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Another Qatar Airways flight sale bargain …. to Johannesburg

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Here’s a quick update to our Qatar Airways sale article yesterday.

The best Johannesburg business class deal looked like it was the Frankfurt departure, at €1702 (£1500).  It turns out that, if you are willing to head down to Bulgaria, there is a stonking price out of Sofia – just BGN 2,715 which is £1228.  You need to use promo code PCGTBGIFT to get that price.  It comes down a little further if two people travel.

The Sofia sale deals page is here.

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.

If you want somewhere to stay in Sofia, pictured below, the night before, a new InterContinental (the fully refurbished ex-Radisson) is about to open – see the IHG website here.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (May 2023)

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:

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 30th May, the sign-up bonus on the Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard is doubled to a crazy 50,000 Avios! Apply here.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 30th May, the sign-up bonus on the free Barclaycard Avios Mastercard is doubled to 10,000 Avios. Apply here.

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

CRAZY 50,000 Avios for signing up (to 30th May) and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

10,000 Avios for signing up (only to 30th May) and an upgrade voucher at £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 famous annual 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.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 13th June, the sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card is doubled to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – and you get £200 to spend at Amex Travel too! Apply here.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

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

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points AND a £200 Amex Travel voucher until 13th June! 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 10,500 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers 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 bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year 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 (89)

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

  • David says:

    O/T – Has anyone else noticed that avios transactions done over the phone (on the BAEC Silver line) are taking an age to post? I cancelled a JAL flight on the 5th Jan, and upgraded the return of a 2-4-1 HND-LHR to F on the 8th (so in effect, +15,000 and -27,000) and neither transaction has posted yet. I mentioned the former to the CS agent on the 8th, and he said there’s a delay and it’d take 48 hours… but I’m still waiting!

    I’m sure in the past they’ve been immediate.

    • JamesB says:

      This is normal, they go in a queue and get processed according to departure dates so if you have a far out departure date you can sometimes wait many days or even weeks to get it processed. However this is no cause for concern, your booking is safe and will get done. I have been in this situation many times.

    • Monone says:

      Your article Sofia as starting point, what exchange rate are you using for the lev?

  • Radiata says:

    I booked a return ex-Eu to JNB from TXL in J for £1397 which may be able to be bettered as in the I bucket on one leg and R on the other. Indeed I saw one price on ITS matrix below £1300 but could not find availability that suited.

  • JamesB says:

    Unless I am misreading the timetable EDI-HEL is daily. However flights are shown to be operated by Norra using ERJ on three days. These have an AY flight number so hopefully avios can be earned and redeemed.

  • Steve says:

    OT: any tips for hotel in Vienna in May? Just decided to grab two RFS fares there for the second bank holiday weekend for a first try of club Europe. Thanks.

    • David says:

      Le Meridien is *lovely*

    • JamesB says:

      Tip to avoid: Courtyard Prater.

    • Brian says:

      If you have Hilton status, the Hilton near Landstrasse is good. They tend to treat me as Diamond well – good upgrades, etc. Opposite the station where you can get S-Bahn trains to the airport. Close to the centre.

      Really depends, though, how much you are looking to spend.

    • Nick Burch says:

      The Park Hyatt is lovely! Amazing old building, big rooms, nice facilities, very friendly and helpful staff, central location etc. Just a shame about the price… Good place to burn expiring Hyatt points though 🙂

    • Rob says:

      InterCon is perfectly fine but a dull 60’s concrete building with no local flair. Fairly short walk from the Airport Express station though.

    • Leo says:

      The Hotel Sans Souci is great upmarket boutique option. No points opportunity – maybe book through Bon Vivant or Amex? Or come to that. Great location next to metro and 5 minutes from Hofburg if that.

      • R C says:

        Amex no longer an option on Just tried to book a room and my saved cards have been removed and Amex not in the dropdown.

        • Robbie says:

          Maybe it is the hotel? I have had some hotels that don’t accept Amex and then they disappear from the list. I have just booked a Crowne Plaza via and Amex worked.

        • Genghis says:

          Still there for me now on a dummy booking.

        • Cate says:

          Don’t forget to check out your fave frequent flyer own shop to book for extra points.

    • David S says:

      Stayed at the Hilton last month next to the station and Stadtpark. Ok rooms, no great upgrade for being Hilton Gold. Was told that they only offer continental breakfast for Golds, so booked full breakfast which is definitely worth it. Access to the airport train was great and in Vienna, you can pretty much walk everywhere. Have fun.

  • Rob MC says:

    IHG ambassador upgrade – just had confirmation via email that the 10,000 bonus miles were only for those that received an email invite to upgrade and as such I will not be getting the bonus miles

    • Kathy says:

      I successfully got them to give me the old 5000 point bonus miles for joining by pointing out it was still being advertised on the webpage of the IC Sydney I had booked when I joined (I had screenshots). That was back in November – it has been removed since. Might be worth having a poke around various individual hotel Ambassador pages to see if it’s still lurking anywhere!

      • Rob MC says:

        Thanks Kathy. I actually found it on this

        Which is the your sale webpage, doesn’t say anything about it being an email only offer. I have found IHG to be useless and sorting out bonus points

        • Radiata says:

          Dear Rob

          I complained similarly and they were willing to post the bonus if I could provide either a screen shot or the original link.

        • Kathy says:

          Try taking the screenshot of the sale pages, and terms and conditions, showing that you complied with the advertised terms by applying within the advertised period, and send it to the Ambassador customer service team (or back to them if that’s who you went through initially). They should do a goodwill adjustment on the basis of the published information being misleading.

    • Rob MC says:

      RE Tangey,

      I upgraded on the 22nd November when the offer was on, only chased it up now as its been over 6 weeks.

  • Botham says:

    I recently booked HIE at Southwark, for the Marathon. The price has now gone up from £142 to £159.

  • EBungle says:

    Did anyone else think that the snowmobile rider was “mooning” the camera?

    I took Finair to Beijing last year and they were great. Helsinki is a nice airport for a connection, and saved about 25% on a BA flight.

    • MikeL says:

      Agree re Helsinki airport, nice and the security staff are very pleasant too. I was even asked (politely) if it was ok to swab my hand luggage.

  • Tyra says:

    Issues with Melia Gold status. If you are an existing Melia member and you try and enrol from Amex Platinum you won’t be able to. I’ve been trying for the past 6 weeks and getting the same error message. Amex has finally recognised this to be a “technical issue” and has no time line of when it’s going to be fixed. If I let Amex open a new account for me, I would lose my existing Melia points. For the moment, I’m stuck at the status I’m on with Melia and can’t access any Gold status benefits.

    • Nick says:

      Haha so that would explain why my Melia Gold was recently extended for 5 months… they knew I wouldn’t be able to renew the usual way!

    • Nick Burch says:

      I had a Melia Rewards account for a few years before the Amex Plat status offer was added. I signed up as soon as Amex offered it, and had no issues getting my existing Melia account upgraded to Gold. Maybe Melia have broken something since then?

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

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