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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.

  • Roger Ramjet says:

    I see BA are cutting 50% of their flights to/from Leeds Bradford from April. Down to one flight in each direction on some days. Timings very poor. Could be the end of that route on BA come the autumn.

    • The_real_a says:

      Aghhhh.. thank goodness ive banked the virgin miles for upcoming klm partner redemptions.

  • mutley says:

    Melia White House…..the tiny standard rooms a lovely throwback to the seventies,

  • bsuije says:

    Just looked at my BA Exec club account and it says I haven’t completed 4 BA segments to retain status, which is non-sense. Anyone else come across the same issue?

    • bsuije says:

      Nevermind – apparently it’s just the way the system works when you achieve status midway through your collection year.

    • Rob says:

      Cash segments? In your current tier point year? Rewards don’t count and BA flights must have been flown on a BA flight number.

      • Kevin says:

        On this very topic, do Comair flights count? If they have BA flight numbers?

        • Radiata says:

          They do. I achieve my four flights in this manner as long haul and intra EU BA flights booked as redemptions whilst cash J long haul flights never booked on BA.

          Occasionally QR segments to DUR or CPT booked on the same PNR are code share on BA Comair. I have once managed to have this count as one of the four requisite BA flights by calling in as BA is the Operating Carrier (“BA” includes franchises such as Comair) although my BAEC account showed erroneously the flight to be operated by QR.

  • Liz says:

    OT has anyone else had problems claiming missing small shop credits from Lloyds? Just done battle with them over 2 missing credits. No one seems to know anything about it and I got the usual run around saying it is an Amex problem and not Lloyds. After asking for it to be escalated to a complaint because they manually credited one transaction last year then eventually agreed to credit my £10 but have put a note on our record to say that under no circumstances will they do this again. I will lodge a formal complaint in writing to get this removed – what are others experiences. Still got one to do with MBNA for the same shop.

    • EwanG says:

      No experience with Lloyds but some difficulty with my Virgin AmEx. When I called MBNA they advised they were unable to help as the promotion is run by American Express.

      I filled in a form on Amex Connect for this card about a week ago and the missing credits not yet showing.

      The same day I also uploaded evidence for a missing credit on my Amex-issued Amex, and my wife received a letter yesterday (as primary cardholder) to advise of the credit.

      • Liz says:

        Great I didn’t realise you could do it that way – I will start sending in evidence of my othe missing transactions. I have written to AMex to try and get an answer from them.

      • Liz says:

        EwanG – how did you upload evidence on the Amex issued cards. When you put in Amex issued it says to phone them. Last time we phoned I was told we had to wait 90 days.

        • EwanG says:

          For my Amex issued card they requested I use the Document Centre to upload my receipt. Log into your account and scroll down to the bottom of the page where you’ll see a link to “Form & Document Centre”. On mobile you’ll need to expand the Important Links menu. That gives you a link to document centre. As there was no facility to add a note, I took a screenshot of a note explaining why I was uploading a receipt. A bit faffy but hopefully worthwhile if you have a few credits missing!
          I was also told to wait up to 90 days when asking about missing credits on my Nectar Amex but they did manual adjustments when asked.

        • Liz says:

          Thanks Ewan

    • jovanna says:

      I was in a restaurant and I tried to split the bill across my Lloyds Amex and my Virgin Amex. I used the online form. I was knocked back about 10 days later for one of the transactions because I’d already benefitted from the promotion on one card. Fair enough. I found the whole process a bit protracted.

      I also made a similar claim on my Amex Plat card and the Plat supplementary card. Web chat a bit of a pain but 2 x £5 credits applied instantly to my account.

  • Clive says:

    Can someone please remind me if all BA PE tickets are upgradeable. Thanks

    • JamesB says:

      Yes, let’s say virtually all. So long as you are not booking something obscure from a third party then it should be fine. You can cancel within 24h anyway if ut is not upgraded.

      • Rob says:

        Not if bought as a package holiday, unless it was via BA Holidays. Fine otherwise.

        • roberto says:

          I can only think of one other scenario when they are not and that after using the Lloyds upgrade voucher when booking into PE. The T&C state that further upgrades are not permitted although I bet some exception have slipped through the net.

    • Clive says:

      Thanks. It’s an OTA ticket but can not pull up the booking class. Presumption it is T

  • simon says:

    O/T, BA have put my £170 spend through as 4 x £42.50….. will this still trigger the 1500 bonus Avios offer? Has anyone had this issue?

    • Rob says:

      It usually is OK with Amex promotions, yes. Although you should, if your email preferences have been set correctly, have had an email from Amex as soon as the charge went through – I got one yesterday.

      • simon says:

        aah yes, was on my wife’s card. will check that first and keep an eye on it. Thanks as always

    • Anna says:

      I used the offer on Sunday for an airport hotel we needed anyway. Got 30% off Hilton in the sale and points have posted to BAPP today, very pleased.

  • guesswho2000 says:

    OT – Just got an email from BAEC for the Amex BAPP – 30k Avios signup bonus for 3k spent in three months – might be targeted, so worth trawling through the junk inbox for those interested. Runs until 31/1.

    • Lady London says:

      OT #1 I got one for 10K avios signing bonus for 1K spent in three months.

      Obviously they’ve worked out I’m cheap 🙂

      OT #2 Did anyone else get a grovelly email from Alex Cruz yesterday about BA having “learned some lessons” and “listened” and “BA are now putting things right”? Or was it just me, in response to some of the frank survey comments I’ve given them in the past year?

      • Clive says:

        No got it too

      • Radiata says:

        I could not bear to read it..

      • Anna says:

        Not got any offers or email, but I’m assuming if we wanted a second BAPP it would make more sense for my OH to refer me?

        • JamesB says:

          Yes, especially if he refers you from the BALL or platinum. However, if you can meet the spend target on both he could yet get an offer on his BAPP if emails are coming out in batches.

        • Anna says:

          I thought it was just a sign up offer? As he’s already got a BAPP my OH wouldn’t be eligible.

        • JamesB says:

          @Anna, yes it is sign up sorry. Was reading through them too fast and was thinking extra spend oromotion for some reason…too good to be true.

      • David S says:

        Got the Cruz email- promptly deleted since it was a lot of nonsense!!!

  • Lady London says:

    OT It seems Ryanair didn’t just delay the implementation of their new luggage policy to 15th January to avoid a storm of “Ryanair ruined my Christmas”, they’ve also made the policy worse.

    Previously it seemed you only had to buy Priority Boarding in order to guarantee both your 10kg hand luggage and your smaller bag into the cabin.

    Just noticed on their website today, they’re now saying you have to buy Priority Boarding AND 2 cabin bags, and not just Priority Boarding as they were saying before Christmas.

    Thank heavens I’ve only got 2 more flights booked with Ryanair. Looks like they’re back to their bad old ways…. defo won’t be booking with them. Might even push some flights over to BA now.

    • Anna says:

      Presumably they are starting to claw back some of the money they lost during the cancelled flights/pilot’s leave fiasco? I was thinking about booking a half term holiday to the Canaries with them but may have to reconsider.

    • Meadowlark says:

      I don’t think there is any change in the previously announced policy, just a renaming of “priority boarding”. The 2 bags bit is to try and make it clear that otherwise you can only take a small bag into the cabin (I.e. One bag). If you want to take a second, larger, cabin bag you have to pay an extra 5 euro for “Priority and two bags”.

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