Best Qatar Award Flights Bookable with United Miles

Best Qatar Awards Bookable with United Miles

 

June 1, 2012 Update: United has announced that its partnership with Qatar is ending. You have until September 14, 2012 to ticket award travel, valid for one year:

Customers will be able to accrue mileage on Qatar Airways codeshare and interline flights until September 14, 2012. Award travel ticketed on or before September 14, 2012, will be honored as ticketed and valid for one year.”

Don't count on being able to make changes to awards after that date–you'd presumably only be able to cancel out the Qatar segments, and not rebook them on Qatar. Unfortunate that the Qatar partnership was so short-lived–I'd encourage you to try Qatar Business Class, if it fits in your travel plans, and book by 9/14/12.

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While you probably know that Qatar Airways awards are now bookable online with United miles, I thought it would be interesting to put together some of the best Qatar awards available, along with screenshots from actual award searches.

First, the bad news: Qatar only flies a 3-cabin aircraft from London, Paris, Frankfurt and Munich to Doha, and I wasn’t able to see *any* award availability for first class for any of those routes at all. From the U.S. Qatar only flies 2-cabin aircraft with economy and business class. So if you must be in a first class cabin, this post isn’t for you.

Now the good news: Not only are United award mile amounts reasonable and taxes/fees low; Qatar business class consistently gets great reviews for both its Boeing 777 hard product (great seat that turns into a comfortable fully flat bed) and service, not to mention the Qatar Business Class Lounge in Doha. Here are a few of the recent reviews for it at Skytrax (all bolding is mine):

February 26, 2012, Boeing 777ER, R Sangster

Fantastic flight from Doha to BKK. Great seats sitting or sleeping and very good inflight entertainment. Great value compared to other GCC airlines. Food was the best I have had on an airline.

 

February 26, 2012, A330/Boeing 777ER, C Gaunt

LHR-DOH-BKK return in Business Class; A330 on first leg then 777 on all others. There is a difference between the 330 and the 777 – get the B777 if you can. Best business class I've experienced. Service impeccable, Doha lounge very nice, Laurent Perrier champagne, great film selection, nice amenities.

 

November 27, 2011, Boeing 777-300, Paul Anderton

Nice, forward facing seats – no angling like some airline pod seat types. Very comfortable seat, and was able to select multiple positions for relaxed, eating occasions. As a flat bed, truly comfortable, nice padding on the seat and slept well (quite unusual for me on a plane!).

 

June 26, 2011, Boeing 777-300, H Turner

All flights clean and comfortable, the B777-300 is the best configured aircraft. What puts Qatar way ahead of the competition is the service; on every flight the experience is just excellent, delivered effortlessly and with grace.

 

The other great thing is that United miles are relatively easy for most people to earn with credit cards. Our recommendations in order of priority would be:

 

You can apply to Chase for a personal and business credit card at the same time, so I’d recommend the Ink Bold and the MileagePlus Explorer or the Sapphire Preferred, whichever you don’t already have.

Two of those cards will give you over 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points which transfer 1:1 to United miles, and by meeting spend requirements with bonus categories you’ll easily have 120,000 or more United miles to book the following awards. Just make sure your spouse or friend applies too, so you can travel together on miles!

Qatar’s U.S. and Canada gateways (2-Cabin Business and Economy Class only)

  • NYC (JFK)
  • Washington, DC (IAD)
  • Houston (IAH)
  • Montreal (YUL)

Qatar flies to a number of Middle East, European and Asian destinations, although only to the North American cities above and in South America, to Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires. Here's the route map for Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia:

Best Qatar Awards Bookable with United Miles

 

1. U.S. – Doha – Maldives in Business Class for 120,000 United Miles Roundtrip

  • I was not able to see both legs at the saver level in business class when simply entering the U.S. gateway city and Male (it returned a mixed itinerary of business class for NYC-Doha, but economy to Male) but searching segment by segment I was able to find saver availability for both U.S.-Doha and Doha-Male. You'd need to call to try to get it booked entirely in business, providing the Doha-Male flight that has saver level business class availability.
Best Qatar Awards Bookable with United Miles
 
