- 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.
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.
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.