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Heading overseas from Brisbane Airport with Qantas or one of its many partner airlines? Depending on your travel itinerary, frequent flyer status, credit cards and lounge memberships, you may be able to visit up to three lounges before a single flight: but making that choice isn't always straightforward.
For example, a business class ticket on the nightly Emirates Airbus A380 flight to Dubai unlocks the Emirates lounge in Brisbane, as you'd expect, but also provides the option of the Qantas lounge, or with a Priority Pass card or eligible credit card, the Plaza Premium Lounge as well.
Here's what you need to know about those three international Brisbane Airport lounges serving Qantas flyers, including opening hours, who can visit each lounge, and why you might choose each lounge over the other options available.
Qantas International Lounge, Brisbane
Where it is: Follow the path through duty-free, keep walking straight ahead, and you'll find the entrance near gate 80.
When it’s open: 5:30am to midnight
Entry is open to the following guests of Qantas and its partner airlines:
- Business class passengers of Qantas, Air Niugini, Cathay Pacific, China Eastern, Emirates, Fiji Airways, Jetstar (Business Max tickets only) and Malaysia Airlines. When travelling on a QF flight number, business class passengers of other airlines including Aircalin, China Airlines, Solomon Airlines and others can also use this lounge.
- First class guests flying with Emirates.
- Qantas Gold, Platinum, Platinum One and Chairman’s Lounge frequent flyers travelling with any Oneworld airline; with a QF flight number on their ticket (including codeshare flights); or with China Eastern, Emirates or Jetstar.
- Qantas Club members booked on a Qantas or Jetstar flight number with any airline: again, including codeshares such as Solomon Airlines flights booked under a QF code.
- Other Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald frequent flyers travelling with Qantas, Cathay Pacific or Malaysia Airlines.
- Emirates Skywards Gold, Platinum and iO members travelling with Emirates; or on a Qantas flight with a QF or EK flight number, excluding flights to North America.
- American Airlines Admirals Club members travelling with Qantas on a QF or AA flight number.
- China Eastern’s Eastern Miles Gold and Platinum members travelling to Mainland China on a Qantas or China Eastern flight number.
- Fiji Airways Tabua Club Plus members flying with Qantas or Fiji Airways. (Access for regular Tabua Club members is prior to Fiji Airways flights only.)
- Selected credit card users, Qantas Silver frequent flyers and guests of Platinum One members using a single-entry Qantas lounge pass.
Why you’d visit: Most passengers eligible for this lounge will venture here without much thought – and that's okay, as there's now plenty of space for all, following the recent addition of a third level and introduction of much more seating:
This space is open until 11am daily and offers buffet dining, barista coffee and bartender service: or, head upstairs to the 'main' floor for the same amenities and plenty more seats...
... or up once more to the top floor, again open until 11am and offering freshly-made breakfast 'plates of the day':
The Emirates Lounge, Brisbane
Where it is: Above gate 75: take the escalator upstairs along the main concourse.
When it’s open: Three hours prior to all Emirates flights. Emirates currently has departures from Brisbane at 9pm (Dubai, EK435), 10:50pm (Dubai, EK431: resumes May 31 2019) and 2:35am (Singapore and Dubai).
Who gets in:
- Business class and first class passengers of Emirates travelling to all destinations.
- Qantas Gold, Platinum, Platinum One and Chairman’s Lounge members travelling with Emirates.
- Emirates Skywards Gold, Platinum and iO members flying with Emirates. Skywards iO (invitation-only) members may also gain access prior to other flights, subject to space availability during opening hours.
- Emirates Citibank World Mastercard holders using one of their complimentary lounge passes when travelling with Emirates on an EK flight number.
While Qantas business class passengers and Qantas Gold and Platinum frequent flyers can technically visit this lounge prior to most Qantas flights (North America excluded), those departures don't currently align with the Emirates Lounge's opening hours.
Why you’d visit: With all of Emirates' departures from Brisbane being in the evenings – or very late evenings, as with the Singapore flight – many passengers will be drawn to the Champagne, normally with a choice between Moët & Chandon and Veuve Clicquot (personally, I'm in the Veuve camp).
But here's where passengers might prefer to visit the Qantas lounge, at least before wandering down to Emirates territory: although the Emirates lounge offers shower facilities, they're quite dated and availability is limited, so a visit to the Qantas lounge could see you booked into one of these nicer suites instead, loaded with Aspar amenities:
AusBT review: The Emirates Lounge, Brisbane
Plaza Premium Lounge, Brisbane
Where it is: Turn right at the end of the duty-free path, right again, and take the escalator upstairs. You'll find the Plaza Premium Lounge opposite the Air New Zealand lounge, in the same area as the Singapore Airlines SilverKris lounge.
When it’s open: 5am to midnight
Who gets in:
- Business class passengers of Qantas' partner Malaysia Airlines, as well as Taiwan's China Airlines, which can now be booked using Qantas Points.
- Qantas Gold, Platinum, Platinum One and Chairman's Lounge members prior to Malaysia Airlines flights. (When flying China Airlines and booked on a QF flight number, the Qantas lounge is instead available.)
- Other Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald frequent flyers prior to Malaysia Airlines flights.
- Members of Priority Pass, LoungeKey and Dragonpass prior to flights with any airline, including Qantas. This is extended to members of the independent lounge program 'The Club': not to be confused with Virgin Australia's The Club scheme for VIPs.
- AMEX Platinum Charge Card, Centurion and Business Centurion cardholders prior to flights with any airline (present eligible AMEX card for access).
- Diners Club-issued Diners Club cardholders when travelling with any airline (present Diners Club card for access: note that this excludes Linked Diners Club Cards issued by Citibank Australia).
- All other travellers can purchase access to the Plaza Premium Lounge online, or at the door. Prices vary based on duration of stay.
Qantas passengers, be aware that as this is a contract lounge offered by Malaysia Airlines as opposed to being a true Oneworld alliance lounge, access is not open to passengers taking flights operated by Qantas or other airlines under Oneworld rules – such as with a Qantas business class boarding pass, or for a Qantas Platinum frequent flyer travelling with Qantas, both of which would instead visit the Qantas lounge.
Of course, if your travel wallet packs one of those other cards, such as a Priority Pass membership or eligible credit or charge card, Plaza Premium's doors will open for you.
Why you’d visit: Speaking of Qantas lounges, while Qantas' lounge here spans three levels, two of those three floors close at 11am each day – and particularly for passengers taking afternoon and evening flights such as with Malaysia Airlines, this can find the Qantas lounge rather crowded, versus a comparatively empty Plaza Premium Lounge:
That's worth keeping in mind if you're seeking a quieter place to get some last-minute work done, in the privacy of one of these working booths...
... or simply want to relax and unwind before your flight, having some extra personal space.
Another tip: if you enter the Plaza Premium Lounge using a Priority Pass or other lounge membership card, you'll need to pay for alcohol inside – but if you instead flash an eligible AMEX or Diners Club card, or enter as the guest of an airline (such as with a Malaysia Airlines business class boarding pass), alcohol is complimentary: you'll receive a voucher to present at the bar when ordering your drinks.
This tip is particularly relevant for AMEX Platinum Charge Card holders, who receive a Priority Pass membership from American Express but can also present their AMEX card directly at the lounge entrance for access. Do the latter and drinks are on the house!
AusBT review: Plaza Premium Lounge, Brisbane