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Qatar Airways launches ‘basic’ business class fares

Nov. 09, 2020
4 min read
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Many airlines around the world have been offering "basic" economy fares for several years now. Unfortunately, some airlines have begun capitalizing on a new trend of offering basic business-class fares.

Qatar Airways is the latest airline to introduce basic business-class fares. The new unbundled fares don't include lounge access or advance seat selection, as first discovered by Executive Traveller.

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Qatar's new business-class fare

Qatar Airways has begun selling unbundled business-class fares in most markets, including flights from the U.S. to the Middle East. Based on our initial searches, the new fares don't actually appear cheaper than what you would have expected to pay previously. Instead, they lack some key services and amenities that used to be free

"Classic" business class fares on Qatar Airways no longer include advance seat selection or complimentary lounge access. The fares still include the usual checked baggage allowance, free stopovers, earn miles and can be changed or canceled. However, depending on the program you credit to, you may earn less miles than other business class fares and pay a higher cancellation fee. (Note, Qatar is free changes for all new bookings made through Dec. 31, 2020.)

(Photo by Qatar Airways)

The new restrictions only apply to business-class tickets booking into the "R" fare class. Business-class award tickets book into the "U" class so they are unaffected.

Related: How to book Qatar Airways flights with points and miles

While you'll need to pull up your reservation on Qatar's website to see the price, you will be able to purchase access to the Al Mourjan Business Lounge. Unlike many basic economy products, which typically allow advance seat selection for a fee, it appears that this fare does not offer any advance seat selection at all. This is especially bad news for groups that would want to reserve a "quad" in the Qsuite cabin.

Oneworld Sapphire (i.e. American Airlines AAdvantage Platinum) and Emerald members (i.e. AAdvantage Executive Platinum) members will continue to get complimentary lounge access regardless of their tickets as a part of their elite benefits — albeit to Qatar's lounges specifically for Oneworld elites, not the Al Mourjan lounge.

Related: Best credit cards for airport lounge access

The Al Mourjan Lounge Doha. (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

Other airlines that offer 'basic' business class

Qatar is not the only airline to offer unbundled business-class fares. In June of 2019, Emirates introduced "special" business-class fares that exclude advance seat selection, chauffeur service and lounge access (unless you get it as a part of your elite status). Several other airlines, such as Finnair and ZIPAIR have since followed suit. Lufthansa also plans to differentiate its business-class products once it takes delivery of its 777X aircraft.

Related: Comparing Emirates’ special business class fare and basic economy

Bottom line

Unbundled business-class fares are unfortunately becoming increasingly popular. These fares aren't priced lower than business-class fares were in the past, so you'll now need to pay more for perks that used to be included. On the bright side, award tickets are unaffected.

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3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

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The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

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  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

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  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases