Bits: great Qatar Airways business deal with a catch, Thistle / Guoman Easter hotel sale

News in brief:

Great Qatar Airways business class deal …. with a catch

Regular readers of Head for Points will know that Qatar Airways comes up with some exceptional deals from time to time.  As Qatar Airways is a oneworld alliance partner, you will earn Avios and British Airways tier points when you fly them.

The latest deal, on the face of it, could have great potential if you have time on your hands – Business Class to Dubai for £453 (€520) return.

The good news is that price is easy to find on most dates between now and 15th December.

The bad news comes in two parts:

You need to start your trip in Bucharest and book Bucharest-Dubai via Doha

Bucharest to Doha is only 1,951 miles

The cut-off for earning long-haul British Airways tier points is 2,000 miles.  As Bucharest to Doha is just under this threshold, you only earn 40 tier points each way for the long-haul flights as opposed to 140 tier points each way.

It still isn’t a bad deal, because you’d get First Class tier points for the Doha to Dubai connection.  200 tier points return for £453 isn’t bad.  However, if it had been 400 tier points return instead it would have been an amazing deal.  It’s not to be, however.

If you fancy trying this one anyway, note that Qatar Airways uses a short haul aircraft so you’ll be getting their – still decent – ‘regional’ Business Class seat instead – see below.  You can book on the Qatar Airways site here.

Qatar A320

Thistle / Guoman Hotels Easter sale now on

Thistle Hotels dropped me a note about their Easter Sale which has just launched.  You need to book by 16th April for stays between 31st March and 17th April.

If you are planning a trip to London over the holidays this may be worth a look as Thistle and Guoman have very strong coverage. The Thistle deals are here  and the Guoman deals are here.

'What credit cards can I get if I already have certain other cards?' - your questions answered
Get airport lounge access via The Gourmet Society
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.

Comments

  1. Do you definitely get the product shown in the picture above?

    I flew Sofia-Doha last month and i got a decrepid 90’s style recliner seat with a ipad handed out as entertainment.

    • I’m pretty certain I saw a recent post stating that QR just switched the A319 from the Pisa route to the Bucharest (OTP) route effective 30th March so, effectively, you’ll get whatever’s on the A319. Pretty disappointed given how many folks here booked the AKL from Pisa that nobody has posted any pic’s of the interior yet ….

      • Kathryn says:

        I’m off on the PSA-AKL on the 29th March, I’ll post some photos when I arrive. At the moment, myflights is showing it’s on a A320.

      • We did TXL-DOH-SIN and back in February.
        The TXL-DOH leg (shorter than PSA-DOH) was both ways on A330 with fully-flat seats.

      • I flew PSA-DOH in December on a PSA-AKL ticket (rerouted PSA-DOH-SYD) and it was the interior posted above for the hop to DOH. In fact I was the only passenger in Business for the sector, although it was a A320 not a A319 operating. The A319 should still be the same as these used to be the aircraft kitted out in an all business config for the London routes, all be it with an economy section added now.

      • I returned from a trip PSA-DOH-NRT last week and flew the A320 for the first and last sector. I can confirm that it was the seat shown in Rob’s post. I’ve got a few photos on my Instagram feed:
        https://www.instagram.com/p/BQ7VTJ_lju0/
        https://www.instagram.com/p/BQ8BM6zFi4Z/

        HTH, any questions, please let me know.

        • TP, thanks for that; I’ll be seeing all this for myself this Sunday when we fly PSA-DOH-AKL, scheduled for the A320. Checked out your instagram posts; loving all the travel pics!

    • Hmmm, my post above seems ½ correct, there’s 2 flights a day from OTP, one on the A319, the other on the A320 ….

    • Yes you get the one in the pic not the recliners.

  2. 200TP for £453 isn’t bad, but you can get 200TPs for £231 if you book AY flights LHR-HEL-TLL in Business. Use ba.com and the BA flight numbers, but the LHR-HEL flights will be flat beds on the A350 if you pick the correct flights.

    • Genghis says:

      Are these fares still around? I was looking recently and it’s much more expensive

      • I *think* so, Ghengis. Recently booked for December (Christmas markets). Just checked and fares still available for then. Not sure about earlier in the year.

        • Genghis says:

          Cheers. Will look again as I was thinking of using avios

          • Booked EDI-LHR-TLL for £365 at the weekend for early November. We should get at least 240TPs, maybe 280 if domestics turn out to be 40TP each.

            Friends got London for £231 on same flights. Flying out Friday morning on the A350, back Sunday afternoon. Nothing before Nov but Looked like decent availability in November and early 2018.

