American AAdvantage Doesn’t Have Access To Many Qatar Airways Award Seats

This week we’ve received many comments, emails, etc., from readers who are having issues booking Qatar Airways award tickets using American AAdvantage miles. The timing of this is a bit suspect, given that American just recently announced that they’re discontinuing their codeshare agreement with both Etihad and Qatar as of early next year.


Qatar Airways A350 business class

Based on what we’ve experienced firsthand and what has been shared with us by readers:

  • The issue applies mostly to flights between the US and Doha, and not as much to flights between Doha and other destinations
  • The issue applies for travel both before and after March 25, 2018, when the codeshare between American and Qatar is ending, so it doesn’t seem to be directly related to that
  • Some AAdvantage agents have told people that it’s not possible to redeem AAdvantage miles on Qatar for travel as of March 25, 2018 (I haven’t experienced this firsthand, but several readers have reported being told this); this definitely isn’t the case, and I suspect that some agents misread the memo regarding American cutting codeshares with Qatar Airways

I’ve reached out to American to make them aware of this issue, and they’ve told me that they’re working to get this fixed. Sometimes these sorts of issues are resolved within a day or two, while sometimes they last for weeks (at least that was the case with the recent issue between Alaska Mileage Plan and Emirates). Once I notice that this issue is fixed, I’ll be sure to report back.

Even when it is fixed, though, keep in mind that the award availability you find on British Airways’ website often won’t reflect what’s available to American AAdvantage. British Airways seems to show quite a bit of Qatar Airways phantom award availability, so all of those seats won’t actually be bookable.

Still, at the moment we’re unable to ticket just about all Qatar Airways award seats between the US and Qatar, so hopefully this is fixed soon.

Personally I don’t necessarily think there’s foul play here. In general I give the airlines the benefit of the doubt when it comes to this stuff, since IT issues happen all the time. Don’t get me wrong, long term I think we could see changes to the ability to redeem AAdvantage miles on Etihad or Qatar, though I doubt that’s what’s happening right now.

If you’ve tried to redeem AAdvantage miles on Qatar in the past few days, did you have issues?

Comments

  1. Hope this is taken care of internally. Having access to One World partners is really the only bright spot of AAdvantage at this point since they have such lousy availability on AA metal.

  2. Not to mention that BA hasn’t been able to see AA Saver space most of this week. Something BA says they are trying to fix. Maybe the word “Fix” is being used differently by BA.

  3. Ben, could you please also reach out to Aeroplan and make them aware that all business class awards on Ethiopian are blocked?

  4. Let’s Stick it to AA. All Citi prestige card holders buy a refundable ticket and occupy the Admirals clubs all day tomorrow. Take food home with you and bottled drinks. Take their silverware and glasses!

  5. Was able to book QR just now. Agent had difficulty but somehow resolved. She saw the space was open but couldn’t confirm it. Tried a number of ways to ticket (it was a 3 leg itinerary with 1AA and 2QR segments). Finally put me on hold and came back with a booking reference. Spent about 20 minutes on phone.

  6. @ Mark — Can I ask what route, and if you have a viable PNR on the QR side as well? I just tried (for the umpteenth time) and agents couldn’t even see the space to potentially grab.

  7. I had called last weekend – QR had availability in J to JFK, PHL, BOS, MIA, DFW, IAH, and IAD, but the agent in Australia I spoke to could only see the seats to IAH and IAD. I was able to put them on hold, but never tried ticketing because my plans changed.

  8. @Tiffany ORD-JFK-DPS. It’s on hold. Yes it’s a dual award because of their routing rules but on the same PNR. There was no issue seeing the availability, but reserving it took some time.

  9. I had this issue. The concierge key was able to get some flights released and are still working on others. Many of the agents working on the ticket made assumptions as to ‘why’ but none of them really understood the reason. Thanks for elevating this!

  10. The issue appears to not only be with AA, but JAL as well. Despite BA and Qatar’s websites showing availability, JAL agents are unable to see those seats available. I’ve been trying to book DFW-DOH, but both AA and JAL can’t see it. Maybe it’s a glitch with Qatar’s system.

