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BA news: how to redeem on partners with Qatar Avios, City Airport evening bag drop

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News in brief:

How to redeem on partner airlines via Qatar Privilege Club

Last week we wrote about how British Airways has increased the cost of short-haul Avios redemptions on Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines.

One way to get around this, saving up to 40% on the Avios needed, is to redeem via Qatar Privilege Club. Unfortunately this isn’t as easy as it could be as you can’t book online.

The Singaporean blog Mainly Miles has just published an article on how to book a partner reward via Qatar Privilege Club.

I recommend having a read, but basically it seems that:

  • you should confirm availability via first
  • you submit your online booking request (your Qatar Privilege Club account must have enough Avios for the booking)
  • the flight is put on hold for you and you are sent a link to pay the taxes and charges

It seems straightfoward, especially as the flight is automatically put on hold without an intermediate stage of ‘yes it’s available, do you still want it?’ emails. The article also covers the cancellation rules and fees.

British Airways adds overnight bag drop at London City Airport

British Airways has added London City Airport to the list of airports which offer a ‘bag drop’ service on the night before you fly. This adds to the existing options at Heathrow, Gatwick and Edinburgh.

Overnight bag drop is available if:

  • you are departing London City Airport before 9am, and
  • you drop your bags between 6pm and 8.30pm

You will need to show your boarding pass and passport to drop your bags.

I suspect that this service will be less popular at London City than other airports, mainly due to the lower level of leisure traffic, but the option is now there if you want it.

You can confirm the times above on the London City page of here.

If you are staying overnight before your London City flight, you should read our review of the new Courtyard London City Airport hotel here.

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

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:

Barclaycard Avios Plus 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 card

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. 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.

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.

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 an annual £200 Amex Travel credit 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 (25)

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

  • Dave says:

    Anyone having problems moving avios from BA to Qatar? Keep trying to move some over and it doesn’t go through. So it takes them and then redeposits them back in my BA account

  • Kwab says:

    Million dollar question now is how long before Qatar brings their pricing into line with BA? 🙂

  • Scandinavian traveler says:

    Issue with the Qatar partner bookings is that they will take a few days to respond and the tickets are not on hold until they do respond. They allow themselves 48 hours to respond, so only works if the tickets are not too popular.

    Made a booking request on Saturday morning and Qatar had not responded or put the flights on hold until I followed up with them yesterday afternoon. Received the booking link shortly thereafter, but it had been two days where the flights remained available for others to snag up.

    • SamG says:

      Some people in the forum have mentioned having luck via chat so could try that

    • Kwab says:

      Yes. Indeed. That was my experience. Nothing was held till the QR agent responded. Not a problem as I was booking JAL domestic flights on a route with 9 flights per day outside of Japan peak times. For routes with minimal availability though this could be 48 hours of wasted time.

      • sayling says:

        Presumably, everyone wanting such seats will be hampered by the same ‘problem’, so the issue isn’t about competition

        • BBbetter says:

          They will struggle as members of other partner airlines could snag them or QR agents could pick up requests by random and not on a first-come-first-serve basis.

        • Kwab says:

          No. They won’t. In a scenario of 2 seats available from BKK-HKG If you have miles within JAL you will get those immediately.

  • Tony says:

    The use of Avios is becoming too complicated. Just convert to Nectar and buy petrol at Sainsburys…in the U.K. much easier!

    • Gordon says:

      Complicated! It’s only as complicated as people allow it to be!

      • Qrfan says:

        Agreed. There’s nothing preventing you from using the simpler options. Long haul 241 in club is simpler than ever thanks to the extra availability and likely better value use then nectar.

    • NorthernLass says:

      As if buying petrol could ever compete with the thrill of staying up till midnight and bagging an elusive redemption in J or F 😂

      • Rhys says:

        In theory, it actually makes sense to offer redemptions of varying ease as it creates an element of gamification. Some people may be happy going the easy route and cashing out to Nectar or another poor-value redemption, but by also offering alternatives you give people something to strive for if they put in a little more effort. It creates the feeling of beating the system and makes the reward all the sweeter!

        The midnight rush for Sydney/Cape Town/other popular redemptions simply feeds into this.

        • flyforfun says:

          It shouldn’t be a game. It’s a loyalty scheme. You’re supposed to be rewarded for your loyalty, not you’re ability to stay awake til 1am and only because you knew about it via a forum rather than official channels.

          Maybe I’m showing my age, but I was able to redeem my AA miles on BA metal for a J seat to Sydney only 5 months out from travel. Moved the return flight by a day just a month out. No problems. There were more flights to Sydney (and Melbourne too maybe) then and more seats, but far less restrictions on how many redemption seats were available. There were credit card earning options then and the early days of other tie ins, but it was mostly a hobby undertaken by those that flew a reasonable amount. Yes, this was a couple of decades ago before Frequent Flyer programs started earning more money for airlines than their actual flights!

