10/2019 Update: While still not great, award availability is possible for spring 2020 on routes such as JFK-DOH:
Qatar Business Class Award Availability is Terrible on Many US Routes, Especially for Summer 2019. Many TravelSort Clients who fly to the Maldives or Africa on safari find great value using AAdvantage miles to fly Qatar Business Class via Doha, since the Maldives is 70,000 AAdvantage miles each way per person, while Africa, including Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa, Seychelles, etc. is 75,000 AAdvantage miles each way.
Late last year I was able to easily reserve 3 seats in Qatar Business Class for Atlanta ATL to Doha in March, a route that is currently on a 777, with Business Class in a 2-2-2 configuration, but that is slated to change to QSuites on an A350 by the end of March.
But looking at summer, there's no award availability for two travelers (all searches below are for two travelers). The reduced award availability has tended to coincide with Qatar award space appearing on AA.com, where it's much easier for the average AAdvantage member to search for and book it; previously, many used British Airways' site to search for the space, then called AA to book.
To be fair, there is some award availability earlier, in April-May, and again in the fall:
Doha to NYC also lacks Qatar Business Class award space this summer:
It's a similar picture for Doha to LAX, where there's no Qatar Business Class award space this summer, and virtually none in general until February 2020:
Looking at Philadelphia to Doha, which isn't nearly as popular as NYC or LAX to Doha, this also lacks Business Class award space for summer 2019:
This isn't good news for anyone trying to plan a last minute summer trip that relies on Qatar Business Class award space to or from the U.S., and is another reason why planning ahead and flexible dates are so crucial when seeking to use frequent flyer miles.
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Qatar AAdvantage Award Routing Exceptions
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Thanks that’s useful information. Although it’s bad news! American Airlines just seems to be all over the place these days as far as availability anywhere internationally.
Yes, very disappointing that award availability is basically nil over the summer, since Qatar business class awards have been very useful for a number of itineraries. Cathay Business is scarce as well during the summer, on US routes as well, but that’s because it’s been booked; there are still some first class awards (maximum one per flight) here and there.
Same with Hong Kong from dallas or lax on American. No availability thru the entire calandar. At all.
Terrible. Usually there’s better availability on AA’s partners, but there’s more of a premium than ever on advance planning and booking when the calendar opens, plus being flexible with one’s travel dates.
Hi Hilary – doesn’t appear to be any improvement on ATL – DOH direct routes that I’ve looked at this weekend – very disappointing. Do you have any more insights or updates on larger trends, or any improvements?
To be honest all the Qatar Business Class award space I’ve booked recently for Award Booking clients has been in March 2020, when there is some award space. If you have any flexibility I would switch your dates to then, based on when you can find award availability.
I have been trying to find some availability in the month of October for QSuites from Atlanta to Mumbai (via PHL) and the availability seems to exist till Doha but nothing is comping up from Doha to Mumbai. Any thoughts?
Where do you select “nonstop only” for this AA.com award search? Has that selection been taken down?
Still visible for me; I added a new screenshot at the top of the post and circled the nonstop field in red.