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Is British Airways paying out the wrong number of Avios on Qatar Airways Business Class fares?


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The title of this post is a question to which I don’t have an answer but it’s a question that has come to light as a result of the recent changes that Qatar Airways made to how its Business Class fares are structured and how many Avios British Airways now says that Qatar Airways Business Class fares will accrue. If you’re flying in Qatar Airways Business Class and crediting your flights to the Executive Club, this is something to look out for.

A bit of background

As of 1 October, Qatar Airways has separated out its Business Class fares into four new “fare families” where each family gives customers a slightly different set of benefits. The fares are called EliteComfortClassic, and Lite, and the airline’s cheapest deals (the Lite fares) now book into fare code “P”.

Importantly, we were told that the new Qatar Airways P Class fares would earn fewer miles in the Qatar Airways Privilege Club than the cheapest fares they have replaced, and a quick check of the update that British Airways posted showed that the Executive Club had followed suit and now awards fewer Avios for P Class fares than it used to award for the cheapest Qatar Airways Business Class fares pre 1 October.

The issue

What I’m about to discuss is something that I first noticed a couple of weeks ago when checking to see if British Airways would use the Qatar Airways changes to destroy an easy path to oneworld status (it didn’t) and at the time, I assumed it was just a typo that would be corrected pretty quickly.

Now, however, the changes to Qatar Airways Business Class fares have been in place for almost three weeks and the error is still there so it’s time to shine a light on it in case BA is short-changing some of its Executive Club members.

Here’s what I’m talking about:

The British Airways partner earnings page shows that as of 1 October, Qatar Airway P Class fares will earn Avios at a rate equivalent to 75% of the distance flown while all other Qatar Airways Business Class fares will earn Avios at a rate equivalent to 125% of the distance flown.

Having the cheapest Qatar Airways Business Class fares earning just 75% of the distance flown is a little disappointing but it’s in line with what Qatar Airways has done for its own frequent flyers and therefore not unexpected.

What *is* unexpected is to see the British Airways Avios calculator showing that all Qatar Airways Business Class bookings will earn the same number of Avios regardless of the fare class they’re booked into. Try it for yourself – enter any Qatar Airways route into the Avios calculator and you’ll a result that looks something like this:

Based on what the British Airways partner earnings page shows, this shouldn’t be the case, and what’s worse is the fact that the Avios calculator appears to be calculating the number of Avios to credit for all Qatar Airways Business Class fares at 75% of the distance flown.

This screenshot from GCM shows that the distance between Doha and Singapore is 3,857 miles…

…so based on what the BA partner earnings page says, we’d expect Qatar Airways Business Class tickets that book into any fare class other than P, to earn Avios at a rate of 125% of the distance flown. That’s 4,821 Avios.

Instead, the Avios calculator is showing all Qatar Airways Business Class fares earning just 2,894 Avios on this route and that’s a number that’s almost exactly 75% of the distance flown and, what we’re told, only P Class fares should be earning.

Bottom Line

If you’re booking into Qatar Airways P Class there’s no issue here for you to worry about. If, however, you’re booking into a higher Qatar Airways Business Class fare category and it turns out that BA’s systems are basing the number of Avios to award you on the information that the Avios Calculator is using, there’s a chance that you’re earning fewer Avios for your trips than you should be – check your flights and your BAEC account.

If anyone has flown Qatar Airways Business Class since 1 October, credited their fight(s) to the BAEC, and booked into a higher fare class than P, please would you check your earnings and let me know if this is an actual issue or if it’s only a problem with the Avios Calculator? Thanks.

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