A hidden Avios sweet-spot #3Cards3Continents

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For the 3 Cards, 3 Continents Challenge I previously revealed that I used 56,000 Avios points to travel on two flights from Asia to Europe.  Since I committed to this while there was a 40% transfer bonus available from Citi to Qatar Avios, this only cost me 40,000 Citi points.  One flight wasn’t necessarily great value until one considers the 40% transfer bonus.  The other flight offered incredible value with or without a bonus.  Here are the details…

What is 3 Cards, 3 Continents? Frequent Miler loves creating fun and competitive team challenges. This year Greg, Nick, and Stephen are competing to book the most amazing 3-continent dream-trip using 3 credit card welcome bonuses.

Qatar Business Class from Vietnam to Qatar

Our flight aboard a Boeing 787-8 aircraft offered reverse herringbone seating. It wasn’t Qatar’s vaunted Qsuites, but it was still very comfortable.  And service was ridiculously great.  Flight attendants seemed to anticipate every need.  I’ve experienced this level of great service before, but only with international first class and even then it varied greatly by airline.  I’ve heard this from others before, but now that I’ve flown Qatar Airways, I can attest too that they offer a first class experience in business class.

This was the flight that offered good value because of the 40% transfer bonus.  We flew from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to Doha, Qatar.  Using British Airways Avios, I paid 50,000 Avios plus $94 in fees.  That’s not a bad price for a 7 and half hour business class flight, but it’s more than AA charges for the same flight.  AA charges only 40,000 points plus $24 in fees.  Still, thanks to the transfer bonus, it was a pretty good deal since I paid only about 36,000 Citi points per person for the trip.

Qatar Business Class from Qatar to Bulgaria

This was an amazing find.  For some reason that I can’t figure out, British Airways charged only 6,000 Avios plus $108 for this 5 hour flight in business class: Doha to Sofia, Bulgaria.  Sure, it wasn’t on a wide-body jet and the seats didn’t lie completely flat, but it was still great.  On this single aisle flight, we received similar service as on the wide body flight we took to Doha.  American Airlines would have charged 42,500 miles + $38 for the same exact flight, and Qatar Airways itself would have charged 35,000 Avios + $110.

To get an idea of what an outlier this is, compare to these BA Avios prices for shorter business class flights on Qatar Airways:

  • Doha to Istanbul (slightly over 4 hours): 35,000 Avios + $ 107.75
  • Doha to Athens (slightly under 5 hours): 35,000 Avios + $ 107.75
  • Doha to Bucharest (approximately same distance as to Sofia, ~5 hours): 35,000 Avios + $ 107.75

And if we look at slightly longer flights, such as Doha to Rome, the price goes up to 43,000 Avios + $ 107.75.

Is the deal dead?

Earlier in the summer, I checked and re-checked that this deal was alive.  And it was.  In fact, I successfully booked Maisie’s flight about two weeks after booking my own.  Now, though, as I try to re-create the search results, BA’s website has been returning an error each time (“Please provide the following information: There was a problem with your request, please try again later.”).  I don’t know whether this is a temporary glitch, whether they’re in the process of fixing this award price, or if something else is going on.  If you try it and get a website error, it may be worth calling to book it.  Hopefully the phone agents will see the same 6K one-way price.

More Photos SGN-DOH

Check out this video to see more of this flight experience:

More Photos DOH-SOF

 

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Sam

Flew AMM-DOH on 787 biz sold as first last Nov. Same experience on that short flight. Can’t recommend enough:-)

Dr. McFrugal

How did you find this deal from Doha to Sofia? Where you specifically looking for a flight to Sofia and it just so happened to be 6000 points? Or is there a way to search really cheap awards no matter where the destination?

JayP

Another blogger killed deal, thanks a lot. Those of us in the know used to fly from Doha to Sophia 3x a week just to take advantage of it. Affectionately called it the DoSo route. (kidding, obviously) Curious, did you happen across this searching on BA or using one of the paid tools? What a cool find.

Jerry

Qatar’s B787 herringbone seat has a more com comfortable foot well than the Qsuite. I preferred it to the Quite, but the privacy and other touches on the Qsuite make it feel more special.

d d

He sits on this information for a couple of months while the deal is alive, and he posts it after the deal dies….with a clickbait headline and sending us on a wild goose chase…Great job, buddy…

bill

Sure they would be happy to offer your money back.

carl

THIS is the type of thing we want to see. Points for Greg in my book. If he can make it beyond Cairo for Africa, then he may take the lead in my book. Need more updates from Stephen. Nick is too stuck in 40k-to-faraway mode

SamBam

Forget trying to pronounce Qatar correctly. Same with the first “g” in Van Gogh. English just doesn’t have that sound.