ENDS FRIDAY: Bargains in the great Qatar sale (eg Oz business £1330) and new solo traveller discounts

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Time is running out if you want to take advantage of the current Qatar Airways slightly crazy flight sale.   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.

However, Qatar Airways has now launched a promotional code which may benefit solo travellers who cannot take advantage of these sale prices.  Code QR20YEARS gets you 10%-20% off the post-taxes cost of a fare from any European starting point.  It is NOT valid on ‘Business Promo’ sale fares but it IS valid on ‘Business Saver’.

As an example, code QR20YEARS brings the cost of Oslo to Auckland down to £1,650 for one person in Business Class.  This is only £300 higher than the ‘two together’ fare out of Stockholm I discuss below.  You are still paying a premium for travelling solo but, come on, £1,650 is still ludicrously cheap.

The ‘two together’ deals

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 TOMORROW, Friday 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, but the 20% off code I mention above will help.

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.  These fares have now been available for a week and the best availability will have gone, so you will need to dig around for seats.

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 TOMORROW, 10th November.

Hat-tip to the Flyertalk community who found many of the fares above.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

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  1. The Qatar website here https://www.qatarairways.com/en-gb/offers/20-anniversary.html says the QR20YEARS code gives ‘up to 10% off’. (And none on the searches I did.) Are we sure it’s 20%? Not that I’d doubt you Rob…

  2. OT but related, how long do tier points from Qatar flights take to post? Currently in Japan due to this site and was wondering how soon I’ll get the silver status (and presumably bronze for a short period until the return flights post)

    • The Original Nick. says:

      They post on Wednesdays usually

      • Thanks, flew out of Amsterdam on Monday and arrived in Tokyo late on Tuesday so I’m guessing I must have just missed getting the points yesterday?

        • There’s an FT thread about QR flights not crediting. My latest QR flights didn’t credit after 7 days (the min time before you can file a claim) so I just claimed and I got them a few days later. Maybe they would have credited automatically if I waited another week, you decide.

        • Lumma, your flight might have landed too late in Tokyo for their cut off point, but usually the foll wed they credit. Think their cut off point is 5pm Doha time….

        • Maybe, but shouldn’t Amsterdam-Doha have credited? That flight landed in Qatar on Monday night.

          I’m not too worried, putting the booking reference into ba.com shows the 560 tier points so I’m sure they’ll credit at some point but I would’ve been nice to be bronze before my return flight from Amsterdam to London, if just for the priority boarding

        • Believe BA partner flights credit the Wednesday after the end of the week the flight was – I.e. fly on Monday 1st, credit on Wednesday 10th

  3. I would always recommend staying overnight before you travel. After all, you would probably be paying for a hotel that first night of your hols anyway. It might as well be in Scandinavia or somewhere as a mini city break.

    Coming back not so critical. We have risked getting an avios flight later on the day we arrive back. Currently the big advantage is buying a return Y ticket to Scandinavia, either HEL, OSL, ARN, CPH wherever. Reduced by using avios too. But the great thing about that return sector is that it is changeable to an earlier flight back in the day you arrive back. Thus we book the second last flight back to the UK that pm, but quite often l am onto BA silver line whilst in the passport queue in Scandinavia, changing our ticket to the next flight home. Handy as they will put you on a partner flight too. Could be Finnair, or Aer Lingus. Works fine. This is not a well publicised benefit of a Y paid BA flight. Very useful to know about tho.
    Unless we chose to put bags in lockers as in CPH, and spend the day in that city, one of our favs.

    So def worth booking up, if you are hesitating. Very manageable.

    • Genghis says:

      How much do you pay for these Y BA flights, on average?

      • Our current ones to HEL return, with avios reductions were around £70 pp so earned us 20 TPs pp and are part of our 4 X BA flight sectors to get silver. I literally booked them once we had the QR ones booked, so v reasonable.

    • “Unless we chose to put bags in lockers as in CPH, and spend the day in that city, one of our favs.”

      Really ? After perhaps 16+ hours of travelling (more like 26+ if from Oz) you still feel like dragging your body around a foreign city whilst waiting for a plane ?

      I’d love the savings but can’t get over the last collect bags, check back in, wait etc. against taxi / chauffeur home, shower, bed, all before you’ve even picked your bags up and rechecked in at whatever European city you flew from.

      • Travelling in business class, with showers in lounges en route, isn’t that arduous is it? I’d agree with you after a journey in economy but would have no trouble sightseeing after J.

