Qatar Airways Platinums Now Get Al Safwa First Class Lounge Access

Filed Under: Qatar

Qatar Airways has finally made a legitimate improvement to their Privilege Club program, specifically for their Platinum members. This follows a move back in July where the airline improved the Platinum tier by making the elite card heavier. Really. Apparently that was due to customer feedback.

Qatar Privilege Club Platinum Members Get Improved Lounge Access

As of today (October 16, 2019), Qatar Airways Privilege Club Platinum members receive access to Qatar Airways’ spectacular Al Safwa First Class Lounge when traveling in business class on Qatar Airways. I consider this to be one of the top airline lounges in the world.

Qatar Airways Al Safwa Lounge

Platinum members are also entitled to take two guests into the Al Safwa Lounge with them, assuming that they’re on the same flight in business class.

All Qatar Airways business class passengers can buy access to the Al Safwa Lounge for 600QAR (~165USD), so essentially they’re waiving that fee for Platinum members.


Qatar Airways Al Safwa Lounge

What About Oneworld Emerald Members?

Unfortunately Qatar Airways continues to be stingy when it comes to their recognition of other oneworld Elite members. Qatar Airways doesn’t let oneworld Sapphire members in their Al Mourjan Business Class Lounge, and they don’t let oneworld Emerald members in their Al Safwa First Class Lounge.

So as before, these customers can use the lackluster lounges specifically designed for elite members.


Qatar Airways Al Safwa Lounge

Why This Move Makes Sense For Qatar Airways

On the most basic level, this move makes sense because Qatar Airways has very limited elite benefits.

Beyond that, though, this makes sense because the Al Mourjan Business Lounge is nowadays consistently at capacity. It’s so busy that they’ve added some unprecedented restrictions to lounge access, like in some cases denying access to upgraded passengers.

The Al Safwa First 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 it makes sense that they’d finally do something to shift around lounge crowding a bit, to alleviate congestion in the Al Mourjan Lounge.


Qatar Airways Al Safwa Lounge

Bottom Line

This is an awesome development that was long overdue. Emirates and Etihad already offer their top tier elite members first class lounge access, so this is the smart competitive move.

On top of that, the Al Safwa Lounge was consistently pretty empty, so this should shift some people to here from the otherwise overcrowded Al Mourjan Lounge.

(Tip of the hat to @adrieltjokro)

Comments
  1. Wait, did you say “ lackluster lounges specifically designed for elite members.”? I’m pretty sure that even on a busy day the business class lounge there is better than any US airline or European airline plain business class lounge…

  2. Being a Oneworld Emerald, I personally wouldn’t mind if QR downgraded us status holders into using the Al Mourjan lounge 😉

  3. Al Mourjan overcrowded??? Last times I’ve been on transit DOH looks a ghost airport. Even the teddy bear looks scared.

  4. @Alvertos I believe Qatar has a lounge for those with status, separate from the Al Mourjan lounge which is only for those traveling in business class. In other words if you are in economy but have One World status you don’t get into the Al Mourjan lounge.

    I’d be interested to know how many people even have Platinum status with Qatar.

    What I find truly interesting, especially since I am going to try this out on Saturday, is the completely unofficial rate to access the first class Al Safwa lounge. I am on Qatar business class and when I check the lounge info for Doha on the Qatar app it specifically says no paid access to the Al Safwa lounge. So who knows where I will end up for 8 hours Saturday night- in a lush hotel like room in Al Safwa sleeping or sitting up in the over crowded and poorly provisioned Al Mourjan. Either way I connect to a long-haul flight in Q-Suites so I will have exceptional service once on board 🙂

  5. Great news, but disappointing there’s no OWE concession. Surely they could offer a 50% discount on the access fee?

  6. @Antonio, try going to Al Mourjan at peak times like between midnight-2am and 5am-8am…it’s a madhouse. Waiting over an hour for a shower or even 40 mins just to get a table in the upstairs eating area. Overall, great move for QR plats, but I’m a bit concerned with the seemingly too generous guest policy that may lead to overcrowding and QR rolling back this perk. Hopefully, there won’t be too long of a wait for those amazing sleeping rooms!

  7. Truly a spectacular lounge! It’s second to none when it comes to the design, layout, amenities, and food/drinks.

  8. @lucky : I was there 2 days ago and the manager on duty mentioned that you can now pay in advance to get access to the Al Safwa lounge and save $100QAR. He said you have to do it on Qatar’s app before you start your trip. I tried to find that option on the app and online and couldn’t but thought it was interesting. According to him this is new and started about 2 weeks ago.

  9. Finally ! Great move. I fly thru Doha almost every month (BCN to TYO or BKK) and fly business – since anyway no first class on those routes. The Al Murjan lounge is packed from around 8am till 10pm or so… only time one can enjoy is between midnight and 5 am… if you are transiting you can go to the quiet area, have a bed, shower etc… otherwise it’s a jam packed place with little interest.
    The QR business class lounge or first class for those with status but flying QR eco or upgraded are more than packed… and not worth a visit.
    I am glad one can now enjoy the Al Safwa First Lounge ! (assuming one has Platinum level, which is not difficult to get)

  10. Don’t forget that Al Safwa allows connecting Oneworld travelers on inbound QR business and outbound Oneworld in first to access. That said it is eerily quiet especially at night!!

  11. Al Safwa is really a top notch lounge, my fav! But I thought it was only $65 or $69 for business class passengers to access the lounge, no? That’s what I paid last time.

    I am flying again this Dec., have to pay $100 extra now? Yikes!

  12. Why do you continue to state that “Qatar Airways has very limited elite benefits”? QRPC Platinum gives you the full spectrum of Oneworld Emerald benefits like any other Oneworld program. In addition, there are unique benefits including the Al Maha Meet & Assist service in Doha and the fact that priority services and lounge access on QR flights are granted for the Platinum member and two guests, so QRPC Platinum comes with the unique benefit of getting you into Oneworld First Class lounges with two guests when flying QR. Furthermore, they offer QCredits for Platinum and Gold members which can be used for upgrades. BTW, as part of this latest change, they did not only improve Al Safwa access rules but also announced that additional QCredits will be awarded to members exceeding the Platinum requalification requirements. For every additional 100 tier points (QPoints) beyond 600, ten extra credits are added to the regular 60 credits per year. Although QCredits were devaluated in 2018, they are still a nice benefit on top of the traditional Oneworld perks. Certainly, today’s QRPC is not as spectacular as it used to be 2-3 years ago when they had almost monthly triple and quadruple miles and points promotions, the Globetrotter campaign with huge bonuses, a much more attractive award chart, and a flaw in their award system allowing to include both short and long haul First Class sectors in Business Class tickets for free. Nonetheless, if you have Gold or Platinum status, the privileges and priority services are non-inferior or even superior to most other Oneworld programs.

  13. Dang, I just had 2 transits in Doha. Wil be a minimum 2 moths till next time.

    Great upgrade. Iooking forward to vosit that lounge, as Im getting bored by th Al M.

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