U.S. on BA.com is decent, with economy seats fairly easy to come by and 1-2 seats typically available in business class from different U.S. departure cities.
If you are a little bit flexible with dates and departure locations, it’ll be easier to find a seat. Here’s what shows up when searching for a flight from Boston to Doha, Qatar using British Airways.
Below are examples of searches that brought up no seats in business class but availability in economy.
A flight from Philadelphia to Doha, Qatar a bit further in advance shows two business class seats available.
The big new development is that you can now search for Qatar flights and book reservations with miles directly through the AA.com website. At one point, Qatar flights wouldn’t show up in AA.com flight searches and the British Airways site was the way to go. Fortunately, AA.com makes it a bit easier to navigate availability. Start your search by checking off “redeem miles” under booking type.
From there, you can search flights and see how many miles the trip will cost you. Below is an example of a Qatar Airways trip from Washington-Dulles to South Africa connecting in Dohar that would cost 40,000 miles one way.
Routing rules when booking with American AAdvantage® miles
American AAdvantage® has quite stingy routing rules that generally don’t let you fly to your destination via a third region. However, they make a few exceptions especially for Qatar Airways. You can use Qatar’s Doha hub as a connecting point between:
- U.S. and Africa
- Europe and Asia 1/Asia 2
- Europe and South Pacific
- Africa and Asia 1/Asia 2
Europe to Asia – Netherlands to Phuket – 35,000 miles
Europe to South Pacific – Netherlands to Australia – 60,000 miles
Africa to Asia – Johannesburg to Phuket – 40,000 miles
This is the American Airlines’ partner award chart with region definitions. And this is what you pay for flying between the U.S. and the Middle East, Africa and India on Qatar Airways with AAdvantage® miles:
What’s interesting about the product
Qatar may not rank as high as Emirates or Etihad in terms of first-class opulence, and it has cut down hard on the number of first class seats lately, but its award availability is pretty strong, especially when searching on AA.com.
You may be able to find multiple seats in a business class cabin if you plan ahead. If you don’t, you have a good shot at getting at least an economy seat. The sheer number of the U.S. cities Qatar flies to is no less astonishing. Even if you can’t find an award seat from your own hub due to the lack of flexibility, chances are you might find availability from a hub one short flight away.
Business class seats differ in quality depending on the aircraft, but all of them are fully flat, of course. Still, it’s good to know that A350 and A380 feature reverse herringbone seating, which is one of the best if not the best designs for a business class cabin.
Qatar also operates aircrafts with the highly coveted QSuites that feature privacy panels and double beds. You may be able to snag a flight on an aircraft that has a QSuite if you depart from Boston, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Los Angeles, New York (JFK) or Washington-Dulles.
Aside from the seating arrangements, Qatar customer service in premium classes is universally good on all aircrafts, and you can order food whenever you want.
U.S.–DOH/Middle East/India: Excellent availability in economy, especially if you book in advance. Consider flying from JFK for a more pleasant A350 experience. On a 777, get a seat in the middle section if you are flying solo and want undisturbed access to the aisle. Should you have a long layover, DOH offers city sightseeing tours.
You will pay 40,000 miles one way in economy and 70,000 miles in business class.
U.S.–Africa: 40,000 miles for economy and 75,000 miles for a business class seat are good prices, especially if you are flying to South Africa. Qatar via Doha is probably the cheapest and the most painless way to get to Johannesburg.
How to book
You can book Qatar flights using miles on AA.com, which has a new website capability. Another alternative, as mentioned, is searching for flights on the British Airways website and then calling AAdvantage® at 800-882-8880 to book. Phone booking fees may apply if the flight you choose is visible on the American Airlines website.