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."