Starting tomorrow on Head for Points, I will be running a series of articles on my trip to Doha last week. I will be looking at the Qatar Airways Boeing 777 and Boeing 787 business class products and lounges, as well as the new Hamad International Airport in Doha and the St Regis Doha hotel.
To avoid repeating myself numerous times in the different articles, I wanted to use this post to explain the background to the trip.
I have always written very positive things about Qatar Airways on HFP. Even before they joined oneworld – and it became possible to redeem Avios for Qatar flights – they were a partner with bmi Diamond Club. The airline has a good reputation, flies a modern fleet and, importantly, has a large and growing route network which can get you to pretty much anywhere via Doha.
Despite all this, I had never actually flown them.
The Qatar Airways office in London reads the site and got in touch to offer me a free return flight to Doha in business class. It seemed a good opportunity so I accepted. This was effectively worth 65,000 Avios and £385 of tax which would have been the cost had I redeemed for the same flights (London – Doha – Zurich).
However, Qatar did NOT pay for my transfers in London and Doha, my hotel stay at the St Regis Doha or my food and drink costs whilst I was there. I settled all of those costs myself. Neither did they pay for my connecting flight on the return from Zurich to London (long story ….!) The flights were booked in a way which meant I did not earn any miles or tier points from them.
I think that my Qatar Airways pieces are as objective as any of the other airline reviews on HFP. Given that flights are high value products, though, it is only fair that you understand the background to the trip before you read the reviews.
ALL of the flights I review on HFP, of course, have been booked using Avios or other frequent flyer miles. To that extent, I always have less ‘skin in the game’ than if I had paid hard cash for them. Take my review of British Airways First Class on the A380 last month – someone who paid £13,500 of their own money for that flight – which is the fully flexible price – would presumably review it differently from someone who used 150,000 Avios points.
It was an interesting few days last week and I look forward to sharing it.