          • Use Matrix to search Business Class with HEL as the advanced route code

            Also bookable on Amex Travel if you are unlikely to change dates

            £230 is only if you can get all legs as BA code (including BA metal if you really want)
            £330 if you can’t get HEL-TLL-HEL as the BA codeshare – but if you can’t it’s £260 if you skip HEL-TLL and £280 if you skip TLL-HEL (though this means only 180 TPs and need to take a ferry for between 20 and 40 euros)

            A350 is daily from April but 8am out of HEL which means 6am out of TLL unless you don’t include that leg. Of course in June, sunrise is at 3am over there

          • Thanks John. Some excellent advice as always. I’m finding £230 now.

          • rams1981 says:

            what’s the matrix mentioned to search for these flights?

          • ITA Matrix – there is a big HFP article on how to use it if you seach.

      • Yes – from what I’ve read on FT though you need to avoid the dates that BA has direct flights over the summer, so best to look for winter…

    • TGLoyalty says:

      You get access to Al Safwa lounge on the way to Dubai which could be worth a bit more but yep as a tier run its not the best TP/£

      The TTL run is bookable for Xmas/next year seems to be either n/a as BA have their direct service from May to September or then fully booked on most dates up to then

  3. O/T who are you guys contacting re the missing Aer Club sign up bonuses? I contacted Avios and the response wasn’t very helpful (basically call up an international IE number). What contact details have yielded simple success?

  4. Richard says:

    Any tips for the best value SPG redemption in Dubai. I have got about 70k points and would want to stay for 5 days or so. Thanks a lot!

  5. OT .. a bit. I have 24 Qatar segments booked over the next 8 months. If I credit all the points to BAEC then great for my Avios balance but as I have no planned “paid for” tickets on BA it won’t move me up the tiers as I won’t have flown any “eligible” flights. However if I credit to Qatar Privilege club, apart from the various points bonus they have run which I qualify, for I can climb the tiers very quickly.

    Has anyone experience of redeeming Qatar Qmiles, is availability good, is the process easy etc. Many thanks.

    • You need to look at where you would redeem and compare the miles for that flight.

      Europe flights on BA will be a worse deal both in miles and taxes. You also don’t benefit from the BA Amex 241.

      QMiles cannot be topped up easily – no UK credit card, not an Amex partner.

      BA status lasts up to 23 months AND has a soft landing. In an extreme case (you hit Gold in 1st month of year) you get 23 months of Gold and 12 of Silver.

      • Thx Rob, as no flights are on BA, none are codeshare and based on poor BA product, I never buy a cash seat for BA, just use Avios. Because of this I never have any “Eligible flights” needed to move up BA tier.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          why not book a day of cheap UK or europe back to backs to get the eligible flights?

        • Jay, stick with baec. We were with QR for years, awful customer service, like dealing with 12 yo kids, take ages to reply to emails, you have to email every little request in! very little J availability, in fact none. I used to be calling in for I seats right up to the day of departure, awful. All seats snapped up by miles rich locals, jetting back and forth to London. They accumulate millions! We moved to baec about 5 yrs ago. It gives you far more flexibility, you can fly east and west, if you don’t get downgraded that is! But with QR you are stuck going east. No bad thing at all, but you would like choice. Baec family is the best there is.

          • Not really, you can redeem Qmiles on AA and BA flights too, it’s just that QR’s FFP sucks unless you live in the Middle East and fly around there a lot.

          • Great thanks for the heads up Polly. I had heard the Cust service on the ground was shocking but had ‘hoped’ 😉 they had got their act together.

          • Agree with comments re QF customer service. They duplicate charged me an Amex £6k bill on 1st Nov – and I have still not got my money back. I even wrote to the CEO and the Customer Services Director – all just hopeless.

          • Just for balance I have to say that my experience collecting on QR has been very different to Polly’s (but i have only been doing so for about a year). Found it relatively straightforward to redeem my miles for upgrades… but havent tried to use them for any redemption flights. So far havent had any issues with their ground service, in fact only positive things to say.

            If youre flying with them so much i am assuming they are useful for your flight pattern….

            I have to question the value of buying 4 BA segments just to get BA status when it appears that you fly a lot on qatar and seems to be servicing your needs? If that is not the case and this is just a one off year or something, then fair enough.

    • So long as your QR flights are on a BA code share, ie have a BA flight number, they will count toward your BAEC status.

      • None of the flights are BA code share. All QR biz ex Europe.

        • Not necessary to book as a BA codeshare to gain BAEC Tier Points.
          Simply credit to BAEC as your FFP rather than QMiles.
          The only loss is with regard to bonus AVIOS I believe if booked as a BA codeshare.

          • The issue here is that Jay needs to fly 4 X BA coded flights, whether code shares on BA numbers or actually on BA metal. He’s concerned that he has lots of avios but doesn’t ever seem to actually fly BA flight numbers ever, only QR. So must get booking up the 2 cheapest return flights HBO if ness, 4 sectors in total to get at least to silver? We think at this stage. Lucky having all these QR flights booked. Lots of avios. Once he achieves status, he can upgrade with avios etc if he’s lucky. And use silver/gold benefits. Let us know how you get on Jay!

