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.