Qantas considers ‘subscription model’ for lounge access

Qantas is exploring a low-cost monthly ‘subscription model’ for entry to its airport lounges.

By David Flynn, February 18 2024
Qantas considers ‘subscription model’ for lounge access
Executive Traveller exclusive

Qantas is considering opening its airport lounges to a raft of new members by introducing a low-cost ‘subscription payment’ model based on monthly rather than yearly payments. 

Under the proposal, travellers would be able to visit Qantas Club lounges and international Qantas Business lounges for a reduced monthly fee.

The airline currently sells Qantas Club membership as one-year, two-year and four-year packages for between $600 and $2,000 with a one-time $99 joining fee.

However, in an online survey distributed last week among the Qantas Research Panel and sighted by Executive Traveller, the airline said “Qantas is looking to introduce a subscription Qantas Club membership model that provides greater flexibility and allows members to pay as they go and cancel at any time.”

“Access will be provided to Qantas-branded lounges only, for a period of 28 days with an auto-renew if not cancelled,” the survey clarified.

A Qantas spokesperson told Executive Traveller the airline is “always looking to improve the customer experience.”

“As part of this we often conduct surveys with our customers asking for their feedback on a range of ideas and topics, some of which we go on to develop and others we don’t.”

Qantas Club subscription membership would appeal to the modern generation of flyers.
Qantas Club subscription membership would appeal to the modern generation of flyers.

A new approach to selling Qantas lounge access

The subscription model is no doubt more in tune with a younger generation of flyers who already pay for a wide range of online and real-life services via subscriptions.

It could also prove appealing in the face of inflation and increased costs of living, as smaller monthly payments are an easier ‘sell’ compared to a much higher annual bill.

While a month-by-month Qantas Club subscription service would certainly make lounge access more affordable for travellers, it risks an increase in crowding, which remains a sore point for frequent flyers.

The survey didn’t indicate how much Qantas would charge for the Qantas Club subscription, although there’s unlikely to be a joining fee of a physical membership card, with the airline instead relying on a digital card within the Qantas App.

The survey also suggested a series of possible names for the monthly Qantas Club subscription service, such as:

  • Qantas Club Explorer Membership
  • Qantas Club Lite Membership
  • Qantas Club Flexible Membership
  • Qantas Club Starter Membership
  • Qantas Club Monthly Membership
  • Qantas Club Value Membership

By comparison, the yearly-based Qantas Club options could be rebranded along the lines of Qantas Club Annual Membership, Premium Membership and Signature Membership.

Will month-by-month Qantas Club membership make lounges even more crowded?
Will month-by-month Qantas Club membership make lounges even more crowded?

How Qantas Club monthly membership would work

Under the subscription program, members would enjoy entry to two dozen Qantas Club and Qantas Regional Lounges around Australia, including each capital city plus major regional centres – along with Qantas international business class lounges in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Auckland, Honolulu, Singapore, Hong Kong, Los Angeles and London.

However, the Qantas survey stated Qantas Club subscription membership be restricted to only using Qantas’ own network of lounges, not overseas ‘partner’ lounges at international airports where there’s no Qantas lounge (such as the new Oneworld lounge at Seoul), and for which Qantas must pay a per-passenger entry fee to the lounge operator.

It would also not include the broader benefits of yearly-based Qantas Club membership such as the ability to bring in a guest, a higher checked baggage allowance or access to last-minute ‘on departure’ business class upgrades using Qantas Points.

This would broadly bring Qantas Club membership into line with the features of the Virgin Australia Lounge membership program, which costs a flat $399 per year, although Virgin’s family-friendly scheme permits one adult guest and three children.

It’s also closer to the paid lounge access programs of American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, in being geared more towards just lounge access.

Also read: Is Qantas Club kounge membership tax deductible?

13 Feb 2015

Total posts 68

MORE people in the lounges?!? It’s already pretty much at the point where it’s more enjoyable out in the terminal.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

07 Dec 2015

Total posts 51

If you were using it enough under a monthly subscription model then you are likely to obtain status benefits anyway, including the lounge, within a year.

I think this is about locking in new customers which gets them into the program and eventually into regular QF customers. Throw lounge access at them under this model and one of the initial hurdles is overcome. Not a bad idea tbh but the existing rusted on QF FF are going to hate it!

It's probably going to be aimed at those who would use the lounge passes, or are Bronze QFF flying economy. Those who are silver and fly a bit would probably have QC memberships, Gold and Platinum already get QC memberships and if you are flying business it won't be aimed at you. It is probably Qantas looking at new members who wouldn't usually access the lounge or think a yearly membership is a bit expensive for only a few visits per year. 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

09 Aug 2016

Total posts 39

The last thing the domestic lounges of either QF or VA need in them is more people.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Nov 2012

Total posts 121

Well we do live in the subscription economy so I guess it shows QF can be innovative (which it generally is not known to be). The only non-business lounge I access is in Cairns and that is bursting at the seams at the best of times.  Let’s see what Qantas does to address critically full clubs.  I suspect nothing.  

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 966

It was also suggested by someone the invite only lounge might have a payable subscription as well to some “invited people only” another way to increase revenue. Seemed a bit like hear say until you hear the many benefits for Qantas.

