The hidden jewel in the Qatar Airways sale? Helsinki

I ran an introductory article on the new Qatar Airways sale yesterday.

Since then, it has become a little clearer where the good deals are to be found.

There are a few things you need to know about Qatar Airways sales:

The best deals get scattered around.  One city may have a great deal to Johannesburg but a bad price to Cape Town, whilst another city may have the reverse.

All Qatar Airways flights are not created equal.  The A380, A350 and Boeing 787 aircraft are the most modern although you are guaranteed a flat bed in business class whatever you do.  Some shorter flights may be on short haul aircraft into Doha but those will also have flat beds in business unless the plane gets swapped at the last minute.  My review of Qatar Airways A380 business class is here, 777 business class here and 787 business class here.

Qatar Airways flights earn Avios and BA tier points.  A trip to Asia will earn at least 560 tier points return (140 points x 4 flights of over 2000 miles, due to the connection in Doha).

This current sale has, from some cities, got better pricing when two people travel together.  If you would be booking for two, search for two people to see accurate pricing.

In general, you must book on the Qatar Airways website by 6th September and travel between 15th September and 30th June.  No travel allowed between 15th December to 10th January.

Qatar A350

Business class pickings from the UK are slim.

However, the £979 return fares from the UK to Dubai in Business Class are in theory still available to book until 31st August.  Full details are here.  I say ‘in theory’ but I was struggling to find them last night.  The ‘sale’ price to Dubai is £1,600 which is widely available.

The full UK sale list is here.  The prices don’t seem too special – £3,000 to Australia, £2,000 to Asia, £1,600 to the Middle East is the ‘new normal’ these days in business class.  I don’t get excited about anything at these levels.

Yesterday I mentioned that it is worth looking at the following pages on the Qatar website for pricing ideas:

Qatar Airways Stockholm deals

Qatar Airways Oslo deals

Qatar Airways Copenhagen deals

Qatar Airways Paris deals

Qatar Airways Amsterdam deals

Qatar Airways Brussels deals

In most cases you must book on the Qatar Airways website by 5th September and travel between 15th September and 30th June.  No travel 15th December to 10th January.

However, it seems I missed one.  This time around Helsinki seems to have the best deals.

This is positive news.  Finnair flies to Helsinki from Edinburgh, Manchester, Dublin and London and you can book Finnair flights using Avios points.  If you need to stay overnight, there is a good Hilton at the airport which I reviewed here and which is 30,000 Hilton points.

The Qatar Airways / Helsinki deals page is here.

Note that Helsinki flights do not start until 10th October.  The flight to Doha will be on a short-haul A320 aircraft but equipped with fully flat business class seats.

This is what you can get (prices are business class, return).  I have highlighted the ‘two together’ price where it was shown, there may also be ‘two together’ discounts for other cities.

Australia €2,009 (€1,910 if two travel)

Bangkok €1,229 (€1,150 if two travel)

Delhi €1,169

Dubai €789 (€750 if two travel)

Hong Kong €1,779

Kuala Lumpur €1,429

Maldives €1,559

Phuket €1,189 

Ras Al Khaimah €779

Tokyo €1,269

Helsinki is also a lovely city in its own right if you do decide to spend a day there.  The list of Helsinki deals is here.

Is it worth the trouble?  Well, clearly you need to see what you would be paying out of the UK and compare it to a Helsinki price.  If you need the BA tier points then these fares are definitely worth it.  If you have time to spare – especially if you do a day in Helsinki – it is worth it.  If you can use Avios for a Reward Flight Saver ticket to Helsinki then, again, it is worth it.

After all, the chance to go to Tokyo for a touch over £1,000 in Business Class doesn’t come along often – especially with 560 British Airways tier points!

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

My review of the 14th century Hilton Sa Torre, Mallorca - Part 2
My review of the 14th century Hilton Sa Torre, Mallorca - Part 1
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  1. Sitting by the pool at the Grand Hyatt in Bangkok having been upgraded to a Suite with my Diamond status lapping up the last few hours of sun prior to our flight back to the UK in Qatar Business this evening. Now contemplating the next journey. Life doesn’t get better.

