Qatar Airways reinvented their cheap business class “R” fares which they have introduced a few years ago. According to Qatar Airways they did that because “simplified fare families offering greater choice and flexibility” and “…it is very clear to the customer what they are buying – there are no hidden fees or additional charges.”, but as you can imagine this is only half of the truth.
Qatar Airways Business Class “Classic” Fare
Let's go straight to the point, the re-branding of Qatar Airways existing business class fares is done in the hope to make more money.
With the new Business “Classic” fare, passengers won't get advanced seat selection anymore and lounge access is also taken away, unless you pay for it.
The new fares are already live and you can now choose in business class between Classic, Comfort and Elite.
- With Business class Classic you will have no lounge access and seat selection will only be available upon check-in. Cancellation fees are huge.
- With Business class Comfort you will have lounge access and seat selection at the time of your booking is included. Cancellation fees are more or less half as high compared to the Classic fare.
- With Business class Elite you will have lounge access, and seat selection upon booking. There are no cancellation fees.
Furthermore, if you credit your miles to Qatar Airways Privilege club you will earn more Qmiles for the more expensive fares.
There are some “good” news as well. This only applies to bookings made before November 8, 2020. That means if you have booked your trip before that date in Business Class and have been ticketed with “R” class, you still have lounge access and seat selection for free.
If you book an award ticket you are not booking a “Classic” Business Class ticket. The above mentioned changes only count for revenue discounted business class tickets.
That means for award booking, either made directly through the Qatar Airways Privilege Club program or through a partner program like British Airways, you will still have seat selection and lounge access for free.
Oneworld Status members
If you are an Oneworld Sapphire or Emerald member, you can still select seats in advance for free, even if you book the discounted Business Class “Classic” fare. All you have to do is add your frequent flyer number at the time of booking.
However, it is a bit different with the lounges. You can still enter the Oneworld lounges, but entry to the Qatar Airways branded lounges will not be granted anymore.
That means you can't enter the Qatar Airways lounges in Bangkok, Beirut, London Heathrow, Paris Charles de Gaulle or Singapore. Nor can you enter the Al Mourjan in Doha anymore with a new “R” ticket.
This seems to be a new trend which was started by Emirates Airline last year. Qatar Airways is now simply doing something similar.
Qatar Airways says that they are now offering a greater choice and more flexibility. But this would only be the case if they had lowered the price for the Business Class Classic fares. What we have seen so far is that prices haven't drop, and in fact Qatar Airways only took away free seat selection and lounge access.
Even though Qatar Airways took these things away by introducing the new Business Class “Classic” fare, they still offer the best business class seats, the Qsuite.
Furthermore, if you have an Oneworld Status or a Priority Pass you may still visit airport lounges for free.
Frequently Asked Question
Will I still have lounge access with an award Business Class booking?
Yes, award bookings do not book in the Business Class “Classic”. You will still have lounge access and free seat selection at the time of your booking.
Is seat selection for Oneworld status members still for free?
Yes, you can still select seats at the time of your booking for free, even if booking a discounted “R” fare, the Business Class Classic fare.
Do Oneworld status members still have access to airport lounges?
Yes and No. Status members will still have access to Oneworld lounges, but not to Qatar Airways branded lounges anymore.