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Qatar Airways plans to fly its A350 between Philadelphia and Doha starting on January 1, 2016.
The A350 is the world’s newest passenger jet, newer than both the 787 Dreamliner and A380. This will be the plane’s first route to the United States.
- What is the Qatar Business Class product?
- What is the award price with American Airlines miles?
- What is the award space on Qatar’s routes?
- What connections are possible in Philadelphia and in Doha?
- How do you book these awards?
- How do you get American Airlines miles?
Qatar Business Class
Qatar Business Class has won the SkyTrax Passenger Choice Award for Best Business Class two years running.
On the A350, Qatar has put in nine rows of 1-2-1 reverse herringbone seats, meaning that everyone gets a fully flat bed with direct aisle access.
There are two mini-cabins, the front with six rows and the back with three. I’d try for Row 7-9 to be in the smaller cabin. The two cabins are separated by a refreshment area with drinks and snacks.
Qatar is a member of oneworld. The best miles to use to book the Qatar A350 are American Airlines miles because American doesn’t collect fuel surcharges on Qatar award flights.
Between the United States and Middle East/Subcontinent, American Airlines charges:
- 45,000 miles each way in economy
- 67,500 miles each way in Business Class
- 90,000 miles each way in First Class, though the Qatar A350 doesn’t have First Class
Pay your award taxes with the Citi Prestige® Card. The first $250 in award taxes, fuel surcharges, airfare, or airline fees per calendar year are refunded to you as a statement credit. If you’ve already maxed out the statement credit, you will still earn 3x ThankYou Points on the award taxes.
Award Space on Qatar A350
Search for award space on ba.com. (Here’s how.) All the Qatar award space you find there, American Airlines miles can book.
Award space is excellent in both directions between Philadelphia and Doha in economy and Business Class from mid-January through mid-May, 2016, which is as far in advance as you can book at the moment.
The A350 flights from Philadelphia begin January, but award space doesn’t appear until January 11., when there are 9+ economy award seats (we know that by the lack of a number displayed under the word “Available”) and 4 Business Class seats available.
From that day through the end of the schedule, I found award space in economy and Business Class every day I searched, which was about two dozen days.
There were always either 2 or 4 Business Class seats available and 9+ economy seats.
Between Doha and Philadelphia, the pattern is only slightly different. There is actually 1 Business Class award seat on the inaugural A350 flight to Philadelphia.
Then the next day with award space is January 11 with 3 Business Class and zero economy award seats between Doha and Philadelphia. Finally, starting January 22, we begin to see the pattern we saw the other direction. For the rest of the calendar, we see 9+ economy award seats and 2 or 4 Business Class seats.
Connection in Philly and Doha
American charges the same number of miles no matter where your award starts in the United States. Philadelphia was a US Airways hub that American Airlines is maintaining, so you can fly there directly from most of the country.
You can only connect the Qatar space to MileSAAver award space on aa.com, not AAnytime award space. MileSAAver award space should be pretty good domestically on American Airlines and US Airways award flights. You can fly economy or First Class domestically on international Business Class awards, so make sure to search for space in both cabins.
If you stay in the Middle East/Indian Subcontinent region, you will not pay extra miles. Qatar award space should be excellent within the region.
Booking the Award
Find Qatar award space on ba.com, and find American Airlines or US Airways award space on aa.com if necessary. Call American Airlines at 800-882-8880 to book the award, giving the agent the date, flight number, and cabin of each flight you found with award space on ba.com and aa.com.
If you’d like, put the award space on a free five-day hold before booking.
You will not be charged a phone booking fee, since Qatar space cannot be booked on aa.com.
Getting the Miles
The personal and business American Airlines cards from Citi offer 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months. You can get both cards at least eight days apart.
- Citi AA Personal Card
- Citi AA Business Card (this is a zombie link; there is no mention of 50k bonus, but FlyerTalkers report that this link nets 50k miles)
Qatar Airways’ flight from Philadelphia (with connections elsewhere in the United States) to Doha (with connections elsewhere in the Middle East) will be served by an A350 starting January 1, 2016.
Business Class will be top of the line and cost only 67,500 American Airlines miles each way.
Search on ba.com and book by calling American Airlines. Pay your award taxes with the Citi Prestige® Card. The first $250 in award taxes, fuel surcharges, airfare, or airline fees per calendar year are refunded to you as a statement credit. If you’ve already maxed out the statement credit, you will still earn 3x ThankYou Points on the award taxes.
Get the American Airlines miles by opening a Citi AA card.
Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get an additional $500 in free airfare on any airline in the first 12 months plus free airport lounge access worldwide for only a $450 annual fee. Why I got the card.