Oh, what a tangled web we weave! My family lives in Australia and as it’s such a long flight from Europe, I like a bit of comfort when doing the long journey. First and business class is rather expensive right now, but I found a way to get there and back for a very reasonable price.
The key, of course, is using frequent flyer points. In this case, it was Aer Lingus and British Airways Avios that helped to defray the costs. I managed to get flights booked for just €2,480 (US$2,640, £2,195, or AU$4,015) on Qatar Airways and here’s how.
First and Business Class Prices
When I fly between Europe to Australia, the best fares in sales are usually out of places like Stockholm for about €2,300 return. Anything under €2,500 is a bargain in my book and it is the most I want to spend. At the moment, there is so much demand that airfares in all cabins are astronomical, pricing me out of flying premium cabins.
As you can see above, no matter which way I sliced it, I was not going to be able to get it cheaply. Even looking at airlines I don’t fly, the very cheapest business class from Dublin to Sydney and back was €5,000. Absolutely out of my price range.
One of the great things about airlines in the oneworld alliance is that you can use your points across all the airlines. I’m a member of the British Airways Executive Club and Aer Lingus AerClub, who use Avios as their currency. I had a stash of points and I decided to use them, however I didn’t have enough.
Dublin to Doha and back in business class is 86,000 points and €179.66, while Doha to Sydney and back is 210,000 points and €248.15 in first class. Surely I wouldn’t be able to fly first class though?
Well, it turns out there are seats in first class on this route quite regularly offered by Qatar Airways. I had a look around and found plenty from Doha to Sydney, but only one date was available for the return.
An idea was born, wouldn’t it be nice to fly first class on the Airbus A380? Especially as they weren’t supposed to come back into service, and recent comments from Qatar Airways’ CEO Abdul Al Baker indicates they should only be back for three years, whereupon they’ll be retired.
Not Enough Points Though!
I needed a total of 296,000 Avios for first and business class flights from Dublin to Sydney via Doha. Through sheer blind luck, I checked how much it would cost to purchase some points with Aer Lingus AerClub and found they were having a bonus period, where you received 45% more Avios than usual.
That meant for €935 I could buy 50,000 Avios and get 22,500 extra for a total of 72,500. That meant I had the 210,000 I needed for the first class flights from Doha to Sydney and back. I paid up, transferred the points from AerClub to the Executive Club and bought the ticket.
All well and good, but now I had virtually zero points and I needed to get from Dublin to Doha. The Aer Lingus points bonus had ended, so I could have bought an economy class ticket to get there, which priced out at €1,039 return. I wasn’t keen on that at all.
Once again lady luck struck, as British Airways are offering a 40% bonus right now. That meant 84,000 Avios were pricing up at €1,118, less than €100 more than it would cost for economy and I could use those Avios on a reward flight in business class from Dublin to Doha and back. Whipped out the credit card and job done.
With the two Avios purchases and the points I had banked, it meant that the grand total was €2,480.81. That’s Dublin to Doha in business class, Doha to Sydney in first class, Sydney to Doha in first class and Doha to Dublin in business class. A complete win in my book!
Naturally had I had 296,000 Avios sitting around, it would have cost €427.81, but I’m hardly complaining. Even having had to buy points, it comes out as a saving of 50% over the cheapest business class and actually more for oneworld business class on the same route… and I’m flying first and business class. Very exciting!
I’ve never really rated these points sales before, but having looked into it in detail, you can make a very decent saving. As long as award seats are available when you want to go, it works out very well. Of course, there is a cap on the amount of Avios you can buy annually, but as that’s 200,000 you should be able to use it well… as long as there’s a points bonus happening.
So, what do you think? Do you usually use Avios in this manner to reduce the cost of flights? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
Like planes? See my “Does anyone remember” series.
Flight reviews your thing? Mine are all indexed here.
Follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Qatar A380 by BriYYZ via Wikimedia Commons.
I get it Trent! Looking to go from STL to MCI to see the new terminal in Kansas City, one hour flight and freaking Southwest wants to send me through MDW or DEN and backtrack for a reasonable fare. My WN points are way down but I’ll work it out. Glad you got to see your Mum and fam for not “too” much outlay.
Thank goodness for credit cards, that’s all I’ll say! I’ll spend the next few months paying it off, but at least it’ll be all done by the time I fly. That backtrack sounds annoying, hopefully the fare is way less for all that mucking around!
Yeah this is a misleading headline. A better one would be ‘How buying points in a sale can get you a dream redemption’ or something.
I can see your point, but the headline is exactly what happened – how I spent €2,480 on first and business class flights. Splitting hairs over whether it was a cash flight or redemptions is no use, but I can see where you’re coming from. Thanks for the comment!