  11. Yup, had a similar problem booking JFK–DOH. Weird part is they were able to book BOS-DOH, but not JFK. I tried a ton of alternatives, escalating to managers, etc. even their special rate desk had no luck after a week of trying. I settled for BOS which is fine. That one ticketed.

  12. Only advantage of AA miles are the use on QR and EY metals . If that is going , just we need to buy the magazine and burn it or give it to charity.

    And lucky , one request dont bring up the point of American having FF relationship with these 2 gulf carriers and shame them. Each time u do , there will be lot of unnecessary eyes on that topic.
    Dont have another topic and screw it.

  13. Had the same issue booking LAX-DOH. Agents could see space, but when they tried to book it, it came back unconfirmed. I tried probably 5-6 times over the course of a week and tried for several different dates. Finally, gave up and booked an itinerary on CX, since my destination is CMB and travel time is comparable either direction. One agent did claim it had to do w/ codeshare, but then retracted that when i told her codeshare issue shouldn’t affect award bookings.

  14. When it was reported that QR might be flying Qsuites to JFK in Sept I went to book an award for JNB-DOH-JFK for a trip in Nov. I initially put it on hold then went a couple days after to confirm and the agent flat put told me they’re not allowed to book Qatar flights to the US because of the political issues there. I inform her that 1. the previous agent was able to hold the space for me and 2 Qatar has no problem flying to the US, “you can confirm me”. She put me on hold for a couple minutes then came back to confirm it with warnings of possible flight disruptions. Seems some agents just misinterpret the rules.

  15. I have LAX-DOH-JNB-CPT on request for about two weeks now with a confirmation number. Weird thing is i booked JNB-DOH-LAX on the same day and that was actually ticketed 2 days later.

  16. So rechecking my booking, my flights on qatar are no longer there on the booking at all, and the ticket is still on request. Called in and they said they still dont see the flight show up at all when searching non rev availbility, but acknowledges the flight still there for revenue. Agent said to try and call in a couple of days again. Think my ticket has been canceled out?

  17. @Tiffany, Today I ticketed that QR route without issue. I got the Qatar booking reference, used it on their mobile app and assigned seats. So far so good. Of course I don’t have the actual confirmation email from AA as that takes a day or two. Will let you know if I have any issues. Apparently I got lucky on this one. Keeping my other options open however in case this falls apart.

  18. Planning to transfer a big chunk of my MR balance to Asia Miles to book QR. Any issues reported thus far?

  19. Still issue not fixed. Spoke to 2 AA agents and they have no idea when it will be fixed. Acc to AA rep they are also not able to issue tickets for Iberia. Agent was able to see the QR inventory but not able to book it.

  20. So my Qatar flight from doh-jnb has shown up, but still nothing on LAX-DOH, entire ticket is still on request. According to a reddit poster, AA EXP agent said they were stopping award tickets after oct

  21. There is no availability in Economy for entire months of Jan and Feb 2018 (at least that is what the AA rep I talked to told me) from IAD to DOH though my onward flight from DOH is available. Hope this situation improves soon. This is from AA miles.

    QR is anyhow horrible with their QR miles redemption, after I’m done with my existing QR miles, QR is off my list. Look at charts for availability from IAD to DOH and all you see are 2x the miles for Economy for next year, first regular economy is available at the end of March, seriously Qatar!!

  22. I used AA miles for 2 tickets on Qatar for JFK-JNB Business class for 5/28 before codeshare announcement was made. Have been trying to book a return for June 13-17 since the 331 days mark. No luck. I estimate I’ve called AA 25 times, all times of the day and night.. Its the same each time, agent sees the seats, tries to confirm and can’t do it. Sometimes they call a Help Desk and seem to be really trying, others just quit after first try. I’ve even tried return to Philly, nothing there either. Last night, agent said the Help desk said it would be fixed today so will give it one more try. I was lucky enough to snag Iberia flights with a 5 hour layover in Madrid which I have on hold.

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