Qatar Airways resumes direct Auckland flights – book for 180,000 Avios return in Business
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Qatar Airways has announced the resumption of direct flights between Doha and Auckland.
This opens up an exceptional opportunity to fly in Business Class from the UK to New Zealand on Avios, with flights costing just 180,000 Avios return plus around £600 of taxes and charges per person.
If, that is, you can get around the Qatar Airways booking system ….
Post covid, Qatar Airways has been flying to Auckland via Adelaide in Australia. The tag to Auckland is now being dropped and replaced by a direct flight.
Services start on 1st September and will operate daily.
An Airbus A350-1000 is being scheduled, allowing passengers to benefit from the acclaimed Qsuite seat. We reviewed Qatar Airways Qsuite on the Airbus A350 here.
How to book this flight with Avios
The biggest ‘sweet spot’ in the entire Avios system is probably now Business Class from the UK to Australia / New Zealand for 180,000 Avios + taxes and charges per person.
This price only applies to Qatar Airways flights. The British Airways service to Sydney is 250,000 to 300,000 Avios per person, return, in Business Class, on the rare chance you can get seats.
What is even better is that Qatar Airways guarantees to make two Business Class seats available on each flight.
Once those two seats have gone, additional seats are often available for ‘double Avios’. If you needed ‘double Avios’ for all four legs (UK to Doha, Doha to Auckland, Auckland to Doha, Doha to UK) then a return Business Class flight would cost 360,000 Avios. In reality you may pay less as you can mix and match ‘double Avios’ and ‘single Avios’ legs if available.
No-one has yet figured out when Qatar Airways releases the two ‘standard price’ Business Class seats
Qatar Airways does NOT operate like British Airways. You do not get the two ‘guaranteed’ standard rate Business Class seats appearing immediately when the schedules open.
On Day 1, you usually see only ‘double Avios’ seats available in Business Class. These are marked with a green ‘Q2’ in the booking system.
Roughly 10-14 days later, the two guaranteed seats at standard pricing seem to appear – most of the time.
Some standard rate dates are bookable today
Booking for this new Auckland service only opened today so I wasn’t expecting standard rate Avios seats in Business Class to be available.
However, I did find a few dates. Here is availability from Birmingham to Auckland for October:
The total cost is 180,000 Avios plus £541 in taxes and charges in Business Class.
The cost is meant to be identical if you book Qatar Airways flights on ba.com. However, due to tech weirdness, non-London UK departures often need more Avios if booked on the BA site.
You’ve got another snag – limited UK availability to Doha
Let’s assume that, in 10 days or so, Qatar Airways switches all of the remaining Business Class Avios availability from Doha to Auckland to standard pricing, not double pricing.
You might still be unable to get a seat at 180,000 Avios return because of the inability to get a seat from London Heathrow to Doha for the first leg and final leg.
London Gatwick availability is also tight because Qatar Airways has just scrapped its second daily Gatwick service. The airline has consolidated passengers from the cancelled flight onto the remaining one.
Your best bet for standard rate Avios availability from the UK to Doha this Autumn – assuming you are looking for seats from 1st September when the Auckland flights start – is from Birmingham.
Qatar Airways has only just resumed flights from Birmingham and, until cash and reward demand builds up, seat availability should be OK.
You can see in my example above that I chose Birmingham as my departure point. This wasn’t through choice – it was simply impossible to get a flight from London on the right day. Of course, if you’re happy to spend a few days in Doha in transit then it is not an issue.
Auckland is returning from 1st September as a direct flight from Doha on Qatar Airways.
This means that one-stop 180,000 Avios return redemptions in Business Class from the UK to Auckland are now back too.
This is exceptional value given that you will struggle to find cash fares to Australasia in Business Class for under £4,500 this year.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (June 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 Mastercard
Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review
Barclaycard Avios Mastercard
5,000 Avios for signing up 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.
EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.
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.