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How to use American AAdvantage miles for Qatar Airways flights

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Qatar Airways is one of the 3 global Gulf carriers. With a hub in Doha, Qatar, it’s well-known for superior food and service in all classes of service.

Since Qatar is a member of oneworld, you can book Qatar’s flights with American AAdvantage® miles, but you won’t find the flights when you search on AA.com.

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 US: 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 is the best source to find Qatar award space online, and you can see how to use it here. 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. Availability on Qatar flights from the U.S. is usually very good, with 1-3 seats typically available in Business Class from all U.S. departure cities. If you are even a little bit flexible, you will likely find your ticket. If you want an automated way to search several dates at a time, consider using the Award Finder Google Chrome extension.

Even the flight from Los Angeles has some availability…

And if you can book far in advance, you can often get up to 4 seats in a Business Class cabin.

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

Since American treats the Middle East and Indian Subcontinent as the same zone, you can also fly on Qatar between the U.S. and other places in the Middle East, as well as India and Indian Subcontinent countries like Bangladesh.

Try any other connections, however, and you will have to pay for two awards.

For more details, check our full guide to using American Airlines 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 exceptionally strong. You can have up to 4 seats in a business class cabin if you plan ahead, and even if you don’t, you have a good shot at getting your 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, the 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 (not flying on the U.S. routes) feature reverse herringbone seating, which is one of the best if not the best designs for a Business Class cabin.

Unfortunately, most of the Qatar U.S. routes are served by 777 aircraft, but there are two exceptions at JFK and PHL, which are served by A350 aircraft with aisle access from every Business Class seat.

Qatar service in premium classes is universally good on all aircraft, and you can order food whenever you want. In addition, Qatar promised to start rolling out its new “Super Business” class on the older 777s in November 2016.

Key Opportunities

Despite the recent AA devaluation, redeeming miles on Qatar is still a value proposition, at least in Business Class.

U.S.–DOH / Middle East / India: Excellent availability, especially if you can book in advance. Consider flying from PHL or JFK (only 0704 on A350) 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 free 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 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, and availability is pretty good, too.

How to Book

AA doesn’t display Qatar flights on its website, so you’ll need to call AAdvantage on 1-800-882-8880. If the agent forgets to waive the phone booking fee, kindly remind the agent that you shouldn’t be paying it since the flight can’t be booked online.


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