  • Pros:
  • Arguably the best value business class product to the Maldives with consistent availability for two people
  • Same number of miles as Delta (120K; although of course Skymiles valued lower than United miles) and Qatar business class is a far better product than Malaysia Airlines business class. Fewer miles than American (135K) or British Airways (180K, plus high fees).
  • Just one-stop to the Maldives from the U.S.! Your main other options from the U.S. with just one stop to Male are Etihad from NYC via Abu Dhabi, Malaysia Airlines from LAX via Kuala Lumpur, British Airways via London, and Singapore Airlines via Singapore (but usually only one award seat). See Tips for Booking Award Tickets to the Maldives
  • Cons:
  • You’ll have a layover of almost 5 hours on the outbound, with a very early morning (12:55am) flight to Male
  • You’ll have a layover of almost 1 day on the return, since the Male-Doha flight typically gets in around noon, and the Doha-NYC flight is at 8am on the following day. 
  • You’ll probably need to call in order to try to get both segments in business class

 

2.       U.S. – Doha – Johannesburg (or Cape Town) in Business Class for 120,000 United Miles Roundtrip

  • I was actually able to see business class availability for both segments on the first date I searched, May 20, 2013. Note that if you go to Cape Town, the flight will stop first in Johannesburg.
Best Qatar Awards Bookable with United Miles
  • Pros:
  • One of the better value business class products to South Africa; American charges 150,000 miles for roundtrip business class to South Africa. If you have Alaska Airlines miles, an even better deal, however, is 140,000 Alaska MileagePlan miles gets you first class to Johannesburg via Hong Kong. See The 15 Best First and Business Class Airline Awards in 2012
  • Cons:
  • As with the Maldives, there’s a long layover in Doha: over 6 hours

 

3.       U.S. – Doha – Melbourne in Business Class for 135,000 United Miles Roundtrip

  • I was not able to see both legs at the saver level in business class when simply entering the U.S. gateway city and Melbourne, but searching segment by segment I was able to find saver availability for both U.S.-Doha and Doha-Melbourne
Best Qatar Awards Bookable with United Miles
  • Pros:
  • It can be very tough finding awards to Australia, so another option is a very good thing, especially if you don’t have any Skymiles in order to book a nonstop business class award on V Australia or if you don’t have or don’t want to use US Air miles to fly to Australia via Asia (see The 15 Best First and Business Class Airline Awards in 2012)
  • Cons:
  • American charges fewer miles for an Australia business class award: 125K miles roundtrip
  • As with the Maldives and Johannesburg, there’s a long layover in Doha: about 6 hours
  • You’ll probably need to call in order to try to get both segments in business class


4.       U.S. – Doha – Asia in Business Class for 120,000 United Miles Roundtrip

  • You could go to North or South Asian destinations such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Bali, Shanghai, Tokyo, etc.
  • I was not able to see both legs at the saver level in business class when simply entering the U.S. gateway city and Asian destination, but searching segment by segment I was able to find saver availability for both U.S.-Doha and Doha-Asian destination. You'd need to call to try to get this booked.
Best Qatar Awards Bookable with United Miles
  • Pros:
  • If you’re low on American miles or Avios points so that flying Cathay isn’t an option, using United miles on Qatar could be an excellent way to fly a great business class product to Asia, especially if you can’t find availability on Singapore
  • Cons:
  • You’ll probably need to call in order to try to get both segments in business class
I'll leave you with a video of Business Class Doha to Bangkok. Unless you're a true aviation geek, I suggest skipping over the takeoff to about 3:36 for a glimpse of the in-flight experience.
 
 

Related Posts

Review: Qatar Business Class NYC JFK to Doha

Review: Qatar Business Class Lounge, Doha

 

 

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