Book an AAdvantage Award on Qatar Airways, Add Incredible First Class Lounge Access for $69

Several weeks ago I wrote that Qatar Airways will sell access to their incredible Al Safwa first class lounge in Doha for just $69.

The Al Safwa lounge is perhaps the most visually stunning airline lounge in the world, to my aesthetic preferences more so even than the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at London Heathrow.

There’s good food in the restaurant. There’s self serve food… everywhere. And there are high end wines in the lounge. Oddly the spa is at a charge, and I don’t necessarily find the service there to be good. Nonetheless it’s a place worth seeing… if only for the pieces on loan from the Museum of Islamic Art.

Normally access is only for international first class passengers. Qatar operates very few long haul flights with first class (only their A380 offers the cabin), but they call their short haul premium cabin first rather than business. With the blockade of Qatar by the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt there are now only a limited number of flights with passengers who have access to this incredible space.

As a result Qatar started selling access for just 250 QAR (US$69). Initially reports suggested this was only for paid business class passengers. That made sense, since Qatar is known for distinguishing between different fare types within a cabin. The airline won’t extend lounge access or increased baggage allowance to mileage upgrades to business for instance.

Via benny2012 this option is being extended to business class award passengers as well. Since I previously wrote that it might be paid passengers only I wanted to make sure everyone knew that they could do this even when redeeming miles, whether American AAdvantage miles, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, British Airways Avios, or miles from other partners as well.

It’s worth nothing that some people have inexplicably been told this isn’t an option and when you buy access you’re supposed to stay a maximum of six hours ($11.50 per hour may be the greatest value in the history travel).

If you’re traveling through Doha in business and have a reasonably long layover definitely give the Al Safwa lounge a (pay in) visit. You can undoubtedly drink well more than the cost of your entry fee in wine, champagne, and spirits. This is one of the great opportunities I think for American AAdvantage members — Qatar offers the best business class in the world with their QSuites and you can fly that, connecting onward for instance to India or North Africa, and get to visit one of the better international first class lounges.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. It’s useful that you highlighted this for folks, but I wouldn’t push it quite as hard since Qatar’s business lounge is also huge and excellent. I guess if I had a connection there for five or six hours AND if it were a time when the business lounge was very busy, or if I really wanted a private room in which to rest (which the first class lounge had at no fee when I was there a couple of years ago – not sure about the business lounge) I’d consider opting for the first class lounge. Otherwise, I’d “slum it” in the business lounge.

  2. Was there just this week on a AAdvantage business ticket. Cost me 67 USD (its 250 qtr, so it depends on conversion rate). It was fantastic.

  3. I have 2 separate reservations on Qatar:
    PHL to DOH in business booked with AA miles
    DOH to BKK in economy purchased with hard earned $.

    I have a 4 hour layover in DOH. Would I be able to access any launge with this arrangement?

  4. If you are Exec Plat traveling on miles in Business Lax to Doha QSuites you still have to pay for the 1st class lounge?
    Can you pay at Lax when you check in ? Or call before leaving to Pay?

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