  2. Good to see you are qualifying the value of the deals based on TP and time. Comparable one-stop revenue fares (often with less onerous restrictions and less chance of missed departures) ex UK also need to be seriously explored before booking these deals. TQ, AY and KLM are options at the moment. For just over £1500 each we have booked rtn J EDI-BKK with great times, short connection times, overall low journey times, and will generate sufficient FB miles to yield decent value on future flights within Europe. Factoring this and the cost of getting to Helsinki with cash or miles I believe we are just as cheap, if not cheaper than QR. TK have lots of Asian J returns ex UK at the moment for around £1250.

    • I wouldn’t put KLMs business class or on board service in the same league as Qatar and it frequently ends up being AF.

      I try to change EU departure points to add in a bit more exploration. But then again if you want to get somewhere quick then I can understand. I remember AF/KLM doing some really good deals to Japan and Hong Kong a couple of years back.

      • Horses for courses. For me, the most important factor is overall journey time at an acceptable price on a flat seat so exEDI, AY and KLM are first choice in this respect. It will be KLM not AF and it will be a first for us both on the airline so it remains to be seen how it goes. IMO though the difference between airline products and services is all too often overstated, I’ve flown all ME3 carriers premium class and experienced nothing that makes me want to go many hours out my way and suffer middle of the night transits, even for meaningful, let alone marginal, savings. Usually I sleep most of the way anyway and can do so just fine even in BA CW so I have a preference for nonstop overnight flights. To date my worst ever longhaul premium flight by a considerable margin has been Etihad business and my best ever Thai first on one of their old-style 744s. Other big plus is that the fare rules on my KLM flight cause me no worries, I cannot say the same about QR fare sales. Agree on competitiveness of KLM, IIRC they had Japan in J exUK last year for about £1100 rtn. Where the ME3 really work IMO is if you want to go region-region.

        • As always I find myself agreeing with you James. I’m not that fussed about QR – I don’t actively dislike them either – but Doha in the middle of the night is a real turn-off. Still if the deal was amazing obviously I’d use again. Thing is I’m a planner and waiting for sales doesn’t float my boat either.

        • must say there’s a lot of logic in there

          however – for many families, a few hours for a £300-400 saving per pax would be worthwhile

          my wife is exactly like you, J67

          so when we were offered 5x £275 or similar to miss our BA flight out & take the next one (overbooked – we were early arrivals at airport) – I was thinking, hmm, nice, you can do a lot with £1375, it’s only a few hours

          she was like: you moron, we’re getting on OUR flight, it’s Christmas

          • I know where you are coming from and agree to an extent, particularly in respect of overbooked flights . In my student days I got more discounted and upgraded travel than I ever imagined was possible thanks to UA and AA persistently overbooking flights and no pressure on my long summer holidays :) However, within the context of exEU sales I doubt for most families they will realise a saving as great as you suggest unless they have the quantity of miles and points necessary to civer flights and hotels and experience like yourself to get the best out of them. Also, I imagine most people using these sales in premium cabins to be solos and couples. My regards to the long suffering Mrs Harry, please get her home in time to get the turkey in the oven this year.

    • Agree. Air China have had Tokyo from London at around £1,400 for a while now, doesn’t make the time and faff of positioning to Helsinki and then having to schlep via Doha worth it for a measly £400 savings before positioning costs.

  3. For Dubai, the ARN-DOH-DWC is the best option with £601 pp (if 2 travel)

  4. The problem with the Qatar Airways sales is that you never find the advertised fares when you start looking for them. Like Helsinki – Tokio for 469 EUR in 2017.

  5. Flying from HEL gives 80 TPs each way, rather than the 40 from CPH ARN etc :-)

    • I purchased two business (R) flights from Helsinki to Kuala Lumpur in late October, early November for €2638, £ equivalent £1125 per person. Less than shown in article. 560 tier points. Pretty happy with that price (will now retain BA gold card. Planes used aren’t great (777, 2xA320 and 787) but still all lie flat seats. Will use Avios 26000 + £70 for positioning flights to and from Helsinki. It’s a bit of hassle, fair enough, but saves a tonne of money over ex UK flights.

      • We booked Rome-KL for just over £900 in the previous sale. Planes were a mixture of A330 A340 and B777. In the last few days both of the FCO legs have changed to B787 so I’m happy!

    • But paying for CE (or AY J) to HEL gets rid of all the savings.

