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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 Qsuite

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):

Qatar Airways business class fare structures

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:

Qatar Airways Avios earning chart

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:

Qatar Airways cape town fare

…. and here is the return:

Qatar Airways cape town

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 points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (October 2021)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

There are two official British Airways American Express cards. Both have increased sign-up bonuses until 2nd November 2021:

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

10,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 241 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

40,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

The 30,000 points bonus on Amex Gold runs to 9th November 2021. The 60,000 points bonus on The Platinum Card runs to 2nd November 2021.

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:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company 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. This card has a limited time offer of 60,000 Avios when you sign up:

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

60,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios 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.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)

Comments (17)

  • Redkitty says:

    With the new lite class, would that allow us to still purchase the access to first class lounge @qatar?

    • blenz101 says:

      Yes from between around $90 to $220 depending on which lounge you want to use. Similar situation with reward seats.

  • SwissNigel says:

    Thank you Rob, interestingly… for me the really interesting news here is the return to the Classic R fare of access to the Al Mourjan Lounge (and to a less important extent for status holders, outstation lounges) which had previously been removed with the unbundling of Classic. Hopefully Classic fares don’t increase in price to accommodate the ‘new’ benefit, and that the change is retrospective for Classics already booked.

    • Andrew says:

      And this applies to tickets already purchased – so if you bought an R class recently, thinking oh well, decent deal, I’ll cope without the lounge, you’ll now get lounge access when you fly.

      • Adam says:

        We we outbound LHR on R ticket and ‘First’ A ticket to DXB and refused lounge access on 25th September. I thought we might get Al Safwa with our A class rebooking. Priority pass currently giving access the Oryx lounge at Doha, so not bad. Our inbound is after this rule update so should be able to use our R ticket to Al Mourjan at DOH. I believe our A ticket will only get into the standard priority pass lounges at DXB.

        • Andrew says:

          I’m not sure if QR have reopened their lounge in DXB yet anyway.

          • The Original Nick. says:

            I was at T1 DXB lastnight and saw that quite a few lounges are still closed. BA lounge is still closed so they send you to Marhaba lounge which is shit. I walked in and walked straight back out because it was packed and went to the Ahlan Business lounge which I find is always good.

  • Paul says:

    There is a right answer. £185 for lounge access is mad. If you have one world status spending this money is mad.

    Alternatively get an Amex Platinum card with free priority pass which gives access to same lounge in AMS that QR use! If your transit is under 2 hours in Doha then access to the AM lounge is not worth it.

    I cant comment on Capetown but there is a Priority pass lounge and again status passengers have automatic access.

    Paying for seat selection in business class remains the best “grift” airlines have found in recent years and given the numbers that pay, it is clear that, as Barnum once said, ” there is one born every minute”

    • blenz101 says:

      The £185 is squarely aimed at those on business travel who are going to expense the full amount rather than leisure travellers making a value based decision.

      If you are doing business in Qatar / the region and your local host as lounge access then you may end up having to pay this to meet with them in the comfort and privacy of the lounge (at your companies expense). They are unlikely to ‘step down’ and see you at somewhere they perceive as inferior.

      Given 75cl of say Veuve Clicquot sells for close to £160 locally the pricing isn’t so far removed from what those who drink alcohol would expect to pay over the course of a few hours. Also don’t forget the average Qatari household nets nearly £15k a month so even if they don’t consume alcohol the cost will be pretty immaterial to most locals.

  • Dev says:

    Mix and match! Take the classic option where lounges are good and on the return, take the Lite option (if lounge is rubbish) and minimise transit time in Doha!

  • lumma says:

    So with the lite fare, you don’t get lounge access anywhere? I thought with the old R class you got access at the start and end point, just not in Doha?

    • blenz101 says:

      Currently you get lounge access by status on a lite fare but not in Qatar’s own lounges. When Qatar moves back to T3 at LHR for example you will currently be able to enter any OW lounge in the terminal with the exception of QR if on this fare type.

      QR have other lounges for status passengers in DOH currently as well.

      The plan is to stop lounge access altogether on reward or discounted business class fares regardless of status when flying QR in any OW lounge. QR have said they are working with their partners to make this happen. No other OW member is going to seriously object and I would expect others to follow suit particularly with offering lounge access on reward flights.

  • Lady London says:

    Where in Doha can you get a meal at the airport if you can’t be a$$ed to wonder whether Qatar is giving you lounge, no lounge or the no-no lounge (aka the Oryx) this week

  • Lady London says:

    Where in Doha can you get a meal at the airport if you can’t be a$$ed to wonder watar giving you lounge, no lounge or the no-no lounge (aka the Oryx) this week?

    Also 40kg luggage which applies everywhere the piece system doesn’t, so most places, is not that generous.

  • James Harper says:

    I think QR, a bit like SQ are in danger of overvaluing their product and in the doing of that p*ssing off a lot of people, not frequent fliers who know how to get lounge access but those who only fly from time to time but who for most pay out quite a lot of money to travel in business and they have expectations of lounge access and so on. I know people who simply won’t fly BA long haul because they won’t pay for business class seats so the money goes to others.

    Qatar are now at the same game and I think they will lose, maybe they won’t mind that but snipping away at business class like many did with economy is a slippery slope.

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