I heard that suggestion as well, I also heard come April there are change happening in the VA Camp.......

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jan 2014

Total posts 320

If you can just join and leave whenever you want why would anyone pay for anything else, got a bit of travel coming up join and get the benefits, not flying for a few months just cancel your subscription and start again when you have a bit of travel coming up, most people with a regular QC membership would cancel and use this. 

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 966

There counting on people not cancelling the subscription and receiving free cash from not flying. The lazy people who have financial leakage.  

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 716

Hey, easy there tiger, I finally cancelled that pristine, low-Kms (ok, un-used) gym membership, thank-you very much. 
But seriously, this idea by QF is 'amateur hour' by one of the kids in marketing, that should never have seen the light of day.  Price point would at a bare minimum need to be $60pcm with a committed minimum initial subscription of 3-4 months, otherwise I could see regular (i.e. annual subscription paying) members feeling more than a little 'chipped' at their loyalty being devalued so easily by Qantas (said he/him trying hard not to laugh).  

I sure do hope something this . . .  @#%&ing 'naive' (?) ever leaves the bowels of the Virgin Mothership in Grey Street.  Back me up here Jayne (this is no time for herd mentality).  

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 692

In reality, it will come down to what cost for subscribers Qantas chooses. Too expensive (and no guest pass included) will be ignored. Too cheap and you destroy other existing Qantas revenue streams.

The other questions to consider are: a) what happens to 'guest' passes for Silvers? If you abolish those in favour of the subscription plan, you only alienate Silvers further by devaluing one of the meagre benefits they receive. b) Secondly, QF already has am existing program where non-Qantas Club members can purchase one-off lounge access.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1204

I assume QF will charge a significant premium for this "come and go" type of membership otherwise why would an existing Qantas Club member who only travels 6 or 7 times a year bother continuing paying an annual fee?

Unfortunately, the whole thing seems like a recipe for even more overcrowded lounges.  As someone pointed out, it is already at the point where open areas in the general terminal are often more pleasant than the Qantas Club during a peak period.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Jun 2017

Total posts 55

I think that I can use this for our 21 year old daughter who will be travelling with my wife and myself to UK later this year if we choose to travel with Qantas. My wife and myself covered for Qantas lounges as LTG but our daughter wont and getting here a 12 month QC membership for her is not worthwhile. This sounds more cost effective for just a short term membership.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Sep 2021

Total posts 15

You cant put a price on a shower in SIN on the way back from London.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1204

Yes you can.  You can access the swimming pool and shower at the Aerotel at SIN T1 for SGD25 (AUD30).

QFF

12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1519

"with an auto-renew if not cancelled" - hate this American invention!!!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer - Chairmans Lounge

01 Sep 2011

Total posts 413

Seriously? The domestic business lounges are so full right now. Something like what is proposed just devalues status and loyalty. 

28 Apr 2021

Total posts 22

Most 'Passengers' who are able to access both the Domestic and International Australian Qantas Lounges will view the concept as a revenue making exercise and already it has been expressed it will swell a number Lounge facilities that have constant usage during most periods of the day.

We travel regularly out of the Brisbane International Terminal and 2 (two) lounges during peak periods are extremely utilized and for us P and other P1 'Passengers', more often than none it is most difficult to find a space that offers some degree of privacy away from the highly crowded and noisy facilities.

Are we to look forward to trying to find a couple of vacant seats if the current 'tired and cramped' Brisbane Int'l Lounges accommodate even more casual type paying persons?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jul 2018

Total posts 27

After my recent miserable Qantas flying experiences, I am glad I dumped QC last year.   Now a monthly pass that does not include entry for my wife is less than useless.   Another failure for the marketing children at the profit-centric airline.   here are quiet areas to be found in any terminal ... one does not have to sit at the gate until the (usually delayed) boarding time.

18 Aug 2021

Total posts 6

I wish Qantas would introduce real benefit such as  being able to convert some Frequent Flyer points to a lounge pass. This could be easily done with a few keystrokes on the app or website and would be a real innovation in a benefit. The single lounge pass you get with Silver status is useless if travelling with a partner. 

SCM
SCM

28 Sep 2022

Total posts 15

There is no aspect of this which is a good idea - not for Qantas, nor for customers. I don't see who would even pay this, the food and facilities are atrocious.

Jetstar Airways - Qantas Frequent Flyer

24 Aug 2018

Total posts 107

Mmm, with the Melbourne QC and business class lounges full to the gills, how about a domestic first class lounge for Melbourne and Sydney for their P and P1. Seems it could add to the allure to reach those status levels.

29 Jan 2012

Total posts 176

How the Qantas Club has changed over the decades. Originally the Captains Lounge in the 70's, no membership, just a privilege offered for flying in Qantas's international premium cabins in the 70's. then TAA's flight Deck in the 80's offering a premium domestic flying experience for their frequent customer, and now in the 2020's it is a mass market, money generating sales program with little to no services offering a shallow attempt at elitism. QF have lost their way.

Over priced and over crowded lounges offering little to no services are no longer attractive to the modern frequent travelling public. To now sell it by the month, why hold back, lets sell it by the hour like a cheap motel.


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