Bits: last day for the Qatar Airways sale, Etihad Guest’s shock non-devaluation as flights get cheaper!

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News in brief:

Last chance to book in the Qatar Airways Global Travel Boutique sale

Here is a quick reminder that the Qatar Airways January sale ends today – see here for the UK site.

On the face of it, Business Class discounts are lower than we have seen in previous years.  Most of June, all of July, August and early September are excluded from the list of possible travel dates, which 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 on some but not all destinations.  Outside the UK, try code PCGTBGIFT for a further ‘up to’ 5% off the base fare, but it only works on some routes and we don’t have a list.

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).

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.

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 

Sofia to Johannesburg BGN 2,715 (£1,228) – Sofia sale page

Sofia to Shanghai BGN 2,270 (£1,023) – Bulgaria 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 

If you are interested, I strongly recommend that you read my original article on the 2018 Qatar sale which is here.  This explains the different aircraft types flown by Qatar Airways, together with links to my flight reviews, to help you decide which routes to pick.

Your best option to maximise your miles when paying is American Express Preferred Rewards Gold.  This offers double points – 2 per £1 – when you when you book flight tickets directly with an airline.  Our review of Amex Gold is here.

Etihad Guest changes live

Etihad Guest devaluation turns out not to be much of a devaluation after all!

Etihad Guest had its long-awaited ‘devaluation’ yesterday.  Expectations were low, especially as Etihad had refused to tell anyone what the changes were going to be.

And yet it isn’t bad.  For UK residents redemptions in Business Class have got cheaper, albeit with a minor uptick in taxes of about £30.

A one-way in Business Class from London to Abu Dhabi drops from circa 66,000 to 62,000

A one-way in Business Class from Dublin to Abu Dhabi drops from circa 71,000 to 62,000

Some routes have gone up a little, others are flat, others are down.  Taxes are only modestly up.  We really can’t complain.  There is some evidence that flight upgrade costs and some economy routes have gone up more sharply but without access to the historical data I can’t be sure.

If you ever redeem on Emirates you will know that taxes and charges are out of control.  And I say that as a man who redeem a lot of Avios!  I was worried that Etihad Guest would go the same way, but it hasn’t. If you are not already an Etihad Guest member, you can sign up here and receive 500 bonus miles.

This table makes interesting reading:

Cost of a one-way Business Class redemption from Dubai / Abu Dhabi to London:

British Airways (no chauffeur service) from Dubai:

50,000 Avios off-peak or 60,000 Avios peak + £183

Virgin Atlantic (no chauffeur service) from Dubai:

37,500 miles off-peak or 47,500 miles peak + £180

Emirates (chauffeur service at arrival and departure airport) from Dubai:

62,500 miles + £330 (Note that an Emirates Saver reward is 90,000 miles return – so effectively 45,000 miles each way – in Business Class but you can only book it as a return and availability is restricted.)

Etihad (chauffeur service in UAE) from Abu Dhabi:

62,632 miles + £134

Etihad is looking pretty good compared with peak date BA or Virgin when you factor in the great seat.  £50 less tax than Avios or Virgin Flying Club, car service in Abu Dhabi to anywhere in the UAE and minimal mileage difference on peak dates.  Remember that Abu Dhabi is only a very short drive to Dubai – it took us 65 minutes to get from the airport to Jumeirah Beach in October.

From London, Etihad runs an ‘all A380’ fleet.  I rate the A380 Business Class Studio seat very highly indeed.  I know that Etihad seems to have cut back on food, drink, amenity kits and quite a lot else in the past 18 months, so I am wary of being too gushing, but the seat itself is excellent.

My review of the A380 seat is here.  Note that a) Etihad no longer offers chauffeur transfers in London, only in the UAE and b) the spa in the London lounge has now closed.  I am booked onto this again with my family later in the year so it will be interesting to see what has changed.

How to earn Etihad Guest miles via UK credit cards

As a reminder, Etihad no longer has its own UK credit card.  However, you can earn Etihad Guest miles by converting Membership Rewards points earned from selected UK American Express cards.  These are:

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold – 10,000 Membership Rewards points sign-up bonus

The Platinum Card from American Express – 30,000 Membership Rewards points sign-up bonus

American Express Rewards credit card – up to 5,000 Membership Rewards points sign-up bonus

Membership Rewards points convert at 1:1 into Etihad Guest miles.  The cards above all earn 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on your card, which converts to 1 Etihad Guest mile.

Etihad Guest is also a partner with the HSBC Premier Mastercard (0.5 miles per £1 spent, reviewed here) and HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard (1 mile per £1 spent, reviewed here).

Bits: change coming to Amex sign-up bonuses?, change already here at Tesco Clubcard
Avios Redemption University - Lesson 6 - How to earn and redeem your BA Amex 2-4-1 companion voucher
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Comments

  1. Miles / points required for LHR-BKK return were jacked up ahead of the “devaluation” then dropped in the last week but post devaluation jumped up about 15%. This is of particular interest to me as I am sitting on what was enough to get a 75% cash and points option but today I’m sitting on under 70%.

    I have options if the cash price falls or goes into a sale but no ticketing options if prices don’t fall a similar 15% or so. However, they did run a 30% of sale last year around this time so fingers crossed.

