In the article below I will show you exactly how to Book Qatar Airways QSuites Flights to Africa Using AA Miles.
As an avid world traveler and member of American Airlines AAdvantage program I have used AA miles to visit far flung places like Australia, Fiji, and Thailand. I’ve been able to use my AA miles for some awesome value redemptions. I was curious, however, what the very best redemption possible was using AA miles.
This is what I discovered.
The best redemption is to book Qatar Airways QSuites flights to Africa using AA Miles.
This lead me to the One World Award Chart. This chart is a must for any avid travel junkie who has AA miles to burn. The One World Award Chart is fairly simple and easy to use. Click on the region that you will be flying from. It lists out all of the possible regions that you can fly to and their respective costs (in miles).
Finding the Best Value is Key
As you can see there’s a ton of options. There are a couple of sweet spots that provide an excellent redemption value.
I should probably mention something at this point. I only use my American Airlines frequent flyer miles to fly in Business Class (J) or First Class (F). Personally, I like to get the maximum redemption value possible. When I redeem my award miles I’m flying up front. Economy (coach) tickets are just too darn cheap to provide a good redemption value in my opinion.
For Instance, last summer I took four months off and did some serious traveling. To start my trip I flew on the Qantas A380 in First Class (F). It cost me 110,000 AA miles to do so. If I paid cash to book that ticket it would have cost me over $14,000. That’s for flying the exact same route in the exact same class. It’s a redemption value of $0.13 per mile.
Brian Kelly over at TPG estimates that AA miles are only worth $0.014 per mile. That means that I was able to get almost 10x more value out of my redemption to Australia. (You can see the full TPG miles valuation here).
Back to the Matter of Booking QSuites with AA Miles…
Sorry, I sometimes go off on a tangent! After looking at the One World Award Chart I came to this conclusion. The best value on the entire chart is flying to Africa in Business Class (J). Here’s how to book Qatar Airways QSuites flights to Africa using AA Miles.
Now, you might be thinking what about biz class to South America Region 1? 30K miles in J seems like a great deal to fly all the way to South America! Well it is, and it isn’t at the same time. While 30K AA miles is pretty low for an international business class seat, there’s a problem. All of the airlines that operate this route are flying planes with older style cabins. These seats are basically the exact same as domestic First Class. That means no lie-flat seat, no gourmet meals, no high end liquor, and potentially some grouchy flight attendants. (If you want to know what the region definitions are see the pics below).
But, I digress, the best value has to be the J award to Africa. I mean come on! It’s only 5K more AA miles to go all the way to Africa than it is to the Middle East! You can easily see why I want to book Qatar Airways QSuites Flights to africa Using AA miles – it’s a great deal!
There are not a lot of partner airlines that fly to Africa in the One World program.
You have British Airways, which I would recommend avoiding at all costs. It’s not that they don’t have a good product. The issue is that they charge absolutely ridiculous fuel surcharges and fees for award ticket redemptions. To fly on BA (British Airways) using AA miles would cost an additional whopping $900!
I don’t know about you but I’m not paying no stinkin’ $900 to use my award miles!
Your only two other options are to fly on either Etihad or Qatar Airways. Both of these airlines are known for their awesome hard product and their excellent service.
If we were going to be booking this trip in F (First Class) I would probably have tried to book it on Etihad because they have a truly awesome First Class cabin. Since we’re trying to get the best value we’ll be booking that lucrative 75K miles J seat.
In 2016 Qatar Airways introduced their new QSuites business class product. These seats have been extremely well reviewed. They are considered by many to be the very best business class seats in the sky. You can see a comparison of many of the best business class products in this comparison.
At the time, Qatar Airways was the only airline offering business class seats with a fully enclosed suite. Shortly thereafter Delta also introduced this option with their new Delta One product. But, they are not a member of the One World Alliance so you can’t use your American Airlines AAdvantge miles. It’s easy to understand why you would want to book Qatar Airways QSuites flights to Africa Using AA miles.
What is so Special About the Qatar QSuites?
