Qatar: business class reward bookings still have lounge access

Qatar Airways says business class bookings made with points or miles will still include lounge access.

By David Flynn, November 19 2020
Qatar: business class reward bookings still have lounge access
Executive Traveller exclusive

Qatar Airways says that business class reward bookings will continue to be treated as a conventional business class fare, with the full suite of inclusions such as lounge access and advance seat selection, instead of an 'unbundled' fare.

Earlier this week a spokesperson for the Oneworld member told Executive Traveller that as part of its new fare structure, business class bookings made using frequent flyer points or miles would be categorised as an unbundled Business Class Classic fare and "receive a Business Class Classic ticket as standard."

A 'fare families FAQ' guide distributed by Qatar Airways to travel agents worldwide also specified that "reward bookings will receive the Business Classic product attributes", although it allowed that "we will offer complimentary advance seat selection and lounge access in accordance to QR and Oneworld elite tier benefits."

However, the airline now says its advice was incorrect and "we have not made any changes to award ticket policies as a result of fare family changes."

A spokesperson for Qatar Airways now tells Executive Traveller that any passenger "booking a Business Class award flight will receive the same benefits as before, including complimentary lounge access and seat allocation.”

This applies to seats booked using Qatar Airways' own Qmiles as well as the points or miles of other Oneworld partner airlines, and is regardless of the passenger's frequent flyer status.

PREVIOUS [November 17, 2020] | Travellers who use their frequent flyer points or miles to book a business class seat on Qatar Airways are about to discover that entry to an airport lounge is no longer part of the deal.

The recent overhaul of Qatar Airways' fare structure now assigns business class 'reward' bookings as an unbundled Business Class Classic fare, which in turn removes lounge access along with advanced seat selection.

Fortunately, passengers who hold Qatar Airways' Privilege Club Gold or Platinum status – or the equivalent tier with another Oneworld member airline – will find that shiny card still offers lounge entry.

But if you've no status, there's no lounge unless you pay at the door.

That's an option at Qatar Airways' Doha lounges – prices range from 300 QAR (A$113) to 600 QAR (A$226) – as well as most independent lounges.

A spokesperson for Qatar Airways confirmed to Executive Traveller that passengers "booking a business class award flight will receive a Business Class Classic ticket as standard."

As with any traveller booking a Business Class Classic fare, complimentary lounge access and advance seat selection "will be offered in accordance to Qatar Airways Privilege Club and Oneworld elite benefits."

Qatar Airways' latest fare sheet specifies that "if booked in Business Classic, complimentary lounge access is not included at any airport. This includes third-party contracted lounges and other Oneworld member airline lounges."

"However, if the passenger is a QR Gold/Platinum or Oneworld Sapphire/Emerald, the tier benefits will continue to apply and access will be granted."

Read more: Your complete guide to Qatar Airways' unbundled Business Classic fares


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.

KW72 Banned
KW72 Banned

17 Jun 2020

Total posts 242

Does this mean in Doha a oneworld emerald in business class will get shafted to the “first class lounge” which is worse than the Rockhampton Qantas Club?

What a joke. Qatar should be kicked out of one world. Pathetic airline that can’t include lounge access but provides complimentary and invasive vaginal examinations instead.


20 Oct 2020

Total posts 12

Really hoping this unbundling-of-business-class trend is a fad that doesn’t catch on...

13 Nov 2020

Total posts 4

I hope this does not become a trend among other One World partners.

American Airlines - AAdvantage

13 Jul 2015

Total posts 276

Lol Qatar are actually becoming a joke. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 May 2011

Total posts 231

I can't but help feel that this trend of unbundling business class fares is going to spread throughout the industry.
This feels like the beginning of the end for business class.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Aug 2013

Total posts 251

It's more of a joke when you have to pay like $1000 for fees as well let alone the points and few hundred for lounge access now.

I can't help but think travellers have brought this on themselves. This isn't a go at ET at all - more those forums and instagram influencers which alert everyone on how to sign up for a credit card bonus so that every man and his dog can score a seat in first or business these days. 



09 May 2020

Total posts 553

You don’t have to go to ET to find out how to flip credit card to get points (in fact I don’t get as much from ET as elsewhere, mostly Facebook groups, probably because they are not wary of commercial pressure from advertisers) and frankly it’s not as if the credit cards issues are not paying for the points they purchase from airlines, nor the fact the airlines are effectively printing money from air as they are the sole determinant of how the points can be redeemed and to what value and type of products. 

