Qatar Airways came out with a surprising announcement earlier this week – they are launching flights between Toronto and Doha, Qatar. It isn’t the route itself that is surprising – it’s when it starts. Tomorrow is the first flight on this new route. That’s right, they are starting it during the pandemic when travel is at an all time low and technically Canadians can’t even travel to Qatar right now! However Canadians and other nationals are allowed to transit via Qatar to other countries and that is where Qatar Airways makes their living anyways – its not travel to Qatar, its connecting via Doha to other destinations beyond.
The new flights will operate 3x per week between Toronto and Doha and this is on top of the airline’s 4x weekly flights between Montreal and Doha. This route comes about from an expansion in the agreement between Canada and Qatar allowing more flights. The Toronto flight will be operated with an Airbus A350-900 on the following schedule (Source RoutesOnline)
QR767 DOH0830 – 1500YYZ 359 246
QR768 YYZ2050 – 1615+1DOH 359 246
On the miles side you can earn and redeem Qatar Airways Privilege Club Qmiles on these flights and recently Qatar lowered their carrier surcharges for their redemption which is good news for those who do utilized Privilege Club. However in Canada the only way to earn QMiles outside of your standard travel providers (flights/hotels) is via the Marriott Bonvoy program which means you can access those miles via American Express (see here: Complete list of Airline & Hotel loyalty programs that you can earn miles or points in with Canadian Credit Cards). However the actual number of miles Privilege Club requires is a lot more than other programs. These means the best option for Qatar Airways flights is utilizing their oneworld partner airline programs and in Canada that primarily means British Airways Executive Club, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles and American AAdvantage. All three programs have lower mileage requirements for flying on Qatar Airways than Qatar’s own Privilege Club so earning via credit cards like the Amex suite of Membership Rewards cards, RBC Visa Infinite Avion or HSBC World Elite Mastercard and converting to something like Avios makes more sense than trying to convert from Marriott to Qatar’s Privilege Club. You can still choose to convert Marriott to British Airways, Cathay Pacific etc. and that’s totally fine and doable!
It’s great to see an airline launching new flights during this downturn and while the flight may not make Qatar any money right now you can bet it will once travel opens up again in the next few years. So one can hope Qatar will keep the flight going and if their past history is any indication I feel like they will keep this route going for a long time.
You can book Qatar Airways flights here. (This link earns RC a commission – you don’t have to choose to use it but thank you in advance if you do so!)
Title Image via Qatar Airways