I haven’t flown on the Qatar Airways QSuites product yet. Therefore, I can’t tell you about it first hand. But I have read some raving reviews and watched a ton of Youtube videos and it looks great.
Obviously the full “suite” with the sliding door is a huge plus. Qatar is also known for having the best IFE (In Flight Entertainment) system in the skies. They also have some pretty great food and beverage options onboard. I’ve read that the Flight Attendants that work the the QSuite product are extremely friendly and accommodating.
You can check out the Qatar Airways QSuite promo video below.
Not too shabby eh? Are you ready to learn how to book Qatar Airways QSuites flights to Africa using AA miles?
Which Planes and Routes are the Qatar QSuites Available?
Not all Qatar Airways aircraft and routes have the QSuites product. In fact, it’s fairly limited. If you are flying from the USA the QSuites are only available on routes to Doha (DOH).
You can fly from the following US airports on Qatar QSuites equipped planes:
- LAX – Los Angeles International Airport
- JFK – John F Kennedy International Airport
- ORD – Chicago O’Hare International Airport
- IAH – Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport
- IAD – Washington Dulles International Airport
- DFW – Dallas Fort-Worth International Airport
- BOS – Boston Logan International Airport (Coming Soon)
Which Aircraft Can You Book Qatar Airways QSuites Flights to Africa Using AA Miles?
Many aircraft in the current Qatar livery do not have the QSuite seats onboard. There are a limited number of aircraft with these high class seats. Be careful when you book your award ticket. I would highly recommend using Expert Flyer (ExpertFlyer.com). You check and see what the seating configuration will be for your specific dates. Expert Flyer is a paid service. But, they do have a trial option that you can sign up for – no credit card required.
The Qatar QSuites Cabin Layout Looks like this:
Which Seat Should You Choose When You Book Qatar Airways QSuites Flights to Africa Using AA Miles?
As you can see I chose seat K5 or 5K depending on how you prefer to say it. I chose this seat for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I wanted a window seat. The rear facing suites put the seat right next to the window. The forward facing seats put you next to the isle.
The second reason that I chose this seat is because of noise. I didn’t want to be in a seat that is right next to the lavatory (bathroom). I also wanted to avoid the galley (kitchen) because I wanted as few disturbances as possible. It should be noted that technically the 10K seat will have less traffic. This is because that seat is located in the rear cabin. Therefore, you won’t have anyone walking by your seat to get to the lavatory. That being said, it is much closer to the economy seats. I worried about the possibility of a crying baby being located in the bassinet on the other side in economy.
The Following Qatar Airways Aircraft are fitted with the QSuites:
- Airbus A350-1000
- Airbus A350-900 (not all have been upgraded)
- Boeing 777-200LR (not all have been upgraded)
- Boeing 777-300ER (not all have been upgraded)
There are still quite a few Qatar planes that have not yet been equipped with the QSuites. It is imperative that you check the layout of the aircraft before you book your tickets. Like I mentioned above you can use the free trial on Expert Flyer to check this. You could also call in to Qatar directly and ask them. The phone number for Qatar Airways is 1-877-777-2827.
How to Find Open Award Availability for Qatar QSuites Online using AA Miles
We’ve covered on which aircraft and routes you will find the QSuites. Also we have discussed why you want to fly in a QSuite. You know the following to be true. Redeeming AA miles on Qatar to Africa is the best value redemption on the One World Award Chart.
I guess it’s actually time to show you how you can find an open award seat. It’s tricky to find Qatar Airways QSuites that you can book with your AA miles. Nothing good in life is easy and finding QSuite award availably is no exception.
Finding Availability to Book Qatar Airways QSuites Flights to Africa Using AA Miles.
It used to be that you couldn’t search for QSuite award availability on AA.com. However this has recently changed. You are able to find Qatar Airways award availability on AA.com the official American Airlines website. I am not sure when this changed was implemented but it’s recent. Just a few weeks ago when I booked my award ticket I had to use BA.com to find availability.
