Qatar Airways was one of the first airlines to “unbundle” its business class fares, which removed airport lounge access from the most competitively priced tickets. Now, those tickets have lounge access again, but a new fare has been added, which does not.

For anyone currently holding a Qatar Airways booking in “R” class, lounge access has likely been reinstated on your ticket, but new “P” fares have entered the arena, and they bring new options to the business class experience.

Qatar Airways Reinstates Lounge Access on “R” Fares

People weren’t exactly thrilled when Qatar Airways removed lounge access from their lowest priced business class fares. If you wanted the best price for a Qatar Airways trip, it meant missing out on the Al Mourjan Lounge in Doha, and any other lounges along the way.

If you had Oneworld “Sapphire” or above elite status, access would only be provided to an inferior lounge space, with far fewer amenities.

The allure was the notion that Qatar Airways would offer “cheaper” deals than ever, as a result of the decreased perks, but in reality, rarely were any new savings to be found. Speaking anecdotally from GSTP data, fewer readers continued buying Qatar Airways business fares after the changes were introduced.

New Business Class “P” Fares

Qatar is now responding to that sentiment by creating a lower level fare, called “Lite”, which books into “P” class, and has “upgraded” people holding previously booked “R” class tickets, and all newly issued “R” class tickets with lounge access.

Qatar Airways will now have 4 business class fares, instead of 3, with: Lite, Classic, Comfort and Elite.

Will I get complimentary access if I booked Business Classic (RBD R) prior to 4 September 2021, but am travelling post 1 October 2021?

Yes, we will give customers access to the more generous and updated Business Classic attributes and will provide complimentary lounge access.

Qatar Airways

Going forward, the only Qatar Airways fare which won’t include airport lounge access automatically will be Qatar Airways ‘Business Lite’ P class fares. These will be easily identified at various stages of booking, particularly when booking direct with Qatar.

All the new Qatar Airways fare families, including changes to economy class and other points earning moves and FAQ’s can be viewed on the Qatar Airways ‘New Fare Family’ page.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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15 Comments

  1. I think when the figures came in, despite massively suppressed travel at the moment, it was pretty clear that Elites were calling them out on the fact that unbundled fares hadn’t actually dripped appreciably am even the bulshy CEO knew that it was a mis-played game when ( accounting for current circumstances) the J bookings took a nosedive.

    Whilst not a fan myself ( simply because when airlines come up with this idea they rarely discount decently in return) I think generally people are ok with the concept IF that fare is markedly cheaper and whilst yes they were, the overall loss V ‘discounted’ fare didn’t stack up even remotely.

    Whilst Qatar have always been tight on OW access I’d also guess that BAEC opening up to QF fliers probably played a part as they need to counteract the, relative, ease of status is to earn when Aussies are actually allowed to leave their homeland again.

  2. I believe QR also reinstated the ability to select seats in advance that had also been removed when they introduced these oh so obviously undiscounted R fares with fewer services, with the next fare up often costing over US$1k for lounge access and seat selections. Both of these items would have been important to me, especially not knowing if OW elite status might not be extended while being unable to travel. I didn’t want to risk being stuck in a middle quad QSuite seat and lose out on a decent lounge (which, though better from other options, was often crowded), so I’m one of those that refused to book with them while they were playing this game. What is less clear now is whether they have re-started providing free Stopover Hotel rooms for business class travelers with > 8 hour connections at DOH (with meal voucher if >11 hours). It was always a nuisance to have to call to get this perk and it clearly wasn’t available when airport exit was not permitted to foreigners during the pandemic. But it was sure nice to get a real hotel room for rest in between flights. Website still shows those as suspended: https://qatarairways.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/206466318-What-if-I-have-a-transit-time-of-over-8-hours-in-Doha-

      1. I’d booked a Qsuite ticket using American’s AAdvantage miles, the fare class is “U”. I called the QR office in USA, and select the seating, and asked the agent is this fare class U include lounge access, she said it does. Hope it will stick and the policy won’t change. Can Qatar Airways, please, don’t change the lounge access and confuse most business customers. Give lounge access to all Biz class customers. Limiting lounge access will simply add confusion and turn away customers. Hope Qatar Airways management get the message….

        1. @Andrea

          Anything to report from your ‘U’ class ticket booked with AA miles – did you manage to get access to QR lounges (including Al Mourjan in Doha)?

  3. I’ve traveled Qatar biz class several times & truly loved the lounge access. Packed a change of clothes in carry on to take advantage of the lovely showers in the lounge before the next flight. Have also loved the free hotel stays on long layovers in Doha. Have also left the airport to explore Doha on a long layover. Not a fan of losing (potentially) lounge access if getting a cheaper fare. Hoping Silver status will still allow lounge access despite fare class.

  4. @Hudson silver status won’t get you into the lounge with lower fare,due to the “pandemic ” qatar has allowed silver members to enter, due to the other lounge being unavailable,however once the grace period ends so will the access

  5. We bought two business class R tickets from Johannesburg to Larnaca cyprus. My booking reference is I would like to know if we have access to Al Mourjan lounge and why cant I reserve seats in the airplane ? How far in advance will I be able to reserve seats? Thank you

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