Qatar Airways has launched a new Avios flash sale, which offers a 60% bonus on purchases till 23 June 2023. This works out to 1.75 US cents per mile, and is 10% more generous than the previous sale we saw in May 2023.
If you need a quick top-up of your account, then this is as good a price as you’ll see. However, if you don’t need the miles straight away, it’s still cheaper to buy them through Citi PayAll, with a price of 1 cent per mile available till 20 August 2023.
Buy Qatar Airways Avios with a 60% bonus
|Buy Qatar Airways Avios|
Qatar Airway’s Avios sale runs from now till 23 June 2023, 4.59 a.m SGT.
During this period, Qatar Privilege Club members can enjoy up to a 60% bonus, tiered as follows:
|Purchase Amount||Bonus||Cost Per Mile|
|1,000-4,000||None||3.70 US cents|
(4.96 SG cents)
|5,000-19,000||35%||2.30 US cents|
(3.08 SG cents)
|20,000-25,000||45%||2 US cents|
(2.68 SG cents)
|26,000-36,000||45%||1.93 US cents|
(2.59 SG cents)
|Don’t ask me why Qatar’s portal won’t let you purchase 37,000 miles!|
|38,000-250,000||60%||1.75 US cents|
(2.35 SG cents)
|Note: Bonuses are targeted, so what you see in your account may differ from mine. OMAAT reports receiving a bonus of up to 80%, which reduces the cost to 1.56 US cents (2.09 SG cents)|
|❓ Switching to a UK address|
|By switching your account address to the UK, the cost per mile reduces to as low as 1.77 SG cents apiece (with a 60% bonus). However, I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing this unless I had a legitimate UK address, in the off chance that the audit team requests for proof. It’s a remote possibility, but you can never rule it out|
Unlike the previous sale, which offered a 50% bonus with a minimum purchase of 1,000 Avios, you’ll need to buy at least 38,000 Avios (pre-bonus) before you enjoy the 60% bonus.
Qatar Airways has stated that Avios purchased or gifted through this offer will not count towards the normal limit of 250,000 Avios (pre-bonus) allowed in a calendar year.
Members must have earned at least 1,000 Avios since enrolment in order to purchase additional Avios. I assume this is a hedge they’ve built into the system to prevent people from opening multiple accounts and acting as mileage brokers. However, those Avios need not be earned by flying; you also meet the 1,000 Avios threshold via credit card transfers or any other partner activity.
When do Qatar Avios expire?
Qatar Privilege Club Avios do not expire, so long as you earn or redeem at least 1 Avios every 36 months. Should you fail to do this, you can revalidate your Avios within one year of the end of the 36-month period by paying a fee.
Qatar Privilege Club Platinum members enjoy non-expiring Avios.
What can you redeem with Qatar Privilege Club Qmiles?
I’ve made no secret of my distrust of Qatar Privilege Club. This is a programme that thinks nothing of unannounced devaluations (and to be fair, revaluations too), or quietly adding back junky award segment fees.
That said, I have to concede that the programme does have some sweet spots, and the absence of fuel surcharges when redeeming Qatar Airways flights via Qatar Privilege Club is also an attractive feature.
As a reminder, here’s how much it’d cost to fly from Singapore to the following destinations via Qatar Airways (Qatar Airways has no award chart; consult the QCalculator for quotes).
|✈️ One-way Business Class Awards|
|Athens, Bucharest, Sofia, Thessaloniki||70,000||N/A|
|Barcelona, London, Frankfurt, Paris, Zurich||75,000||103,500|
|Houston, New York||95,000||111,500|
|*Assumes QPC Avios redeemed for Qatar Airways, KrisFlyer miles for Singapore Airlines. Not all destinations served by each carrier.|
Award rates between Singapore and Europe are extremely competitive, with Qatar Privilege Club requiring just 70,000-75,000 Avios compared to KrisFlyer’s 103,500 miles (not to mention a wider network of destinations).
It’s a bit more marginal for the USA, but keep in mind again that Qatar Airways serves additional destinations that Singapore Airlines does not, such as Boston, Chicago, Miami and Washington DC.
Do note that all redemptions are subject to non-refundable award segment fees as follows:
|Economy||Business & First|
|Fee per segment||US$35||US$70|
This means a round-trip award redemption from Singapore to Europe would have US$280 of these junk fees tacked on, which can’t be refunded should you cancel the booking!
All this to say: there’s value in buying Avios, but you should confirm that there’s award space available on the dates and routes you want (Qatar’s website normally doesn’t let you search with a zero balance, but there is a workaround).
