Travelers who book some of the cheapest seats on Qatar Airways will no longer be eligible to upgrade with QMiles.
The new rules come into force today, July 1, and will affect passengers who book Economy Promo fares (booking classes T, O and W).
However, customers who book more expensive types of economy tickets will still be able to use their points as before.
Meanwhile, those buying the highest-priced economy tickets – Economy Flexi (booking classes Y, B and H) will be given a discount on the number of Qmiles needed for cabin upgrades.
Qatar Airways is also making changes to its QPoints system, which could also affect economy passengers.
QPoints are important because they determine a Privilege Club member’s tier (Burgundy, Silver, Gold and Platinum).
The higher the points, the higher the tier and more perks a member gets, such as priority check-in, higher baggage allowance and preferred seat selection.
Under the new rules, fewer points will be awarded for cheaper tickets.
This means members will need to buy more tickets and fly more frequently with the airline to maintain or improve their membership level.
For example, a single trip to London before today on the cheapest economy fare would have been worth 15 QPoints under the old system, but is now only 10 QPoints.
Meanwhile, QPoints awarded for business class and first class tickets remain unchanged.
You can see the new QPoints chart here.
The good news
Alongside these reductions in benefits for economy passengers, the airline has made a few other changes that some customers will find beneficial.
Firstly, it has increased the minimum number of QMiles that it will award to 500 (up from 300).
This means that passengers on some of the airline’s shortest flights, like Doha to Bahrain, will earn more miles.
Qatar Airways has also made it slightly easier to retain each membership level by reducing the number of QPoints required in each section.
This means that to stay a Silver card holder, a traveler would now need to earn 140 instead of 150 points within 12 months. For Gold, it would 270 points instead of 275; and for Platinum, it’s now 540 instead of 550.
Finally, the airline has also increased the number of QMiles awarded on some of its most expensive fares in Business and Economy. You can see the new chart here.
Are you a Privilege Club member? Thoughts?