Time to head home. I booked a great reward Doha-Zurich flight with Qatar Airways using my British Airways Avios. You can see how much I paid for as well.

Sharing great reward deals is a lot of fun. This time I booked this reward and I will review it with lots of photos and comments. Let’s see how much Avios are required and how as a Canadian traveler you can get it.

A one-way flight in Business Class that has a lot of value for Canadians who want to burn their miles efficiently. Reward flights in the Middle-East & Asia will often give the most value for your miles. Business and First Class reward flights are no exception.

Flight schedule

Doha-Zurich weekly schedule | Qatar-Airways
Doha-Zurich weekly schedule | Qatar-Airways


Qatar Airways has 4 weekly double dailies to Zurich (ZRH): QR93 and QR95. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays only has one flight (QR93). The airline uses the newer Airbus A350-900 on both flights. But also switches now and then to the Dreamliner (B787).

The cost of Doha-Zurich business reward flight

I checked for early 2018 reward opportunities. Both Qatar Airways and British Airways inventory was displayed. I chose to show you the Qatar Airways Business Class one which looks like this:

Doha-Zurich Business Class reward flight with British Airways Avios
Doha-Zurich Business Class reward flight with British Airways Avios


This is a steal. The Business airfare comes with Al Mourjan lounge access which I reviewed. In addition to that, you access the airport via a dedicated premium airport terminal. It doesn’t get any better!

Al Mourjan Lounge Pool
Al Mourjan Lounge Pool

How can I get those Avios in Canada?

This is yet another great reward. There are many ways in Canada to accrue British Airways Avios. You can either transfer your American Express Rewards Points to your Executive Club or accrue them directly through the RBC British Airways Visa. You can also convert your RBC Rewards points to British Airways Avios.  RBC Rewards will give a 35% transfer bonus towards Avios a few times during the year.

Check-in 

Qatar Airways has a dedicated Premium Terminal at Hamad International Airport (DOH). Both Business and First Class passengers check-in and go through passport control there. 

Check-in was quick. Two agents helped me tag my checked luggage and carry-on. Then I proceeded to passport control and security. Two police counters were open. It was still very quiet, the whole process took less than 5 minutes and I was off to the Qatar Airways Al Mourjan lounge.

Al Mourjan lounge blue seats area
Al Mourjan lounge blue seats area

Boarding Qatar Airways [B787 Dreamliner] Business Doha-Zurich

I find boarding very entertaining. Qatar Airways definitely knows how to keep passengers in order. In the boarding area, seats were divided into Zones. You knew where you’d sit or hand-out pretty quickly.  Seats were also assigned to  Special Assistance, Priority Seating and Families. Some of people concerned by the Zones (Economy flyers) would still try there luck and approach seats that were not assigned to them just because they were closer to the gate. Delirious human behavior. 

Qatar Airways boarding
Qatar Airways boarding

Inflight Qatar Airways [B787 Dreamliner] Business Doha-Zurich

Usually Qatar Airways flies the A350 to Zurich. But there was an aircraft change. I boarded a Boeing 787 Dreamliner that had a 1-2-1 seat configuration.  I was ecstatic to be seated alone.

Qatar-Airways-Business-Class-seat-B787
Qatar-Airways-Business-Class-seat-B787

Qatar-Airways-Business-Class-seat-B787-2
Qatar-Airways-Business-Class-seat-B787

Qatar Airways Business seat pitch
Qatar Airways Business seat pitch

Qatar Airways business class seat armrest
Qatar Airways business class seat armrest

Qatar Airways business class seat armrest
Qatar Airways business class seat armrest

Qatar Airways Business class seat rack
Qatar Airways Business class seat rack

Qatar Airways business class seat posture buttons
Qatar Airways business class seat posture buttons

Qatar Airways Business Class seat overhead lamp
Qatar Airways Business Class seat overhead lamp

Qatar Airways Business Class amenity kit
Qatar Airways Business Class amenity kit

Qatar Airways Business Class seatbelt
Qatar Airways Business Class seatbelt

Late night diner

Since the flight took off at 2 am, the menu featured a light diner. I’ve had a light diner at the lounge prior to that.

Business Class menu

Business Class menu

Light Diner & Breakfast Business Class menu
Light Diner & Breakfast Business Class menu

However,  I still went for an aperitif and the  4-course meal that included:

  • Soup;
  • Seared red snaper with saffron sauce and asparagus;
  • Cheese plate;
  • Chocolate.
Qatar Airways Business Class champagne
Qatar Airways Business Class champagne
Qatar Airways Business Class soup entrée
Qatar Airways Business Class soup entrée
Qatar Airways Business Class main course: red snaper
Qatar Airways Business Class main course: red snaper
Qatar Airways Business Class cheese plate
Qatar Airways Business Class cheese plate

Qatar Airways Business Class Godiva chocolate
Qatar Airways Business Class Godiva chocolate

Sleep

I was exhausted and I needed to get a few hours of sound sleep. I was eager to open my pyjamas kit, courtesy of The White Company, 

Qatar Airways Business Class pjs
Qatar Airways Business Class pjs
Qatar Airways The White Company pjs
Qatar Airways The White Company pjs

I had a short but deep sleep. I had asked the flight attendant to wake me up for breakfast. I woke-up relatively rested considering the short red-eye.

Breakfast fail

I never though I’d say this. But Qatar Airways failed royally on the Arabic breakfast that I chose. The menu featured 3 main breakfast choices with some side dishes (fruits, cereals). I was expecting a delicious plate of ful medamas (Egyptian fava bean recipe) along with some some cold and warm meze. What I got instead was a plate of balila. Balila is a  plate of boiled cheak peas mixed in garlic, cumin, olive oil and salt.  It is a popular breakfast dish in winter but it’s not considered a main dish. But most of all it’s by far the wishy-washiest plate I’ve ever had.

Also the Arabic bread was just awful. Someone who works at the ovens doesn’t put much love into their breads.

Qatar Airways Business Arabic breakfast
Qatar Airways Business Arabic breakfast

Qatar Airways Business Arabic breakfast
Qatar Airways Business Arabic breakfast

IFE fail

I really struggled with the inflight entertainment system. Although it looked great with a 17 inch screen, the touchpad remote control was an annoyance the whole time. I could not select menus and switch. I ended-up with an Agatha Christie’s 70s movie I didn’t even finish. Since I got some sleep I gave-up on it. I didn’t tell the flight attendant about it. She could do nothing about it. 

Service level

The service level I received throughout the flight was consistent and solid. The flight attendant who was assigned to my aisle was pretty busy even though some passengers decided to sleep at take-off.  She was thorough and pleasant. Despite my frustrations with the quality breakfast and  the IFE, I have to acknowledge the high standard of service. It was pretty much seamless from the check-in, through the lounge until landing.

Verdict

My overall experience was satisfactory. Although IFE and breakfast disappointed, Qatar Airways presents a solid Business Class product. My Premium terminal check-in and lounge experience add-up to the flight experience. Attentive and service-oriented staff is a big winner for me.

Remember, I was flying with people who, for me most, paid at least $4,500 for their airfare. It cost me $127 on top of the 37,500 Avios. To say it’s a steal is an understatement for the entire luxury experience.

I definitely encourage anyone who stacks-up Avios or any other oneworld miles to fly out of Doha (DOH) and experience the whole Business Class offering.
Please share your own thoughts and experience with me Amin On Miles Facebook Page.