Declining value of Oneworld Emerald lounges

10 replies

greg959

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 15 May 2019

Total posts 62

I just returned from a trip with my wife (both long term P/P1 flyers). In New York we were unable to access the Chelsea Lounge and in Qatar we were unable to access the Al Safwa Lounge. It seems there has been a noticeable trend among Oneworld members of creating premium lounges and then excluding frequent flyers from other alliance members from those lounges.

This begs the obvious question: Why does Qantas still let AA, BA and QR Emeralds into the First Lounges in Sydney and Melbourne. Surely the only proportionate and reasonable response to the exclusion of Qantas Emeralds from other oneworld lounges is to visit the same exclusions upon those airlines' Emerald customers? Why isn't Qantas sticking up for its most loyal customers?

Poll: Should Qantas exclude AA, BA and QR Emerald members from its First Lounges?

Phil Young

Qantas

Member since 22 Oct 2012

Total posts 253

Be careful what you wish for. If Qantas excluded Emeralds from its First Lounges, other OW First Lounges might follow. That could leave you as a Platinum unable to enter any First Lounges anywhere except the 4 Qantas First Lounges unless you're travelling in the First cabin.

Last editedby Phil Young at Jul 10, 2023, 05:38 PM.

Theresnormissin

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 14 Oct 2016

Total posts 153

My understanding is that this approach is not entirely new. For example the First Class only lounge within BA's Singapore lounge, or their Concorde Room in T5. This is not an issue solely within the OW group, for example the access restrictions for Air Canada's Signature lounges. Whilst disappointing I can accept this approach if the emerald or sapphire lounges are of a high enough quality.

I take particular issue when an airline is adhering to the letter of the rules by providing lounge access, but not doing so within 'the spirit'. I'm specifically talking about Qatar here and their deliberate separation between class or travel and status. Their alternate arrangements for those flying in economy is often poor, especially in Paris where the only option for those not in J is a mediocre contract lounge. Given their Qatar holds a 10% stake in IAG they will have a large influence within the OW alliance. As a result I fear this approach may become the norm in the long run. So despite the temptation to 'respond in kind' I think is actually best for Qantas and Cathay to keep 'flying the flag' by allowing access to their first lounges as this is a far better outcome.

mikahama

Member since 11 Jul 2023

Total posts 1

Qatar has always had most of their lounges excluded from the oneworld agreement, so there is nothing new there. At JFK, you can still visit Soho lounge, which is accessible for all Emerald level customers and there is an Emerald lounge at Doha airport as well. Remember that most of the oneworld First Class lounges can be entered with Emerald status - such lounges can be found in Helsinki, Frankfurt, Hongkong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Haneda, Narita, Heathrow and many more.

oldchinahand

Member since 13 Sep 2019

Total posts 16

I over the past few years haven't seen any access changes or in the past year become aware of new moves or trends by OW airlines to exclude premium passengers or elites from lounges.

quantumreality

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 16 Jan 2018

Total posts 67

Vote with your wallet. Just don't fly those airlines that do not respect the spirit of Oneworld lounge access 'code of conduct'.

If you are flexible with your itinerary, do a bit more research. It is not that difficult to fly other Oneworld airlines that do have 'proper' lounge access policies. One might find Qatar or Qantas give you the best options when it comes to time but Finnair, Cathay, JAL, MAS, and of course Qantas. might just be a few hours longer - not that significant considering it is almost always long haul departing from Australia anyway.

On a side note, being a premium cabin-only lounge does not necessarily it is better. I tried the Qatar business lounge in Singapore - it was ok. Small, dark and dingy, bit stuffy like being in a small restaurant, rather than a lounge. For some reasons, while I hate having too many people in a lounge, Qatar business lounge felt like there were not enough passengers, somehow it made the ambience rather depressing. I much prefer Qantas First lounge in Singapore - open, spacious, with enough 'buzz' to make it an exciting place to be, yet not too crowded.

Last editedby quantumreality at Jul 15, 2023, 11:23 AM.

FmD

Member since 25 Jun 2019

Total posts 22

Originally Posted by mikahama

Qatar has always had most of their lounges excluded from the oneworld agreement, so there is nothing new there. At JFK, you can still visit Soho lounge, which is accessible for all Emerald level customers and there is an Emerald lounge at Doha airport as well. Remember that most of the oneworld First Class lounges can be entered with Emerald status - such lounges can be found in Helsinki, Frankfurt, Hongkong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Haneda, Narita, Heathrow and many more.

Be mindful that Finnair's Helsinki First Lounge is now called "Platinum Wing" given the airline no longer offers first class flying. So it is a lounge dedicated to Emerald members.

Unfortunately is closes at 5:30PM, so it doesn't cater for the Asian flights, which are the gateway to/from Australia.

Last editedby FmD at Jul 20, 2023, 10:21 AM.

GoldCanyon340

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 11 Nov 2016

Total posts 13

And if you got your wish that would mean in HKG I could no longer visit the Cathay Pier First Class lounge when the other carriers retaliate. I would be left with the crowded Cathay Business lounges or the insanely noisy and awful Qantas lounge.

Phil Young

Qantas

Member since 22 Oct 2012

Total posts 253

And if you got your wish you could no longer enter any British Airways First Class Lounge, and so on.

Theviewfrom1a

British Airways - Executive Club

Member since 06 Apr 2018

Total posts 8

Actually I don't think much has changed regarding First Class lounge access. Qatar and BA have always had carve outs regarding their first lounges (ie not accessible to Emeralds). The BA 'First Lounge' has always been a misnomer - its an Emerald lounge as all First Class passengers would use the Concord room. BA got away with this as their First lounge (i.e. Emerald is decent). Qatar causes more angst because their alternatives typically are not very good...

PK

Member since 03 May 2012

Total posts 57

I know this is an unpopular opinion, and does not suit Qantas' business model, but I wish more airlines did this. Even Emerald Qatar FFs have to be flying at least Business to access the Al-Safwa lounge. I really dislike how busy the Qantas First lounges are. Qantas First is expensive enough, and then you are confronted with the equivalent of the old 6 o'clock swill at the local pub in terms of how packed the joint is. Quick transits in Singapore and LAX have you fighting for a shower when you have paid well into five figures for a First ticket. But Qantas' business model is about encouraging people to build up status credits, and I won't criticise that. I vote with my wallet - if I pay for premium flights, I want to be treated like a premium passenger.

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