Warning, Alaska Airlines flyers. From Thursday you can now have your Mileage plan Miles to fly one of the best business class products in the world: Qatar Qsuite.
Since Alaska the Oneworld alliance on March 31, 2021, point and mile nerds anticipated this moment. After all, the Alaska Award chart is full of sweet spots. So we hoped Mileage Plan awards would be just as good with Qatar Airways.
However, the premium rates are not as low as we had hoped. Plus, there’s a twist in this partnership that results in staggering premium rates. So let’s see what you need to know about this new Alaska and Qatar mile partnership.
The Mileage Plan award table for flights to Qatar
Alaska Mileage Plan members can now redeem miles on Qatar award flights between the United States and the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent and Africa.
For most of its partners, the Alaska Mileage Plan only lists one award plan between any two regions. However, this does not apply to rewards from Qatar to or from the United States. Instead, Alaska lists premium rates “starting at” a certain price. Qatar does not offer first class flights from the United States, but economy and business class award fares start at 42,500 miles.
Qatar Awards from the USA
That means you can fly non-stop from Los Angeles to Doha, Qatar for just 42,500 miles one way in Economy Class or 85,000 miles one way in Business Class.
As an added bonus, you can travel on from Doha to the rest of the Middle East or the Indian subcontinent at effectively the same tariffs.
These include award flights from the USA to the Maldives for only 42,500 miles in Economy Class or 85,000 miles in Qatar Qsuite Business Class:
Or you can fly from the US via Doha to anywhere in Africa for just 50,000 miles each way in Economy Class or 120,000 miles each way in Business Class.
You can really add to that award by flying from Seattle to Cape Town, South Africa for 50,000 Mileage Plus miles.
At least for the moment, Alaska doesn’t allow awards from Qatar to the US to Asia, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific, or any other Mileage Plan region.
Why do some Qatar award flights have such high prices?
Unfortunately, you will not find such low award prices on all Qatar award flights. For some, like a business class flight from Seattle to Cape Town, Alaska charges up to 280,000 Mileage Plan miles each way.
Based on our initial research, it appears that Alaska’s partnership with Qatar allows Mileage Plan members to book award seats at both the savings level at low prices and for additional award space that other partner airlines cannot find – albeit at higher redemption rates.
In the example above, for example, you could fly from Seattle to Cape Town in Qatar Business Class on June 5, 2022 for 280,000 Mileage Plan miles. However, you cannot American AAdvantage Miles (another partner in Qatar) to book the same ticket as an award flight.
While sky-high award rates are worrying, these redemptions appear to be limited to award flights that cannot be booked through other partners. In other words, you are exclusive to Alaska.
Mileage plan awards for Qatar outside the US
You can also redeem Mileage Plan miles for Qatar Airways awards between certain other award table regions:
Middle East to the Indian subcontinent.
Middle East to the South Pacific.
Unfortunately, none of these premium tariffs offer particularly good value for money or new sweet spots. For example, award flights within the Middle East cost:
17,500 miles each way in economy.
40,000 miles each way in Business Class.
60,000 miles each way in first class.
That’s a very high price to pay for short award flights, especially considering that some can only be an hour and a half long. In comparison, American Airlines charges half as many miles for Qatar First Class on these routes.
How to earn Alaska Mileage Plan miles
Aside from flying with Alaska and its partners, Mileage Plan miles are not the easiest miles to earn. Unlike other major US mileage programs, Alaska Mileage Plan is not a referral affiliate of a banking program. The only main transferable currency the transfers are on the Mileage Plan Marriott Bonvoy.
You can transfer Bonvoy points at a 3: 1 ratio to the Alaska Mileage Plan – with a 5,000 mile bonus for transferring 60,000 Bonvoy points. This means that if you transfer 60,000 Bonvoy points, you will earn a total of 25,000 Mileage Plan miles.
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit cardcurrently offering this welcome bonus: This online offer gives you 40,000 bonus miles plus Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare ™ starting at USD 121 (USD 99 rate plus taxes and fees starting at USD 22). To qualify, make purchases of $ 2,000 or more within the first 90 days of opening your account.
Purchase of Alaska Mileage Plan miles.
Shop through the Mileage Plan shopping portal.
Professional tip: You can book Qatar award flights for less
Thursday’s news is great for those with Mileage Plan miles; However, there are even better ways to book award flights to Qatar.
For example, instead of paying at least 85,000 Mileage Plan miles for a Qatar Business Class flight from the United States to the Maldives, you can redeem 70,000 AAdvantage miles for the same flight:
You can also use Qatar’s own miles program, Privilege Clubto fly between the US and Doha for just 70,000 Qmiles.
If you are looking for Qatar award flights …
Access to Mileage Plan awards with Qatar Airways was one of the most exciting aspects of Alaska joining the Oneworld alliance earlier this year. However, now that these awards are live, we can’t help but be a little disappointed with the above average award rates.
It is generally worrying to see much higher award rates on some flights. For members who are used to scoring excellent scores on the Alaska awards table, it is striking to see 100,000 one-way awards in Economy and 280,000 in Business Class awards.
However, if these are really rewards that cannot be booked through other partners, this could be a unique opportunity for Mileage Plan members to book award flights to Qatar.
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