Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Great deal: Qatar Business Class, Prague to Shanghai, for £885 return with 560 BA tier points

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Qatar Airways has launched an excellent sale fare between Prague and Shanghai.

(Qatar Airways has a history of launching random sale fares.  My guess is that they find two routes which are under performing, put in a cheap fare between the two via Doha and then let people like Head for Points readers snap them up.)

You need to book this via the Qatar Airways website here.

Shanghai Unsplash

The fare will come out at 26,040 CZK which is £885.

The easiest way to find dates is to select ‘Premium Only’ on the initial booking page, which drops all the economy results.  You are looking for dates with an outbound fare of 14,000-ish CZK and an inbound fare of 12,000-ish CZK.

The fare is valid for outbound travel until 31st March 2018.

A minimum 7 night stay is required.

You can only fly out Tuesday to Friday and you won’t find the fare available on every day.  I had no problem finding suitable dates though.

What aircraft do I fly?

OK, it isn’t the best Qatar Airways has.

The outbound is a short-haul A320.  You should get this premium seat, which is fine for a six hour flight:

From Doha to Shanghai it is a Boeing 777.   You might get the new Qsuite but the odds are that you will get the old-style seat, which is still fully flat.  It is a good seat for a couple as you can sit side by side.

I reviewed the old Qatar Airways Boeing 777 business class product here.

How many British Airways tier points do I earn?

560 tier points.   Each flight (Prague-Doha, Doha-Shanghai) is 140 tier points.

That is almost enough (600) for a British Airways Executive Club Silver card, although remember that you also need to have flown 4 BA cash one-way flights in your membership year before you are promoted.

You will also earn a huge chunk of Avios back too!

Do I need a visa for Shanghai?

Yes, if you only intend to stay in Shanghai.

No, I think, if you intend to spend less than 144 hours in Shanghai before travelling somewhere else (not in China, not back home).  You can get a transit visa on arrival as long as you can prove you have an onward flight.  We got one of these in Beijing this summer.

Do get separate advice on this.  I am not sure if holding a return ticket back to Doha – which would NOT be eligible for a transit visa – invalidates you from a transit visa even if you have a nested ticket for, say, Shanghai to Tokyo booked.


If you are looking for an interesting spot for a winter holiday – and possibly a short break in Prague on the way – then this is an excellent fare.  The fact that you will effectively get a British Airways Silver card as well (just about) is the icing on the cake.

The Qatar Airways website is here if you want to have a look around.

How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (October 2022)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points (SPECIAL OFFER), £200 travel credit and unbeatable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,000 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (42)

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

  • Alex W says:

    Very tempted by this, as the old man lives in Shanghai. However I’ve already bagged silver this year via another Qatar trip, and I don’t think I’ll be able to make it to gold.
    I’ve been about 5 times and can highly recommend Shanghai for a fascinating trip if anyone’s not too sure, I would go for it!

  • AspirationalFlyer says:

    Looking into it now! Sounds like a great offer! Just to flag that it if you travel in late Jan/early Feb then hotel prices might be impacted by Chinese New Year.

    • Alex W says:

      A lot of people travel back to the regions for their only holiday of the year, so some places might be closed. NB the government banned fireworks on the Bund etc after a stampede a few years ago. I went over CNY last year and it was pretty quiet except for Yu Garden. Nearby Hangzhou was packed, though.

    • Tilly says:

      CNY 2018 is the 16th Feb so would suggest avoiding 9th-25th. From experience of flying ‘home’ for CNY, it gets crazy the weekend before through to the following week.

  • Craig says:

    The China visa thing is tricky. Once you get to Chinese immigration, you are perfectly fine with a nested ticket elsewhere. But the farther you are away from Asia, the more likely it is that you find a check-in agent (and manager) unaware of the policy, and unwilling to look beyond the computer screen saying “visa required for China”.

    • AndyR says:

      Sorry what do you mean by “But the farther you are away from Asia”? Do you mean the further you are flying when departing from China?

