Qatar Airways has launched the best flight deal we’ve seen from them for a while. Since we haven’t covered a decent Qatar Airways offer for a few months, I thought I’d run through this one in more detail than usual for the benefit of new readers.
Here are the bare bones of the offer:
Milan Malpensa to Bangkok, Business Class, for €1250 (£1125) return – this can be reduced by a further £200-£400 via the current Amex Travel cashback deal
Bookable here at qatarairways.com (if you’re not targeted for the Amex offer)
Must book by 4th January although it may be pulled earlier
Must stay between 5 and 31 nights
Bookable for travel until November 2019
No stopovers allowed
Effectively non-refundable and non-changeable (can be done but the fees are very high)
Why is this a good deal?
Above all else, it just ‘is’! £1125 for a Business Class return flight to Asia is a very attractive price.
Of course, you need to add in the cost of getting to Milan Malpensa (not Linate, note). As this will be on a separate ticket, you also need to build in enough flexibility in case your inbound flight is delayed – this may even mean an overnight stay in Italy.
As this is Qatar Airways, you will also be changing planes in Doha. Your routing will therefore, potentially, be something like Manchester – Milan – Doha – Bangkok, which is undoubtedly a bit of a pain.
You could get it even cheaper!
American Express Travel is offering a generous cashback deal at the moment.
You need to look at the ‘Offers’ tab on your Amex online statement pages for each separate card you hold. If targeted, you will see either:
- £50 back on £200 Amex Travel spend
- £200 back on £600 Amex Travel spend
- £400 back on £1000 Amex Travel spend (Centurion only)
You have until 28th February to do the necessary spend. This offer is only valid for pre-paid products and a flight is the best way of taking advantage. Whilst there is clearly value in booking hotels this way too, Amex Travel is counted as a third party booking site and you won’t receive hotel points or status benefits. You can’t use it for Fine Hotels & Resorts bookings as these are not pre-paid.
So why do it?
For a start, Qatar Airways has an excellent Business Class product.
With multiple daily flights on each leg between Milan-Doha and Doha-Bangkok, you can pick from combinations which include:
Boeing 777-300ER – between Milan and Doha, it seems that you are very likely to get the older 2-2-2 seating I reviewed here. If you select this aircraft between Doha and Bangkok you might get a refurbished one with the amazing new Qsuite (reviewed here).
A350-900 – the herringbone seat which I reviewed here, albeit in its 787 incarnation, which is very impressive. Qatar has a special website showing off this seat which you’ll find here.
A330-200 – there are various versions of this aircraft in the Qatar fleet – whilst SeatGuru says they have angled lie-flat seats, comments below say they are now refitted with flat seats, usually in a 2-2-2 configuration
A340-600 – as for the A330-200
A380 – this is the herringbone seat which I reviewed here, it is not Qsuite but has a great bar
It has to be said that Qatar Airways has a habit of changing its aircraft allocations at short notice, so I wouldn’t get too hung up on which one you choose because it may change. The best choice would be the A350-900 or A380 if you want certainty (unless you get a plane swap), especially if travelling solo. The 777-300ER (non Qsuites version), A330-200 and A340-600 are not good for solo travellers due to the 2-2-2 seating.
An equally important reason for booking this trip, however, is the ability to pick up a lot of British Airways Executive Club tier points.
How many tier points will I earn?
Qatar Airways is a member of the oneworld airline alliance, alongside British Airways. This means that, if you put your British Airways Executive Club number into the booking, you will earn Avios and BA tier points when you fly.
When flying airlines other than British Airways, there is something called the ‘2000 mile rule’ in the Executive Club:
- Business Class flights under 2000 miles earn 40 tier points per sector
- Business Class flights over 2000 miles earn 140 tier points per sector
Milan to Doha is more than 2000 miles. Doha to Bangkok is more than 2000 miles. This means that your return Business Class flight from Milan to Bangkok will earn 140 + 140 + 140 + 140 = 560 tier points in British Airways Executive Club.
How many tier points do I need for Silver status?
600 tier points. This means that you are over 90% of the way there in just one trip with this deal.
However, you ALSO need to have done four paid British Airways one-way flights in your current membership year before you are upgraded. You cannot earn the 600 tier points purely from partners.
Bronze status requires just 300 tier point and two
four paid BA flight segments in your current membership year.
British Airways Executive Club Silver status has two key benefits – lounge access for you and a guest whenever you fly, plus free seat selection at the time of booking. You can find out more benefits of Silver status on ba.com here.
Your status would last for the rest of your current membership year plus all of the following year. If you booked one of these flights in the first few weeks of your next membership year, you would potentially get Silver status for almost two years.
How many Avios will I earn?
Milan to Doha is 3,404 Avios. Doha to Bangkok is 4,084 Avios. This make a total of 14,976 Avios for the round-trip.
There is no status bonus for Bronze, Silver or Gold members when flying on Qatar Airways.
Qatar Airways traditionally runs a massive sale each January. In 2018 it was relatively weak compared to previous years. You may see a better or more convenient deal than this if you wait, but it is a gamble.
Irrespective, £1125 for a Business Class trip to Bangkok on one of the best airlines available is a good deal. Potentially saving an extra £200 booking online via Amex Travel is even better, if you are targeted for that deal.
Being able to pick up 560 BA tier points plus a large pile of Avios is even better! All you need to decide whether the effort of positioning via Milan Malpensa is worthwhile.
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 (September 2022)
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:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.
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 10,000 Avios.
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.
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.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.