  6. I’ve been looking at the sale and came across this an R fare from Sofia (Bulgaria) to Auckland for 1069 Euros on the sale page but when I search for it the prices are not in Euros and not nearly so low as this – anyone else had luck finding it for so little? Seems too good to be true! I was SO disappointed when I couldn’t find any, seems to be a typo perhaps? Snapshot of the offer:

  7. How many BA Tp’s will the HEL-DOH sector earn you ?

  8. After a little help please – I booked 2 return tickets OSL – DOH – BKK in the last sale in january for a bargain price of £599 via Expedia Norway. However, I would like to change my companion for the flight but I have no idea how to do this or if it’s even possible with this fare? My only correspondence so far has been emails from Expedia.No but its (obviously) all in Norwegian. Can I go direct to Qatar if it’s been booked via an OTA? Thanks in advance.

    • i booked similar and tried to make a change with expedia Norway,i tried to alter the date.
      it was hard work the person spoke poor English and the difference in fare was the cost on the day minus the cost I paid
      Didn’t bother the changes would of cost 3x price of the ticket

  9. Qatar are doing a one off A350 flight to HEL to open the route on oct 10, if you are brave enough to book the inaugural!

  10. No where near the great deals to BKK in the last sale! £750 from Stockholm when I went in Feb

  11. Had an email from Travelzoo today quoting 2-for-1 flights ex-MAN

    Can’t link, so have copied and pasted..


    From the Travelzoo Newsdesk
    Qatar Airways: 2-for-1 Business-Class Flights fr Manchester
    By Chris Webber

    MANCHESTER–30 AUGUST, 2016–Qatar Airways has launched a 2-for-1 promotion on business-class flights to Asia and Australia. Two people can now travel from £2713 in total (£1357 per person).

    Here are some of the top routes available from Manchester, at the cheapest return prices we could find:

    Goa, India… now £2713 for two (£1357 per person)
    Krabi, Thailand… now £3209 for two (£1605 per person)
    Singapore… now £3702 for two (£1851 per person)
    Seychelles… now £3880 for two (£1940 per person)
    Auckland, New Zealand… now £4820 for two (£2410 per person)
    These promotional fares with Qatar Airways, which was named the World’s Best Business Class airline at the 2016 Skytrax World Airline Awards, are valid for travel on select dates from 15 September, 2016, to 30 June, 2017. We found the best availability from January onwards. You may need to be flexible with your travel dates to get the cheapest fares.

    All prices are for return flights via Doha, Qatar. Book by 6 September.

    • Bears no relation to the 241 prices shown online last night but could be a new deal if lukewarm sales over the weekend.

  12. scottnothing says:

    Just a reminder when doing ITA matrix searches that it can sometimes be helpful to include LON in your search – as earlier this month I booked LHR-SYD return with Malaysia for just over £2,000.

    I had been looking at Qatar and Qantas ex-EU which were coming up between £1800 and £2500 ex HEL, OSL and ATH to MEL and then, by chance, I added LON to the search field and saw that Malaysia was running a 50 per cent off J sale (which I didn’t see covered anywhere).

  13. The business class for two offers from Helsinki to Sydney thru to Jun 17 look great but damned if i can find them …..or am I looking in the wrong part of the Qatar Arways site ??

    • I’m having the same issue.. I’m just getting the full fare amounts. Nothing even remotely close to what is suggested even on ‘easy’ dates (beginning of December to mid/late Jan)

  14. Having just visited Helsinki, i’d highly recomend the Hilton airport hotel but the most efficient points spend would be 12k points + 35 euros in my opinion. Plus as a diamond you’ll also get 1k additional Hilton points. There’s also a highspeed train which runs every 10mins from vantaa (HEL) to downtown Helsinki which costs just 10 euros return.

    • It’s a good option but funnily enough the Hilton is never available on points&money on the days when QR is cheap. Full redemption of 30k points is ok I guess.

  15. I’ve found a good deal to Windhoek in Namibia if anyone is after a safari! Was looking in early 2017 from Berlin/Munich you can find R for just over £900 – seems a good price judging from the London route cost and gets 560 tier points. And its with the A350 and 787. Namibia looks like the perfect place to see big cats and wildlife with luxury lodges! Am sorely tempted…just need to convince the boyfriend who’s idea of an adventurous holiday is going to Australia!

