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 qatarairways.com 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.
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.
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 (September 2021)
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.