Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Crazy Qatar Airways fares earning Avios and 560 BA tier points

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Qatar Airways has launched another of its slightly crazy sales.   This one has, frankly, some astonishing fares to Australia and New Zealand.

I will say up front that these are ‘two together’ fares, so if you’re looking for a deal for just one person then you’re out of luck this time.

As usual, Qatar Airways has launched a range of discounted fares from all of the major cities where it operates in Europe.

As usual, the best deals are not from the UK and will require you to start your trip elsewhere.  It’s worth it, I promise you!

Here are the booking and travel dates for this sale:

Book by 10th November

Travel before 30th October 2018, excluding 15 December – 10th January and 7th June – 10th September

Minimum stay 3 days

All fares earn Avios and British Airways tier points (560 return for Asia, 600 for Australasia, except for Athens routes)

Note that Easter is not restricted, which is handy if you have school age kids or want to minimise your time off work.

You can book on the Qatar Airways site here.

The best fares will not be found from the UK as you can see from the examples below.

Here are a few of the better headline prices. These deals are all for business class travel via Doha. They are per person, based on two travelling – single travellers will pay more in theory.  Do check though, as Qatar pricing can be all over the place at times.

These prices are NOT the full list of discounts – they are just random examples I found to be quite good. The prices are a return flight per person based on when two people travel.  You are looking for the red ‘Business Promo’ fares.

Here are some example fares:

Stockholm to Singapore – SEK 11,078 (£993) – click here for more Stockholm prices 

Stockholm to Sydney – SEK 14,840 (£1,331)

Stockholm to Auckland – SEK 15,074 (£1,351)

Stockholm to Krabi – SEK 10,289 (£924)

Athens to Johannesburg – €1,383 (£1,213) – click here for more Athens prices 

Athens to Hong Kong – €1,210 (£1,061)

Athens to Tokyo – €1,286 (£1,127)

Berlin to Tokyo – €1,706 (£1,496) – click here for more Berlin prices

Berlin to Johannesburg – €1,320 (£1,157)

Copenhagen to Hong Kong – DKK 12,587 (£1,478) – click here for more Copenhagen prices 

Sofia to Shanghai – BGN 1,903 (£850) – click here for more Sofia prices 

Sofia to Singapore – BGN 1,928 (£862)

Munich to Windhoek – €1,320 (£1,153) – click here for more Munich prices 

Budapest to Tokyo – HUF 425,000 (£1,191) – click here for more Budapest prices 

Helsinki to Bangkok – €1,093 (£955) – click here for more Helsinki prices 

Remember that these are only sample destinations.  You should, for example, find other Australian destinations available for the Sydney price quoted above.

You should also look at the Qatar Airways sale pages out of Brussels (click here) and Vienna (click here) as these can also have good pricing.

And for comparison:

Heathrow to Bangkok – £1,858

Heathrow to Sydney – £2,958

Heathrow to Singapore – £2,075

These routes would (almost) all – apart from Australasia – earn 560 British Airways Executive Club tier points return (140 + 140 + 140 + 140) due to the change of plane in Doha. That is more than 90% of what you need for a BA Silver card.  Australasia is 600 tier points for a return flight.

The only exception is Athens.  Athens to Doha is under 2,000 miles and only earns 40 tier points. That means 360 for a return trip (400 to Australasia).

How to pick a departure city

It isn’t all about the long-haul flight price. You need to add in the cost of getting to your starting point.

More importantly, you need to build in contingency. You need to arrive early enough to ensure that you won’t miss your connection if your inbound flight is late. If that means staying overnight, you need to factor in the cost of a hotel. You may also want to pick an airport with a hotel on the airport to avoid messing about with shuttle buses.

Remember that BA will no longer tag through bags to connecting flights when they are on separate tickets. If you are checking in a case, you will need to fly London to, say, Stockholm, wait for your case, clear immigration, go to Departures, check in your case and clear security again. This will take some time.

Pick your aircraft as well as your departure city

As ever with Qatar, you should keep an eye on the aircraft. The most modern seats are on the Boeing 787, Airbus A350 and Airbus A380 fleet. I think that the full A330 fleet has been refitted now too. The newer planes have a 1-2-1 herringbone layout where passengers faces away from each other.

The Boeing 777 aircraft are fully flat but have a different 2 x 2 x 2 layout, albeit they will be replaced by the amazing new Qsuite – but that is only on a handful of planes so far.  Qatar Airways also uses short-haul planes on some European routes but these are configured with ‘proper’ business class seats.

Here are my Qatar Airways seat and lounge reviews – you will see that I am very positive about them:

The Qatar website here if you want to have a look at the deals available.  The sale ends on 10th November.


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 (137)

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

  • Caleb Wong says:

    What about Sofia to Doha, is it over 2000 miles? 140 TP or lower? Thanks.

  • Third Passport says:

    Thanks! Flights to AKL booked for next year! (From OSL £1317)

  • Susan says:

    Drat, got all excited then realised 3 month black out period is right when we need to return. Back to EK Y.

