Qantas now offers paid access at first class, business class lounges

Qantas is rolling out paid access at selected lounges including LAX and Hong Kong, at prices ranging from $50 to $215.

By David Flynn, October 31 2019
Qantas now offers paid access at first class, business class lounges

Qantas is opening up paid access to selected first class and business class airport lounges, with prices ranging from $50 to $215 for a stay of up to three hours. There's no requirement for travellers to be flying with Qantas or any of its partner airlines – any passenger on any airline can buy their way into some of the Red Roo's swishest spaces.

As Executive Traveller reported earlier this week, the concept has been trialled at Qantas' London Heathrow lounge with a walk-up rate of £55 (A$103).

Qantas has confirmed that the program is now being extended to seven international lounges.

At Qantas' Hong Kong lounge, A$83 can buy you a lot of duck...
At Qantas' Hong Kong lounge, A$83 can buy you a lot of duck...

The following Qantas lounges now offer paid access to any traveller regardless of travel class, frequent flyer status or airline:

  • Los Angeles first class lounge: US$150 (A$215)
  • Los Angeles business class lounge: US$75 (A$108)  
  • London Heathrow lounge: £55 (A$103).
  • Hong Kong lounge: HK$450 (A$83)
  • Auckland business class lounge: NZ$60 (A$56)
  • Wellington business class lounge: NZ$55 (A$51)
  • Perth T1 international lounge: A$70

"In order to best utilise our international lounges, we will from time to time offer paid access outside of peak hours," a spokesman for the airline told Executive Traveller.

Qantas trialled paid access at its London Heathrow lounge with a £55 charge.
Qantas trialled paid access at its London Heathrow lounge with a £55 charge.

However, the airline maintains this move won't lead to overcrowding. "Paid access is dependent on sufficient space being available, after eligible customers from Qantas, Oneworld airlines and partner airlines are accommodated," the spokesman stressed. "Check-in staff will extend the offer only when capacity will allow."

Executive Traveller understands that paid access will be at the discretion of each lounge manager, with the aim of boosting revenue outside of the normal peak hours associated with Qantas and partner flights.

Qantas' popular LAX business class lounge is shared with most Oneworld airlines.
Qantas' popular LAX business class lounge is shared with most Oneworld airlines.

In the case of the Qantas LAX first class lounge, for example, despite opening at 6.30am it's busiest in the late evening prior to Qantas' flights back to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, which all depart around 10.30-11pm – although the lounge is also available to first class and Oneworld Emerald-grade frequent flyers on Oneworld partners including British Airways, Cathay Pacific, JAL and Qatar Airways.

Similarly, Qantas' flights from Hong Kong all leave in the evening, although the lounge is now used by airlines such as JAL with morning or afternoon departures.


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.

05 Dec 2018

Total posts 144

If this is off peak, brings Qantas $$$, doesn't severely impact current customers and means standards can be kept high and improve.

I like the change.

12 Feb 2013

Total posts 48

As the LAX lounge is jointly owned by CX, BA and QF (but managed by QF), wouldn't they also have to agree to this arrangement or even offer the same option to their own customers?

15 Feb 2013

Total posts 163

Given it's open to anyone flying any airline, wouldn't that then mean it's available to all of those airlines customers? And yes they'd probably have to agree to it, but one would assume that has all been done before publicising it

25 Jun 2012

Total posts 57

The LAX Business lounge is a jointly owned lounge, but the first class lounge is a qantas lounge, not jointly owned as far as I am aware.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jan 2015

Total posts 71

I'd be interested to know what hours they consider off peak at LAX.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Aug 2014

Total posts 156

I wouldn't pay 1 cent to get into the Auckland lounge.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 May 2012

Total posts 180

If the people at the door stick to off peak then that shouldn't be too much of an issue but again how well will this be managed. I can foresee over crowding once the extra $$$ start To role in. Also I wonder what happens when the lounge is too full and an ow emerald rocks up and can't get in? Do they refund the paying person or not admit the OW.

The Perth T4 lounge is unwelcome news. I travel out from Perth and the lounge is always busy.

07 May 2016

Total posts 17

Neither of the two options LoveToFly describes seem likely. The lounge occupancy will be managed by suspending paid access before the lounge is full. In the rare event that many more OWs subsequently turn up than could reasonably be expected, it's possible that the lounge could become more crowded than customers would like, but I don't see evicting a paying person, possibly in the middle of eating or showering, even if they are refunded the not insignificant fee, or denying a OW entry. Except of course if the fire department's room capacity limit is reached, which is even more unlikely. When a lounge becomes crowded because capacity management has not worked well and there's another less-crowded lounge nearby that the OW customer is could use I don't know whether the crowded lounge would suggest the option of using the other one.

11 Mar 2012

Total posts 315

Perth T1 Lounge. Not T4.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jan 2014

Total posts 320

There goes somewhere quiet to relax and get away from the noise and crowd of the terminal

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Apr 2017

Total posts 27

I always worry when the phrases “managers discretion” and “increased revenue opportunities” are put together. One wonders if there will also be “corporate targets” set for the managers of these lounges, creating ca onflict between the relaxed and reasonable lounge space available for actual QF/OW eligible passengers, who cost the lounge money with each visit, and the walk-up $-signs flying other airlines? Time will tell I suppose.

20 Apr 2018

Total posts 2

Qantas admit the Auckland lounge is below par but with a straight face now want to charge a fee for entry?? Maybe after the renovated lounge (promised in 2015!) happens

21 Aug 2019

Total posts 64

Need to pay for the Renovations any which way....

Good, it gives me the perfect excuse to stop the Platinum Status chase. So many mileage runs in the past two years and I have finally (and subconsciously) admitted that Qantas doesn't recognise status inflight or on the ground - apart from the free lounge access (PP is cheaper than Qantas' proposed pay as you go and often the lounges are better - in my opinion). In addition, QFFlyer points are depreciating fast, its service is visibly declining, its price is vastly rising and competitions out there are quietly becoming real. Status facilitates expectation and why committing to a premium for a fairly ordinary offering? That said, this upcoming Xmas, I just purchased a set of tickets for my entire family in J/F with SIA (I was surprised by the reasonable price) and none of us has status with Star Alliance ;) and neither the intention to chase. Time to take the break from oneworld and suddenly, the whole world seems to be opened up, even just a bit.

23 Feb 2015

Total posts 262

The definition of off peak will be key here. I don't see the value in the first class lounge price, but having somewhere to go before flying back and having a shower in LA would be valuable. I'm guessing that would be a peak time though ...

"Managers discretion" = recipe for disaster as people won't want to take no for an answer. There should be clearly defined dates for purchased lounge access & trial it off peak outside school holidays eg November & February.

Paid lounge access should have the same access rules as members who receive access via frequent flyer status ie be flying on a QF, JQ or One World marketed or operated flight.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1193

I have no problem in QF selling the spaces outside of the hours when the lounges would be expected to be serving Qantas passengers. My concern is that manager's discretion gives me the hint that the manager may have been set some revenue KPI that he has to achieve so it will be in his interest to ensure the lounge is as full as possible at all times.

Changing what has traditionally been a service area and cost centre for Qantas into an additional revenue area does have the potential to see the whole experience decline.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Aug 2011

Total posts 168

The AKL and WLG ones are a bit of a laugh really, save your money and buy food at the terminals. HKG at a push if transiting, assuming you have plenty of time and will use the showers. Perth domestic business raises the question as to why you'd be there long enough to make it worthwhile.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 May 2019

Total posts 31

There should be a hard policy regarding hours of use (ie not before major QF flights) rather than leaving it entirely to managerial discretion. If the experience of the ludicrously overcrowded London and Singapore lounges has taught us anything it is that the managers of these lounges are hopeless at managing capacity and prioritising the interests of higher tier Frequent Flyers and Chairman's Lounge members over people holding credit card issued vouchers and those stumping up loose change for Qantas Club memberships.

There will be an expectation that managers generate revenue from this arrangement, which will put pressure on them to fill the space. That will come at the expense of higher tier flyers. This is what's going to happen:

(1) Regular travellers on other airlines will not approach the lounge outside of busy hours. They will see the lounge as a status-based airline lounge rather than a pay as you go lounge and won't bother.

(2) With few travellers utilising the lounge as intended outside high use QF flight times, managers will feel the pressure to get dollars into the till during busier times in order to meet revenue expectations.

(3) QF passengers will approach the lounges prior to departure either because Qantas is advertising access, they have discovered the access policy during the course of researching their trip, or because they have one of those vile credit card vouchers and are with mates who don't. The managers (who we know are incapable of managing capacity) will let them in.

(4) The problem will be particularly acute at the LAX First Lounge. There aspirational Sapphire/Gold members will constantly be trying to make their way into the First Lounge because, let's face it, many of them are status conscious and want to feel like they're a Platinum/P1/Emerald member (that's how the psychology of this works). If you're in that class $150 once a year to feel special isn't all that much if you're already chasing 600 status credits a year to scrape gold. They will arrive at the airport early or on 4-5 hour spaced connections so that they can sneak in when the First Lounge isn't already heaving.

The fact that the LAX First Lounge is included in this arrangement is frankly insulting. It's bad enough that Qantas has been building one tier lounges everywhere that result in P/P1/CLs having to leave for competitor lounges. By all means pack out the Qantas Club/Business Lounge when you're offering higher tier flyers somewhere better to go but taking payments is just a slap in the face.

[Deleted by admin: personal remarks]

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 May 2019

Total posts 8

With respect, I disagree on (1) and (4). Personally, I'd always look for the QF lounge at LHR T3 first (the only reliable coffee in the airport) before checking out CX F etc. I'm also not sure we can assume someone entitled to the J lounge from their status would then pay the full fee F lounge access. The marginal difference is probably not worth it.

I do think some more explicit guidelines on hours of use is a good point though. I can imagine a soft policy of no paid entry for those with departures within 1.5-2hrs of a major QF flight being implemented to prevent crossover of off-peak paid crowd with the status/ticketed class crowds.

22 Oct 2014

Total posts 14

Watch the kpi for lounge managers revenue skyrocket

Wonder how they measure the 3 hour access rule? If you're on QF12 departing LAX at 2230, to get a full 3 hours (courtesy of paid access) you'd want to arrive at 1830 as you will be heading to the gate shortly after 2130.

Or is '3 hour lounge access' a case of only being allowed entry 3 hours prior to your scheduled flight departure?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Jan 2017

Total posts 20

I wonder how they will publicise this to people in non-peak hour?
Big signs at the door? Around he corner? "Open in non-peak hours"

Seriously? Who is Qantas desperately chasing to let in?
What about the 'dress code'?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Jun 2018

Total posts 1

if anyone can pay to use the lounge now - does that mean I can use the lounge (Platnium) even if I'm not flying Qantas or One World?

31 Aug 2017

Total posts 6

Good Call for Perth as Aspire group is currently building an access lounge in T1 while the nice QF lounge is over other side

01 Nov 2019

Total posts 1

I am sure there will be no extra staff hired, and so they will be even more overworked. It now takes forever at busy times to get service, imagine what will happen next. Maybe us Platinums should band together for our loyalty and demand access to the Chairmans Lounge?

30 Nov 2018

Total posts 7

I flew back from LAX last week and it was packed like Sardines.

What is the point of spending over $20K a year to get Platinum when you can pay $200 maybe 2 or 3 times a year to access the F lounge?

Qantas just cheapening an already subpar product.

21 Aug 2019

Total posts 64

Would agree with you. Plat these days seems not to count for s great deal. Most frequent destination is LHR and the QF lounge there is OK but behind Cathay to whom I am gravitating.

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