As you may or may not know Qatar Airways is joining oneworld and recently entered into a partnership with AA. The award space has finally been loaded into the system, and there is good news and some bad news.
First of all the space is not searchable online as neither aa.com or any other site can search partner space online. With Qatar directly you can although you need to have enough Q miles to even see space. So you are currently stuck with having to call the phone center to see whether dates have space. I don’t have quite the patience nor the time to go ask the call center agents to search for a month of award space so I can see what the availability is like, but I’m fairly sure that it can’t be too bad given that Qatar doesn’t have that many partners. Hopefully when British Airways allows QR redemptions space will be available online but at the moment the only way is to call.
The bad thing is that they are (perhaps mistakenly) charging YQ on these awards. For example, here is a dummy award I held online:
The agent mentioned that taxes and fees for this one way would be $247, $221 in YQ which I believe should be equivalent to a paid fare. I am fairly sure that this could be an error (I hope it is, certainly) so waiting a few days/weeks would save you a lot of money. Of course it also seems that my booking is weird as the fare bucket is business class yet the cabin class shows as economy. That is probably a glitch that I hope will be fixed soon.
I am hoping these glitches are fixed soon and in any case this is a great addition to redeeming AA miles. Qatar Airways has direct flights from Doha to Montreal, Philadelphia, NYC, Washington DC, Chicago, and Houston, with 2-2-2 full flat beds on their 77w’s. They also fly the 787 to select European destinations including London, Munich, and several other cities, which features probably the one best business class products out there in a reverse herringbone configuration:
Reverse herringbone on a 787 with pajamas and dine on demand sounds extremely appealing. They also fly First Class their A340′s to some European destinations as well but I’m waiting for their A380.
A quick reminder that QR awards are currently bookable with AA miles using all partner awards and not with the oneworld explorer chart quite yet (as obviously QR has not joined oneworld yet). The award chart is here. I’ll update when some of the issues above are addressed.