Cathay Pacific trials pay-your-way access to business class lounges

By David Flynn, October 10 2018

IN BRIEF | Cathay Pacific is now letting passengers pay their way into a handful of its airport lounges under a six-month trial.

Premium economy and economy passengers who don't hold lounge-worthy frequent flyer status can pony up HK$600 – that's a whopping A$108 – to cool their heels in the Cathay Pacific lounges at Manila, Melbourne and Vancouver.

Cathay Pacific Vancouver lounge
Cathay Pacific Vancouver lounge

It's highly questionable if a visit to Melbourne's rather dated Cathay Pacific lounge is worth even half that much, especially with the recently-opened Plaza Premium Lounge asking $60 (or free with an American Express Platinum Charge Card or Centurion Card, or via Priority Pass membership) while it offers cooked-to-order dishes alongside a bar and barista service.

The Manila and Vancouver lounges are significantly better value for money, as both are among Cathay's newest lounges and include not just the warmly comfortable Ilse Crawford design but the popular Noodle Bar.

Cathay Pacific Manila lounge
Cathay Pacific Manila lounge

AusBT review: Cathay Pacific business, first class lounge, Manila Airport

Even so, $110 could definitely go a fair way in either airport without your setting foot inside those cosy lounges.


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2011

Total posts 328

Manila airport is that bad that it almost represents good value....

04 May 2018

Total posts 45

MNL has a good enough lounge at T3 that's only about $15 and great views just no hot food!

Cx lounges are re-knowned to be the best however too costly for a few hours unless its on expenses,the HKG paid for lounge is less money and good enough too!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Jun 2012

Total posts 46

I can almost see the point. For instance, if your company requires you to fly in Economy but you want a bit of comfort beforehand, I'd fork out the A$ to get into a decent lounge.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

15 Nov 2017

Total posts 53

Marhaba pay per use lounge in MEL at $65 is much better value and has actual natural sunlight i.e a pretty good view of the runways and barista made coffee etc

31 Mar 2014

Total posts 293

I was walking past the Plaza lounge in Melbourne recently and they had a sign out for $35 lounge entry for walk ups. I would take that any day over this from Cathay

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2017

Total posts 87

ye same - does anyone actually use the Cathay Lounge in Melb?

20 Jun 2014

Total posts 59

I use it and it is generally reasonably busy before Cathay flights. I prefer the Qantas lounge for food but if I don't need a big meal a few dumplings and a beer at the Cathay lounge hits the spot. Also they have some nice showers. Most importantly, they call Cathay flights and you can hit up the staff to try and get a last minute upgrade.

20 Jun 2014

Total posts 59

Mind you, if you were paying the Plaza lounge is a much better option.

14 Dec 2015

Total posts 18

The best thing at Melbourne are the bathrooms, wouldn't pay $$$$ for them! I often go upstairs for a 'break' from the claustrophobic conditions.

Cathay Pacific - The Marco Polo Club

02 Jul 2018

Total posts 36

The problem of CX MEL lounge is not about money, it's... too many people there. Imaging the 00:50 flight has 70+ eligible guests in the MEL lounge while the flight has 270 capacity...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Sep 2017

Total posts 133

Even so, $110 could definitely go a fair way in either airport without your setting foot inside those cosy lounges.” Couldn’t be a truer statement! If one does not have lounge access eligibility, not really worth it, especially if a group of 2 or more!

Delta Air Lines - SkyMiles

14 Apr 2013

Total posts 319

Why does CX even have a lounge in MEL? I thought they would just use the QF J & F lounges.

20 Jun 2014

Total posts 59

I expect that with 3 flights a day x 40-50 passengers eligible for lounge access, it's probably cheaper to run a lounge than pay Qantas to use theirs. Also given the size and location, the rent can't be that high.

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