What’s more, you should ensure that it’s regular award space, and not the more expensive Flexi awards, which cost 2x the price. Flexi awards are labelled with “Q2” tags; for example, DOH-SIN prices out at 50,000 Avios normally, but 100,000 Avios for a Flexi award.
Finally, you should book awards as soon as Avios come into your account. Qatar Airways is one place I don’t feel confident holding miles!
But even if you have no interest in Qatar Privilege Club, you can spend these Avios via British Airways Executive Club instead. British Airways has some good value short-haul sweet spots (even if they’re not as sweet as before).
- SIN-KUL: 12,500 miles in Business Class (and an opportunity to visit the Qatar Premium Lounge)
- SIN-CMB: 22,000 miles in Business Class
- SIN-PER: 38,750 miles in Business Class
Your Qatar Privilege Club and British Airways Executive Club Avios will be automatically pooled, and can be spent via either programme without the need to transfer.
What credit card should I use to buy Qatar Privilege Club miles?
Qatar Privilege Club does not process miles purchases directly. Instead, they’re processed through Points.com in USD, which means they code as MCC 7399 (Business Services Not Elsewhere Classified) and not airline spend.
Here’s the best cards to maximize the miles earned on your purchase:
|4 mpd||Cap of S$1K per s. month|
|UOB Visa Signature|
|4 mpd||Min S$1K, max S$2K FCY spend per s. month|
|SCB Visa Infinite|
|3 mpd||Min spend S$2K per s. month|
|UOB PRVI Miles|
|2.4 mpd||No cap|
|UOB VI Metal Card|
|2.4 mpd||No cap|
|DBS Vantage Card|
|2.2 mpd||No cap|
|S. Month= Statement Month | C. Month= Calendar Month|
I generally don’t advise using the DBS Woman’s World Card for Points.com purchases, as past data points have indicated issues with getting the bonus points credited.
Citi PayAll alternative
|Citi PayAll 2.2 mpd Promo|
Before you buy Avios from Qatar Airways, however, you might want to consider the Citi PayAll alternative.
From 20 April to 20 August 2023, Citi cardholders will earn a flat 2.2 mpd on all Citi PayAll transactions with a minimum combined spend of S$8,000 and a cap of S$120,000.
An admin fee of 2.2% applies, which means a standard cost of 1 cent per mile across Citi cards:
|Card||Earn Rate||Cost Per Mile |
(@ 2.2% fee)
|Citi ULTIMA||2.2 mpd|
(Base: 1.6 mpd
Bonus: 0.6 mpd)
|Citi Prestige||2.2 mpd|
(Base: 1.3 mpd
Bonus: 0.9 mpd)
|Citi PremierMiles||2.2 mpd|
(Base: 1.2 mpd
Bonus: 1.0 mpd)
|Citi Rewards||2.2 mpd|
(Base: 0.4 mpd
Bonus: 1.8 mpd)
|⚠️ Citi app shows regular rates!|
Be advised that the Citi Mobile App (where Citi PayAll payments are set up) shows the regular earn rates by default.
For example, it tells me a S$10,000 payment on my Citi PremierMiles Card will earn 12,000 miles (based on 1.2 mpd), when in fact it should be 22,000 miles (based on 2.2mpd). You’ll just have to take it on faith that the bonus miles will show up later.
Citi Miles and ThankYou points can be converted to Qatar Airways Avios, and you’re paying a mere fraction of the price compared to buying direct.
So why would anyone buy direct in that case? I can think of a couple of scenarios:
- You need a small-ish top-up to your account for a redemption. Avios purchased via Qatar Airways will be posted within 72 hours; bonus Citi Miles/ThankYou points will be credited by 10 December 2023 (and then there’s a further wait for them to be converted to Qatar Avios)
- Citi PayAll’s current offer requires a minimum spend of S$8,000, and not everyone may have that amount of bills to pay (though it should be mentioned that PayAll covers a wide range of bills, including some nebulously-defined categories)
But yes- if you’re able to wait, then I’d much rather take the Citi PayAll route.
Qatar Airways is offering up to a 60% bonus on Avios purchases, and if you need Avios for immediate use, then this would be a cheaper way of topping up your account. Otherwise, you’re better off buying Avios indirectly via Citi PayAll instead, provided you don’t mind waiting till December 2023 for the bonus to credit.
Qatar Privilege Club would be a good award programme- if you could only trust them!