Qatar Airways’ New Business Class Fare Families

Qatar Airways’ New Business Class Fare Families

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In late 2020, Qatar Airways introduced “basic” business class fares. Less than a year later, the carrier will be making changes to its business class fare classes once again. These changes are a mixed bag — there are some positive adjustments, but also some very negative changes when it comes to mileage earning.

Qatar Airways’ four types of business class fares

For flights as of October 1, 2021, Qatar Airways will be rolling out four different business class fare families — Lite, Classic, Comfort, and Elite. All business class fares have the same baggage allowance (both for carry-ons and checked bags), but that’s where the similarities end. Let’s talk about the differences (below you can find a chart comparing all the fare classes).

Qatar Airways business class fare families

Note that these fare classes are only for revenue tickets — nothing is changing with award tickets, which continue to have full privileges.

Qatar Airways Lite business class fares

Qatar Airways Lite business class fares are entry-level business class fares, which come with the most restrictions. These fares:

  • Book into the “P” fare class, and are the new “basic” business class fares
  • Earn 75% miles in the Privilege Club program
  • Don’t include advance seat assignments (oneworld elite members can still assign seats in advance for free), and lounge access is only offered for purchase
  • Offer changes and refunds to the original form of payment for a fee
Qatar Airways Lite fares don’t include lounge access

Qatar Airways Classic business class fares

Qatar Airways Classic business class fares still feature some restrictions, though not quite as many as the Lite fares. These fares:

  • Book into the “R” fare class; these were previously the “basic” business class fares, but that’s no longer the case
  • Earn 125% miles in the Privilege Club program
  • Don’t include advance seat assignments (oneworld elite members can still assign seats in advance for free), but they do offer lounge access
  • Include one complimentary ticket change, and refunds to the original form of payment for a fee
Qatar Airways Classic fares don’t include advance seat assignments

Qatar Airways Comfort business class fares

Qatar Airways Comfort business class fares are the most traditional fares in terms of inclusions. These fares:

  • Book into the “I” or “D” fare classes
  • Earn 175% miles in the Privilege Club program
  • Include advance seat assignments and lounge access
  • Include two complimentary ticket changes, and refunds to the original form of payment for a fee
Qatar Airways Comfort fares include two free ticket changes

Qatar Airways Elite business class fares

Qatar Airways Elite business class fares are the most expensive and flexible business class fares. These fares:

  • Book into the “C” and “J” fare classes
  • Earn 200% miles in the Privilege Club program
  • Include advance seat assignments and lounge access
  • Include complimentary unlimited ticket changes and refunds to the original form of payment
Qatar Airways Elite fares include free refunds

AAdvantage adjusting Qatar Airways mileage earning

Mileage earning rates when flying Qatar Airways aren’t just being adjusted through Privilege Club, but also through partner programs. For example, here’s the new American AAdvantage mileage earning chart for Qatar Airways for travel as of October 1, 2021:

There’s a massive devaluation here for Qatar Airways’ best business class fares:

  • Qatar Airways’ previous cheapest business class fares (in the “R” fare class) earned 100% base miles, 150% elite qualifying miles, and elite qualifying dollars equal to 20% of the distance flown
  • Qatar Airways’ new cheapest business class fares (in the “P” fare class) will earn 75% base miles, 150% elite qualifying miles, and elite qualifying dollars equal to 15% of the distance flown

Just to compare the practical implications of that, take a one-way New York to Doha flight, covering a distance of 6,704 miles:

  • In the “R” fare class the flight would have earned 6,704 redeemable miles, 10,056 elite qualifying miles, and 1,341 elite qualifying dollars
  • In the “P” fare class the flight will earn 5,028 redeemable miles, 10,056 elite qualifying miles, and 1,005 elite qualifying dollars

What is Qatar Airways changing with fares?

What are the practical implications of these changes, especially with Qatar Airways having rolled out the restrictions associated with “basic” business class fares last year? A few things stand out to me:

