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What are the entry rules for the new (2nd) Qatar Airways lounge in Heathrow Terminal 4?

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Qatar Airways returned to Heathrow Terminal 4 on Tuesday, the first airline to do so. Others are following over the next couple of weeks until there will eventually be 30 carriers there.

One surprise is that Qatar Airways has built a second lounge in Terminal 4 during the pandemic. What we thought was going to be an extension to the existing Premium lounge seems to be a totally separate facility.

We don’t have any official information on this yet although we are hoping to take a look soon.

the new (2nd) Qatar Airways lounge in Heathrow Terminal 4

Historically, Qatar Airways restricted access to its Premium lounge at Heathrow to anyone flying in Business or First Class.

Status passengers travelling in Economy were originally sent to the SkyTeam lounge (now permanently closed) and later to the Plaza Premium lounge which sits directly above the Qatar Airways lounge.

Qatar Airways seems to have decided that it wanted to completely control the passenger experience at Heathrow Terminal 4 by opening its own ‘second’ lounge. One potential issue is that this may impact those flying on Avios tickets.

Note that the pictures in this article are all PR photos of the Premium lounge in Terminal 4.

the new (2nd) Qatar Airways lounge in Heathrow Terminal 4

The new Qatar Airways Frequent Flyer Lounge

The oneworld alliance website now shows the following lounge information for Heathrow Terminal 4.

Qatar Airways Frequent Flyer Lounge

Open to: Business Class, First Class, oneworld Emerald (eg BA Gold), oneworld Sapphire (eg BA Silver)

Guesting: You can only bring a guest if getting in via oneworld status

Which airlines?: The lounge can be accessed by Qatar Airways passengers as well as those flying on other oneworld airlines (eg Malaysia Airlines)

the new (2nd) Qatar Airways lounge in Heathrow Terminal 4

Qatar Airways Premium Lounge

Open to: Business and First Class passengers on revenue tickets

Guesting: No guests allowed

Which airlines?: The lounge can be accessed by Qatar Airways passengers as well as those flying on other oneworld airlines (eg Malaysia Airlines) but they must be flying on revenue tickets

Both lounges are open from 5am to 10pm, seven days per week.

To add to the confusion, remember that Qatar Airways also sells discounted Business Class tickets which don’t allow any lounge access.

What about Avios tickets?

It is still early days and we need to see what happens in practice. However, based on the wording on the oneworld website, it looks like anyone flying on Qatar Airways on an Avios ticket, even if flying First Class, will be relegated to the Frequent Flyer lounge. This means no ‘at table’ food service, no fine wines or top end champagne etc.

The real winners here are Malaysia Airlines and Royal Air Maroc passengers. With the Malaysia Airlines lounge in Heathrow Terminal 4 now closed, revenue passengers in Business Class or Business Suite are probably now best served by visiting the Qatar Airways Premium Lounge.

We’ll update you on the Qatar Airways lounges when we’ve been able to have a look for ourselves.

Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (June 2023)

Here are the four options to get FREE airport lounge access via a UK credit card.

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with two free Priority Pass cards, one for you and one for a supplementary cardholder. Each card admits two so a family of four gets in free. You get access to all 1,300 lounges in the Priority Pass network – search it here.

You also get access to Plaza Premium, Delta Air Lines and Eurostar lounges.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

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.

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points AND a £200 Amex Travel voucher until 13th June! Read our full review

If you have a small business, consider American Express Business Platinum instead.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for the first year. It comes with a Priority Pass card loaded with four free visits to any Priority Pass lounge – see the list here.

Additional lounge visits are charged at £20.  You get four more free visits for every year you keep the card.  

There is no annual fee for Amex Gold in Year 1 and you get a 20,000 points sign-up bonus.  Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review 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

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard gets you get a free LoungeKey card, allowing you access to the LoungeKey network.  Guests are charged at £20 although it may be cheaper to pay £60 for a supplementary credit card for your partner.

The card has a fee of £195 and there are strict financial requirements to become a HSBC Premier customer.  Full details are in my HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard review.

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

A huge bonus, but only available to HSBC Premier clients Read our full review

PS. You can find all of HfP’s UK airport lounge reviews – and we’ve been to most of them – indexed here.

Comments (48)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Alan says:

    I will be interested what you find out as I have booked an Avios ticket in Biz class on QR LHR-DOH-SIN.

    I read a posting on some people redeeming AA reward tickets on QR being able to access their lounges – albeit the article is about four months old

  • Dev says:

    BTW, Royal Air Maroc will be in T4 as well. A short haul cheapish J class ticket to Casablanca will get you into the main premium lounge.