There’s huge advantage to searching on AA.com rather than on BA.com. Here are two reasons why you should use the American Airlines website to find Qatar award availability. It’s the best way to book Qatar Airways QSuites flights to Africa using AA miles. Like the picture above, you’re able to select Qatar Airways as the only airline that you want to see awards for. On BA.com you do not have this option. You are forced to see all of the British Airways availability which can be a big pain. Here is the second reason that you should use AA.com to find Qatar awards. You know if it’s on the American Airlines site you are 100% for sure able to book. BA is known for showing phantom availability that the AA agents can’t find when you call in.
Step by Step Method to Find Qatar Award Availability on AA.com
Head on over to AA.com and log into your AAdvantage account. Rather than using the home page, I like to use the advanced search feature. To access the advanced search on AA.com click Plan Travel at the top of the screen and then click Flights. This will make your quest to book Qatar Airways QSuites flights to Africa using AA miles much easier.
The advanced search page gives you a few more options. It looks like the picture below.
Once on this page you need to check the Redeem Miles check box at the top left of the page. You also need to change the default Time of Day drop down from Early Morning to All Day. At the bottom of the page change the Class drop down menu from Show All to Business / First. You also need to change the Airline drop down from American Airlines to All Airlines.
Search for One Leg at a Time.
I always recommend searching for one leg at a time. This holds true when you book Qatar Airways QSuites flights to Africa using AA miles. Search for individual one way flights and then jot them down in an Excel spreadsheet. That way you can refer back to them when finding connecting flights and calling into AA reservations.
We’re going to try to find an itinerary from LAX to JNB via DOH on Qatar Airways in Business Class. Your advanced search page should look like the image below.
After you click search it will take you to a page that looks like the picture below. Make sure that you have the blue button at the top that says Business/First MileSAAver* selected. Then click the Show Full Calendar button. That will show you a full calendar of which dates there are business class awards available. But, it won’t specify whether or not they are on Qatar Airways. It takes some work to book Qatar Airways QSuites flights to Africa using AA miles but it’s worth the effort.
Once you have selected the date you want to look at you will be directed to a more detailed screen. Now it finally lists the available flights. This is where you can deselect all of the airlines except for Qatar Airways. To do this simply untick the checkboxes on the left the with the corresponding airlines. It will make it much easier to book Qatar Airways QSuites flights to Africa using AA miles.
Make Sure the Aircraft You Fly on Has the QSuites.
There is no way to tell if the aircraft that you’ll be on has been upgraded to the QSuite configuration. It very well still could have the old configuration. This is where you need to check out Expert Flyer or call Qatar to verify. Most of the 77L (Boeing 777-200LR) aircraft flying the LAX to DOH route after February should be the QSuites. It’s on you to make sure that the date you select has the upgraded configuration before you book Qatar Airways QSuites flights to Africa using AA miles.
If there is no J availability on Qatar on your selected date your screen will look like the picture above.
At this point you need to click the little arrow on the right to scroll through the dates. You have to do this one by one until you find the award space that you are looking for. To make matters more complicated AA only lets you scroll through about a weeks worth of dates at a time. If they won’t show you any more dates you need to go back to the main calendar and select a new date further out. It’s a huge pain but it is what it is. This is just how you book Qatar Airways QSuites flights to Africa using AA miles.
We found the First Leg on our LAX to JNB route on Qatar in Business Class
Now we must find the second leg to make this one complete booking. We now need to repeat the above steps but searching instead for availability from DOH to JNB. One thing to keep in mind is that when flying East from the USA you will gain one day. That means that if you take off on FEB 10th you will arrive on FEB 11th.
Because of the date change you must search for flights leaving DOH on the 11th. However, look at the flight times. Our flight doesn’t arrive in Doha until 5:55PM. That means that you need to find a flight in the evening of the 11th. You can also choose to spend the night and find a flight that departs before 5:55PM on the 12th. This exact problem is illustrated in the the below screen shot. As you can see the only available award flight from DOH to JNB on Qatar departs at 6:40AM on FEB 11th. This is well before you land at 5:55PM. That doesn’t help much on your quest to book Qatar Airways QSuites flights to Africa using AA miles.