  • Qatar Airways is going from having three business class fare families to having four business class fare families — previously there were Classic, Comfort, and Elite fares, and now there will be Lite, Classic, Comfort, and Elite fares
  • It makes a lot more sense to me that the most restrictive business class tickets that don’t offer lounge access are called Lite rather than Classic (since there’s nothing “classic” about not offering lounge access with a business class ticket)
  • Fares now permanently include more flexibility — Classic fares include one complimentary change, while Comfort fares offer two complimentary changes, which wasn’t previously offered on a permanent basis
  • Mileage earning has been reduced significantly for the cheapest business class fares — previously they earned 125% miles, while now they earn 75% miles, at least in the Privilege Club program
  • Previously Qatar Airways’ most restrictive business class tickets booked into the “R” fare class, while they’ll now book into the “P” fare class — so I’d expect many previous “R” fares to now be priced similar to “P” fares
  • The good news is that those who previously booked “R” class tickets for travel starting October 1, 2021, will now be picking up lounge access, even though their ticket wouldn’t previously include that
Qatar Airways now has four business class fare families

Bottom line

Qatar Airways is making changes to its business class fare families for travel as of October 1, 2021. The carrier will go from having three types of business class fares to having four types of business class fares.

With this change, Qatar Airways’ most discounted tickets will be called Lite fares (which makes a lot of sense, if you ask me), and on top of that some types of fares will offer more complimentary changes on a permanent basis. Unfortunately at the same time we’re seeing mileage earning rates reduced for Qatar Airways’ cheapest business class fares, which will no doubt frustrate many flyers.

What do you make of Qatar Airways’ new business class fare families?

(Tip of the hat to YHBU)

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  1. Carol

    Lucky, you state that OneWorld elites will be allowed to pick seats for free irrespective of the fare class. Can you point me to a OneWorld site that says that? Qatar is telling me that the fare class controls the privileges. I have a paid biz ticket, one direction P, one direction R. Their escalation team refuses to allow free seat selection.

  2. _ar

    @Lucky - You didn't write about crediting to Alaska. Right now their website (https://www.alaskaair.com/content/mileage-plan/how-to-earn-miles/airline-partners/qatar-airways) doesn't reflect the P fare.

    In any case, it seems better to credit to Alaska for RDM and AA for EQM.

  3. Solan

    @Lucky,
    you mentioned "The good news is that those who previously booked “R” class tickets for travel starting October 1, 2021, will now be picking up lounge access, even though their ticket wouldn’t previously include that"
    is this verified with Qatar Air or just your take on it?

  4. Andy

    Lucky, what about accrual to other FFP, e.g. BA. On their website, they state that P credits 75% of the Avios, but is mute about Tier Points? How about AAdvantage?

  5. Mark P

    How does a OW elite pick a seat on R fares? Will the QR online system recognize my Alaska MVP status and allow me to pick a seat? Or do I have to call in?

    1. Kallie Schmidt

      I messaged them on Twitter with my AA number and I was then able to pick seats.

    2. Mark P

      Good to know, but there's gotta be a better way to do this than having to rely on Twitter!

  6. John T

    I find Qatars strategy here quite baffling. On one hand they spend like there's no tomorrow with the best business class cabins and lounges of just about any airline. Then they nickel and dime their customers to squeeze every last cent out of them by forcing them to pay more for lounge access on a business class ticket.

    I thought the purpose of Qatar Airways was to promote the state of Qatar and get people...

    I find Qatars strategy here quite baffling. On one hand they spend like there's no tomorrow with the best business class cabins and lounges of just about any airline. Then they nickel and dime their customers to squeeze every last cent out of them by forcing them to pay more for lounge access on a business class ticket.

    I thought the purpose of Qatar Airways was to promote the state of Qatar and get people to visit Doha (which they have both done very well). For such a wealthy, state run airline I didn't think profit was a top priority in their strategy yet they then come out with new fare classes to squeeze some extra revenue from pax.

    Am I missing something? Is it just such a large company now that the brand and product teams don't talk to the revenue management teams anymore?

  7. simmonad

    I checked a fare MAD-DOH-BKK on QR's website for January next year and what I find of particular interest is the differential between the fares.

    Lite - €1,166
    Classic - €1,263
    Comfort - €1,364
    Elite - €2,098

    So, is the lounge worth €100, moving from Lite to Classic? Is seat selection worth €100 (classic to comfort)? t's up to the individua, I guess.

    1. John T

      If that's the price for a round trip ticket I would pay the extra. Seat assignment on all 4 flights + 4 x lounge access for that price is fair.

  8. SullyofDoha

    At least with AA you earn 150% qualifying points for the flight! If you are in the QR Privilege Club program there is NO BONUS qualifying Q-Points allocated! It's almost like QR does not want people to requalify for Platinum status.

  9. Mike

    Admittedly, it’s now been well over two years since my last visit to the business class lounge, pandemic and all, but I am really struggling with the praise. Have I missed anything?
    Dining area setting is beautiful, but the food itself was very ordinary. I stopped using the shower suites because of the long lines and the lack of aircon in the shower suites themselves became sweat baths very quickly. Great place to work...

