Qatar Airways Starts Selling First Class Lounge Access

Qatar Airways offers two spectacular lounges at Doha Hamad International Airport:


Qatar Airways Al Mourjan Lounge Doha

Why the Al Safwa First Class Lounge is way underutilized

The Al Mourjan Lounge is consistently pretty crowded, given just how many business class passengers Qatar Airways has. The lounge has been so crowded that the airline has added some unprecedented restrictions to lounge access, like in some cases denying access to upgraded passengers.

The Al Safwa Lounge is a very different story, however, and rarely has more than a dozen people in it. This is because Al Safwa Lounge access is limited to those traveling in first class, which only includes those traveling on their Airbus A380 aircraft (which operate a limited number of routes), plus those traveling on one of the intra-Gulf routes.


Qatar Airways A380 first class

The catch is that the number of flights within the Gulf has been hugely reduced the past couple of years given the blockade, as the airline no longer flies to the UAE and Saudi Arabia, which were previously their biggest markets.

So logically you’d think the airline would do something to try and shift around the lounge crowding a bit, to alleviate congestion in the Al Mourjan Lounge.


Qatar Airways Al Safwa Lounge Doha

Qatar Airways now selling Al Safwa Lounge access

It would appear that Qatar Airways is now selling first class lounge access to select business class passengers. A FlyerTalk member reports that he asked about this at the business class lounge, and they told him he could buy access for 350QAR (~96USD).

Then when he actually went to the first class lounge he was charged 250QAR (~67USD).

Reports suggest that this is only available to “paid” business class passengers, though it’s not entirely clear if this just means those who paid any cash fare (or only full fare), or if it includes award passengers as well.

I’m working on clarifying this, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this is also open to award passengers.

Buying access to Qatar Airways’ Al Safwa Lounge for under $100 is a spectacular value. Like, I would pay that in a heartbeat. The Al Safwa Lounge has a solid restaurant with a la carte dining…


Qatar Airways Al Safwa Lounge Doha

It has private bedrooms you can rest in…


Qatar Airways Al Safwa Lounge Doha

Heck, you could get more than your entrance fee with just half a glass of champagne. Rather unbelievably, Qatar Airways is serving Krug Clos Du Mesnil 2003 in the lounge right now, which retails for $700+ per bottle. That’s the most expensive champagne served in any lounge.

I’m not sure how long that will continue, though as backups they have Krug Grande Cuvee and Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame, both of which are excellent as well.

I’m reaching out to Qatar Airways to clarify exactly who is entitled to this access, if this is a permanent feature, etc., but in the meantime I can’t help but encourage anyone who is eligible from taking advantage of this.

If you travel through Doha and give this a try, please report back with your experience!

(Tip of the hat to View from the Wing)

Comments

  1. I just flew a full fare Business ticket from south Asia to JFK last week on Qatar. I wish I got the offer! Though the business lounge wasn’t the worst place you could be 😉

  2. I believe the Krug Clos Du Mesnil 2003 and even standard Krug were only for the festive period – they were unfortunantly not available when I recently transited through the Al Safwa (in paid F). The did have the very respectable Veuve Clicquot LGD.

  3. Thanks for the tip. I have a business class ticket IAD – DOH – SYD, though I bought it with Qantas points, so probably not an option for me, though it would be nice for nearly 5 hour transit.

    On that note, do you know if there’s a way to upgrade a single leg of a two-leg partner award ticket? I have a Qsuite 777 in the first leg and an A380 in the second, would be nice to finally try their F.

  4. I like it how when you speak of Etihad doing similar things, it’s all about “cost cutting”.
    But nothing like that when you speak about Qatar Airways, even though they have some financial issues as well.

  5. Lucky, Can you see what is going on with qatar airways award availability to oneworld partners? All usa- doha award availability have dried up overnight! I hope they are not leaving oneworld

  6. I would have thought that those flying on upgrades or awards would not get this deal. At least, if they want to keep the First lounge exclusive. Part of the appeal is that there aren’t many people in it, surely?

  7. @Conway
    Kuwait, Muscat, Sohar, Beirut, Amman, and Khartoum (the longest regional first class flight at 6 hours)

  8. @ Tom — Well we’ll see for sure, though I’m not exactly sure I get the difference in “exclusivity” there. The reality is that the lounge is way underutilized, so even if they have an extra dozen people at any point, it still won’t be anywhere near crowded.

  9. @ Ivan N — I didn’t say that. This change from Qatar is mutually beneficial. The business lounge is overcrowded and the first lounge is underutilized, so this in theory reduces crowding in the business lounge while generating incremental revenue. Furthermore, it’s not like the first lounge is actually exclusive — among their cheapest premium tickets are their regional first class tickets, and those passengers get access.

  10. Hi lucky, I have a first class ticket DOH-FRA (bought with BA avios) at 8 am, do you think I could check in the night before and spend the night in the lounge (in the private rooms)?

  11. I bough an economy ticket with Qatar Amman-Doha-Tbilisi and bough the first class lounge access in the same booking…. is it because I’m LATAM Gold member?

  12. God I really hope they allow access for award business tickets. Flying HKG-DOH-JFK in October with a 15 hour layover. Would love the lounge instead of a hotel! Although the Oryx hotel was only 80 USD.

  13. Just was granted access with an award ticket booked in business using AA miles — the lady working the lounge had to make a call, but said I was granted access at “the managers discretion” for 6 hours.