    • Spend a day doing 4 BA sectors?

    • Jay, if l were you, l would get those two cheapest return HBO lunch flights in ASAP. Just go to jersey or Edi or Man for lunch, presume you are bronze? You seem to have so many TPs already? Yes, no? Anyway, if you have those 4 sectors in the bag, you earn even more avios as there is the bonus accrual for status. Presume you are booked in J class? If so lounge is automatic, but if you are are in Y then as soon as you hit silver, you get all the extras.. It’s a no brainer…start booking today!

      • No bonus for BA silvers and golds when flying QR (unless on BA codeshare)

        This really should change at least for QR LHR-DOH as it’s a joint venture

  6. Anyone else at the Business Traveller event last night?

    My head hurts.

    • Yes; but why did the HK airport hotel not give a prize…or even a brochure?

      • Nick Burch says:

        They gave out the little chicken things! I had an interesting chat with John, the manager of Regal, I think the idea was that potential customers would just chat with them and get his card at the end

        Pretty sure I drank the last few year’s worth of Business Traveller subscription fees too :)

        • I think I did similar just in Finnair’s Riesling.

        • I know John, not very helpful when stranded at that airport and booked into the Regal. Staff not got a great customer focus, can be abrupt! Handy for a layover though.

  7. Does anybody have a view on hotels in Bucharest? Worth a day visit or longer?

    • Genghis says:

      I went ages ago and thought it was a bit of a dump though Ceausescu’s palace is certainly impressive.

    • Read DanielW’s trip report on Flyertalk

    • I was very impressed by the Radisson Blu. Was on a cheap 2-4-1 rate and given very warm welcome as a gold elite. Upgraded to business with access to the business lounge. Hotel facilities and rooms are very modern and nice. The best five-star hotel I’ve been to in Europe.

    • I stayed at the JW Marriott in Bucharest a few years ago. Very central location. Remember there was a Casino in the basement and it being free drinks and cigs all night. It was pre Christmas, deep with snow outside and there was a Christmas market close by. I remember the gingerbread and gluhwein being very good and a local restaurant close by with baked crap on the menu (a typo for carp)!

  8. rams1981 says:

    OT does anyone have a clever way of topping up pensions using credit cards? E.g. during the trial of Supercard I topped up my pension and it was treated like a debit card. Any other ways to do this? Curve sadly doesn’t work and supercard charge for £ transactions now.

    • Like your thinking!

      • the real harry1 says:

        My Tesco credit card treated buying foreign currency through HIFX as a purchase (ie not a cash advance). Obviously that is now cash (sitting in my bank a/c) that I could convert back into GBP if I wanted to pay into pension etc – bit convoluted + currency risk

        • How easy/difficult it is to get $/EUR currency account based in UK?

          • the real harry1 says:
          • I’ve just opened one of these for some Euros we have. As an existing HSBC customer it took 5 minutes online to open it and I can see the balance in the usual app.

            Note that these accounts can only accept transfers – you can’t pay in foreign cash or cheques.

          • I’ve found Metro Bank very good at providing decent rates (with no fees) for paying in foreign cash/cheques. Only in London but open 7 days so handy for those of us that only visit from time to time (they also provide you with your card on the spot when you open the account – or certainly used to!)

  9. the real harry1 says:

    O/T all good now re Laithwaite’s missing points
    Miscellaneous – BA WINE CLUB 1000

  10. the real harry1 says:
  11. James67 says:

    My sub£50 8000+ avios epson printer from tesco 11/15 just died :( Thanks for the memories, one of the great HFP days.

  12. Just seen this:

    There will be a 25% TopCashback Avios transfer bonus between 20th March 2017 – 20th May 2017.

    • the real harry1 says:

      good news but tbh I have a policy of transferring money out of TCB ASAP these days – since they can claw back ‘payable’ cashback that you leave sitting there – presumably when the principal makes an objection for some reason

      so I have nothing sitting there & just have to hope that a few things in the works become payable in that timeslot

      TCB could easily plan & communicate it better

    • the real harry1 says:

      good news but tbh I have a policy of transferring money out of T.C.B ASAP these days – since they can claw back ‘payable’ cashback that you leave sitting there – presumably when the principal makes an objection for some reason

      so I have nothing sitting there & just have to hope that a few things in the works become payable in that timeslot

      T.C.B could easily plan & communicate it better

  13. Just thought I’d have a look at fares from OTP, but further afield than DXB, you can fly to SIN in J via IST in October for £1107, only downside is you would have to endure 10.5hours on Singapore Airlines (tongue in cheek)

Add your comment here:

*