  16. Hi, Can you advise whats better value here? (I struggle with the cash vs avios calculations sometimes) But if we took advantage of the HEL-DXB fare, is this better value than a avios redemption from LON-DXB on BA? Dates would be Nov. 1 Pax. in J or WTP. Thanks.

    • Short answer, most likely. When comparing, the tax on an avios redemption would eat up much of circa £600 cash fare and then there’s the value of the avios.
      However, you’d have to provide some more detail.
      1) Do you have fixed dates you’d like to go?
      2) Do you have a 241 voucher?
      3) Do you want the ticket to be flexible?
      Only you can truly decide if something is worth it for you.

      • I figured it would be.

        1) No fixed dates, very flexible as its a leisure trip.
        2) No.
        3) Flex fare isn’t necessarily due to reason 1.

        SCH too. Although TP’s earned won’t get me to gold yet as membership only started in June.

    • major considerations for me would be: how avios rich are you? how easy do you find it to accumulate more avios to replace redeemed avios? how cash rich are you? what is the average cost/ avios of acquiring your existing avios?

      some people are not that well-off (or have other spending priorities), so using avios instead of cash is a pretty good idea in cash-flow terms

      last time I bothered to work it out fairly carefully, my avios were coming in @ under 0.5p – this is a really important fact to establish for yourself – otherwise how can you do the math?

      • Avios Rich! I wouldn’t say I’m cash poor, however if I am willing to spend £500 on taxes then I was trying to figure out if its worth spending a bit more cash and save the avios for a better value redemption…Thanks for the advice so far!

        • put it this way: I wouldn’t dream of using Avios for our European route (7500 + RFS fee £17.50) if the cash price was as low as the T-355 HBO cost I have been reporting (£45 + Ukraine)

          first thing you need to do then is work out ‘how low will you go’

          or – what value you seek to achieve for your Avios?

  17. On my Halifax Clarity too!

  18. Bariummeal says:

    Got HEL-TYO return mid May for £1048. Delighted – though outboubd has a 7 hour stop at midnight but I’ll just has some drinks! I did receieve and email demanding a copy of my credit card statement and passport within 48 hours which was annoying but I complied.

    • Cracking price. Is that for a single ticket or only that low when bought as a companion fare ?

  19. Worth checking Finnair as well as Qatar – they have some good deals of their own. I”m flying to Shanghai from London in two weeks’ time, from London, and it’s £2,100 return plus a very healthy load of TPs.

  20. Henry Young says:

    If you’re interested in Manila, the jewel in the crown is Amsterdam – handily easy to get to on Easyjet from practically every UK airport they operate out of. AMS MNL @ £1238 biz is as good as it gets.

  21. If I use the 10% off promo code does that mean my flight wouldn’t count towards the globetrotter promo ??

  22. Found this itinerary on matrix but can’t price on QR website.
    Any ideas ?

    Helsinki (HEL) to Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) — Sun, Dec 11
    Overnight flight

    Helsinki (HEL) to Doha (DOH) — Sun, Dec 11
    Qatar Airways(Q.C.S.C) 302
    Dep: 4:15 pm
    Arr: 11:40 pm
    6h 25m
    Airbus A320
    Business (R)
    Layover in DOH
    2h 50m

    Doha (DOH) to Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) — Mon, Dec 12
    Qatar Airways(Q.C.S.C) 970
    Dep: 2:30 am
    Arr: 1:40 pm
    7h 10m
    Airbus A330
    Business (R)
    Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) to Munich (MUC) — Wed, Jan 11
    Overnight flight

    Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) to Doha (DOH) — Wed, Jan 11
    Qatar Airways(Q.C.S.C) 971
    Dep: 7:25 pm
    Arr: 12:05 am
    8h 40m
    Airbus A330
    Business (R)
    Layover in DOH
    Thu, Jan 12
    2h 35m

    Doha (DOH) to Munich (MUC) — Thu, Jan 12
    Qatar Airways(Q.C.S.C) 59
    Dep: 2:40 am
    Arr: 7:00 am
    6h 20m
    Airbus A350
    Business (R)

  23. I mean I can’t price it up with the discount code PC2016 :-(


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