Thanks to Qatar Airways‘ extremely good business class offers from Eastern European airports Budapest and Sofia, you can easily put together a mileage run in March 2020 to gain British Airways Executive Club Silver and with it Oneworld Sapphire status. This run takes a week and costs of roughly €1,600 in airline tickets.
This mileage run can start almost anywhere in Europe and you can easily include two flight segments in Qatar Airways’ famous Qsuite. While you need to purchase three different tickets to do this, we will guide you through it step by step.
The goal is to get 600 British Airways Executive Club tier points and four flight segments on either Iberia or British Airways.
Updated on September 25, 2019: Thanks to a great offer from Qatar Airways, selling business class roundtrips to Hong Kong at €1,217 from Stockholm, you can get Oneworld Sapphire tier for less than €1,500.
Updated on September 27, 2019: Qatar Airways has withdrawn its offer from Stockholm. Routings via Sofia and Budapest still work.
- Oneworld Sapphire Status Run incl. Qsuites
- Trip Summary & Alternate Routings
- New Option via Stockholm to Hong Kong at €1,445
- Advantages of Oneworld Sapphire
Oneworld Sapphire Status Run incl. Qsuites
Ticket 1: Qatar Airways Business Class from Eastern Europe
This is the most expensive ticket of the the entire run – a Qatar Airways business class ticket to South East Asia, preferrably Singapore, a Qsuite destination. With departure from Sofia, these tickets are sold as low as €1,200 trough various online travel agencies and around €1,300 in Qatar Airways’ website. They are worth 560 tier points in British Airways Executive Club, doing most of the heavy lifting in terms of tier points.
In our sample, the outbound flight from Sofia takes place on March 13, 2020 and the return starts on March 18, 2020.
We recommend one of these Qatar Airways long haul flights to do this status run:
Ticket 2: British Airways from London to Eastern Europe
Knowing the flight dates of the long haul segments, the next step is to purchase a roundtrip from London to Budapest or Sofia. To get enough tier points but keep prices low, you can purchase one leg in economy and one leg in business class. The ticket should cost below €200. A ticket like this can be purchased on ba.com:
Since QR’s flight arrives in Sofia early in the morning, your flight back to London may leave on the same day. Booking the inbound leg in business class ensures lounge access while in Sofia. hA business class roundtrip increases the price by €100, but adds checked bags in both directions.
By booking just the first two tickets, you’ve earned enough tier points to qualify for Oneworld Sapphire. Adding any two flight segments on Iberia or British Airways will do the trick.
Ticket 3: Getting to London and Back Home
Since the first two tickets give enough tier point to gain Oneworld Sapphire status, the last ticket is only needed to get two more flight segments on British Airways. This is also a positioning flight to get you to London to start your status run.
To keep prices low, just choose the cheapest economy roundtrip offered by BA from your home airport to London. These tickets should be available for less than €100. This is a short list of possible starting points for this run, with an overnight layover in London before and after your trip to Sofia:
- Dublin at €77
- Madrid at €78
- Copenhagen at €80
- Amsterdam at €81
- Milan at €82
- Stockholm at €86
- Barcelona at €87
- Paris at €88
Trip Summary & Alternate Routings
All links above are part of an itinerary you can follow through. It looks like this:
- March 10
- Hometown – London in British Airways Economy
- March 11
- London – Sofia in British Airways Economy
- March 13
- Sofia – Doha in Qatar Airways Business Class
- Doha – Singapore in Qatar Airways QSuite
- March 18:
- Singapore – Doha in Qatar Airways QSuite
- Doha – Sofia in Qatar Airways Business Class
- Sofia – London in British Airways Business Class
- March 19:
- London – Hometown in Britsh Airways Economy
This trip is available at €1,318 + €188 + €78 = €1,584 and grants Oneworld Sapphire status. Not included in this price is food and lodging. This trip may get even cheaper when purchasing long haul tickets through online travel agencies. In addition, you earn 16,868 avios.
Why is booking with an airline better than with an online travel agency?
More often than not, online travel agencies offer lower fares than airlines do. We still recommend to book with the airlines directly. There are two main reasons for that:
- Better Customer Service
In case any problems like delays, cancellations or missed connections arise, you can communicate directly with the airline. The airlines has to take care of you because you have a contract with them.
