A week ago, I jumped on the bandwagon and booked myself a roundtrip in Qatar Airways’ business class from Hanoi to New York (via Bangkok and Doha) for an incredible $683.48 after seeing the deal on OMAAT.
The initial excitement was followed by a period of uncertainty as the airline cancelled not only tickets that were on hold without being paid, but also some of the ticketed itineraries. However, the joy returned when Qatar Airways started reinstating some of the cancelled itineraries. At that point, even though my ticket never got cancelled in the first place, it was safe to assume that the fare would be honored.
Are you interested in trying business or first class for the price of economy?
If so, you might want to check out Four Ways to Try Business Class Without Breaking the Bank - a free guide that I put together detailing some of the ways I was able to do so - and experiment with some of the methods mentioned in it.
Hanoi to New York with Qatar Airways
Once I knew that the fare would likely be honored, I started to consider where I would credit the miles the flights would earn.
Before I continue, let’s take a quick look at the itinerary I booked.
As per GCMap, the distance covered by the Hanoi-Bangkok segment is 617 miles, while the Bangkok-Doha and Doha-New York segments are 3,285 miles and 6,705 miles respectively.
For the whole roundtrip itinerary, it adds up to 21,212 miles – not a bad base to start with!
Earning Enough Avios for Five Japanese Domestic Flights
The flights were booked into “R” fare class which earns 125% in most of the OneWorld frequent flyer programs. As such, in terms of award miles, it mainly comes to preference.
Personally, I like British Airways Avios miles as they are useful for booking domestic flights within Japan, as well as other short hops across the world. As such, I could either credit the miles directly to British Airways Executive Club or to Iberia Plus – from where I could transfer them easily to British Airways. (Depending on the award, transferring the other way around makes sense as well.)
With the itinerary above, I should earn 751 miles for the Hanoi-Bangkok segment; 4,084 for the Bangkok-Doha segment; and 8,380 for the Doha-New York segment. Altogether, it adds up to 13,215 miles one-way or 26,430 miles roundtrip.
Just to give you an example, it is enough for five one-way flights from Tokyo to almost anywhere in Japan.
Earning Enough Elite Points for OneWorld Sapphire
The award miles above are a great bonus on the already unbelievable deal. However, with crediting the miles to British Airways or Iberia, there is another benefit.
While with other programs, it comes nowhere near as close, with both British Airways and Iberia, the itinerary should earn more tier (elite) points than required to reach the OneWorld Sapphire-level status.
The only “problem” is that the points by themselves are not enough to get the status as there is also an eligible flight requirement.
In case of British Airways Executive Club, four flights on British Airways (incl. code shares) or Iberia that are eligible to earn tier points are required. In case of Iberia, one flight with an Iberia code that is eligible to earn elite points is required.
British Airways Executive Club vs. Iberia Plus
As of right now, I am not 100% decided which of the two programs I will credit my miles to – my flights aren’t until February 2018, and so I still have plenty of time to decide.
Given that I visit Europe a couple of times a year, fitting in a single flight on Iberia is certainly easier than having to fly four times on Iberia or British Airways.
However, there is a catch there as well – due to the difference in each program’s point collection years. While Iberia’s year in which you have to collect the required elite points and eligible flights runs from April 1 until March 31, in case of British Airways it is tied to the date you registered your account. In my case, the year runs from November 9 until November 8.
As such, if I earned my status with Iberia, it would last until March 2019. On the other hand, if I earned the British Airways status instead, it would last until November 2019.
In the end, I will decide based on whether I will have a chance to fly with British Airways for a reasonable fare between this November and April next year. If not, I will just go with the easier Iberia route.
Applying This to Your Itinerary
While the above looks at my specific situation, if you booked a similar itinerary between Vietnam and the United States, you should be in a similar boat. And as such, I hope the above will help you with deciding where to credit the miles for the flights.
Have you booked the crazy Qatar Airways error fare? If so, on what route?
Where do you plan to credit the miles?