How To Find Cheap Qatar Airways Business Class Fares With ITA Matrix

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Qatar Airways is probably the most generous of all airlines when it comes to Business Class sales – at least when it comes to flights out of Europe. The recent sale they ran from the Scandinavian countries to various locations in the Middle East, Asia and even Australia/New Zealand was excellent…but it wasn’t always easy to find flights that worked for everyone if you were just using Qatar Airways’ website.

Cue the ITA Matrix search that I mention every time I post a good Business Class airfare….only this time there’s a twist.

Regular readers will have seen the ITA Matrix search a number of times already (if you haven’t then this is a good starting point) but there’s a particular complication with these particular Qatar Airways fares that means there’s a need for a bit of extra tinkering when applying your search criteria.

The primary issue is this: Qatar Airways came up with a new fare code (R) when it introduced its highly discounted Promotional Business Class fares and, for some reason, ITA Matrix doesn’t recognise this as a Business Class fare.

The upshot of this is that, if you search for Qatar Airways Business Class deals in the normal way, i.e by specifying Qatar Airways flights with stopovers (the QR+ command) and by specifying Business Class fares…..Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 12.05.45

…you will only get regular Business Class fares in your results:

Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 12.15.03

You’re not getting to see the far cheaper promotional Business Class fares that are on offer:


8,889 DK($1,335/£920) is considerably better than the 15,027 DK ($2,225/£1,535) that the ITA search threw up!

So what do you have to do?

Finding Cheap Qatar Airways Business Class Fares With ITA Matrix

The are two key elements to finding the cheapest Qatar Airways Business Class fares with the ITA Matrix tool:

  • Set the ITA Matrix search to look for the “cheapest available” fares (yes, Matrix will think it’s searching for Economy Class fares) and then….
  • Set the ITA Matrix to only search for fares with the “R” booking code – that will stop the search returning thousands of Economy Class fares that you’re probably not interested in.

This is what the search parameters would look like – note the special command line that reads “QR+ / f bc=r”, this is what tells Matrix to only search for fares with fare code “r”.


Once you have your search parameters set correctly you should be shown the cheap Qatar Airway Business Class fares that you were looking for (if a Business Class Promotion is running):

Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 12.24.38

Note: This method will only work when you’re search for flights where all segments are booking into fare code “r”. It’s possible to have a cheap Business Class fare with a routing where one segment books into fare code “r” and a second segment (usually a very short segment) books into fare code “a” – I haven’t found a way to get around this on ITA Matrix yet….so if anyone has any ideas let me know!

Bottom Line

If you haven’t used ITA Matrix before, the information above (and the search itself) may look a bit daunting…but there really isn’t anything tricky to it. Even if you’re not comfortable with the various commands that you can use in the search parameters you can just copy what you see in the screenshots above (just change cities and dates to suit your needs) and you’re good to go.

Remember to read my introduction to ITA Matrix and the post on more Advanced ITA Matrix options if you need further help.