Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Good (Avios and British Airways tier point earning) Business Class deals in the Qatar Airways sale

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The Qatar Airways January sale, called ‘Global Travel Boutique’ this year, is now livesee here for the UK site.

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:

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 points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (October 2021)

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

There are two official British Airways American Express cards. Both have increased sign-up bonuses until 2nd November 2021:

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

10,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 241 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

40,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

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

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

The 30,000 points bonus on Amex Gold runs to 9th November 2021. The 60,000 points bonus on The Platinum Card runs to 2nd November 2021.

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:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard 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. This card has a limited time offer of 60,000 Avios when you sign up:

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

60,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios 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.

(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.)

Comments (101)

  • Adrian says:

    Sorry, me again, a question for everyone. Does anyone have any experience of JAL as an airline generally and specifically their 787-8/9 in J? There are some decent prices and i wondered if JAL were better than BA, from the pictures it looks better, but i thought i would ask. It looks like one of two seat types, the skysuite or the new skysuite III. Also how does it compare to QR which is probably a better question.
    The older looks better as the seat is considerably wider, they appear to be densifying their J cabins. The flights go to NRT. Thank you, any advice would be appreciated.

    • Waribai says:

      We have flown both in J and F with JAL from LHR and IMHO, the difference between BA and JAL in both classes is night and day. Apart from banter with the FAs which is admittedly limited on JAL, they beat BA by a country mile in every department.
      I’d even choose them over QR from LHR as you will be flying direct and personally I find the food selection is better. Also, if there are any issues with your booking their response and service is better.

    • Ian says:

      I flew JAL from Tokyo to Melbourne last month on a 787-8 in business. It was good. The seat is definitely vastly better than BA Club world. I wasn’t overly impressed with service though. It took nearly an hour to get a drink after take off.

      • Gavin says:

        I have found on Asian carriers that pressing the call bell is essential for attention, i.e. ask as opposed to waiting to be asked.

  • James says:

    Off Topic:
    One World Emeralds extra baggage allowance on RFS Avios redemption.

    Can I and all the members of my party (on same booking) take an extra check-in bag thanks to MY One World Emerald status ?

    I think so, but just not absolutely sure.
    If they were p[ad economy seats (except for HBO) then it would be fine and given as Avios seats are not HBO I presume we can take an extra bag EACH.


  • Francoise Lyons says:

    Just booked 2 return business class fares for Mid November in the Qatar sale from Paris CDG to Colombo with good flight times and short connections in Doha for only 1891.63 euros per person ( at current exchange rates = £1700) , which compares to the London Heathrow -Colombo fares for the same dates etc for £2065 per person. Even including the London – Paris BA flights which are very cheap for those dates in economy or Club Europe, that is still quite a saving . Interestingly I tried on the French version of the Qatar website and their fares were around 500 euros more for exactly the same flights! Flights from easily accessible hubs such as Frankfurt or Amsterdam or Brussels simply did not work re times/ connections.

  • Martin says:

    I was recently given BA Gold for 3 years instead of 1. I think it was because I was affected by the computer outage last June.

    So I have no need of tier points until 2020, which is very liberating. It means I can avoid tier point runs and like these and fly non-stop!

  • JamesB says:

    OT KLM exUK business promotions atm: most notable are Delhi at £1122 and Hong Kong at £1442 but some others may be worth a look.

  • Nick says:

    I guess that’s worthwhile if you are forking out for six tickets but if just a couple, Finnair from LHR to BKK via HEL is far quicker and not much more expensive and you get to fly on the amazing A350 which is so much more comfortable than a 787, 777 or A830.

    • JamesB says:

      And both London and regions to BKK via AMS with KLM is quicker still than AY. Not much in it though,, but KLM were the most punctual airline in the UK last year.

  • Richard says:

    Picking numbers purely from thin air. If the BA J flight is 2k, and after positioning plus hotel the Qatar out of Scandi is 1400 to the same place, but adds 15hrs to the journey, and you value the visit to the Scandi city as 0, and (somehow value the in flight experiences equally, you are still effectively saving £40 an hour by going Qatar. Clearly there will be a substantial number of HfP readers who earn more than 40 an hour (after tax) but also will be a more substantial number who do not.

    • Genghis says:

      Depends what you value. If I wanted to eat fish tonight for dinner, I could buy some from the supermarket or go and spend a whole day trying to catch it myself. I don’t like fishing that much so would do the former. Others do and may do the latter (assuming you’re allowed to take the fish home of course).

    • Rob says:

      Unless you are a plumber or somehow paid by the hour – and thus giving up 15 hours of paid work – the calculation isn’t really valid though! It is really about the practical aspects of doing it – if you live in Edinburgh, flying Finnair to Helsinki is as easy as BA to London to connect, for example – plus whether you’d have to drag family along, plus whether a same-day connection can be done for your route, plus plus plus …. Someone who wants the 560 tier points will also have a different view to someone who doesn’t.

  • Anthony says:

    Just booked two return in J class LHR to SEZ, £4995 instead of £7500 traveling in May. Thanks fir the heads uo.

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