Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Excellent £1,500 UK to Johannesburg business class flight deal with Qatar Airways

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Qatar Airways is offering a very attractive £1,500 (£1,498 to be exact) business class deal to Johannesburg.  It seems to be available between October and June, but don’t bother looking over Christmas and New Year.

You WON’T find this on the Qatar Airways website directly.  It seems to be a fare which is only available via  Kayak brings up the fare and you click through to to book.  You will be paying over £3,000 if you try to book the same flights on the Qatar Airways website without going via Kayak.

Oddly, it isn’t even available via other websites owned by Kayak’s parent, such as Cheapflights or Priceline.

Here is an example.  You need to sort your search results by price to get this to the top – Kayak pushes it well down the page otherwise due to the nasty stopover on the way back (click to enlarge):

Qatar Airways Johannesburg deal

Some options may include a British Airways leg between London and Doha as it codeshares with Qatar Airways on this route.

Remember that you earn Avios and British Airways tier points when you fly with Qatar Airways.  This trip gets you 560 tier points which is virtually a British Airways Executive Club Silver card.

Qatar Airways A350 Doha

We have reviewed the Qatar Airways A380 business class seat here, the Boeing 787 business class here and the old-style Boeing 777 business class seat here.  The new Qsuite on most of the A350 fleet and some of the Boeing 777 fleet is covered here.

The Qatar Airways website has special pages covering the two main business class seats – the A380 / 787 / partial A350 version is here and Qsuite is explained here.

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.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (January 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:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 21st February 2023, the sign-up bonus on the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card is increased to 35,000 Avios from 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

35,000 Avios (ONLY to 21st February) 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.

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

30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee 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.

SPECIAL OFFER: Capital On Tap has increased its sign-up bonus to points worth 30,000 Avios if you apply by 4th February. This is exclusive to Head for Points readers. Click here to apply.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 30,000 points bonus, worth 30,000 Avios, until 4th February 2023 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 sign-up 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 (155)

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

  • Harry T says:

    Heroically OT, as I know we have some shrewd financial gurus on here:
    I am looking into buying my first house in the next few years. I live in Newcastle and I will be working in the region for about the next five years.

    With interest rates pretty poor on savings accounts, do people have any recommendations about where to save for a mortgage deposit? Obviously I will be looking into a Help to Buy ISA/LISA but I’m wondering where to put the rest of the cash. Investing in stocks and shares seems unlikely to be helpful, as a five year minimum timeline seems to be suggested for this.

    I am reading everything I can around this, but would appreciate any thoughts or personal tips.
    Thanks in advance.

    • Shoestring says:

      yep you don’t want to risk the capital as you’ll mess up your house buying potential if it goes tits up, you have to stick with boring & safe

      one of the papers did where to invest cash £50K, £100K, £500K (yesterday) for 5 years, can’t remember where I saw it but basically you can’t beat 2% pa, £85K limit per institution

      • Harry T says:

        Thanks, looks like I’m left salvaging what I can from regular savers, easy access savings accounts and higher interest current accounts.

      • Shoestring says:

        For those who want to make serious returns, saving is often overlooked in favour of investing – but the former has two major advantages, writes Sam Barker.
        Savings are protected against losses up to £85,000 by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), a lifeboat fund.
        Also, money on deposit is easier to access, as investments have to be sold, potentially at a loss, to free up cash.
        But money left in savings doesn’thave to languish in accounts that pay minimal interest. The best rate on the market for people with large sums to save is 2.75pc with the Bank of London & the Middle East (BLME), an Islamic finance house.
        However, this deal is available only to savers willing to lock their money away for five years – a long enough time frame to invest the money for what could be far higher returns. The cash would also not be accessible in case of emergency.
        So if you’ve got money to put aside, what’s the best way to save it? With the help of financial advisers,
        Telegraph Money has drawn up three risk-averse strategies for those with £50,000, £100,000 or £500,000 to save over five years. Each maximises the interest received while keeping some cash accessible for emergencies and releasing money at intervals over the five years. All money saved has full FSCS protection as no more than £85,000 will be put with any one firm.
        £10,000 in a five-year BLME Premier deposit account, paying 2.75pc;
        £10,000 at 2.55pc in a three-year BLME Premier deposit account;
        £20,000 in a Virgin Money easyaccess account, which pays 1.5pc (the bank allows only two withdrawals a year but the rate does not fall after 12 months);
        £10,000 in a Santander 123 current account, which has a rate of 1.5pc. Returns: 1.96pc (£980 over five years)
        £25,000 in BLME’S 2.75pc five-year Premier deposit account;
        £25,000 in the 2.55pc three-year Premier deposit account with BLME;
        £25,000 in a one-year Premier deposit account with BLME, paying 2.25pc;
        £15,000 in Virgin Money’s 1.5pc easy-access account;
        £10,000 in a Santander 123 current account, paying 1.5pc.
        Returns: 2.26pc (£2,260 over five years)
        £85,000 with BLME at 2.75pc; £75,000 in a five-year RCI Bank fixed-term savings account at 2.4pc;
        £85,000 in Zenith Bank’s threeyear deposit account, paying 2.3pc;
        £75,000 at 2.15pc in a three-year Axis Bank deposit account;
        £85,000 in a one-year Aldermore bond, which pays 1.85pc; £85,000 at 1.5pc in Virgin Money; £10,000 in Santander 123 account. Returns: 2.14pc (£10,700 in five years)

        • Harry T says:

          Marcus, owned by Goldman Sachs, are also giving 1.5% interest on their easy access savings account.

