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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:

Qatar Airways premium checkin heathrow terminal 4

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.

Qatar Airways Frequent Flyer Lounge Heathrow Terminal 4 stairs

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):

Qatar Airways Frequent Flyer lounge Heathrow Terminal 4

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):

Qatar Airways Frequent Flyer lounge in Heathrow Terminal 4 seating

There is a small seating area with green, higher backed, chairs next to the two TVs:

Qatar Airways Frequent Flyer lounge in Heathrow Terminal 4 seats

Finally there is a seating by the buffet in the dining area:

Qatar Airways Frequent Flyer lounge in Heathrow Terminal 4 buffet

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.

Qatar Airways Frequent Flyer lounge Heathrow Terminal 4 breakfast

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:

Qatar Airways Frequent Flyer lounge Heathrow Terminal 4 wine

…. 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.

Conclusion

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.


Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (June 2024)

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 1,500 lounges in the Priority Pass network – search it here.

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

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

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

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit 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 £24.  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 – 30,000 points (TO 16TH JULY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard gets you get a free Priority Pass card, allowing you access to the Priority Pass network.  Guests are charged at £24 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 (51)

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

  • Henry Young says:

    You neglected to mention that Qatar Silver gets access too. Perhaps that’s supposed to be obvious ? Perhaps there’s too much of a focus on BA around here ?

    • Rob says:

      I just copied what’s on the oneworld website! It did cross my mind though given that Qatar Silver gets lounge access in Doha even though BA Bronze doesn’t.

  • Londonsteve says:

    Why’s is worth Qatar’s while segregating passengers in this way particularly at outstations? For example, Qantas is not only happy to mix it’s own First and Business passengers with those of other OW airlines, it’s also happy to accept OW Emerald and Sapphire status holders flying on Economy tickets with any OW carrier. I assume this is so that the lounge pays its way, but you never hear complaints from Qantas passengers about the ‘class’ of their fellow lounge users, as long as it’s never overcroded that’s all that matters. It’s impossible to tell when looking at other lounge visitors if they’re there via status flying on an Economy ticket or if they actually hold a premium ticket with the airline that runs the lounge. Is this some Arabic thing to ensure that the Middle Eastern elite flying in First and Business have somewhere completely private away from prying eyes?

    • Rob says:

      It’s common sense. Qatar wants to provide an uber-premium service for its Business and First Class passengers, which means that it physically cannot accept status-holding Economy passengers. You can’t be offering a restaurant quality waiter served meal with fine wines and champagne to people on a £300 economy flight to Dubai via Doha.

      London isn’t a normal outstation either – it is by far the most important outstation for the airline in terms of passenger yield, especially from Qatari nationals who pay very high fares for ex-Doha flights.

      (Remember BA does the same in New York with a dedicated First Class lounge – no status passengers allowed – at its most important outstation.)

      Frankly it’s also a space issue. I doubt the Premium lounge could have handled everyone. The Qantas lounge in T3 is probably bigger than the two Qatar lounges and the two Plaza lounges in T4 put together.

      • Londonsteve says:

        Thanks for the explanation, Rob. I agree, there is an undeniable logic there. Qantas manages to offer restaurant dining and bottomless Aussie bubbly for the price of a OW lounge entry fee chargeable to the airline which sets a high benchmark, but they don’t do this throughout the day, nor is it a ‘silver service’ experience which I imagine Qatar offers to its own First and Business passengers.

      • Patrick says:

        I absolutely understand the airlines POV (to a point) and for sure the economics of it, but…

        You can be on a LHR T3 £45 HBO ticket to Europe with BA and enjoy the superb Cathay First lounge (if OWE status). You can be on a Finnair economy ticket to LHR and enjoy the Platinum Wing with OWE status. There are many sweet spots around the oneworld network.

        By all means let the airlines provide a lounge “above” a Oneworld First class lounge, like the Concorde Room or Al Safwa – but they should arguably still provide a proper OW First/business lounge for status holders IMO, rather than offer a lounge “below business”.

        It’s a slippery slope – the same as Qatar insisting the business ticket holder be on a “revenue ticket” to enter the Premium Lounge. Now if this means not a staff ticket, fair enough – but if this excludes an Avios redemption that’s not cool…

        • Novice says:

          But how is it fair for the person who has paid for or redeemed a biz/first ticket for an awesome service to then be lumped in with simply status holders who take loads of economy flights or get status some other way and are flying economy but expecting premium service?

          I don’t like that idea. I want it to be exclusive. Less people and frankly the majority of people who fly economy generally lack manners and etiquette.

          I want a quiet experience before my flights, not hoards of status holders getting smashed or whatever.

          If that makes me a snob; not bothered 😂

          • Patrick says:

            That’s exactly the reason an airline may offer a higher level lounge, outside of oneworld rules, to offer a true premium experience to the top fare paying pax. Nobody in the BA LHR “First” lounge is on a First ticket – those pax are (should be!) in the superior Concorde room. Really the First lounge should be called the Gold/Emerald Member lounge.

            Status is a carrot to drive loyalty – if the holder of that status purely flys First or business they don’t really need status anyway as their ticket will include it’s benefits to some extent.

            But someone achieving OWE status hasn’t done this on 300x 5TP economy flights – they clearly do a lot of premium cabin flying.

