Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Why Doha is a cheap Avios business class redemption on Qatar Airways and Iberia

Links on Head for Points may support the site by paying a commission.  See here for all partner links.

I was reading through our forum last week when I saw a comment from a HfP reader who was in the middle of a winter break in Doha.

He had flown from Madrid on Iberia and had paid just 68,000 Avios + £206 in taxes and charges for his return Business Class seat.

It tempted me to have a look around at what else was available.

Museum of Islamic Art Doha

Let’s start by saying that Doha is not everyone’s first choice for a Middle East winter break. It doesn’t have the breadth of hotels and resorts that you’ll find in Dubai – nowhere near – but it is approaching the level of Abu Dhabi.

If all you are looking for is somewhere warm with very high quality hotels, however, you could do a lot worse. The Museum of Islamic Art (image above) and the National Museum of Qatar (below) also let you tick off the culture box.

Iberia’s reward chart has a sweet spot

The Iberia reward chart – which applies whether you book an Iberia flight redemption for Avios on ba.com or iberia.com – looks like this:

Iberia Avios reward chart

It is very similar to the old British Airways reward chart, pre Reward Flight Saver, except for Zone 5.

As you can see, flights of 3,001 to 4,000 miles are just 34,000 Avios each way in Business Class on off-peak dates. This covers a lot of interesting routes, primarily Madrid to New York. You can fly from Madrid to New York, off peak, in Iberia’s Business Class for 68,000 Avios + £213 return.

Last year Iberia launched flights from Madrid to Doha, alongside a daily service from Qatar Airways. Whilst I didn’t pick up on this at the time, this route also falls into the 3,001 to 4,000 miles sweet spot. This is why Madrid to Doha, return, is 68,000 Avios plus £206.

You can use a British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher on Iberia

Now that British Airways American Express Premium Plus companion vouchers are accepted on Iberia, this becomes even cheaper.

Two people can travel from Madrid to Doha using a 2-4-1 voucher for an average of 34,000 Avios + £206 each, return, in Business Class.

The Qatar Airways service is also a decent deal

Qatar Airways also has its own ‘special’ Avios redemption chart. As with Iberia, this is used whether you book on qatarairways.com or ba.com.

National Museum of Qatar

From Madrid, it costs 86,000 Avios + £162 return for a Business Class trip to Doha, off-peak. Again, you can’t sniff at that. You can’t use a 2-4-1 voucher on Qatar Airways, however.

Qatar Airways is also an excellent deal from the UK. A Business Class return flight from Heathrow to Doha is 86,000 Avios + £384 in taxes and charges on off-peak dates.

(This is £222 more than starting in Madrid. If you are not short of time, you could use the £222 saving to fly to Madrid and have a ‘free’ day and night there before heading to Doha.)

But don’t book British Airways ….

Whether you book Iberia or Qatar Airways to Doha, you’ll get a cheap deal.

The British Airways flights from Heathrow to Doha are substantially less attractive. The Reward Flight Saver price is a whopping 160,000 Avios + £350 per person.

Pulling down the Avios amount by using additional cash, the nearest option to the Qatar Airways price (which is 86,000 Avios + £384, remember) is 88,000 Avios + £800 per person.

This is before we start discussing the merits of the Qatar Airways lounges, seat, food, drink and servce vs the British Airways alternative ….

The BA option looks more attractive if you have a 2-4-1 voucher – but it’s still far poorer value than using the same voucher for a 2-4-1 on Iberia.

Conclusion

If you don’t have a huge Avios balance but want to try out a Business Class long-haul redemption, you could do worse than 68,000 Avios + £206 for an off-peak Iberia trip from Madrid to Doha – especially if you have a British Airways American Express Premium Plus companion voucher to use.

And, by a complete coincidence, next week we’ll be running a special series reviewing Iberia’s latest Business Class seat and the food and service ….. (EDIT: the Iberia A350 business class review is now live – click here)


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (February 2024)

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.

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

40,000 bonus points 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

Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 9th April) and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

Huge 60,000 points sign-up bonus (until 9th April) 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 (119)

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

  • Hampshirehog says:

    For me it’s more to do with whether I feel comfortable holidaying in a certain country, we are all different and I’d rather not judge or shout down other folk who make different decisions.
    For example, I found India quite appalling and shan’t return. The hateful caste system, attitudes towards women and huge income and wealth disparities I found quite awful, the memories of my wife modestly dressed being groped and stared at, the frequent hostility from locals, Delhi belly and the enduring memory of seeing a women thrusting her naked toddler into the road to beg at a traffic junction beside a Ferrari showroom didn’t much help either

    • Novice says:

      But at least it’s your lived experience. I wish instead of virtue signaling or being hypocritical, ppl would just experience things themselves before making broad judgments.

  • Julia says:

    We are in Doha now and we typically spend 30 days here before going back to Dubai. It’s one of the few countries, including the UK, where I can go out and feel safe with a designer handbag. Also and unlike Dubai none here wants to know all about your personal life.

    We’ve fallen foul of the law twice in all our time coming here; once when my father bought a glass bottle through Customs and they thought it was alcohol and secondly a few days ago when the Chinese football team were here and he walked around the hotel wail gate because he has a pacemaker. I couldn’t praise the professionalism of the Qatari police in either situation highly enough. It’s the roads that are dangerous.

    Back on topic it’s good to see another cheap option but what if you want to change the return flight or need to cancel? I seem to remember there are stiff rules regarding cancelling.