  • sigma421 says:

    I can’t remember where I read this but I’m sure I previously found out that by ‘revenue’ they actually mean cash or redemption tickets. The intention is to exclude free upgrades and industry tickets.

  • Jon says:

    Any idea when (if) Malaysia Airlines is moving back to T4? My August flight is still showing as T2 in the booking.

    • Rob says:

      Next Wednesday. Didn’t they tell you?!

      • Jon says:

        Of course not. I’m only one of their top-tier FFPs, why would they bother notifying me? 😉

  • Andrew J says:

    Why all this guess work? I thought HFP were really cosy with QR? Surely a “sponsored article” written by them would have been easier?

    • Rob says:

      Do you know how many hours it takes to get an airside pass for Heathrow? We will get down there at some point but it would take at least a month to arrange.

      • aseftel says:

        Wouldn’t it be straightforward to – with QR’s blessing – buy a flexible ticket then cancel when airside? Or would that sort of process circumvention upset the powers that be at Heathrow?

      • Errol says:

        I am surprised airports in places like London provide airside passes for such inane activities as reviewing a lounge. Airside passes are only supposed to be given to people with a legitimate operational reason to go airside. Reviewing a lounge would not qualify in my view. If an airline wants a reviewer to visit their lounge, they should provide the reviewer a complimentary ticket and showcase their lounge and complete product.

        I presume reviewers are escorted at all times when airside? If not, that is something of a security concern.

        • Rhys says:

          They don’t give airside passes for reviewing lounges.

          The only time we’ve had airside passes is for airside events, such as hangar events or when Manchester opened its new terminal.

          Anyone with an airside pass needs to be escorted at all times. But you have to go through all the normal security procedures anyway.

          • mutley says:

            Do they still issue passes at D’albiac House, I remember collecting mine there in the 80’s as a student whilst working airside, I experienced a few hanger events myself though they were largely confined to the stock cupboard of the duty-free shop!

  • Andrew says:

    This behaviour is really quite obnoxious.

    What next, lounge access only for men on £5k+ tickets ?

    • qrfan says:

      Did you miss the bit where there are two lounges and both status holders and avios tickets get access to the other lounge?? BA also have 3 different tiers of access, it’s just they reward loyalty over paid tickets, so nobody on here complains. If you had to endure galleries club on a busy day having paid £8k for your fully flex San Fran ticket as my friend did, you’d have a different opinion on this policy.

      • Rob says:

        Indeed. I can buy a £29 one way Economy flight to Europe and hit Galleries First whilst your £8k ticket holder is stuck in Galleries Club.

      • Andrew says:

        It’s one thing to have an extra tier of lounge for first class passengers (note: both revenue and redemption) – e.g. CCR, Flagship First Dining etc. First class is more of an edge case these days in terms of passenger numbers, the premium is arguably justified (and often ties in with a GGL-like tier), and the underlying product is still solid.

        If you’re a OWE you’re still fundamentally getting a solid First class ground product, e.g. the First Wing, Galleries First with a la carte dining and decent food offering, premium wines and spirits and often cocktails.

        If you’re OWS or travelling in business (revenue and redemption) you’re getting a (generally) solid Business class ground product. Sure you can game the system on a cheap CE ticket or Y with status, but the product is fine – and if you’re regularly travelling on those £8k J tickets to SFO you’ll soon earn OWE and have access to the First ground product.

        But Qatar’s approach is radically different, essentially creating a substandard Priority Pass-esque experience for everyone that’s not on a mid-range or above paid ticket, practically disregarding status…

        Business or First class check-in at Doha? No – ticketed J/F passengers only – use a dedicated economy lane the other side of check-in.
        Al Mourjan/Safwa lounge? No – ticketed J/F passengers only – use the Priority Pass-grade Silver or Gold lounges, many bad reviews – often lacking hot food, alcohol only on request in the Silver lounge.

        The question is what does this do to loyalty? If e.g. a BA Gold or GGL has the same experience on a full-fare Y or J class ticket as a BA Blue member (no better lounge e.g. Al Safwa, no First check-in at Doha etc) – you drive people to make decisions purely on a ticket by ticket basis.

        It’s this ‘step up’ of OWEs travelling in J that I think is the biggest oversight which oneworld otherwise does very well.

        • marcw says:

          You are free to travel with other airlines if you don’t like their Business policy.

          • Andrew says:

            That’s exactly my point re: loyalty proposition

          • Lady London says:

            Yes and I consider myself free to do so now

            Whereas previously it was Qatar all the way.

