Qatar Airways launches unbundled Business Lite fare

There'll no longer be free entry to airport lounges under Qatar's entry-level business class fare.

By David Flynn, September 27 2021
Qatar Airways launches unbundled Business Lite fare

  • Qatar Airways' new Business Lite fares go on sale September 4, 2021
  • Airport lounge access is not included under a Business Lite ticket
  • However, frequent flyers will still have lounge access based on their status

Qatar Airways is rolling out an unbundled business class fare known as Business Lite which won't include complimentary airport lounge access as part of the travel experience.

If that sounds strangely familiar, it's because Qatar Airways did this in November 2020 with the launch of a Business Classic fare – however, the airline is now revamping its fare families to restore lounge access to Business Classic bookings while adding the new loungeless Business Lite fare for selected flights from October 1, 2021.

Qatar Airways says it is expanding its business class fare family "in a bid to offer greater choice to its passengers."

"Each fare family offers passengers a clear, distinct set of products and services designed to meet the specific needs of its broad customer base."

How much cheaper will Qatar's Business Lite fares be?

The Business Lite fares will cost less than their fully-fledged siblings, although they won't be offered on all routes.

But by way of example, for an end of year return trip from Sydney to London via Doha, Qatar Airway's Business Lite fare is priced at $7,379, compared to $8,479 for Business Classic.

Similarly, a Sydney-Doha-Paris business class return trip around the same period saw  Business Lite  priced at $7,765, compared to $8,464 for a Business Classic ticket.

Qatar Airways' Singapore lounge.
Qatar Airways' Singapore lounge.

Business Lite fares will allow you to enter an airport lounge provided you pay up front: for example, Qatar Airways' Doha lounges charge from 300 QAR (A$113) to 600 QAR (A$226).

The good news for frequent flyers is that even if they're travelling on a Business Lite fare, they will still qualify for free lounge access.

This applies to Gold and Platinum members of Qatar Airways Privilege Club, along with their Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald equivalents (such as Qantas Frequent Flyer Gold and Platinum, British Airways Executive Club Silver and Gold, and Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Club Gold and Diamond).

At Qatar Airways' Doha hub this will however mean foregoing the sprawling Al Mourjan Lounge in favour of Qatar's smaller and less opulent 'first class' and 'business class' lounges.

That said, in locations such as Singapore they'll be able to choose between the lounges of Qatar Airways, Qantas and British Airways, while in ports such as Hong Kong they'll be welcomed at any of the Cathay Pacific lounges.

Here is how Qatar Airways' expanded four-member business class fare family pans out.

Qatar Airways' new four-tiered business class fare family.
Qatar Airways' new four-tiered business class fare family.

As you can see, and as expected, Business Lite fares attract a far smaller serving of frequent flyer points – in this instance, Qatar Airways' Qmiles – along with restrictions on changing the date and/or routing of your travel, and obtaining a full refund on the booking.

There's also no early seat selection – you'll have to wait until online checkin opens – although Executive Traveller understands that, as with lounge access, a frequent flyer whose status includes seat selection can still choose their seat well in advance of the flight, provided their frequent flyer program and membership number has been entered into the booking.

However, cabin baggage and checked luggage allowances remain the same for Business Lite fares as for Business Classic, Business Comfort and Business Elite fares.

Also read: Have we seen the last of Qatar Airways' classy Airbus A380 lounge?

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Mar 2014

Total posts 200

Are any changes flagged to Qantas points earning?

06 Feb 2021

Total posts 36

If the prices are in line with where they were at the time of the November announcement, this is just an excuse to raise the price of the ticket if you want the same benefits that were enjoyed previously.  The " Comfort " fare is the one that should be labelled " Classic" as that includes lounge access and seat booking, as the previous all inclusive fare did. The new " Lite" and " Classic " fares should be lower than the previous fare, but on the basis of Novembers announcement, they won't be. I can just imagine the reaction when passengers arriving at the airport for their flight, having booked through an agent, are told their business class ticket does not include lounge access, and also, the only seats left are the ones near the toilets.   I hope this backfires on Qatar, they lose patronage,  and then hopefully revert back to an all inclusive fare.  

Joe
Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 642

That's exactly all it is.  I used to like Qatar Airways.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 516

Ian, isn't the 'Elite' fare what you'd call an 'All-inclusive' Fare ?  It sort of reads that way.  

(QR Privilege Club Platinum)

06 Feb 2021

Total posts 36

Yes it is, but that's the precise point of what I am saying.  Prior to Qatar unbundling their business class fares, the base level, even when discounted, business class ticket price, included seat allocation at time of booking and also lounge access.  When these fares were first announced back in November, the " Classic " fare, which didn't include either lounge access (now it does,) or seat booking was roughly at the same price as the previous fare. To get the same benefits included as previously, you had to purchase either the "Comfort" or "Elite" both of which were considerably more expensive.  From memory the " Comfort " then was roughly $A2,000 more to Europe than the Classic fare.  If your employer is paying for the ticket, that might not matter, but if you're paying for it out of your own pocket, it makes a significant difference.   I used to enjoy flying Qatar, the service was second to none, but unless there is a change in the pricing structure, I am unlikely to fly with them again.  

08 May 2020

Total posts 29

I can’t help thinking this business class ratification from all oneworld partners must be linked to the Oneworld upgrade redemptions project.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Sep 2019

Total posts 2

How does it affect flights booked with points? We have a couple of business RTWs.


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