If a trip with Fiji Airways to the beaches of Fiji is on the horizon, there's no better way to start it than with a visit to the excellent Qantas First Lounge in Sydney, or even the very good Qantas Business Lounge for that matter.
But you'll only enjoy lounge access if you've booked the Fiji Airways flight as a codeshare Qantas flight – that is, with a QF flight number instead of the native FJ number.
Depsite the Qantas codeshare arrangement and Fiji Airways being is a Qantas partner – indeed, despite Qantas holding a 46% share on the Fijian airline – Qantas Frequent Flyers on FJ flights don’t qualify for lounge access unless their ticket is stamped with the QF flight number.
Holidaymakers who've booked economy flights directly with Fiji Airways (on the FJ code) or who have redeemed Qantas Frequent Flyer points for the journey are also left sitting in the terminal. Only business class passengers on Fiji Airways will have access to the Qantas Business Lounge.
The reason? The Sydney lounge rules state that in order to gain access, your “next onward flight must be on a Qantas, Emirates, Jetstar or Oneworld flight number”.
But if you book the Fiji Airways flight through Qantas, as if it were a Qantas flight and bearing that QF number, you'll be able to use your Qantas Frequent Flyer Gold or Platinum card to use the Business or First lounge even if you're in economy.
Lounge lizards, take note...
You can book your flights directly on the Qantas website – being sure to select flights with a QF code, as found here:
Prices can differ from those found on the Fiji Airways website, so always compare to make sure you’re getting the best deal before you book.
For example, Fiji Airways sells the same flights above for $456 and $326 respectively (a marginal saving), although as these carry the FJ code rather than the QF code you won't enjoy lounge access.
What about my Qantas points?
Unfortunately, travellers can only use Qantas points to book onto the FJ flight number (below), rather than the QF code.
Even if using Qantas points, you’ll be turned away at the lounge unless you’re travelling in business class – your only ticket inside.
The only workaround here is to book the direct flight with Jetstar, although the budget airline doesn’t head to Fiji every day. Even then, you won’t be able to access the Tabua Lounge in Nadi on your return, which is reserved for customers “travelling on a Qantas/Air Pacific codeshare flight”.
In these cases, we’d recommend either saving your points for a different trip, or splurging for a seat at the pointy end – particularly if you’ll be travelling on Fiji Airways’ Airbus A330 between Sydney and Nadi:
If you’re trying to justify paying the slightly higher price for the Qantas code, consider also that on the Qantas flight you’ll earn more status credits after July 1. Here’s how the earning rates stack up:
Fiji Airways (FJ) code: a trip from Sydney to Nadi would earn 20 status credits in discount economy, 40 status credits in full economy or 80 status credits in business class on the return journey. Following sweeping changes to the airline's Frequent Flyer program, the number of points earned on these flights in the new financial year is not yet known.
Qantas Airways (QF) code: If travelling on that same Sydney-Nadi-Sydney route from July 1, a Platinum Frequent Flyer would rake in roughly 4,400 points in discount economy, 6,600 in 'regular' economy, 8,800 points on a fully flexlble economy ticket, 11,000 points in business class or 12,100 points on a flexible business ticket.
You'd also earn two squiggles (~), with these sectors counting as ‘Qantas marketed flights’ for attaining or retaining Qantas Platinum One status.
Status credits for the return trip would be either 40, 50 or 80 in economy (respectively), and either 160 or 190 in business class – in all cases, that's at least double what you'll earn from booking onto the FJ code,
Although the price may be slightly higher on the QF code, you may just find those extra status credits boosting you to Gold or Platinum status – just don't use your points for a trip to Fiji in economy, else your newfound status won't get you through the lounge door!
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