            Even the ambiguity of constant little rule changes wondering if you’ll somehow not be qualified for lounge access, or be sent unexpectedly to a lounge that’s really not that nice, means I’m not turning to Qatar first anymore.

            And Qatar’s nasty habit of turning a reasonably timed not-too-long layover in Doha, to a terrible overnight long-hours layover, by rescheduling after you’ve chosen them and bought your ticket, plus frequent equipment changes often to worse aircraft, means you can’t rely on Qatar. So they are not the go-to they once were.

    • JDB says:

      Since they already reduce lounge access for cheaper business revenue tickets, they do have some justification. There is also precedent for miles tickets receiving lesser treatment eg. withdrawal of limo benefits for redemption tickets, IIRC by Virgin and Emirates.

      Also many lounges are already too crowded which then degrades the experience so restricting access is for the greater good. If I were an airline manager that makes these sort of decisions I would be quite concerned about reports I read here of people making a ‘day out’ visiting or touring lounges, further clogging them for the ordinary passenger.

      • Blenz101 says:

        Agreed. If you aren’t connecting then lounges which get excessively busy should restrict access to 3 hours before departure. Would solve a lot of the problems.

        People rocking up excessively early to spend the day grazing and drinking must surely be the worst kind of passenger for an airline.

        • ChrisC says:

          Relativly easy to stop the hopping and that’s to restrict it to entry to one lounge only and if you make the ‘wrong’ choice then so be it.

          Personally I try not to arrive excessivly early but sometimes and especially with public transport it’s not possible to do otherwise.

          • Rob says:

            It actively makes sense at present to arrive early and then work from the lounge.

            Gatwick BA lounge has a 50-desk hot desk space in it.

        • Lady London says:

          I use lounges for working mostly, don’t bother with alcohol,not a huge eater. Lounges stop me wasting days when I’m stuck in transit, or had to turn up hours early at an airport due to public transport, or some other reason.

          I spend considerably more for my travel than I need to due to knowing that with status or in the right class, I can work whilst waiting for flights or take refuge in the lounge on difficult travel days. I also take many more flights than I strictly need to because I know the routine works for me.

          If I can’t rely on those facilities being available to me when needed then it’ll just be about price.

      • Blair Waldorf Salad says:

        “ If I were an airline manager that makes these sort of decisions I would be quite concerned about reports I read here of people making a ‘day out’ visiting or touring lounges, further clogging them for the ordinary passenger.” – now if only someone had a quill and ink handy to write such a letter to said airline manager

  • Terry Butcher says:

    Could be a very shrewd move. British Airways would do well to consider something along these lines – their lounges just cannot cope under the present arrangement.

    • tony says:

      Surely this only works if you actually want to delineate the offering, otherwise you just build a bigger lounge? And to what extent is the problem status card holders (there might be a modest shake out here over the next 12-18 months) versus massive CE cabins?

      I reckon a significant step forward would be actively pushing all long haul pax with Galleries Club access to the B lounge. Give up on bussing passengers from A10 (use gates in B or C) and agree not to park a widebody at whichever one gate on A can take it.

      • ChrisC says:

        ‘just build a bigger lounge’ ?

        Good luck with that at many airports!

        I know a good few years ago VS wanted to expand the LHR CH. Was simply not possible horrizontally and vertically was nigh on impossible as well because the existing building wouldn’t take the weight of an additional floor.

      • Lady London says:

        I hate A10 and bus departures. Quite often it’s seemed the bus actually takes us so far from T5 the plane must actually be at another terminal.

    • Memesweeper says:

      They already do for higher status customers with partners versus paying First customers. Business class and lower status still share all the same lounges at the moment in T5.

      Differentiation of this type comes at a cost. Qatar are, I’m guessing, worried about being swamped with passengers flying with other airlines, hence the decision. I doubt they are fussed about a handful of redeemers per flight on their own metal.

      • Track says:

        They are fussed, and there is still no explanation for refusing access to ‘discounted’ Business Class paying customers to the massive lounge complex at Doha airport.

        • Rob says:

          To be fair to Qatar, having to absorb two flights worth of Malaysia Airlines premium passengers – now MH has closed its own lounge – can’t be easy. Royal Air Maroc also joined oneworld during covid and is a T4 airline. Clearly these airlines will be paying money to QR but cash is never their top priority.

    • Rhys says:

      They already do. It’s called the Concorde Room!

  • Richie says:

    QR has some enormous economy cabins on its 3-4-3 configured B777s and doesn’t do PE, so has a high proportion of economy passengers than some other OW airlines, this is sensibly keeping economy passengers in the right lounge and controlling costs.

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