  14. Lucky,

    Re the “exclusivity” thing I was thinking how BA has two “First” lounges at Heathrow T5. There is one for those who qualify via elite levels, and then a better one for people who actually are flying First – The Concorde Room.

    That said I believe that F pax on awards can use TCR.

  15. Standby for report within 36 hours. I shall transit DOH on Paid Business Class QR/QR to USA in the morning of Jan 11 at the worst crowded time for Al Mourjan and shall definitely look how I can get into the F lounge and for how much. I also wonder whether being OW Emerald shall be a factor.

    A 3h10 layover is chaotic in Al Mourjan to get a shower at that time. I wonder how it will/would be in Al Safwa.

  16. make sense on some level, but at 100$ seems like its a drop in the ocean…I would have expected much more.

  17. I’ve been a QR critic with their doha lounges. Hate that overcrowded business lounge and they break the 1W guidelines denying access to the F lounge for 1W enerald. BA is different, they have a first lounge with concorde room then dedicated to actual first pax. Qatar doesn’t have same and should be allowing 1W emerald into 1st lounge. Poor.

  18. I used Al Safwa once (traveling regional F to Amman) and, unless you plan to binge on top-shelf booze, I frankly don’t think it’s worth the $67. Al Mourjan (when not totally packed) actually has a nicer design and ambience.

  19. Well, I spent a five hour layover yesterday afternoon/evening in the Al Moujan lounge and it was almost empty during that period. Go figure.

  20. @Crosscourt, there is a first class lounge right next to the busines lounge. These are for status holders travelling in Y. On top of that there is the Al Mourjan for J pax and Al Safwa for F pax.

    So like BA there is a dedicated lounge for F pax and one for OWE to use.

    QR breaks the rules to the same as BA. Admittedly, the Galleries F in T5 is nicer than the QR F lounge in DOH, but the lounges are there.

  21. I’m at the Al Mourjan right now, connecting JNB-IAD on an AA award in J. The lounge attendant confirmed both of us are eligible to purchase access for 250 QAR each (~$70 USD), though she needs to confirm “approval from the manager.” She took my boarding pass and checked some things on the computer before confirming we’re eligible. While the Al Mourjan is very busy right now, I don’t believe that offers much value to us at this time. However, given the nap rooms, it’s much cheaper to purchase access and use the nap room than to pay for a room at the Oryx Hotel (~300 USD).

  22. As announced on Wednesday, here is my take on the pay access to the First Class Al Safwa lounge in lieu of Business Class Al Mourjan when connecting tonight in Doha:

    First, It’s enormous, it’s beautiful, and it’s empty.

    Arriving at 4.10 AM for a 8 AM connection to JFK, I was greeted at the top of the escalator by a lone and nice if rather sleepy young lady, nobody ahead of me, and she had no concept of what I was referring to when I mentioned paid admittance. She didn’t try much but a supervisor was called and yes he knew about it.

    He offered admittance for QAR 250 (just under $ 70), then promptly charged my Amex for QAR 450 (“oops… my mistake, but the 200 QAR will be recredited within 2-3 weeks”. I asked him to recredit the QAR 200 immediately but “that was not possible unfortunatey”. I then told him that I would immediately dispute the charge with Amex, which he did not understand (I have already done so), so we remained good friends.
    This is a recurring problem with QR, often stellar in the sky (no pun intended), equally often terribly incompetent on the ground.

    The inside is stunning, probably as big as Al Mourjan, but while Al Mourjan increasingly looks, feels, tastes and smells like a terminal for low cost airlines, not 20 passengers inside Al Safwa, far more staff than users. Taking a shower is pure joy, and quick, no waiting, but you take your time to enjoy it. There are also spa treatment rooms and staff, but nothing was proactively offered.

    A whole wall displays artifacts from the Museum of Islamic Art and a very stylish fountain adorns the entrance to the restaurant. The decoration is a success.

    The Champagne is La Grande Dame, no Krug, but perfectly honest. The food is as bad as in Al Mourjan. Very little choice Slower too (no self service).

    As in the former Premium Terminal at the old airport (I miss that one…) there is a dedicated selection of high-end Duty Free… totally empty. There may have been a sales person but I did not see him/her.

    To sum it up, is it worth the QAR 250? For me Yes, ONCE, for the curiosity. Otherwise not and certainly not the QAR 450… But this is for each to decide.

    With practically no more FC service on QR (fewer regional flights and only A 380 long range F seats, a good use for this lounge would be to admit OW Business Class Emeralds, or even QR Program elites, which is unlikely as the program itself stinks and AAB keeps repeating he wants to leave OW.

    Que sera sera… More comments welcome.

  23. @ Pierre

    I was with you, except for this:

    “while Al Mourjan increasingly looks, feels, tastes and smells like a terminal for low cost airlines”

    That could only be written by someone who has never been to Luton Airport…

  24. @ The nice Paul

    You are absolutely right, I have never been to LTN, but your remark makes Luton look pretty bad. The fact is that, at peak times, Al Mourjan is pretty dismal… and smelly too. In particular and in spite of many attendants being present, the Mens / Ladies rooms are extremely Thirld World (*). Those in Al Safwa were spotless (and deserted, like the whole lounge).

    (*) Those at Orly and CDG are often even worse.

  25. Assume most other carriers with First class lounges wouldn’t follow this at the price of $70.00USD. I suspect they would charge considerably more. 250 USD. To me it’s worth the price but for most I don’t think so.

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