Review: the new Qatar Airways Frequent Flyer lounge in Heathrow Terminal 4
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This is our review of the new Qatar Airways Frequent Flyer lounge in Heathrow Terminal 4.
When Terminal 4 reopened last June, we were surprised to see that Qatar Airways had built a second lounge. What we thought was going to be an extension to the existing Premium lounge turned out to be a totally separate facility.
Before I get into the lounge review, I should mention that Qatar Airways has recently opened a premium check-in facility in Heathrow Terminal 4. It looks similar to the one operated by British Airways at Gatwick. I didn’t use it – I was only travelling with hand baggage – but it looks smart:
Why does Qatar Airways need two lounges?
The Qatar Airways Premium lounge in Terminal 4 is, arguably, the classiest airport lounge in Heathrow. It is a very smart and sophisticated place to spend your time, with a high quality restaurant.
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 Terminal 4 lounge (review here) 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.
Who can access the new Qatar Airways Frequent Flyer lounge?
Acess to the lounge is as follows, as per the oneworld website:
- Open to: Business Class, First Class, oneworld Emerald (eg BA Gold), oneworld Sapphire (eg BA Silver), Qatar Privilege Club Silver members (but not oneworld Ruby equivalents)
- Guesting: You can only bring a guest if getting in via oneworld status, not by ticket class
- Which airlines?: The lounge can be accessed by Qatar Airways passengers as well as those flying on other oneworld airlines (primarily Malaysia Airlines now that it has closed its own lounge in Terminal 4, and Royal Air Maroc)
Both lounges share the same entrance, which is down by Gate 1. There is only one check in desk, with the staff directing you either to the right – to enter the Premium lounge – or towards the stairs or lift if you are heading to the Frequent Flyer lounge.
The staircase has been designed to add a touch of theatre to the lounge, and it opens out directly into the main seating area.
Whilst it looks as it I was given a private tour, I wasn’t. I arrived at Heathrow four hours before my flight and, with no other departures, I literally had the place to myself for 45 minutes. The whole terminal was empty at this point – I also had the Fast Track security line to myself, and even after I’d spend 2-3 minutes repacking my bags there was still no-one else behind me.
Qatar Airways has created a classy space with floor to ceiling windows running down one side. No aircraft were parked up outside however and it is literally a dead end so no aircraft cruise past. This is not the place to plane spot!
There are basically four seating zones. There are two circular areas with grey fabric armchairs at the bottom of the staircase (oddly without power outlets as far as I could tell):
Running along the window are a series of areas which are suitable for families, each containing at least four red seats (the tables here contain power sockets):
There is a small seating area with green, higher backed, chairs next to the two TVs:
Finally there is a seating by the buffet in the dining area:
Food and drink in the Qatar Airways Frequent Flyer lounge
I was there during breakfast and, just before I left, the lunch service was laid out. The quality of the food – with the exception of a pain au chocolat which was a bit dry – was very high.
It’s been a few years since I was in a British Airways business class lounge at Heathrow, but given that the quality of food in the Qatar Airways Frequent Flyer lounge is well above the Galleries First lounge, it must be light years ahead of what Galleries Club is currently serving up.
The hot lunch dishes which were coming out as I left were Sweetcorn Mousseline, Beef Short Ribs with Chimichurri, Chicken Makhani, Prawn Machboos with Raita, Broccolini with Fire Pepper and Mozzarella Ravioli with Slow Roasted Tomato Sauce. There was also a full salad bar laid out.
In terms of drinks, you have two options. Some French sparkling wine (not champagne) is laid out in an ice bucket:
…. together with a fridge of soft drinks below it.
There is also a QR-coded drinks menu although orders needed to be placed in person with the staff. This includes a wide list of teas, coffees, juices, soft drinks, basic spirits (Johnnie Walker Red, Baileys etc) and beers (Heineken, Stella Artois) and even non-alcoholic sparkling wine.
Whilst not huge (there are around 60 seats, excluding the dining area), the Qatar Airways Frequent Flyer lounge is a classy space with high quality food.
Whilst it may get busy at peak times, it was a haven of quiet in the late morning. The pinch point will be around 8pm, with both Qatar Airways and Malaysia Airlines having back-to-back departures around 9.20pm.
My only niggle is the lack of champagne, but to be honest it is very rare to see this on free pour in a business class lounge – and this, technically, is meant to be a step below a business class lounge. In reality, it is better than virtually all UK airport lounges outside London.
If you are travelling on Qatar Airways (or Malaysia Airlines, or Royal Air Maroc) in Economy but have British Airways Silver or Gold status, you will get a good start to your trip here.
How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (March 2023)
As a reminder, here are the four options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit card:
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
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.
American Express Business Platinum
Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 30th March) and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review
If you have a small business, consider American Express Business Platinum instead.
Until 30th March 2023, the sign up bonus on American Express Business Platinum is increased to 120,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. T&C apply, see the application forms for details.
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
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.
HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard
A huge bonus, but only available to HSBC Premier clients 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.
PS. You can find all of HfP’s UK airport lounge reviews – and we’ve been to most of them – indexed here.