Redeem Miles For Business Class On The World’s Longest Flight

In late January I wrote about Qatar Airways’ announcement that they were planning on launching the world’s two longest flights, from Doha to Santiago, Chile, and Auckland, New Zealand. The announcement came from the airline’s CEO, who sometimes isn’t an especially accurate source, so I didn’t take the route as fact at the time.

Interestingly less than a week later, Emirates announced that they’d begin nonstop flights between Dubai and Auckland, which would launch on March 1, 2016. It sure seems like that new route was motivated (or at least fast-tracked) thanks to Qatar Airways’ announcement, since presumably Emirates wanted to beat Qatar to the punch.

And sure enough Emirates did in fact launch the world’s longest flight as of March 1, 2016.

Well, Emirates’ new underwhelming business class seat isn’t the only thing to come out of ITB Berlin. Qatar Airways’ CEO also had some announcements to make.

Akbar-Hands
Interactive launch pad to show new routes, or Al Baker showing his hands aren’t small?

Qatar Airways has formally announced that they will launch daily flights between Doha and Auckland as of December 3, 2016.

Auckland-New-Zealand
Auckland, New Zealand

The flight will operate with the following schedule:

QR920 Doha to Auckland departing 2:10AM arriving 4:30AM (+1 day)
QR921 Auckland to Doha departing 2:40PM arriving 10:10PM

This route will be ~180 miles longer than Emirates’ route between Dubai and Auckland. It’s blocked at 16hr20min eastbound and 17hr30min westbound.

Qatar-Airways-777
Qatar Airways 777-200LR

The flight will be operated by a Boeing 777-200LR aircraft, featuring 42 business class seats and 217 economy class seats. As of now, Qatar Airways’ 777 business class seats are forward facing and in a 2-2-2 configuration, but apparently these planes will eventually get Qatar Airways’ new “super business class”… if/when that happens.

Qatar-Airways-777-1
Qatar Airways 777 business class

The flight is bookable, and award availability is wide open. Qatar Airways has released four business class award seats per flight, including during absolute peak season, in December and January. This is a fantastic way to get to Australia and New Zealand during that time period.

Qatar-Awards Qatar-Awards-1

If you book this before American’s devaluation on March 22, a ticket will cost just 45,000 AAdvantage miles one-way between the Middle East and New Zealand, which is a heck of a deal.

On top of that, Al Baker took the opportunity to announce several new routes, which I suspect will be of varying interest.

Qatar-Airways-New-Routes

The following new Qatar Airways routes were announced, and are already bookable:

  • 1x daily Doha to Pisa flight as of August 2, 2016, operated by A320
  • 3x weekly Doha to Sarajevo flight as of September 7, 2016, operated by A320
  • 4x weekly Doha to Windhoek flight as of September 28, 2016, operated by 787
  • 1x daily Doha to Helsinki flight as of October 10, 2016, operated by A320
  • 4x weekly Doha to Krabi flight as of December 6, 2016, operated by A330
  • 1x daily Doha to Seychelles flight as of December 12, 2016, operated by A320

Meanwhile the following routes have been announced, but aren’t yet bookable:

  • Doha to Marrakech by July 2016
  • Doha to Skopje by November 2016
  • Doha to Chiang Mai by December 2016
  • Doha to Doula/Liberville by January 2016
  • Doha to Lusaka by Summer 2017
  • Doha to Nice by Summer 2017

I’m especially excited about the flight to the Seychelles, as I’ve been wanting to visit. The flights to Chiang Mai and Krabi also seem cool. Lastly, the flight to Windhoek, Namibia, seems cool, as it’s one of the few non-African airline to fly there, as far as I know.

Bottom line

This represents quite some expansion on the part of Qatar Airways, and it’s especially cool to see that the Doha to Auckland route will finally be launched. Here’s to hoping their new business class product is announced soon as well, and that it’ll be available on the world’s longest flight.

Are you excited about any of Qatar Airways’ new routes?

Comments

  1. “This is a fantastic way to get to Australia and New Zealand during that time period.”
    Well, except that you have to start in Doha:)
    j/k. Interesting and thanks for the heads up.

  2. How much does it cost from North America to Australia via this route? Is it even possible?

  3. @ PhatMiles — It is possible, but would require two awards. It’s 67,500 miles for business class to the Middle East, or 90,000 miles for first class. And then there’s the extra 45,000 miles required for the award from the Middle East to New Zealand.

  4. Lufthansa use to fly to Windhoek. Etihad currently goes to the Seychelles. Beautiful but boring and expensive.

  5. @Geoff

    From summer 2015 AA has allowed awards from EU-AUS as long as there is connection in DOH, hence Lucky example.

    @Phatmiles

    Not possible on 1 AA award.

  6. To SEZ, take a look at paid Etihad from S Africa. You can force the routing through SEZ on their Air Seychelles partner, with whatever stopover you want. It is often available for $1700 o/w in biz, $2500 in F (only the transatlantic in F since the two seychelles segments are two class planes).

  7. This means you can fly USA to SEZ on a singe award now because of the QR exception to AA routing rules. Doing it on EY meant two awards.

  8. Keep in mind that SEZ is considered to be in Africa, hence 75,000 AAdvantage miles through American. Alternatively you can book a ticket to BKK for 55,000 miles and get a paid ticket from there to SEZ.

  9. There is no third region exception for DOH when going from South Pacific to Africa, is that right? You can do it without touching a third region with the QF SYD-JNB flight, but I can’t find availability for that when I need to go.

    I just put AKL-DOH-CPT in J on hold, and the agent quoted me 50k. That would be amazing. I hope it’s not just a mistake. Or if it is a mistake, I hope they will ticket it anyway!

    Any tips for if they quote me 90k (two awards) when I try to ticket it? Can they override the price, given that they told me something different before?

  10. @lucky, if there’s the slightest chance you’re looking to visit Seychelles and is also considering staying at the Four Seasons (or any Virtuoso property) there, I’d love to arrange it for you as I’m a Virtuoso Advisor.

    I assume you probably have many contacts already but it never hurts to ask!
    Thanks for all your posts and great info over the years!

  11. Does anyone know if Qatar plans to fly to ACC? Seems rather underserved with just EK from the gulf

  12. Is this all gone? Was looking to book some tickets and can’t seem to find any availability especially over the holiday period as Lucky mentioned.

  13. Just booked SYD-DOH… Not sure how we are going to get back to RDU but I have 9 months to hope for a QR to BA sale or we will just hop to CAI for cheap fares!!! Thanks Ben!!!

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