The few who game the point churning system is still by far a minority and should have been factored in when planning a credit card campaign and airline affiliation/reward program 


09 May 2020

Total posts 553

Doesn’t make sense unless they figured out the numbers of people travelling by points and how it affect traffic in the lounge. 

Quite frankly it shouldn’t affect the costs of running a lounge if the numbers suggest anything less than 15% or so per shift and it’s more of trying to get these travellers to pay for the lounge entry in Hamad Airport where most off not all lounges have some affiliation to Qatar Air. 

Elsewhere it may be cheaper using alternative lounges

Considering accumulating points or miles would have constituted some form of loyalty to OneWorld or Qatar’s Privilege Club, it’s not much of a reward if the penny pinch tactics bugger up any goodwill from pax

07 Mar 2017

Total posts 53

Qatar doesn't view the FF program as a loyalty earner, but more an offering for those who fly them by default. That's why its own redemption rates are poor, and it hasn't been attractive as they have a lock on their own base. 

This is just an extension of that, as a money raiser. It's not about its own costs, it enables them to charge for something they didn't previously. For those who get many points through their own program, they'll either have status, or still have many points and feel  the need to pay up. But it won't change their situation. And for many people who redeem they'll still look at is as "they got the flight much cheaper" than otherwise, so will pay the extra if they want.

As said in another post, for me it's another reason to avoid them, given the better offerings of competitors (As it stands)..


09 May 2020

Total posts 553

Makes sense, although of course if this works, nothing to stop other OW partners to do the same unfortunately.

Mind you for other OW airlines, their hub is far more likely to have better choices of alternative lounges including those with credit card affiliation so the certainty of capture of lounge fee business will be low.

08 May 2020

Total posts 46

There’s a huge number of people who want a product somewhere between Economy and Business so I can understand airlines trying to refine the product offering in this space.  

Personally I think Cathay and BA have been proven to tap this market most effectively with their Premium Economy, i’m not sure how much fiddling with Award bookings will really help Qatar except perhaps delay a devaluation by a year or 2 and keep their accountants happy.

08 May 2020

Total posts 46

I wonder if this is in preparation for the Oneworld award upgrades.  So all the upgrades from other award programmes will not include Qatar lounge access.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer - Chairmans Lounge

01 Sep 2011

Total posts 416

Not quite the airline people rave about.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Oct 2013

Total posts 31

At least they should offer an option to have lounge included at a slightly higher point rate...

18 Nov 2020

Total posts 1

I have an existing AA Award booking with a long layover in Doha.  Record locator shows U fare class.

Is this a change of award fare code, so I will still have access?  Or is there a way to ask to be grandfathered in to the terms when booked?  Flight is September 2021.

Thank you for advice & suggestions.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 386

Nothing says “world’s best business class” like “I’m sorry you’re not invited into the lounge today”. 

Requires repeating:-

"What a joke. Qatar should be kicked out of one world. Pathetic airline that can’t include lounge access but provides complimentary and invasive vaginal examinations instead."

29 Jan 2015

Total posts 41

Qatar forgot many of their flught connections require landing at Doha Airport at horrible times of the night/ early hours of the morning.

If Qatar cant be bothered to provide access to a nice lounge at those times then it will definitely tip the balance to passengers choosing other airlibes'flights that connect on betyer places wbere thete are more facilitiesbthat dont cost an arm and a leg whether included lounges or otger decent facilities.

And Qatar has still not apologised for the unneceddary distress caused by ignorant Qatari staff includong apparently doctors who dont know that it:s not necessary to perform vaginal examinations in orfer to determibe if somw innocent blonde Australuan leaving on a flught has juat given birth.  Qatae and the Doha Airport management should alologise for their ignorance and compensate the passengers involved.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 Aug 2012

Total posts 214

I suspect that they've had a storm of negative blowback on this and quickly done a U turn !

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Oct 2013

Total posts 31

Yippee. The power of feedback 👌👍


03 May 2013

Total posts 668

As I've always said....brilliant in the air and pathetic everywhere else. Just like Gulf Air, Etihad before them; Qatar will fade away into a normal 'nothing to write home about' airline. From rude and arrogant check-in staff(in SYD anyway) to DOH shambles when this go wrong - that's as good as it ever really got with QR. Emirates has been the most consistent of all. Qantas chose well to partner with them as opposed to Qatar.

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