  2. We really really like the EY J and F products (EY F is my wife’s all-time favourite) – even on the older A340 aircraft – if only transferring at AUH weren’t such a royal pain!

    Last but one time we flew EY we arrived s/h from Muscat in business on a badly-delayed flight, connecting to onward flight in EY F, with the kids (aged 5 and 1) and were told by the EY gate agent “your onward flight is from gate XX at the other terminal – Run!” (and run we did, carrying our bags and the crying kids, including a farcical security check where we just kept setting off the x-ray and eventually they waved us all through anyway…)

    We were the last passengers to board the onward flight, where they shut the door immediately behind us.

    So much for premium!

  3. Westers says:

    I know you have mentioned the Abu Dhabi transfer to dubai before, do you have a particular taxi/limousine company you use? Flying BA into AUH, would also need a good infant seat in the car.

    • Etihad gives us a car so its not an issue. If you need a car seat just get your hotel to send a car to the airport for you. For everyone else just grab a cab at the airport, you won’t have any bother and they are dirt cheap.

  4. Nick Burch says:

    I’m looking for flights to Bangalore for later this year, so figured I’d check to see what Qatar were offering in the sale. Given that their Indian flights arrive in the middle of the night, changing somewhere in India for a domestic flight isn’t fun, so really needs to be a BLR arrival. Checking various ex-EU options, the cheapest OneWorld option I can find isn’t actually Qatar in the sale, it’s BA from Madrid or Barcelona! Seat isn’t as good, but earns more avios, and quite a bit cheaper…

    (I managed to price up some decent LHR to Goa flights, but the 3am arrival into Goa then later domestic flight to Bangalore ruled that out. Goa and Delhi seem the cheapest Indian options for people who actually want to go to one of those cities on Qatar!)

    • Intentionally Blank says:

      Flew via Delhi to bengaluru with VS / Jet in October. Got a £800 upgrade from Economy to UC with Virgin and a £100 holiday special upgrade with Jet at delhi airport. Overnighted in Delhi, as most of the european flights get in at ridiculous times into Bengaluru. Colleagues flew with LH

  5. Finding it hard to get a BKK flight for that price now!

  6. OT/ BA 2-4-1

    I have flights booked using a 2-4-1 (LGW-TPA // MIA-LHR) – both in Club
    I’ve seen a flight come up strangely for LHR-DFW in First, is it easy enough to swap over? I take it, it would need to be a call centre job? – Assuming they would charge the £35 change fee per person.

    If not – Anybody have experience of getting from LHR to LGW with luggage? Car hire easiest?
    Debating whether to park at LGW or LHR.

    • Yes, call centre and £35.

      National Express bus is the cheapest way. A taxi is 2nd cheapest at about £70. Car hire would be crazy and a massive waste of time.

      • Unless you rent from Sixt, in which case you’d collect your car from the Sofitel T5 underground car park and return it right outside the South terminal at LGW…

      • Rubbish analysis again… not quite true :p

        The cheapest way is train to Croydon and the X26. But don’t do that if you value your sanity.
        Next is the train (via Clapham) to feltham and then a bus to Heathrow.
        Easiest way is National Express or megabus, who occasionally have good advance fares so do check them out. Otherwise a standard ticket is £25.

    • Try for a one way hire here https://www.europcar.co.uk/deals/one-way-uk.step
      the website is clunky and only seems to work near date, but worth a try

  7. Hi, so we were thinking of going to Tokyo and saw the Helsinki price. I would never normally afford to go in business (also don’t have the miles balances as you guys have). Would any one know the if the wait in Doha is covered with a free hotel stay? At the moment Helsinkin to Tokyo out is a 6 hour wait, which is fine. On the way back it’s 30 hours and not sure if I ring Qatar airlines and ask them or book using the finland page (however I can’t see how I can break the journey in doha on return to put in an overnight stay). Does the sale close at midnight ourtime?

    • How can it be a 30 hour wait? The Helsinki and Tokyo services must be at least daily? If it is over 8 hours with no possible way to reduce it to 8 hours by taking different flights that day then will get a hotel.

      • Thank you Rob for super fast reply and of course you are right. The 30 hours came from reading the posts and I then tried the google flights option for the first time to find the promo fares. When I tried the Finland page after the first search it would stop researching at the “promo rate” unless I clicked back to the original offer page and put in exact dates. Google flights gave me all the available dates for the month for the promo fares (including the 30 hours stop over according to google). In the end we paid to put a booking on hold for 24 hours, with much shorter stop over!

    • I’ve seen these as well and I have heard conflicting stories on accommodating passengers on long layovers. At best, if a delay is extended then you may get assistance but not if it is a scheduled delay.

      Even on the Helsinki one, seriously, preserve your sanity and get one with 3 hours or less.

      Sort Qatar by duration and drop everything over around 17 hours. You won’t find any ultra special fares on date you want this late in the day but when you can fly Finnair for circa £1350/1400 why go searching out ex EU starting places and end up carting bags back and forth through airports ?

      • Thanks Talay.
        We don’t mind carting the bags around as have the time to make use of multi stop flights and sightsee. I have put a hold on the Ex Eu and will look up your suggestions of finnar options tomorrow.

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