      • Talay,

        QR are actually doing more direct check through bags lately too, if you have an onward BA flight that day. We actually chose to collect our bags, locker them as we knew we wanted one more day in CPH. And we were shopping so needed our bags. So it just depends on the city.
        This time we will be going back via HEL to LHR, not hanging around, and getting on an earlier Y flt if available. We might even get our bags checked through. Depends on the agent we get in HKT but they are not as good as the KUL and HKG agents. Another reason for collecting bags in HEL is to enable us to get back on an earlier BA flt to LHR.
        Remember, these airports run way more smoothly than LHR does, so it’s not quite the hassle it appears to be. Really fast trains in and out of the city, seriously it’s actually ok!

        • I had 20hrs stopover in Doha back from Tokyo and qatar airways refused to send my checked in bag to Doha to recheck next day…even manager on the phone did not help…very strange

        • Luke, the fare rules of most QR tickets state that if you are stopping in Doha for less than 24 hours then bags must be checked to the final destination. If you want bags in Doha you need to book separate tickets or take things in hand luggage.

          However Polly is talking about checking bags from a QR ticket onto a separate BA ticket. QR will generally do it but BA will definitely not do it on the outbound journey.

        • Yep, I’d definitely prefer that to the 6h+ wait I had at LHR on my last trip back from the US (rubbish combo of BA Sunday timetable+redemption availability!)

      • For my upcoming AKL trip, I’m staying overnight in CPH on the return too – though I’m also staying in DOH for a night.

        I don’t know about everyone else but I really prefer arriving in the UK in the morning whether it’s after a 2, 7 or 12-hour flight – and even if a morning arrival in the UK would be night AKL time…

        • Depends on the airport and what time in the morning. A really early arrival into Heathrow usually means getting on the Piccadilly line around 7.30am, just in time for the morning peak when I switch to the district line.

  4. I don’t understand how you get BA Exec Club tier points if you book a Qatar Airways flight via Qatar’s website. Clearly if you book it on the BA website as a BA coded flight, yes, but not surely as a QR coded flight?

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      You can earn TP on most, if not all, Oneworld carriers if you credit to BA.

    • Just select BAEC as your frequent flyer scheme and stick your number in!

    • I take it you’re new to this game. As stated (by Andrew), simply apply your BA number to the booking and voila. I’ve done it several times and on the odd occasion you need to chase them up, Iberia in particular but it does work.

    • Yes you do. That is what the oneworld alliance is all about. Fly any of the oneworld airlines, booked however you want with whatever flight code, and you can credit them to BA. And vice versa, if you are Qatari and flying BA.

      The Qatar Airways website has BA (and all the other oneworld airlines) in the dropdown menu during the booking process so you can add your number.

      • Why do tier bonuses for the Avios not apply when crediting a QR flight to BA?
        (Although they do when crediting an AA flight to BA, and partly if one credits a QR flight to AA)

    • And even if you don’t add your BA number at the time of booking, you can easily add it at check-in (online, at a machine at the airport, or with a human), at a lounge if it’s run by a oneworld airline, all the way up to the gate when you board, and even for a few months after the flight!

    • Has nothing to do with which site you book through. If it’s a oneworld flight and you credit to BAEC you get the Avios and TPs. That’s about as fundamental as this hobby gets tbh. Booked many QR and CX flights through Expedia and had them credited to BA.

      • Genghis says:

        …which for newbies differs to hotels where all of the time you have to book direct / through a traditional travel agent (ie not through an online travel agent) to get points and most of the time to get benefits.

    • On this, then, I’ve booked flights with AA between the US and the Caribbean for next year – is there any way of working out how many avios we will get for them?

    • Even funnier is that many BAEC members don’t like BA and only do the minimum to retain their status, with most flying via other OW airlines. I finally reached gold for the first time last week, almost all the tier points for which came from AA flights.

  5. Great, glorious, amazing Qatar business seats. Though a bit sleazy behind the scenes.


    Just saying that when BA get slagged off daily, there’s a reason Qatar is so good and it’s not exactly a fair playing field. Nor is BA v domestic rivals.

    Rant over. Enjoy the Krug.

    • No Krug except on the QR A380 in F

    • but he isn’t the only one. A certain UK long haul airline was instructed many years ago by its owner to be more choosey with who they recruit. Trying to be very careful with how i word that!

      • Genghis says:

        Virgin? My boss tells a story of going to one of Branson’s garden parties. Branson commented that he starts the young fit birds off in Upper Class to cater for the gentleman that mainly fly that cabin before moving them to premium and to economy as they get more haggard.
        A comment for weeding, Rob? 🙂

        • OMG…

        • Is this the Branson who tweeted from his private island that the tax payers of the UK should be footing the bill for hurricane damage to a region well known for sheltering trillions of dollars belonging to the tax non-payers of the entire world?