Try, Try, and Try Again
I changed the flight date to FEB 12th. Low and behold, there are now two award flights in J that are available to book. This is all part of the process of how to book Qatar Airways QSuites flights to Africa using AA miles. You can choose the 2:05AM flight if you want to hang out in the airport for a few hours. Choose the 6:40AM flight if you would prefer to head over to a hotel and catch some zzz’s. I will note that there is a hotel inside of the DOH (Hamad International) Airport, the ORYX Airport Hotel. There are also several hotels that are a short cab ride away from the airport.
I do want to mention that you do not have to fly into JNB (Johannesburg). This is just one example of how to book Qatar Airways QSuites flights to Africa using AA miles. You also have the option to fly into CPT (Cape Town). I just chose JNB because there was more availability for this example. If South Africa is your final destination, it may be worth it to try to find flights directly to CPT. The general consensus out there is that Cape Town is much nicer than Johannesburg. On the other hand, if you’re going to be flying to another destination in Africa, JNB is probably better. This because they will have more outbound flights to more destinations.
Now Comes the Tricky Part… Finding Your Return Flights.
At this point we are 40% done! We have successful found an award routing on Qatar Airways QSuites from the United States to Africa. See it wasn’t that hard to learn how to book Qatar Airways QSuites flights to Africa using AA miles! To find a return trip we will basically repeat the exact same steps but in reverse. I want to point out that only your flight from LAX will be in the Qatar QSuite. Qatar Airways does not currently offer any flights with the QSuites onboard for flights to South Africa.
Depending on how long you want to spend in Africa, look for your return flights. You will be leaving LA on the 10th and arriving in JoBurg 3 days later on the 13th. Please take that into account when planning your return. Typically I like to give myself at least one week at my destination. That is when I am flying transatlantic (TATL) or transpacific (TPAC) flights anyway. Therefore, I am going to start my return flight search 7 days out. That means departing JNB on FEB 20th in this case. We’re halfway done with booking Qatar Airways QSuites flights to Africa using AA miles.
You May Need to Run Quite a Few Searches to Find the Award Seats You are Looking For.
This is where we run into a little bit of trouble. I found that there was availably from JNB to DOH on Qatar in business class on the 20th. As you can see below there are two flights departing on the 20th with Biz Class availability on Qatar.
I quickly jotted down the flight details into my Excel spreadsheet. This is going to come in real handy when you actually book Qatar Airways QSuites flights to Africa using AA miles. Then I searched for connecting flights from DOH back to LAX. Again you need to really pay attention to what time the flights arrive. On the 20th the first option arrives at 11:05PM. The second option arrives at 5:25AM the next morning (the 21st). This means that either way you need to look for flights that depart Doha on the 21st, not the 20th.
Whoops! There are not flights on Qatar in Business Class available from DOH to LAX on the 21st!
Let’s go ahead and see what days there are available J seats on Qatar for the DOH to LAX leg. Luckily I was able to find one just a few days later on the 24th. Now we’ve found all of the international flights that we need to book Qatar Airways QSuites flights to Africa using AA miles.
Sometimes You Have to Make a Compromise When Booking Award Travel.
The downside is that this flight is on a 77W (Boeing 777-300W). This aircraft will most likely not be configured with the QSuites.
In this case I am going to recommend booking this one. There are no other Qatar flights with J availability that are bookable with AA miles for the next two weeks.
However, if it were me, I would at this point restart my entire search. I would try to find dates where I could fly in the QSuite on the way home. For the purposes of this article I’m going to just use this example. In the near future almost all flights from Doha to Los Angeles will be on QSuites equipped aircraft. This will make it much easier to book Qatar Airways QSuites flights to Africa using AA miles.
I jotted this this leg down in my Excel spreadsheet. Now go back to the AA.com flight search page to try and find a matching flight from JNB to DOH. The flight back to LA departs Doha at 8AM on the 24th. I will need to find a flight that departs Johannesburg on the 23rd to make this routing work. And we’re in luck. There is a flight in J on Qatar that departs JNB at 1:10PM and arrives in Doha at 11:05PM.