  • SF says:

    Great tip – thank-you! I’m holding seats STO-SIN but I notice in the small print “Qatar Airways reserves the right to apply a surcharge or re-price the booking if payment is being made in any other country” Just wondering does this apply to online bookings or just if you visit you local Qatar Airways sales office? Thanks.

    • Polly says:

      No, you are just fine, 1000s of us have sone these trips. Ovs you will have for ex fee unless you use a Lloyds avios or other avios card

      • Louie says:

        I think I’m missing something. How do I avoid a forex fee?

        • Alan says:

          I think Polly us pointing out that the Lloyds Avios card (and PO MC, Halifax One, etc) has no forex fee, otherwise you’re stuck with paying one.

        • John says:

          Use a UK travel agent but it only works if the sale is not restricted to QR.com

      • SF says:

        Thanks Polly, I used my Post Office MC to confirm ARN-SIN for £1002 in January – perfect!

    • Oli says:

      Well flagged – we booked ARN-AKL-OSL on a Barclays Debit and the transaction wasn’t processed until the next day and re-priced. Funnily enough £15 more than agreed! Still a bargain a overall but left a bad taste…

      • RIcatti says:

        Consider yourself lucky.

        Also, using a debit card online exposes you to all sort of things. It’s fine to use debit for payments to Amex/banks but not for purchases.

  • Kathy says:

    I’m really glad, as a solo traveller, that I didn’t hold out for the Qatar sale to book my NZ/SYD trip instead of using Avios. Just goes to show that there is value to be had from Avios even when people are saying that Qatar deals erode it – I would be looking at £2300 as a solo traveller in this sale, plus positioning flights and a hotel, plus an extra day travelling time at either end. I couldn’t justify that on flights alone.

    • TripRep says:

      Kathy – What deal did you get with your Avios, did you use a Lloyds upgrade voucher or are you flying something better than BA?

      • Kathy says:

        Lloyd’s voucher LHR-HKG and SYD-LHR for BA Club, Cathay business HKG-AKL.

        I’m sure if you work out the points per avios it’s not the best redemption (cost c. £700 ish and 184k avios) but since I wouldn’t pay over £2k for the Qatar flights the real alternative was actually flying economy.

    • Alan says:

      Ditto, although I used SQ KF (transferred from Amex MR) rather than Avios. 265k + £300 from Edinburgh to Auckland, coming back via Melbourne for a week, all in Suites (bar one longhaul segment in business and Edinburgh to Frankfurt in economy).

  • Ruth Findlay says:

    Could anyone help with a BAPP/Qatar query? I want to use my BAPP to purchase 4 tickets Stockholm-Singapore return next October in the current sale. My anniversary year starts 11/11 and so I’d like to wait until then to pay for the flights so that it counts towards my 241 for next year. Is it possible to ‘hold prices’ on Qatar flights as I think the sale ends on 10th November?

    • Anders says:

      I dont kbow how it works but in one of the last steps of the purchase process it asks if you want to pay know or hold for 72 hours. It did this today at least. Now sure what happens when you go beyond nov 10 – as this is the last day of the sales.

  • Chris Cannon says:

    Nice one. Picked up KL out of Stockholm for £1048. Was waiting for the sale!

  • Talay says:

    I love the idea but the practicality is woeful. Perhaps not if you live miles away from a hub airport ? I’m 30 minutes from LHR and 45 or so from LGW. Nothing else matters.

    I really want LHR-BKK or LHR-SIN but I looked at say ARN-BKK and I’ll admit I found some decent fares.

    But I have to get to Stockholm. With 3 of us.

    The outward is not that bad really. You go to LHR, get to ARN, collect bags, go through security (both ways), fly to DOH then change and on to BKK. All the long stuff comes after the short stuff.

    But on the way back, I have to go to BKK, then fly to DOH, transfer and onward to ARN and then, just a few miles from home, I have to go collect my bags, check in again, go through security (both ways) and then fly to LHR where I go through security and collect bags – AGAIN !

    This last bit kills it for me, more so than the costs of getting to a EU airport and the contingency costs of possibly overnighting.

    • a270 says:

      Yes, I am in the same boat. The economy fares are exactly the same I have found as I have been checking fares in October so don’t know if people found value in 3for2. I didn’t as again they were from a non London airport so taking that extra flight to STO, HEL etc not worth my while as I live 20 minutes from LHR

    • Paul says:

      Having done ARN-AKL in september/october, I must agree, it’s a complete inconvenience having to do the LHR-ARN, ARN-LHR at each end. Thankfully, as we really like Stockholm (beautiful, easily navigated, not as expensive as rumour suggests), and it saved us between £2,000 and £4,000 EACH, I swallowed my pain and wallowed in spacious luxury for an hourly cost less than flying Ryanair.
      It’s not compulsory you know.

      • Polly says:

        We are currently in HEL overnight as flying tomorrow to HKT. Bought in last Jan sale. We did actually cancel a 241 F to KUL to buy these tickets, as def worth the voluntary pain, of lovely Christmassy HEL this evening. It’s so pretty this evening. Took train into central train stn €5pp as opposed to a 50 € taxi. Each way minimum! Staying 400yds from station. Will reverse the process in the morning. Will be looking for another trip like this for Feb 2019…

    • Gavin says:

      open jaw back to London?

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