Qatar Airways launches a new Business Class fare – no lounge access, fewer Avios
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Qatar Airways has been chipping away at its Business Class fare structures in recent years, as it attempts to follow the trend for ‘light’ fares with stripped down benefits.
From 1st October there will be another change – and this one will cut the Avios you earn.
Qatar Airways is hugely popular with Head for Points readers for a number of reasons:
- Qatar Airways offers an exceptionally good Business Class product
- you earn Avios and British Airways Executive Club tier points when you fly with Qatar Airways
- because of the aircraft change in Doha, you will earn substantially more tier points when you fly indirect with Qatar Airways compared with flying direct on British Airways
- Qatar Airways flights can be exceptionally cheap in Business Class as you will see in the example below
What is changing with Business Class fare structures?
At present, the cheapest Business Class fare offered by Qatar Airways books into ‘R’ class. In 2020, Qatar Airways removed lounge access from these fares.
‘R’ is now being replaced with ‘P’. This is the ticket which you will get if you book a deeply discounted Qatar Airways sale fare.
The price difference between the new cheap ‘Lite’ ‘P’ class and the higher ‘Classic’ ‘R’ fare is not huge. You may wish to pay a little more for the extra benefits.
Here is a chart showing you how the new Qatar Airways Business Class fare classes work (click to enlarge):
Here are some key points:
- you receive free checked baggage on the new ‘Lite’ fares
- you pay to select a seat, unless you have oneworld elite status (this is not hugely important with Qatar Airways as there are no ‘bad’ seats with Qsuite)
- you do NOT receive access to the main Qatar Airways lounge complex in Doha (oneworld elite status members will receive access to a secondary lounge)
- refunds and date changes ARE possible but for a fee
- whether you earn Avios or Qmiles, you earn 75% of miles flown
As ‘light’ Business Class fares go, this is not too bad. OK, you don’t get lounge access. You won’t be paying extra for checked baggage, however, and you can refund your ticket for a fee.
The reduction in Avios earned is new. The cheapest Business Class tickets currently earn 125% of miles flown. This is the new chart currently shown on ba.com:
The good news is that you will continue to earn 140 British Airways tier points per leg. This is more important than Avios earned to most UK residents who fly Qatar Airways. After all, one return Business Class flight to Bangkok via Doha earns (140 x 4) 560 tier points which is almost enough for Silver status in Executive Club.
Should you pay more to upgrade?
Let’s look at whether it is worth paying a little extra for a Classic ‘R’ ticket:
There is no change in baggage allowance or the need to pay for seat selection if you have no British Airways status. However:
- you will receive access to the ‘official’ Qatar Airways lounges
- you will earn Avios at the higher rate of 125% of miles flown vs 75%
- you can make one change to your travel date or destination without paying change fees
Here’s an example
Let’s look at a Qatar Airways flight from Amsterdam to Cape Town in Business Class in February 2022.
This is for the outbound leg:
…. and here is the return:
A ‘Lite’ return fare will be €1,560 (£1,338) whilst ‘Classic’ is €1,774 (£1,522).
Is it worth paying the extra £184 for:
- lounge access
- 125% Avios vs 75% Avios based on miles flown
- the ability to make one date or route change without change fees?
There is no right or wrong answer BUT the price differential is definitely ‘fair’. The extra Avios earned would cover a good % of the extra cost.
You can find out more about the new Qatar Airways fare structure on its website here.
You can check out the current deals from Amsterdam here and from Berlin here – there are some good sale fares available.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (June 2023)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard
Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review
Barclaycard Avios Mastercard
5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review
British Airways American Express
5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 13th June, the sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card is doubled to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – and you get £200 to spend at Amex Travel too! Apply here.
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
60,000 points AND a £200 Amex Travel voucher until 13th June! Read our full review
Run your own business?
We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.
Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review
You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.
EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.
British Airways Accelerating Business American Express
30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review
There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.
American Express Business Platinum
40,000 points bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review
American Express Business Gold
20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.