        • the real harry1 says:

          Lauda Air was fun 🙂

          their recruitment policy was presumably 90% long legs, short skirt

        • The owner came off one of his flights and instructed recruitment to stop recruiting older ladies, but with a more direct form of words! But yes, they were required to have ‘flair’.

  6. LAST CALL, hope not, here’s to many more QR sales in the future…

    • Agree, we will be looking for one for next November, probably in their Jan sale. Great one last year.

      We had literally only just checked into our hotel in SGN, pulled up my emails, and there was the QR sale email from Rob! I literally had to sit down and book this HEL HKT one. Not complaining tho. But we did get great planes, 787, 777, 777, 787. No plane changes on the way out either. That can happen any time with QR tho. So yes ready and waiting for their next sale.

  7. Does, “Travel by 31st Oct” mean outbound or complete return journey as well. Thanks

  8. Phill R says:

    For 2 people I managed to bag MAN-LHR-ATH with BA in CE for £100 (50k miles) and ATH-DOH-CPT-DOH-MAN in the Qatar sale for 3400. Probably a bit more than some of the offers but wanted the convenience of flying straight back to Manchester. Pretty good flight times all round and more than happy with that, business all the way for £1750pp!

    Re checked my qatar flights last night and they had gone up by 5000e

  9. QR20YEARS can be applied to flights depart from Asia as well and i can search 20% off for a HKG-DOH-LHR flight in Dec.

  10. how long is that promo code good for?

  11. After much poring (and procrastinating!) over schedules and dates I have finally booked QR flights ARN-DOH-MEL//MEL-DOH-MUC for 2 late April/early May. Cost of QR flights was £1490/each. BA econ positioning flights £270 for 2. Although returning to ARN would have been £150/each cheaper it would have required another hotel stay owing to 8pm arrival time but also 9+hrs at Doha transit. MUC on the other hand is 2 hr transit, arrives MUC 12.25pm so should be able to get back to the UK on the same day.

    I also looked at returning directly to LHR but was a net (of the BA MUC-LHR flight) £600 more in total.

  12. Fbrj
    Hope you booked that y ticket which allows you to change to an earlier fight when you get back to muc…v useful that is…great you got that price…hardly notice the journey in j. What planes did you get on route?

  13. Hi Polly. I’ve read your exhortations re more flexible tickets on the last leg. But on this occasion the first departing flight after we land in MUC is 4hrs later which I thought would also provide some margin if we cannot get our baggage checked all the way back to LHR from MEL, although this has not been a problem since QR changed its stance on this. On the last occasion in OSL we were returning back to LHR on a RFS. Not only did we get upgraded but also at the gate we were reassured (unprompted by us) that our luggage was safely on board from the QR flight!

    Re QR planes (another important factor!) we are on B787, A380, A380 and A350. As we know these tend to be quite provisional! We have just returned from DPS (from and into LHR) on QR. I learned that the A330 Diamond seats are different and next time to book a pair in the middle – the side pairs seem much smaller seats. First world problems eh?

  14. Simon Spanswick says:

    Have now successfully booked an Easter break for two in Sri Lanka from Bucharest using the OTP-DOH-CMB-DOH-OTP option, plus an open jaw work trip for just me ARN-DOH-SIN-HND-DOH-ARN at the end of January.
    The open jaw will also include visits to Hong Kong and Taipei in between Singapore and Tokyo, so a bit of a marathon. CX and JAL flights using Avios in business are probably the order of the day for the intra-Asia trips.
    Only two small downsides (which are insignificant given the savings) are that the BA TP credit for the OTP-DOH is a measly 40 instead of the usual Europe-DOH 140, and that one sector on the Asian trip was pushed into I instead of R which bumped the price up a tad (NB: use QR20YEARS to get the solo business promo fares).
    However, compared to a BA open jaw in CW, the Qatar flights are about half the price, and twice the service (and lots more Avios and TPs).
    Hat tip to Rob for flagging this sale and repeatedly reminding us up to today (hope QR offer you some good deals and trips given the amount of revenue you must be sending their way!). Now, should I try for a hat-trick for later in 2018?

    • Absolutely..go for it!

      Fbrj hope you get the bags through again. It’s great when qr push the boat out as it were..ba could learn from them…

  15. Henry Young says:

    I booked “two together” MNL-LHR return and the QR20YEARS promo code took a further 10% off an already amazing deal – very happy except that the cheapest fare required flying BA on the LHR leg which means no free seat allocation and therefore no peace of mind that I can actually be seated with my wife until 2 days before departure at which time seat allocation through the BA site is free. In this respect I feel a little cheated and annoyed at the additional admin that I’ll have to remember to do at the right time.

    • Ironically BA is cancelling quite a lot of its Doha flights at short notice at the moment and moving people to Qatar – it seems an easy way to free up a plane if they have a problem elsewhere.

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