          Thanks for the Telegraph article – very interesting. Guess there’s always a risk associated with locking away money in fixed rate savers – interest on other accounts could rise in that time and you could miss out. There’s always risk in saving and investment, I guess!

          • BJ says:

            If you are going to do all the small safe pots don’t forget 5% on £2500 for a year in Nationwide FlexDirect sole and joint accounts (£100 if recommended). 5% regular savers at HSBC, M&S and First Direct.

          • Harry T says:

            Thanks, I’ve got the First Direct regular saver. Will check out the rest. My friend has just referred me for the Nationwide Flex account so I can earn 5% on the 2500£.

          • Mark2 says:

            And the ‘bribes’ to move your account(s). Set up a couple of accounts with standing orders between and then transfer for them for up to £185 per time and add the regular saver accounts as BJ says.

          • Harry T says:

            Thanks, mark2. Looks like it’s best to be constantly taking advantage of switching offers – loyalty doesn’t pay.

        • Doug M says:

          The thing about 1.5% to 2.75% is that after inflation that is entirely so what, and you’ve tied your money up the whole time. If you don’t take some risks you’ll never see real returns after inflation. Saving for a mortgage changes the rules for sure.

          • Harry T says:

            You’re absolutely right. It’s frustrating when you know you could be making more money with your money. But most people seem to advise getting on the property ladder asap, so it seems a necessary evil to save rather than invest.

          • Crafty says:

            It’s not a ladder anymore necessarily. Be wary of advice from the previous generation.

          • Genghis says:

            Exactly. Over the long term the biggest risk is inflation so you can’t afford not to take some risk. Andrew Craig’s “How to Own the World” explains this really well.

        • Joseph Heenan says:

          Unless I missed it, the telegraph article appears to be ignoring tax you may pay on interest income, which will significantly alter the choices depending how much you’re saving and what your tax band is.

          If you’re saving over £20K and in the 40% tax bracket or higher, it’s likely to be better to put some into notionally lower interest but tax free accounts.

    • BJ says:

      Wine & whisky.

      • Shoestring says:

        My SAVP (Savannah Petroleum) – up 50% in a day, chaps 🙂

        That’s where you should be sticking the mortgage money!

      • Lady London says:

        Why not look at investing somewhere where there’s some fringe venefits? like with jsbc so as to get hands on their decent Amex Plat competitor. Or some shares do offer fringe benefits that might be worth a lot more than 1-2%?

        Personally at 1-2% even small FX rate movements can change that a lot. I know it does make sense to save, but cant help wondering if choosing appreciating assets will pay off better. What about looking to see if joint ownership with housing associations is available, that would get you right now, onto the property ladder straight away without saving while prices might slip away. We don’t know that prices won’t crash, of course, either. Faced with only 1-2% I think I’d be looking for somewhere a bit more creative to put my money.

        I think BJ is on the right track with wine etc., just personally I would see if there are other commodities as well where I wouldn’t lose my money, there might be some downside but also potentially a considerably greater upside than 1-2%.

        And right now I definitely wouldn’t lock in my money for 5 years. We don’t know what’s going to happen to the £ in the short-medium term and have to keep an eye on interest rates. If interest rates go up and your deposits are at a fixed rate for a long term then you really have lost money as well as opportunity cost for what else you could use the funds for.

        Out of the above I know most people who have done well out of housing associations (and a few that have done well out of wine , but that’s another story).

        • Lady London says:


        • Cat says:

          To add to Lady London’s comment, I got on the housting ladder with a shared ownership property, and I’m very glad I did. I went in with a 25% share of a 2 bed in the Strata building and, despite the acquisition of the Carbuncle Cup a few months later, my flat still earned more in the first 5 years than I did as a f/t teacher. Sadly that was the whole flat, not my 25% of it. I now own 50%, but when I sell and buy somewhere else, my deposit will likely be roughly ten times what it was.
          If you go for shared ownership, pick your development carefully.

        • Harry T says:

          Thank you for your advice – I will do some research.

    • Christophe says:

      RateSetter seems to be somewhere between savings and investments and you get £100 bonus after 12 months if you invest £1,000 (on top of the 4-5% return. But there is a risk to capital (though they are keen to point out no one has ever lost any of their money)

      Also Tesco debit card transactions treat it as a purchase so you get clubcard points on transfers… putting cash in and withdrawing it straight away is a quick way to a few hundred CC points 😉

  • BJ says:

    O/T: According to Simple Flying Norwegian had the HiFly a380 operating Gatwick to New York yesterday. No detailed information available.

  • MudIslandMlungu says:

    Managed to get the Qatar deal for May next year £1469 LGW-JNB. 787+A350-9 q suites out and back.

    • Rob says:

      Thanks. Looks like it is still out there … just had another reader email me too.

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

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