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Bits: Qatar adds Birmingham, Tesco ‘double up’ – better than Avios?, AA ‘buy miles’ bonus

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News in brief:

Qatar Airways to launch services from Birmingham

In great news for HfP readers in the Midlands, Qatar Airways has announced that it will launch daily flights from Birmingham to Doha on 30th March.

Not content with doing things by half, Qatar is starting with eight flights per week. It takes a lot of confidence to believe that you can fill two planes every Saturday from a standing start.

The service will operate with a new Boeing 787.  These are two class aircraft, with 22 seats in Business Class and 232 Economy Class seats.  My review of Qatar’s 787 Business Class seat and service is here.  There is a special 787 page on here.

As a oneworld partner, you can redeem Avios points for these flights.  Qatar generally makes four Business Class seats available per flight.

From 30th March, Qatar will be flying 71 times per week from the UK to Doha.  When you include Emirates and Etihad, we must be approaching 200 weekly flights.  Assuming 250 passengers per flight, we are talking about 2.6 million outbound passengers per year.  This is a huge volume of long-haul business which British Airways has, in effect, surrendered.

Qatar 787 350 business class

Tesco Clubcard Boost returns – better than an Avios conversion?

There are various rumours online, which seem to be reliable, that Tesco is bringing back Clubcard Boost from 2nd November.  It is believed that everything at Tesco Direct will be included.

I mention this because your latest set of Clubcard vouchers will soon be dropping through your door.  If you were planning to convert them to Avios or Virgin miles immediately, you may want to hold off.

With Christmas on the way, a decent percentage of your gift list would be available from Tesco Direct.  You should therefore assume that every £1 on Clubcard vouchers is worth 240 Avios points or £2 in Tesco Direct credit.

Under this scenario, you are effectively ‘buying’ Avios points at (200/240 =) 0.83p each.  This is still a good deal, but you also need to give some value to the ‘cash in hand’ versus ‘free flight later’ calculation.

American Airlines

Another ‘buy American Airlines miles’ promotion

American Airlines is back with yet another ‘buy miles’ promo.  This one seems deliberately confusing to hide what you are actually paying – you receive a miles bonus of up to 35% plus a cash discount of 10%.

The cheapest option – slightly oddly – is to buy 80,000 miles which is the minimum required to trigger the 30,000 mile bonus.  This is a better deal than buying 100,000 and getting a 35,000 mile bonus.  You would be paying $2,313 for 110,000 miles, which 2.1 cents per mile.  This is not bad, by the standards of AA sales, but I have seen better.

This article runs through some of the sweet spots for using AA miles if you are based in the UK.  The deal runs until 13th November.  The link to buy is here.

How to earn American Airlines miles from UK credit cards

How to earn American Airlines miles from UK credit cards (June 2022)

American Airlines no longer has its own UK credit card.

There is, however, still a way to earn American Airlines miles from a UK credit card

The route is via Marriott Bonvoy. Marriott Bonvoy hotel loyalty points convert to American Airlines miles at the rate of 3:1. You receive an additional 5,000 miles bonus if you convert 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points at once.

The best way to earn Marriott Bonvoy points is via the official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card. It comes with 20,000 points for signing up and 2 points for every £1 you spend.

At 2 Bonvoy points per £1, you are earning (at 3:1) 0.66 American Airlines miles per £1 spent on the card. This will increase to 0.83 AA miles per £1 if you convert Bonvoy points in chunks of 60,000 points.

You can apply here.

American Express Marriott Bonvoy credit card

Marriott Bonvoy American Express

20,000 bonus points and 15 elite night credits Read our full review

Comments (46)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Sussex Bantam says:

    Don’t forget you will also get MR and CC for cash purchases rather than using Boost so your rate is slightly lower than 0.83p. I make it around 0.8p depending on which Amex card you have.

    (I know its marginal but I just spent 20 minutes working it out so wanted to share !)

    • Erico1875 says:

      And if you have a BA 2 4 1 voucher then it potentially takes it back down to 0.4.
      I rarely see much in Tesco Direct that cant be bought cheaper elsewhere

  • Phill Ramsay says:

    Is there any reason Manchester gets the short end of the stick with regards to the aircraft used with QR. London gets the A380, EDI and now Birmingham will get the 787 but flights into Manchester are on A330-200. I know they are refurbing these but it would have been nice to see the 787 into Manchester as well. Fingers crossed for the refurbed business class on my next trip in Jan!

    • Ross says:

      Completely agree. In my view the Qatar 787 is by far the best business class product on the market. Although the 380 seat is the same the cabin is just too big. The 787 is, in my view just as good as the BA First product. I speak as a GGL 20yr BA (for life) member who has moved most of my business to QR – how I wish BA would just step up to the mark.

      • Nick says:

        I disagree. By far the best biz product is the QR A350….:)…….outbeats the crappy, dirty, knackered F on BA any day

      • Polly says:

        Agree, must did our 4 sectors on one CPH to HKT. Fab comfort levels, def feels more spacious than the BA F cabin, without the duvets etc!

  • Ross says:

    If only Qatar would roster a 787 on the MAN DOH overnight sector they’d get my business any day.

  • Sebastian says:

    Slightly OT but I am not sure where else to ask. If you’re redeeming Etihad miles for AA am I right in thinking the following:

    1) Your redemption must be on all AA metal. Thus, you cannot book a redemption that involves BA flights?

    2) A redemption that involves a stop is still just counted as one redemption I.e. If you have to change planes on route.

    3) You cannot have a stopover on route to your destination.

    4) AA redemptions via Etihad can be canceled?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  • Liz says:

    OT: But Tesco bits related. Today I received a chit with a Tesco purchase for 125 points for £6 stationery spend. Also through the post today I got a “What to drink now” guide with a voucher and code for 250 pts for buying a minimum of 3 bottles with an online grocery shop. Can be used up to 22nd Nov. I haven’t received any points vouchers for months! Hope to receive more in the future and maybe some with vouchers when they arrive soon.

    • harry says:

      Nice one, roughly the same as £6 off the wine.

      You inspired me to check my a/c but nothing showing yet – I haven’t had any points vouchers for about 2 years now so not hopeful. They do send us plenty of £x off ££shops, though.

  • Andy says:

    I have no desire whatsoever of wanting to travel to the middle east. Can’t think of many places worse than that part of the world.

    • harry says:

      Totally agree, it’s all ghastly, (give Oman the benefit of the doubt), but I have a sneaking suspicion that in a few years time there will be much less alternative to using Doha/ UAE as a hub to get to desirable places from UK – if you want a quality, comfy seat at a knockdown rate thanks to HFPplc 🙂

      Perhaps we can say airside means you’re in No Man’s Land 🙂

      All my favourite non-European places (Europe is best!) are in SE Asia or Aus/NZ…

  • Andrew says:

    OT, but as we’re talking about lounges: the NY-LON bar at the O2 was featured on this week’s X Factor, which apparently contestants were enjoying before boarding their flight to LA! And we thought the remote stand bus rides at T5 were lengthy!

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