This flight will work just fine with our connecting flight to LA. The downside is that you will be spending the middle of the night at the airport.
Overnight Connections in Doha When Flying on Qatar Airways
I hate connections that are overnight but too short to really justify getting a hotel. You could book a hotel for the few hours that you will be there but it’s not recommended. By the time you clear customs and head to the hotel you will only get a couple of hours rest. Then you’ll have to get up and head back to the airport for your connecting flight. This is one of the downsides when you book Qatar Airways QSuites flights to Africa using AA miles.
Lucily the Al Mourjan Lounge in Hamad International airport is open 24 hours. Because you will be flying in Business Class you will have access to this lounge to relax and refresh. They have quiet rooms that you can use to take a nap. I haven’t checked them out in person so I can’t attest to how comfy they are for sleeping.
I have explained in detail how to book a flight to Africa on Qatar Airways QSuites using AA miles. But I have only discussed the international legs.
There are Certain Routing Rules that you Must Follow When Booking an AA Miles Award Ticket
American Airlines likes to make booking your award ticket with AAdvantage miles as difficult as possible. They have some very specific rules when it comes to how you route your award flights. I’m won’t cover all of them in depth, but if you want to read more check out this article.
The two AA award routing rules that really apply for this trip are as follows.
- No stopovers. American does not let you book a stopover for more than 24 hours. For domestic layovers the maximum stopover that is permitted is only four hours. The one exception to that rule is for international gateway cities in North America. That means that if you are flying from Phoenix to LA to Doha to Johannesburg. You could have up to a 24 hour layover in Los Angeles.
- Limited transitions through third regions. This means that you could not fly to Africa from North America and have a layover in Hong Kong. For flights to Africa AA allows a layover in Europe or Doha only. That exception is what allows us to make this awesome award booking on Qatar QSuites to Africa using AA miles.
Find the Domestic Portions of Your Trip to Africa on Qatar Airways
I chose LAX as the departure airport because it is close to my home airport of PHX (Phoenix, Arizona). As I stated in one of the sections above, you can choose to fly out of several different US airports if you want to experience the Qatar Airways QSuites in Business Class. Those airports are: LAX, JFK, ORD, IAH, IAD, DFW, and BOS. Hopefully someday there will be more options to book Qatar Airways QSuites flights to Africa using AA miles but that’s it for now.
Lets go ahead and assume that you, like I, don’t live in one of those international hub cities. You will want to use your AA miles to book a ticket to one of those cities. Now, you could just book a separate award ticket on American Airlines but I highly recommend that you don’t! Let’s maximize our book Qatar Airways QSuites flights to Africa using AA miles.
First off, what if your flight is delayed? If it is on a separate reservation and you miss your connecting flight to Doha, you are SOL!. That would completely negate the point learning how to book Qatar Airways QSuites flights to Africa using AA miles. The second reason to make sure that all of your legs are on the same itinerary is to maximize your AA miles value.
I’m going to make the assumption that the AA website isn’t going to show you a good complete award redemption. You will again need to search for this by individual legs.
Find the Best Domestic Connecting Flight on AA.com
At this point the only thing left to do is to find your domestic legs. You want to get the most value out of the trip you book on Qatar Airways QSuites flights to Africa using AA miles right? To do this log back into the AA website and start to search. Remember, you can have up to a 24 hour layover in your gateway city if you desire.
Personally, I’ve been to LA plenty of times. I don’t have any desire to spend any additional time there but if you want to, thats your prerogative.
If you’re not from a state with In-N-Out Burger, there is one located really close to the LAX airport. You can easily opt to leave LAX on your layover and try this delicious west coast staple. They have a well known “secret menu” that you can try out as too. It would be a great treat before the long flight on your booking of Qatar Airways QSuites flights to Africa using AA miles.
I’ve been to In-N-Out a bazillion times so this isn’t something that I’m interested in. But if you’ve never been – give it a shot.