    Admittedly, it’s now been well over two years since my last visit to the business class lounge, pandemic and all, but I am really struggling with the praise. Have I missed anything?
    Dining area setting is beautiful, but the food itself was very ordinary. I stopped using the shower suites because of the long lines and the lack of aircon in the shower suites themselves became sweat baths very quickly. Great place to work and have a drink, but definitely nowhere near top of the lounge list.
    It is very possible that I just visited on bad lounge days, but still…

  10. Eskimo

    "Mileage earning has been reduced significantly for the cheapest business class fares — previously they earned 125% miles, while now they earn 75% miles, at least in the Privilege Club program"

    I hope this statement can explain to some people why other programs are also revenue based not just US based programs, even if they never have an actual requirement figure.
    But sometimes you just can't fix stupid.

  11. Josh

    We are scheduled to take a Qatar Airways flight in October. The reason why we booked the "Comfort" class (I) was because it included lounge access and seat selection. We could have saved like $1-2k if we would have booked the cheaper "Classic" fare but we kind of wanted lounge and seat selection - rats.

    Nothing changes with Alaska Airlines miles crediting as a result of this?

    1. Fonzi

      You spent 2k$ for a seat selection amd Lounge access. Wow. I think the access to the Lounge is cheaper than that. :-))

    2. Josh

      We wanted to do the middle seat Q Suites specifically for my wife and I, didn't want to risk none being available at check in as that was the whole point of our booking. It was probably just a little over $1000 to be honest

    3. Noah

      I was going to book at the end of this month , for s trip next March. They had the classic fare up for months, so I thought it would stay. One day, they just took it off and only have the Comfort and Elite. $1,000 more! If they don't release more at the cheaper price, I will have to take Turkish.

  12. Pete

    I book cheap Qatar fares for the BA tier points so as long as that’s not affected I’m ok. I don’t mind paying a bit more for lounge access if it’s a long layover, especially for the al safwa lounge.

  13. Noah

    My route had the Classic fare, but they took it away and just have the Comfort and Elite.

  14. Nick

    Do you still have lounge access booking the lite fare if you are Platinum member?

  15. adi

    By the way- the Doha Business Class Lounge is spectacular- certainly the best I've ever had (though I have not experienced that many to be honest).

    The most recent time I went through Doha (Sept 21st, landing 3pm, then departing 7pm), the lounge was filled to the gills. I had to wait for shower facilities (though certainly worth the wait1) and the upstairs formal dining also had a wait for a table.

    The previous two visits the lounge was empty and a tranquil oasis.

    1. KK13

      Then you try their Al Safwa First class lounge.

    2. lbk

      I was just there about a week before you from around 6pm - 10pm and there was no wait for the showers and lounge was half full. It was lovely. I guess I got lucky.

  16. adi

    How does it work when you're booking using AA miles.
    I mostly fly using my Advantage miles (70K each way in a Q-suite from New York to Dubai) and my tickets have always included lounge access. Will this still be the case or will the award tickets be booked into the lowest (P) fare?

    1. Lukas

      This doesn't affect award tickets at all.

  17. AdamH

    The EQD for the Lite fares is ridiculously low for a biz fare. I would love to consistently see $2400 fares from SFO-DOH, which is what you are earning on it.

    What is the lounge rules for OW Elites on those fares? Can you access other OW lounges or no? I know Qatar makes up their own rules, and doesn't participate in the alliance for their own DOH lounge, but what about other players out outstations?

Featured Comments Load all 26 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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Carol

Lucky, you state that OneWorld elites will be allowed to pick seats for free irrespective of the fare class. Can you point me to a OneWorld site that says that? Qatar is telling me that the fare class controls the privileges. I have a paid biz ticket, one direction P, one direction R. Their escalation team refuses to allow free seat selection.

_ar

@Lucky - You didn't write about crediting to Alaska. Right now their website (https://www.alaskaair.com/content/mileage-plan/how-to-earn-miles/airline-partners/qatar-airways) doesn't reflect the P fare. In any case, it seems better to credit to Alaska for RDM and AA for EQM.

Solan

@Lucky, you mentioned "The good news is that those who previously booked “R” class tickets for travel starting October 1, 2021, will now be picking up lounge access, even though their ticket wouldn’t previously include that" is this verified with Qatar Air or just your take on it?

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