            By all means go further for your passengers that have paid £10,000 return – but don’t create a new class of airline lounge below that of a business lounge.

            And money certainly doesn’t buy class! 😂

          • Novice says:

            @patrick I agree that money doesn’t buy class but in my experience money likes to pretend to be classy therefore ppl are likely to act a bit more civilised in business/first then economy.

          • dougzz99 says:

            I hate all these business class posho’s crowding the lounges whilst I’m waiting for my economy flight, I’m in there to get smashed using my status. Bloody snobs.

          • VALittleRed says:

            @dougzz99 Even if I’m in there cos I’m on a business class ticket, I still enjoy getting smashed, get my money’s worth!

          • Erico1875 says:

            Novice
            “frankly the majority of people who fly economy generally lack manners and etiquette”
            No that doesn’t make you a snob. You do sound a bit of a dick though.
            How can you judge someone’s manners based on which ticket they buy?

          • The Savage Squirrel says:

            Indeed; your assumptions about which ticket someone holds when you see poor behaviour may be entirely wrong. As you haven’t checked their ticket you are just assuming, and therefore self-reinforcing a prejudice without any information to support it.

            I’d suggest someone who flies a shedload of economy flights, and so has had access to lounge freebies dozens or even hundreds of times already in the last year, and will do again lots of times in the future, is about the least likely person in the room to feel the need to get off their face on free lounge booze…

      • TGLoyalty says:

        I genuinely doubt it’s about cost per passenger but rather the exclusivity factor. Basically you can FF your way into their best lounges you must be flying that cabin.

        • Novice says:

          All my experience comes from flying economy class whenever I’ve had the misfortune of doing so. It’s nothing to do with lounges so therefore I have come to the conclusions if you give access to economy pax in premium lounges, they are likely to have a bad affect on said premium product

          • Novice says:

            @Savage squirrel, then you are in the minority probably I’m afraid. I may sound like a ‘dick’ as called by @eric but I’ve flown a lot of economy because parents don’t fork out thousands on flights for young ppl who start touring whilst still not having flown the nest yet. So, I do have experience of shed loads of economy flights but try to avoid the class like the plague now.

            Maybe it’s a different experience for me. I have very high standards due to ocd.

  • Tom says:

    The premium check-in is a nice addition – I used it just before Christmas. F has a segregated area where they now take your bag on entry and give you a tag to give to the check-in desk like a five star hotel. It’s a nice idea but quite honestly pointless as this all happens about 20 metres away from the check in desk!

    • babyg says:

      My wife is flying LHR-DOH next week…. do the QR business class plebs get the same treatment as first? she likes this kind of thing…

      • Tom says:

        I don’t think so unfortunately, J just looked like a standard queue albeit inside the fancy ‘premium’ area barrier. I think there are probably too many J passengers for it to work in practice, given QR normally has 2-3 different flights checking in at the same time from LHR.

  • Archie says:

    Has anyone experience of whether admission to the premium lounge is granted to biz class redemption pax? I do recall seeing they only permitted pax on revenue biz and first bookings. I’m BA gold and travelling on a biz class reward booking to Doha next month – I’ll see if they let me in!

    • Tom says:

      Redemption is fine for access, it’s cash bookings made in the lowest Business Light bucket (P) that don’t have premium lounge access.

    • lumma says:

      There’s no issue with redemption tickets. It’s the cheapest cash business class tickets that don’t get access to Qatar lounges

      • Novice says:

        Well qatar are not being deceptive about it. I personally think if a person really wants lounge access the premium lounge then don’t buy the cheapest ticket. Simple.

    • VALittleRed says:

      In addition upgrades from economy cash fares to Business using avios do not get premium lounge access.

  • Smid says:

    In case you missed this, BA F lounge food is largely the same as BA J class food. As seen by us last week in Gatwick, and others can confirm T3 BA and T5 BA. Same buffet during the day, perhaps a burger on the table menu for F, but it’s the same exact food.

    • VALittleRed says:

      You mean Galleries club and Galleries First have the same food on offer at both T3 and T5 LHR?

      • Rob says:

        They are saying its the same food where the same item is offered, if that makes sense – eg its the same porridge in both lounges. I can’t confirm either way.

    • Harry T says:

      All BA food is average to poor, on the ground or in the air.

      • David says:

        Thanks for that, you’re clearly the next Tom Parker Bowles.

      • VALittleRed says:

        I think that’s possibly a little unfair. Whilst i could agree it often can leave a lot to be desired there are often elements of the food which are nice, issue is mainly BA’s consistency or lack of it, sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s not.

      • Numpty says:

        The food in Biz class these days is pretty good. The stuff they serve in Biz lounge just isn’t worth eating, nothing premium about it – which BA know, but don’t do anything about it.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Disagree. Food in CCR/first onboard was good not great but not average / poor

        I also think the first lounge food has some highlights but there are deffo lowlights mixed in

  • Numpty says:

    Still think there’s a benefit in looking at how Malaysian organise lounge access. Domestic lounge, regional lounge (ie short international flights), then main Biz and First lounges are located in satellite terminal and aimed at mainly long haul flights. Plenty spare capacity in the T5B lounge to copy (or BA could start directing pax to T5B rather than needing to be in the know).

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