Back in March, Qatar Airways officially adopted Avios as its frequent flyer currency. Qmiles are no more.
You can now link your British Airways Executive Club account with your Qatar Privilege Club account and move Avios back and forth at a 1:1 ratio. Our ‘how to’ guide to account linking is here.
If you think ‘so what?’ because you could already book Qatar Airways flights via British Airways Executive Club, then you need to think again.
Qatar Airways reward flight pricing dropped sharply, irrespective of where you book
Historically, if you booked a Qatar Airways flight on ba.com using Avios, it priced off the ‘partner reward chart’ which you can see in this HfP article.
This is no longer the case.
Since March, Qatar Airways flights should cost the same number of Avios irrespective of whether you book them on qatarairways.com via Privilege Club or ba.com via Executive Club.
This is an important point to remember. You don’t necessarily need to link your British Airways and Qatar Airways accounts, or book on the Qatar Airways website, to get these redemption deals. In fact, there are two good reasons why you should book them on ba.com:
- if you are in a Household Account and you need more Avios for the ticket than you have in your personal Avios account, you have no choice but to book on ba.com
- cancelling or changing your flight is easier via the BA call centre than calling Qatar Airways
Off the record, you should also know that – despite the official line – there can be differences in availability between ba.com and qatarairways.com for Qatar Airways flights. I recently booked a ticket for my wife on ba.com which wasn’t showing on qatarairways.com. This is probably down to an isolated IT issue.
There can also be differences in Avios cost for no logical reason, as my example below shows.
Qatar Airways has lower taxes and charges than British Airways on most routes
When comparing British Airways and Qatar Airways redemptions to a city where both airlines fly, you should find that taxes and charges are lower on the Qatar Airways flight.
You can’t use a British Airways American Express 2-4-1 companion voucher or a Barclays upgrade voucher on Qatar Airways redemptions, of course. Your flight will also involve a connection in Doha.
On the upside, there isn’t a single element of the Qatar Airways business class experience which is not superior to the British Airways equivalent.
Qatar Airways has a broad network of departure points across Europe, allowing you to save a substantial amount on Air Passenger Duty and UK airport charges.
Here is an example:
- London to Singapore, Business Class, on Qatar Airways – £611 of taxes and charges
- Dublin to Singapore, Business Class, on Qatar Airways – £365 of taxes and charges
- Amsterdam to Singapore, Business Class, on Qatar Airways – £406 of taxes and charges
- London to Singapore, Business Class, on British Airways – £873 of taxes and charges
The real difference is availability, however. In practice there are ZERO dates you can get British Airways Club World seats to Singapore on Avios over the next year. Qatar Airways has a lot more seats.
In terms of Avios cost, Qatar Airways needs 150,000 points return in Business Class from London. British Airways wants 175,000 Avios off-peak and 210,000 Avios on peak dates.
In theory, the Dublin and Amsterdam flights to Singapore are 150,000 Avios return too. In reality, ba.com is pricing them at 186,000 Avios. This is incorrect – qatarairways.com prices them correctly at 150,000 Avios return, the same price as London departures.
Qatar Airways also has a superior Business Class product to British Airways, especially if you can secure flights with Qsuite:
and, especially good for families:
Australia and New Zealand is the real sweet spot
In our Singapore example above, Qatar Airways wants 150,000 Avios return from London. British Airways wants either 175,000 or 210,000 Avios depending on date.
The real sweet spot is Australia and New Zealand, however.
Destinations in Australia and New Zealand served by British Airways:
Destinations in Australia and New Zealand served by Qatar Airways:
The real difference is in the Avios you need
Look at Sydney. British Airways, in the unlikely opportunity that you can find a seat, wants 250,000 or 300,000 Avios return in Business Class.
Qatar Airways wants just 180,000 Avios and £600 of taxes and charges in Business Class and it flies to multiple cities across Australia as well as Auckland.
Here is an example from Manchester to Perth:
(Note, in this example, the taxes and charges figure was £20 lower on ba.com than qatarairways.com.)
You don’t even need to spend £600 on taxes and and charges. Start your trip in, say, Amsterdam and your Amsterdam – Doha – Sydney trip will cost you only €507 (£445) in add-ons.
Remember that Avios transfer to and from British Airways Executive Club to Qatar Privilege Club in a 1:1 ratio.
Qatar Airways guarantees Avios seats in all cabins on all flights
Like British Airways, Qatar Airways guarantees Avios seats in all cabins on all flights. The exact amount will vary by cabin and by aircraft type, but there will be at least two Business Class seats available.
We have given the new Qatar Airways / Avios partnership a decent amount of coverage since March, but we have been a bit neglectful in making it clear quite how good value some of the redemptions are.
You don’t even need to move your Avios into Qatar Privilege Club to book these deals. In most cases, availability, Avios pricing and taxes are identical across ba.com and qatarairways.com. However, I strongly suggest checking on both sites because – as we have shown above – it is possible that there are differences in availability and/or Avios required and/or taxes and charges.
Anyone who complains about the lack of British Airways American Express 2-4-1 companion voucher availability to Sydney has the answer.
Using a 2-4-1 and spending 300,000 Avios on British Airways to Sydney is not sensible in most cases. You can spend 180,000 Avios per person for a superior experience on Qatar Airways, whilst also:
- paying less in taxes and charges
- getting a superior seat and service (albeit BA now has Club Suite on Sydney)
- having a wider choice of UK departure airports
- having a far wider choice of Australia and New Zealand destination airports and
- saving your 2-4-1 voucher for another trip
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (December 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:
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. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
Crazy 100,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY) and a huge range of valuable 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.
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.