I ran extracts from this article yesterday lunchtime, but this is a longer version with some more background information.
On the face of it, Business Class discounts appear to be lower than we have seen in previous years but we need to see what is teased out over the next few days. If you are expecting a repeat of the sub-£1000 tickets we saw in 2016 and 2017 then you will be disappointed.
Please note the bookings dates – most of June, all of July, August and early September are excluded. This is another negative for anyone with kids in school. The dates are:
- Sale period: 9th to 16th January 2018
- Travel period: 9th January to 10th December 2018. All travel must be completed by 10th December 2018.
- Blackout dates: 9th June to 10th September 2018
From the UK, promo code UKGTBAFFILIATE gets you an extra 5% off the base fare. Outside the UK, try code PCGTBGIFT for a further ‘up to’ 5% off the base fare, but it only works on some routes.
Qatar Airways is also offering DOUBLE Qmiles if you credit your flight to Qatar Privilege Club – click here for details and to register. In most cases, however, you will want to credit to British Airways Executive Club because of the 560 tier points available for a return flight to Asia from Europe.
You can book on the Qatar Airways site here.
Why Qatar Airways is a good choice for British Airways flyers
For new readers to Head for Points, I want to highlight why Qatar Airways is so useful to you.
As a member of the oneworld alliance alongside British Airways, you can earn Avios and British Airways Executive Club tier points when you fly on Qatar Airways and credit the flight to BA.
Not only do you earn tier points …. you earn substantially more tier points than you would by flying British Airways!
The reason for this is that, because you will be changing planes in Doha, your return trip is treated as four long haul flights. As long as each individual flight is over 2,000 miles long – which it is in all the examples except one below – you will earn 560 British Airways tier points per return flight. This is calculated as four flights over 2,000 miles in Business Class x 140 tier points per flight.
Flights to Australia, except Perth, and New Zealand will earn 600 BA tier points (140 + 160 + 160 + 140).
Silver status in British Airways Executive Club only requires 600 tier points, so a return flight to Asia in Business Class bought in this sale will get you over 90% of the way. Remember that you also need four cash BA one-way flights as well during your current membership year to get promoted.
What are the best deals?
The best fares will not be found from the UK as you can see from the examples below. If you are booking from London, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Manchester or Cardiff, promo code UKGTBAFFILIATE gets you an extra 5% off the base fare during the sale.
Here are a few of the better headline prices. These deals are all for business class travel via Doha. If two passengers are travelling together, fares may drop a little more.
These prices are NOT the full list of discounts – they are just random examples I found to be quite good. These are the departure cities you should be trying out if you want a good deal to somewhere not listed. The prices are a return flight per person. You are looking for the red ‘Business Promo’ fares on the Qatar Airways site.
Here are some example fares.
Athens to Hong Kong €1,467 (£1,293) – Greece sale page (IMPORTANT: Athens to Doha is only 40 tier points)
Frankfurt to Johannesburg €1,702 (£1,500) – Germany sale page
Helsinki to Tokyo €1,442 (£1,271) – Finland sale page
Helsinki to Bangkok €1,145 (£1,009) – Finland sale page
Helsinki to Chiang Mai €1,186 (£1,045) – Finland sale page
Helsinki to Ho Chi Minh City €1,452 (£1,280) – Finland sale page
Oslo to Melbourne NOK 16,170 in November (£1,474) (Sydney, Perth etc similar) – Norway sale page
Stockholm to Singapore SEK 13,391 (£1,200) – Sweden sale page
Stockholm to Kuala Lumpur SEK 13,237 (£1,186) – Sweden sale page
Stockholm to Cape Town SEK 15,060 (£1,350) – Sweden sale page
Sofia to Shanghai BGN 2,270 (£1,023) – Bulgaria sale page
Remember that these are only sample destinations to show you what is available.
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. Australasia, except for Perth, 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. This means 360 for a return trip to Asia or Perth (400 to the rest of 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 face 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:
- Qatar A380 First Class
- Qatar 777 business class
- Qatar 787 business class
- Qatar short-haul First Class
- Qatar Premium Lounge, Heathrow Terminal 4
- Qatar Al-Safwa First Class lounge, Doha
- Qatar Al-Mourjan business class lounge, Doha
- Qatar 777 Qsuite – without flying anywhere
The Qatar website here if you want to have a look at the deals available.
If you don’t have a credit card with 0% foreign exchange fees, your best option for paying is American Express Preferred Rewards Gold which offers triple points – 3 per £1 – when you book flight tickets in a foreign currency. This is because the transaction triggers the ‘double points for airline spend’ and the ‘double points for foreign spend’ bonuses.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (January 2021)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
There are two official British Airways American Express cards:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.
If you have a small business, we especially recommend Capital On Cap’s Visa card which comes with a generous bonus worth 10,500 Avios:
(Want to earn more Avios? Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)