      • John says:

        QR flies to 45 countries and doesn’t employ its own dedicated staff in many of them. A Czech guy (or girl with long blonde hair) who handles multiple airlines is less likely to understand the visa policy of China than, for example, someone who works for multiple airlines in a Japanese airport as you are more likely to handle flights to China from Japan.

  • Clive says:

    How long does it take to get a visa for China these days? It’s a couple of decades since we last applied for one.

    • Alex W says:

      Couple of weeks I recall but you can do an express service. Prices are extortionate. Always go to for visa advice and to avoid the various unscrupulous agents.

    • Bariummeal says:

      If you are in London do it directly with CTS on Jews Row in the city. Book a slot online, photocopy every single thing twice and pay an extra 6 quid or something nominal for 2 day turnaround. Cost is about £100 all n the last time I did it (it’s ten quid cheaper if you use a passport other than a UK or USA one for some reason). Bear in mind this info is from my last trip which was about three years ago so it might have changed a bit.

      • Michael Jennings says:

        I was charged about 100 quid in London when I last did it about 18 months ago. I have British/Australian dual citizenship and I tried to get the visa in my Australian passport. They refused to allow this, and said that because China “does not recognise dual citizenship”, I had to get it on my British passport if I lived in Britain and was a British citizen.

        • John says:

          But if you only presented your Australian passport how would they know you were British?

          • Michael Jennings says:

            They ask for proof of British residency if you live in Britain and have a foreign passport. I could claim to live in Australia, but the Australian passport has no British entry stamps which could raise questions. Sometimes best to just pay a few quid extra.

    • Lady London says:

      72 hours without visa in major cities like Shanghai or Beijing if you are staying in the area and arriving and exiting internationally., worth googling to see if you and your trip are eligible.

      • Barry cutters says:

        144h now , as says in article

        • Lady London says:

          @Barry cutters Doh. I turned away from it after the first few paragraphs – I was jealous and just can’t fit this into my schedule. Good news the visa-free period has gone up to 144 hours though. It’s also spread to more cities as well.

          • barry Cutters says:

            yes i did it in shanghai last easter and was still 72h then from memory.
            shame you can’t make it , its an eyeopening place to visit

    • Londonbus says:

      Get your Chinese visa from the Edinburgh office. I did it earlier in the year and it takes about a week if you do it by post.

      UK passport holders get a two year visa, Irish passport holders get a three month one.

  • Dimitri says:

    Same for Budapest routes as well…

  • Martin says:

    How flexible are these tickets? Can the date of the return be changed and how high is the fee?

    • Rob says:

      It shows you during the booking process. I would expect no changes, no cancellations – they might offer a date change but this would also involve repricing to the lowest price available on that day, which could double or triple the cost.

    • Polly says:


      Quite often change fee involved around £200, sometimes £300, each one is different. But if you have to change dates completely there is a little known option for around £250 pp that allows you to hold your J flight option and same price for up to a year. It was only after talking through change options, due to a possible family emergency, that this even came up in conversation. Again, a very smart supervisor in the Polish call centre. Obviously then claim that fee back from your travel insurer. It meant we could have moved our entire flight, or holiday in J class literally to 11 months later if we wanted to. I thought it was a very useful option.
      This sale is def good, if you wanted to pop to Asia anywhere. As long as it’s not an A320 on the night leg!

  • Cate says:

    With airline sales does the amount of points needed for redemption on those dates come down as well or is it just the cost that’s reduced?

    • James R says:

      Just the cost.

      Points redemptions are worked out in distance and are separate to the pricing structure rollercoaster airlines use.

      • Cate says:

        Oh I see. Thanks James R, that’s cleared something up I’ve often thought about but hadn’t followed it through.

  • Gavin says:

    Very tempting but Mrs Gavin would not countenance 4 flights in place of 1. That said she would probably willingly travel without me as I talk too much on planes!

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