          Now days I meet people who’ve got the AMEX cards without understanding that they need the Avios points to use a 2-4-1 voucher and get disappointed when they can’t book their trip for next month because of no availability. Sure, a lot of this is their fault for not understanding or exploring the way these schemes work, but I’m feeling it’s more of a maze that people get lost in these days than a game – a definitely not a loyalty scheme as per the old definition.

          • BA Flyer IHG Stayer says:

            Whatever time they released them there would be complaints (just as there were on releasing HfP party tickets at noon – but I’ll be in a meeting can’t you make it 3 instead??)

            If they released them at random times of the day people would soon complain about that.

      • Gordon says:

        @NorthernLass, HaHa, I see what you did there! In fact it was 1am, and the booking was merged successfully without the £35pp booking fee so it was worth the lack of sleep for £70 😂

  • Strawb says:

    I made a redemption on CX through Qatar over the weekend and it was straightforward and easy. Submitted my request for a flight for a zone 1 award on Saturday morning. Received the PNR and link to pay taxes by 6am Monday morning, UK time. Was charged 6000 Avios for economy one way HKG-HAN and paid taxes in CNY, not HKD. I had been checking flights with BA before the devaluation and was in no rush to book because my flight is 4 months away. I also cancelled a Q-Suite redemption MEL-DOH-LHR for February next year and the Avios was redeposited within 24hrs into my Privilege Club account. I did half panic as the charges stated the redemption fee was non refundable:

    GBP 110.40 Redemption Fee (non-refundable)

    Total taxes including Redemption Fee I paid amounted to £186.70. The confirmation email that followed within 24hrs of my cancellation request confirmed that a refund of £166.70 had been processed and could take up to 28 days. I believe the Redemption Fee is disguised as a Fuel Surcharge but that’s just my own opinion.

  • Chris W says:

    I remained baffled that anyone would want to visit an airport twice in 12 hours, and go without their full-sized toiletries the following morning when getting dressed for the flight.

    Surely the time saved by not queueing up the following morning is eaten up by needing to visit the airport twice?

    • Rob says:

      Aimed squarely at those in airport hotels.

    • flyforfun says:

      Do it at Gatwick nearly every time I stay overnight. I’d rather 30 mins extra in bed than queuing to check my bag in. Last time there was no one ahead of me at the check in desk. Straight in. The hotel has shower gels etc. Just need a mini deodorant and toothpaste.

      At LCY I’d consider driving the night before simply because the queues seem so long there during busy flights, but I live nearby so not an issue!

    • TooPoorToBeHere says:

      Long haul with kids and lots of bags, it’s tempting and useful. Even if you check 4 and keep 1, that’s still a massive faff saved, potentially a walk or bus vs needing a giant taxi, etc.

    • BA Flyer IHG Stayer says:

      Have used it at LHR twice.

      First time was staying at the Sofitel so very handy just to nip back to T5.

      Second I was at the CP at T4 but coach arrived at T5 and I timed arrival to be able to use bag drop and then went to the CP. Saved some bag wrangling.

      Don’t need full sized toiletries. I usually have small versions of toothpaste, deodorant etc in my carry on so just used those. I’m not obsessed with what shampoo or soap I use for one night.

      Remember it’s an option. Works for some people but not others. If you can divert even a small proportion of your passengers to use it then you’ve eased some of the pressure of those checking in on the day.

      And if EasyJet offers it you can bet they’ve only done it because it benefits them.

    • SamG says:

      If you’ve ever flown easyjet Gatwick first wave in the summer you’d understand why it’s popular! That queue is something else and not what you need at 4am with kids in tow

      I’ve only ever used it when staying at an airport hotel but if I lived closer to my departure point and had enough allowance to be able to check in the bags myself I’d be tempted to nip up there and dump them off to make the morning smoother with the family

    • Gavin says:

      I used it last time I flew from T5. Was staying at Premier Inn T4, but because I was arriving by Zipcar the transfer dropped me at T5 anyway so might as well drop the bags off and have a hassle free morning.

    • Ironside says:

      *Wasn’t* able to use it this year with the family (departure time just missed the cut-off) and missed it greatly.

      Usual routine: Park at T5 / check-in bags / take car to long-term storage / relax / TfL bus or tube in the morning

      Bad routine: Park at hotel / hotel didn’t take payment for parking / wake up earlier / move car to long-term storage / expensive Uber to T5 (plus drop-off fee) / wait longer to check-in / kids get ratty / hotel’s parking goons demand fine.

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