I instead prefer to relax in the AA Flagship First Lounge. However, According to AA.com and a multitude of other websites I discovered bad news! Flights to both the Middle East and Africa are EXCLUDED from using the Flagship First Lounge.
If you’re traveling to Africa on the Qatar QSuites Business Class product using AA miles prepare for disappointment! You will only get access to the One World Business Lounge. This is a huge step down! Personally, I wish that I had known this before I booked Qatar Airways QSuites flights to Africa using AA miles. I am definitely going to try to get access to the Flagship First Lounge. Who knows, maybe they will let me inside with my Qatar Biz Class Ticket. I will update this article when I fly this route myself.
Carefully Check Your Arrival and Departure Times
Anyway lets get back to the matter at hand. Let’s quickly go over the process to find the domestic legs and finalize the booking. I ran a quick search for flights from PHX to LAX on Feb 10th. There were a whole bunch to choose from. I knew that my flight to DOH doesn’t depart until after 3PM. I wanted to make sure that I booked my domestic leg before 3PM. At the same time I didn’t want to spend all day at the airport. It’s super easy to arrange the flights by departure time by changing the drop down box on the left.
One thing to watch out for is Alternate Airports. AA.com will show you other airports that are close to LAX. Unless you want to be spending your layover in traffic and paying for a really expensive Uber ride I strongly suggest you deselect all of the alternate airports. To do this, simply uncheck the alternate airport boxes on the left side. See Below. This is a crucial step when you book Qatar Airways QSuites flights to Africa using AA miles.
I also wanted to try to get a direct flight. There are a ton of direct flights between Phoenix and LA. Because I arranged the flights by departure time the webpage displayed several routings with layovers in-between the direct flights. I actually had to go to page two to find the routing that I thought would fit my needs best.
An easy way to pick out the direct flights is to look for the smallest boxes in the search results. I opted to choose AA flight 760 which departs PHX at 11:05 and arrives in LAX at 11:44. After I found it, I added it to my Excel spreadsheet. I want have all of my ducks in a row when I call up AA. You must call to book this huge itinerary. Now I was flying from PHX to JNb in Business Class on the Qatar QSuites product.
Do the Same Thing for Your Return Award Ticket Booking
Then I reversed my search and found a flight for the return journey from LAX to PHX. The exact same method was used and I was able to find a flight quickly and easily.
I had to make sure that this flight departed after I arrived in LA. The flight comes in from Doha at 1:20 PM on the 24th. I also had to make sure that I would have enough time to collect my baggage and clear customs.
Personally, I have Global Entry and if you travel internationally I highly recommend that you get it too. Global Entry is a program that allows travelers to use a different, much shorter, line when clearing customs. It also qualifies you to use the TSA Precheck lines as well.
I figured it would be a good idea to give myself a couple of hours to account for possible delays. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any direct flights that departed before 7:51 PM. Now have a long layover to look forward too. I even considered connecting flights but they would not have got me in any earlier than the direct flight option.
Call AA to Book Your Flights to Africa on Qatar Airway QSuites in Business Class Using AA Miles
Ok, Whew! After all that research and hard work now comes the easy part. All you have to do at this point is Call AA and book the award ticket. The phone number to book Award Travel on American Airlines is (800) 433-7300. They should be able to help you book Qatar Airways QSuites flights to Africa using AA miles. There also should be no charge for this service. If you can book online they charge $40. Because this routing wasn’t available online it will be free.
When you call make sure you have your AAdvantage number handy. Pull up or print out the spreadsheet that you made. It will make your life much easier. I’m willing to bet that you can’t remember all of the details anyway.
I want to point out that you have the option to put this or any award booking on hold. You get a free hold for up to five days. I highly recommend doing this. You never know, a better option might pop up. There is no charge to put AA Award tickets on hold. If you put your award ticket on hold make sure that you call back before the five days is up. At this point you have to pay for and confirm your bookings.
Learn How to Book Qatar Airways QSuites Flights to Africa Using AA Miles Summary.
I hope that this guide has taught you how to book Qatar Airways QSuites flights to Africa using AA miles. If you have any questions or comments please leave them below.