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Level Up Your Summer Plans With This International Credit Card’s Travel Perk

Love lounge access? This card can take your airport experience to the next level.

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Qatar Airways might not be a domestic travel option, but one of its new credit cards comes with a major perk that could be useful wherever you fly. 

Qatar Airways is known as one of the world’s most luxurious airlines, so it makes sense that its Privilege Club Infinite Credit Card* offers some serious perks for its $499 annual fee. Upon approval, you’ll receive Oneworld Sapphire status for one year. Oneworld is a frequent flyer program with airline members that includes domestic carriers American Airlines and Alaska Airlines. 

However, Oneworld’s Sapphire level status earned through Qatar Airways allows you to access Oneworld member airline lounges even when traveling solely on flights between the US, Canada, Mexico (except Mexico City), the Bahamas, Bermuda and the Caribbean -- unlike American Airlines’ AAdvantage, according to Julia Menez, a points strategy coach and member of CNET Money’s expert review board

“This means that you’ll be able to get into Alaska Airlines and American Airlines lounges, even on domestic flights, with this level of status,” Menez said. If you attain Oneworld Sapphire Status with American Airlines directly, you won’t have access to these same lounges when traveling within the US. 

Elevated status comes with a few sweet perks, including access to more than 600 airport lounges worldwide. So the program could be a big deal if you’re a fan of Qatar Airways and airport lounges. But the value of this card will depend on whether you’ll use the status enough over the one-year period and the benefits you’ll get from the card overall. 

Here’s what the experts think about applying for the card to get one year of Oneworld status. 

Qatar Airways credit card offers elevated Oneworld status

Here’s a breakdown of what you get with Qatar Airways Privilege Club Infinite Credit Card:

Annual fee$499
Welcome bonusEarn up to 50,000 Avios points; 25,000 after your first transaction and 25,000 after you spend $5,000 within the first 90 days of account opening. 
Rewards5x Avios on Qatar Airways purchases
3x Avios on dining 
1x Avios on other eligible purchases
2 Qpoints for every 1,500 Avios you earn using your card
Oneworld status Sapphire
Avios is a frequent flyer reward currency that’s used by many international carriers. 
QPoints are Qatar rewards that you can earn when booking Qatar or Oneworld flights to help boost your Privilege Club membership.

Qatar Airways also has a Qatar Airways Privilege Club Signature Credit Card* that charges a much lower $99 annual fee, but you don’t get airport lounge access with the card.  

Qatar’s premium travel perk 

With a Oneworld membership, you can book a Oneworld-operated flight using your rewards. You’ll also get Oneworld status during your first year with Qatar’s Infinite card. 

It’s worth noting that Sapphire is a step below Oneworld’s Emerald status, which includes First Class priority check-in and access to both first- and business-class lounges. Sapphire statuses include access to business-class lounges and priority check-in, stand-by and boarding on flights. 

In addition to Qatar Airways, American Airlines and Alaska Airlines, Oneworld has 12 other airline members: British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian, SriLankan Flights, Fiji Airways and Oman Air.

Is the Infinite worth it after the Oneworld status ends?

While the airport lounge access is certainly a nice perk, is the Qatar Airways credit card worth getting?

Since you will get Oneworld Sapphire status for the first year of having the Infinite card, and the card’s annual fee is about the same or less than the lounge membership for American or Alaska Airlines, there’s a lot of value in the first year of having the card and the Oneworld status if you frequently use these lounges.

But after the first year is up, it may not be as lucrative. 

“After the first year (when you lose the automatic status), it will be more difficult to maximize the value of the card’s annual fee,” Menez said. According to Oneworld, you’ll earn Avios and Q points on eligible flights to maintain or upgrade your tier status, but once the complimentary year is over, you’ll need to earn it back. 

The card’s annual fee is hefty, so you’ll want to make sure you’re getting value from the card after the one-year perk ends. If you’re a frequent flyer with Qatar, British Airways, Iberia or Aer Lingus, the card may be a bit more valuable over time since you can earn Avios points for these airlines. Avios can be redeemed for pricier flights, such as Qatar Airways QSuites or British Airways Business Class or First Class, said Jason Steele, a credit card expert and CNET Money ERB member. 

But if you’re not a frequent flyer with Qatar Airways, you may want to consider other travel credit cards that yield more perks and credit card rewards that you can use more often. For example, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®* offers boosted rewards on travel with American Airlines, priority check-in and boarding, complimentary Admirals Club membership and partner lounge access, and a credit for the Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check application fee every four years. And this card’s benefits aren’t a one-year promotional offer, so it may make the $595 annual fee more worthwhile if you earn enough rewards to offset the fee. 

If you’re more into earning Avios for international travel, consider the Iberia Visa Signature® Card*, which has a $95 annual fee and a solid welcome bonus for new cardholders. You can earn 85,000 Avios after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. And even though you won’t have Oneworld status, you’ll earn a $1,000 discount voucher to use toward two tickets on the same flight if you spend $30,000 on the card within the calendar year. 

*All information about the Qatar Airways Privilege Club Infinite Credit Card, Qatar Airways Privilege Club Signature Credit Card, Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard and Iberia Visa Signature Card has been collected independently by CNET and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.

Dashia is a staff editor for CNET Money who covers all angles of personal finance, including credit cards and banking. From reviews to news coverage, she aims to help readers make more informed decisions about their money. Dashia was previously a staff writer at NextAdvisor, where she covered credit cards, taxes, banking B2B payments. She has also written about safety, home automation, technology and fintech.
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