October 25, 2021

StrategisChhr

Skillful Business Crafters

Qatar Airways’ New Business Class Fare Families

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)

Qatar Airways’ New Business Class Fare Families