If a travel agency issues your ticket, you may have to reach out to them first. You also depend on your OTA to forward you information like flight changes instead receiving them directly from the airline. You may get a prime exhibition of responsibility shifting rather than problem solving.
This especially applies for premium tickets. You don’t want to spend more than €1,000 to wind up with some budget OTA’s telephone hotline in case anything goes wrong.
- Baggage Fees
Economy fares not including hold luggage are more and more common. In most cases, travel agencies charge much higher baggage fees than the airlines themselves. If bags are not included in your fare, airlines are often the cheaper alternative.
While this example is routed via Sofia, you can do this via Budapest, Belgrade, Sarajevo or Zagreb as well. This depends on where you want your Qatar Airways long haul segment to start and to end. Discounted business class tickets are available from all of these airports, but to different destinations. Another example looks like this:
- Day 1:
- Hometown – London in British Airways Economy
- Day 2:
- London – Budapest in British Airways Economy
- Budapest – Doha in Qatar Airways Business Class
- Doha – Hangzhou in Qatar Airways Business Class
- Day 7:
- Hangzhou – Doha in Qatar Business Class
- Doha – Budapest in Qatar Airways Business Class
- Budapest – London in British Airways Business Class
- Day 8:
- London – Hometown in British Airways Economy
Because British Airways serves Budapest more frequently, you don’t have to add an overnight stay before continuing on Qatar Airways. However, this combination does not include Qsuite service. Additionally, you’ll have to apply for a Chinese visa.
In combination with an inner European roundtrip to London, this flight plan is available at €1,257 + €182 + €78 = €1,517 and grants Oneworld Sapphire status, as well.
Again, the first two tickets yield enough tier points for Oneworld Sapphire. You will get your status by adding any two flights on Iberia or British Airways completed within a year.
New Option via Stockholm to Hong Kong at €1,445
Sadly, Qatar Airways has withdrawn the centerpiece of this offer, a great deal for €1,217 business class tickets from Stockholm to Hong Kong. Don’t miss a chance like that again and subscribe to our newsletter:
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Advantages of Oneworld Sapphire
Holding a Oneworld Sapphire status will get you quite a few benefits when traveling with one of the alliance’s member:
- Access to all Business Class lounges – worldwide and together with one guest. No matter which cabin class you’re traveling in
- Access to Business Class priority check-in – you can check in at any Business Class counter. Again, irrespective of your cabin class
- Extra baggage allowance – you can bring a second piece of luggage, assuming your fare includes at least one checked bag. On domestic flights, you can bring one bag, even if your fare does not include one (the only exception is British Airways)
- Priority boarding – get on the plane will others are still waiting
- Priority baggage handling – your bags should be the first to appear on the luggage belt after you arrived
- Access to preferred or pre-reserved seating – chose your seat at the time of booking, free of charge
- Priority on waitlists and when on standby
Compared to Star Alliance, there is actually only the fast-track that is missing. And the reason for this is an additional level that you can find within the Oneworld alliance program: the Emerald tier. This level will get you access to first class lounges and also fast-track through security.
In addition, your British Airways Executive Club Silver tier will grant you additional perks:
British Airways Executive Club Silver Facts
- Qualification: 50 flight segments or 600 Tier Points in addition to at least 4 segments flown on British Airways or Iberia within one membership year.
- Validity: Current membership year + another full year.
If you can’t manage the re-qualification, your status will stay valid 7-8 weeks after the end of your membership year.
Example: Your membership year end on November 8th, 2019 -> next membership year will end November 8th, 2020 and therefore your status will be valid until December 31st, 2020.
- Additional benefits
- 50% bonus Avios on flights with British Airways, Iberia, American Airlines and Japan Airlines
- Guaranteed seats until 24 hours priors to departure (booking class Y = most expensive Economy Class)
- Lifetime Gold status (Oneworld Emerald) if you manage to collect 35,000 Tier Points
- Household account for up to 7 people that don’t have to live with you or be relatives
- Re-qualification: same rules as for the initial qualification
- Softlanding: Yes, Bronze status (Oneworld Ruby)