    • lumma says:

      I believe the cancellation rules are fine as long as you fly on Iberia. If you book a partner flight via Iberia Plus then that isn’t refundable

    • bungalow says:

      Avios bookings up to 24hrs before your first flight have a cancellation fee of $25 pp, all avios refunded.
      Can sometimes take a while for the refunded avios to appear, but they do arrive eventually – I’ve done it

    • Jonathan says:

      Yeah they really don’t like alcohol at all in Qatar, but their airline which is government owned as happy to have loads of it on board for the flights

      I’m fairly certain that you can’t consume any alcohol whatsoever shortly before you arrive Saudi Arabia, so all aircraft will be dry if flying to or from there

    • Rob says:

      The only issue is booking a PARTNER flight on the Iberia website. Booking Iberia flights on the Iberia website is fine, and actually all of the options here can be booked at ba.com with BA cancellation rules.

  • Damian says:

    OK, I see that both that every time I mention the word gay, my comment gets deleted. Fine, Rob. I’m a fan of this website, just think that if you directly or indireclty encourage readers to go to a country like Doha, you could mention the penalties for LGBTQ+ visitors and a prison sentence is a rather serious penalty.

    • NorthernLass says:

      Probably just went into moderation temporarily.
      I feel deeply for anyone in an adult relationship which would be ciminalised in elsewhere, however so many people harp on about the UAE when there are no less than 64 countries were same-sex relationships are illegal, including a number of popular tourist destinations like Jamaica, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Tuvalu. Do you avoid all of them?

    • Rob says:

      Not the case. It may get deleted for other reasons, possibly as part of deleting a longer thread, but not that.

      However, I will add that – unlike you, I suspect – I have actually talked to gay people in Qatar who work for Qatar Airways and they did not describe any major impact on their day to day lives.

      See also WearyTraveller’s comments.

      Or indeed drop Rhys an email and ask him, since he’s spent plenty of time in the ME working for us.

      • Mark says:

        I will add – unlike you, I suspect, I have many black friends who have not suffered racism, and it doesn’t impact their daily lives. I am being flip of course, but your post reads as if gay people (working for Qatar, at least) don’t seem to have a problem living under the draconian Qatar ruling towards homosexuality. Equally, I can assure you they do, especially if they are openly out or attempt to promote their same-sex sexuality outside the clandestinely walled 787. Secret conversion centres anyone?

        • Novice says:

          Freedom is an illusion. A good one. Nobody is free. Aren’t you a slave to your government, society, maybe even other obligations???

          Everyone just thinks they are free in the west. We are slaves to technology and all other things I just stated.

          Get over this idea of freedom. If you want to be free then the closest ppl are those doomsday preppers who live off grid completely. Even then they need to do it solo maybe just get a dog.

          Now that’s freedom.

    • Straight says:

      ” to go to a country like Doha”. Yeah, talk about the education. Do not go there where you are not welcome. Especially with your own rules. Your personal “human rights” are not superior to other societies laws and fundamental religion.

  • Chris W says:

    Doha is fine for a few days but I can’t imagine spending a week there.

    This seems like an awful lot of faff for a sub 6 hour flight in business class when you could just get a direct flight in economy to Doha Dubai or Abu Dhabi daytime im both directions for, what, £500 return? Or use Avios? The beauty of these destinations from London is that there are so many daily flights you can pick the schedule that suits you best for what is not a long flight.

    If you do want to lie in winter sun at a nice resort and drink a beer there are much cheaper options like Canaries and Egypt.

    • Londonsteve says:

      Quite. I’d be happy to visit Doha on a stopover, but to go there as a destination? Surely one runs out of things to see and do after 3 days and for a simple beach holiday it’s all much too expensive with scenic beauty. It reminds me a bit of trying to spend a week in Gibraltar, which at least is full of British history.

  • renwaldo says:

    86000 avios + 174 euros from DUB – DOH return in business, can’t really sniff at that, plus very easy to get to DUB!

  • namster says:

    are these business class flights direct from Madrid or you have to take another connecting flight? as I cannot see these on the BA site.

    • Rob says:

      The cheapest Iberia and Qatar Airways options discussed are non-stop from Madrid, yes. You’ll need to buy a separate connecting flight – the whole reason the taxes are low is that you’re avoiding UK Air Passenger Duty by not having it all on one ticket.

      • Gordon says:

        Yes, Exactly, I booked MAD-BOG this afternoon for 27/12/24 for 3 weeks, one date Peak and one off peak, on a 2-4-1, J seat, 105,000 Avios and £446.40p. Saved a lot compared to flying from London, just need a positioning flight to MAD which will not be a problem.

    • memesweeper says:

      MAD DOH direct

  • David says:

    @Rob do you ever be a chance that Barclaycard upgrade voucher will be usable on IB? Or does Amex have an exclusive contract with BA?

    • Jonathan says:

      Barclaycard’s voucher is exclusive to BA, Amex’s vouchers can be used with Aer Lingus and Iberia but not Qatar Airways

  • Henry says:

    On a separate note and on Iberia topic, any leads would be appreciated; I had booked a few avios seats from MAD to EZE on a peak day but Iberia decided to cancel that flight and put me on next day’s flight that was on an off-peak day. Do you think I can get the difference of the avios back as it’s quite significant (in the range of 80k!) and if so, do you have an IB e-mail address of someone that can be contacted and help out as their generic customer service team is not very helpful?

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

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.