Qatar Airways Has A New Route And It Has Potential To Be GREAT For BA Tier Points

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Qatar Airways has today announced another new European route which it plans to start operating from Summer 2019 and it could mean a very nice haul of Tier Points if you’re starting your travels in the UK.

Ordinarily, an announcement of a new Qatar Airways route is just good news – it’s another route on which to earn and burn AAdvantage Miles or Avios and nothing more than that – but the route announced today could signify a great opportunity for UK flyers looking to earn a lot of tier points in a single trip.

Qatar Airways’ New Route

a map of the middle east

Qatar Airways will commence service between Doha and Malta from 4 June 2019. During the summer season the route will be operated 7x/week on the following schedule:

QR381 DOH 01:25 – 06:45 MLA (Mon, Wed, Fri & Sun)
QR383 DOH 08:05 – 13:25 MLA (Tue, Thu & Sat)

QR382 MLA 09:20 – 15:55 DOH (Mon, Wed, Fri & Sun)
QR384 MLA 17:45 – 00:20+1 day DOH (Tue, Thu & Sat)

During the winter season the flight frequency will be reduced to 4/week

The route will be operated by Qatar Airways A320 aircraft but, very importantly, Qatar Airways has confirmed that the aircraft will offer “fully-lie-flat beds”….so the aircraft will not have a regional configuration (click for a review of the Qatar Airways A320 Business Class product).

a row of seats on an airplane
Qatar Airways A320 Business Class Cabin

Why This May Be Good News For UK Flyers

If Qatar Airways offers some good Business Class fares out of Malta it could signal an opportunity for travelers starting their trip in the UK to earn a LOT of tier points….here’s how:

The British Airways Avios Calculator hasn’t been updated to show the new Malta – Doha route but it should be safe to assume that Business Class fares on this route will earn 140 Tier Points in either direction.

This is based on the fact that the Sofia – Doha route and the Belgrade – Doha route both offer 140 Tier Points in either direction…..

a screenshot of a screen

….and both are shorter flights than Malta – Doha:

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A lot of Qatar Airways’ routes between Doha and Asia (Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Phuket, Tokyo etc…) earn a further 140 Tier points in either direction so a great Business Class fare from Malta to a lot of Asian cities will earn 560 Tier Points….but that’s nothing new.

Here’s the new bit:

For reasons best know to British Airways a business Class flight between London and Malta will earn 80 Tier Points in either direction….

a screenshot of a screen

….and roundtrip Business Class flights to Malta aren’t horrendously expensive. Right now the cheapest fares that BA is offering are around £310/$397….

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….but you can often find them for slightly less – around £280/$358.

If you’re based in the UK and have been making the most of the cheaper Qatar Airways Business Class fares over the past few years you’ll be used to taking positioning flights to catch your main Qatar Airways flight…only most of those fares won’t have earned you anywhere near the 160 Tier Points that a Business Class positioning fare to/from Malta.

By booking a Business Class positioning flight to Malta followed by a Qatar Airways Business Class flight to Asia a flyer could earn 720 Tier Points in one trip.

That’s comfortably more Tier Points than is needed for BA Silver status (600 Tier Points) and 48% of the Tier Points needed to get to BA Gold Status.

a business card with a gold ribbon

Yes, you would still need two more sectors on BA before you actually earn BA Silver status (you need top fly a minimum of 4 sectors on BA to earn BA status) but this could be a fantastic deal.

Even if we assume that the best good Business Class deal Qatar Airways offers out of Malta costs £1,400/$1,792 (and historically we’ve seen considerably cheaper fares than this out of other European cities) it would be possible to earn 720 Tier Points for around £1,700/$2,176.

Ok, so this isn’t Tier Point run material…but this doesn’t require any convoluted routings or any quick turns. Flyers could earn more than enough Tier Points for oneworld Sapphire status (Business Class lounge access, priority boarding etc…) from just one vacation to Asia.

Bottom Line

Clearly the big caveat here is that we first need to see some great Business Class fares from Qatar Airways before we get too excited (these have been very thin on the ground recently) but I have a good feeling about this.

Qatar Airways has been pretty good at offering good Business Class fares out of minor markets when a route is just starting up so I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few good deals out of Malta in the second half of 2019….the question I now have to ask myself is do I jump on one of these fares if I see one?

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