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Best approach for QR Avios Australia redemption for family of 4?

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  • LondonDave

    Hi all

    Looking to plan a trip from London to Australia for Xmas/NY 2023/24. We are a family of 4 – kids will be 12 and 15 when we travel. We have (or will shortly have when the Barclays bonuses post) the 720K Avios needed for the 4x business class returns on QR via Doha.

    Current plan is to book on T-355 (one way) 1 adult and 1 child on the 2 guaranteed business class seats, and 1 adult and 1 child on 2x economy. Then repeat for the inbound leg 2 ish weeks later – more one way tickets. We would then hope to “upgrade” the economy seats to business at some point in 2023 (in reality I think this means cancelling the Economy tickets, and then booking new business class ones if they open up?)

    This will mean we end up with 4 separate bookings – which is a pain but manageable (lots of flexibility I guess!). They will be made on ba.com as we need the household points to get to the 720K.

    Are there any better ways of solving this problem?

    Does anyone know if the Avios will return to my account immediately if we cancel the economy flights?

    Does anyone know what time (GMT) the seats are loaded to book 355 days in advance – midnight Qatar time?

    Thank you!

    NorthernLass

    Are you sure QR guarantees the reward seats? Also, It’s BA that loads up reward seats at T-355, it might not be the same for QR.
    Apologies if I’m totally wrong here but I always thought reward availability was much less predictable on QR than on BA.

    kaconym

    Worth nothing that Qatar have a family programme, that allows the main account holder the “option of pooling Avios earned by nominated family members into their account”.

    Presumably this includes avios you transfer from BAEC, however having never done this I’m not 100% sure. To try each member of the family would need their own Qatar account added to the family programme under a ‘main account’ holder, transfer their avios into their account and then the main member can try and ‘spend’ them together.
    More info here.

    If you book through Qatar if will probably be easier to upgrade flights directly with them as you’d contact them and they could probably process an upgrade as it’s their booking etc. Obviously no guarantee though.

    I would however say that the chances of additional business reward availability (beyond the 2 guaranteed seats you’re planning to book) coming free prior to departure is (essentially) zero. Europe <-> Oz flights around Christmas/ NY consistently go out full on all airlines, even charging the highest fares all year. Qatar are not going to give up what is basically guaranteed revenue to offer more award seats. If you go the Qatar route be prepared that in all likelihood 2 will be flying J and 2 will be in Y. To upgrade of course you also have the issue of 2 extra business seats needing to become available on both legs either outbound or inbound which doubles the the unlikelihood.

    Only other option would of course be the 4 guaranteed Club seats on BA, but these come with their own problems of course of high fees and even more over-demand.

    Good luck, you’ll need it.

    LondonDave

    Are you sure QR guarantees the reward seats? Also, It’s BA that loads up reward seats at T-355, it might not be the same for QR.
    Apologies if I’m totally wrong here but I always thought reward availability was much less predictable on QR than on BA.

    Pretty sure…at least, that’s as far out as you can book tickets, and they consistently seem to have Y and J availability on those T-355 flights. Not sure it’s a firm guarantee tbf…and whether they keep it going over Xmas and NY will remain to be seen I guess!

    LondonDave

    Good luck, you’ll need it.

    Ha – yes very true!

    Thanks for all your pointers Kaconym – I’ll look into the Qatar family account option and see if it works (nice that it’s fully reversible – if I can’t pool all the Avios, I can just send them back to BA) – makes sense that any upgrades would be easier if there is no BA complication in the mix

    Agree on the small chances of additional J class opening up….but I think the 2xJ and 2xY isn’t a bad fall back tbh. We can always take turns in J (or leave the kids in Y!)

    Still feels more likely than getting the 4 BA seats!

    NorthernLass

    It’s still worth trying to pounce at midnight on ba.com because BA (usually) releases at least 2 x WTP seats as well as 4 x Club. This might be an easier option to sell to the kids! I don’t know if this would fit with the avios you have though. Have you got a companion voucher to throw in the mix?
    The PE/WTP seats tend to stick around longer than the CW ones, but if your partner made a simultaneous booking you’d stand an ever better chance of getting them all.

    VerdantBacon

    QR awards seem to appear on QR a few days earlier than they appear on BA. This year I’ve booked F to BKK and J to BNE for next year, both times the return leg was on QR before it was on BA

    Also I didn’t need to do any of this call up at midnight and only book an outbound then wait for inbound release faff

    The availability was much better for QR rewards and I booked the redemption flights when both outbound and inbound were available

    Edit to mention – I’m only booking for two, so it may be different for a family of 4, especially as QR doesn’t tell you how many reward seats are left, only that enough are left to cover how many people are in your booking

    Rob
    HfP Staff

    Depending on the age of the kids you may want to think about the logistics of travelling separately, if it means you can lock in Business all the way. If you were going for a long time then arriving 24 hours apart (at worst) may not be an issue.

    Matt

    I was going to suggest booking separate flights – there are multiple flights per day LHR-DOH, are there any routes DOH-Australia with multiple daily flights?

    NorthernLass

    There always seems to be oodles of availability on BA LON-DOH so a mix and match approach may have some benefits. It’s a long slog from DOH to Australia though.

    Colin MacKinnon

    Following my comments on the other Australia thread, have just booked BA INV-LHR-SYD with a BA Amex 241 next August. Yes, not Qatar (am booked back to Edinburgh with them), but it was available.

    I can tell you that there was oodles (ie 5 or 6 seats in CW many days!) of availability from Edinburgh and Inverness (sometimes on the BA page a day would show as Not Available, but when you clicked it was available). Preumably Glasgow, Man, Belfast also will work. Maybe Jersey?

    I had tried Qatar, booking separate legs, going via HKG and Fiji, going via LAX etc – not a sausage.

    The new BA Amex availability – which doesn’t show direct from London – was astounding. Nice train ride London to Edinburgh and the bus/tram to the airport, book the return back to London, or from London City to Edinburgh (nudge, nudge!)

    LondonDave

    Thanks all – some great ideas to investigate here

    We do have 2x (new style) BA Amex vouchers available – so Colin’s suggestion could be a really valuable one…especially returning via LCY. If we book up in Dec/Jan (i.e. before the Barclays’s bonus) we will have 533K Avios (not the 600K needed) but buying the extra 70K might be £1135 worth spending (or we put the kids in WTP!)

    I don’t think there are any DOH-Australia routes with multiple daily flights, but as Rob & Matt suggest, flying on 2 days is another alternative

    If Xmas doesn’t work out, we have another chance at Easter – both Amex vouchers will still be valid, and we’ll have all the Avios needed by then if we go the BA route

    Will report back on how we got on!

    LondonDave

    Duplicate post – deleted

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