Qantas resumes lounge pass access to its London lounge

By David Flynn, July 17 2019

UPDATE | Qantas has reinstated the use of free Qantas lounge invitations to access its London Heathrow lounge, reversing a decision reported earlier today on Executive Traveller.

As detailed in our original story below, the airline had declared that over the northern summer period, complimentary Qantas lounge invitations – issued to Silver-grade frequent flyers as well as Qantas-partnered credit cards – would no longer be accepted at its London lounge, with the Complimentary Lounge Invitations page of the Qantas website updated to reflect this

However, Qantas has this afternoon contacted Executive Traveller to advise that this will not be rolled out as a blanket policy across the busy European summer period.

Instead, pass-based entry to the London lounge will continue to be assessed based on how crowded the lounge is at any given time.

During the very busiest periods, travellers with a Qantas complimentary lounge pass may be redirected to one of the airline's partner lounges in Heathrow Terminal 3.

PREVIOUS | Qantas has temporarily suspended access to its London Heathrow lounge for travellers holding a free Qantas lounge invitation, either in paper or digital form.

The complimentary invitations are issued to Silver-grade frequent flyers as well as Qantas-partnered credit cards and the airline's own Qantas Platinum and Qantas Titanium cards, and typically open the doors at domestic Qantas Club lounges as well as most international Qantas lounges.

However, the confluence of Australia's mid-year holidays and the UK's summer holidays has seen the Heathrow Terminal 3 lounge's welcome mat whipped away when it comes to those free lounge passes.

Lounge passes will once again be welcome at the Qantas London lounge come September 2019
Lounge passes will once again be welcome at the Qantas London lounge come September 2019

A spokesperson for Qantas tells Executive Traveller that the lounge passes won't be accepted at London until September 1, 2019.

Not all lounge invites are being declined: the spokesperson says this temporary restriction doesn't apply to complimentary first class lounge invitations sent to Platinum One frequent flyers to be shared with family and friends.

In the meantime, London joins Perth and Singapore as no-go zones for Qantas lounge invitations.

What's the state of play with Qantas Perth and Singapore lounges?

While lounge invites can be used at Perth's domestic Qantas Club, they're still not accepted at the Perth International Transit Lounge – continuing a state of affairs dating back to June 2018, when the airline cited a “current technical limitation with digital passes in the Perth Transit Lounge."

Executive Traveller understands that the long-waited fix could be in place by August 2019, although pass-holding passengers will still need to be jetting to London on flight QF9, or connecting from London through to Melbourne on QF10.

Qantas lounge passes will once again be welcome at the airline's Singapore lounge in the coming months when an expansion project is completed before the end of September, while the planned November opening of the new Qantas Singapore first class lounge will also lighten the load.

Qantas will open a new first class lounge in Singapore by November 2019
Qantas will open a new first class lounge in Singapore by November 2019

The 240-seat first class lounge – located in a seperate part of Changi Terminal 1 – will be a crowd-buster for the Singapore business class lounge, catering to not only first class passengers on Qantas' Airbus A380s but  Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers and Chairman's Lounge members.

Also read: Take a guided tour inside the new Qantas Singapore first class lounge

David

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.

deany83

deany83

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jul 2014

Total posts 135

I was there last Wednesday before QF9 and the lounge had plenty of free space on both levels

Ryan K

Ryan K

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 May 2013

Total posts 303

Is Qantas not planning for it's new lounges properly? It seems the last three lounges they've built are not coping with the amount of people using them.

X

X

British Airways - Executive Club

24 Jan 2012

Total posts 73

I think there are two important factors to consider.

1. The available space in LHR T3 for a mega lounge complex simply doesn't exist. It would be difficult for QF to source a larger continuous facility. Even if they could, the rent would be astronomical and would not pass any reasonable business case.

2. It is difficult to project users for LHR given the number of oneworld airlines operating and alternative available lounges (CX, BA, AA). Customers have equal access under oneworld rules.

In SIN, the facility was previously shared with BA and I'd guess their modeling was based on previous customer numbers. However, you can all but guarantee the QF lounge gets more than their share vs the BA lounge after the split.

reeves35

reeves35

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 553

The space used by lounges is expensive to rent so airlines don't want to rent too much space. This is particularly the case for lounges in out-stations that are basically empty for most of the day except for a brief peak once or twice a day.

I'm unsure of the treatment QF chose to adopt for its PER international lounge as it never seems particularly busy but assume QF are planning that eventually there will be a bank of flights all around the same point of time so they don't want to fill it up and then have to restrict absence later on.

peteshep

peteshep

15 Feb 2013

Total posts 135

Singapore had been planned originally based on the fact there were no ongoing flights to London as they were through Dubai at the time. Now that the flights are back through Singapore that puts additional pressure on the lounge, hence the requirement to now open an F lounge there again.

flyingdr

flyingdr

22 Dec 2017

Total posts 22

These exclusions devalue Silver status. One pass per annum is already stingier than VA, and when that pass can’t be used in three major ports, it’s a bit of a slap in the face.

robw730

robw730

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Jun 2019

Total posts 1

TBH....there is little or no value in Silver status.

Libertyscott

Libertyscott

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Aug 2011

Total posts 154

What's sad is that Platinum and Golds have other options, Platinums especially are best going to the CX First lounge, Golds the CX Business lounge, but both can go to the AA, BA options as well (as of course can First and Business passengers). Silvers have no choice. No doubt Qantas saw this lounge as a chance to make money from lots of OW Emerald/Sapphire and business class passengers by providing a more appealing lounge than the two largest airlines at T3 (BA/AA), as well as saving money from paying BA, but this doesn't encourage booking of Qantas by its own Silver card holders. Turning away OW Sapphires would cost it money, and it's going to be some time before the AA and BA lounges get a refurbishment to lessen demand heading to the Qantas lounge.

AsiaBizTraveller

AsiaBizTraveller

20 Nov 2015

Total posts 64

Yes but it's not as if Qantas is going to send Platinums and Golds to the superior Cathay Pacific lounge, which I'm told costs them at least £50 per passenger and exposes those high value flyers to a competitor, for the sake of letting people with a free lounge pass into the Qantas lounge. Let's face it, people relying on a free lounge pass are simply not a 'high value customer' for any airline, not compared to people why fly often enough to be Gold or Platinum.

Nick Sydney 2

Nick Sydney 2

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Jul 2015

Total posts 223

Quite right too. Those who earn the right to lounge access by travelling should not have to put up with the free loaders who travel once in a blue moon

kimshep

kimshep

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 492

Here's an easy solution: stop handing over 'complimentary' lounge invites to credit card holders. The purpose of the complimentary QF Silver pass is to encourage silver-tiered fliers to progress higher up the chain, becoming Gold etc. or to join the Qantas Club by showcasing the QF lounge offering.

AMEX has seen the light and is opening it's own lounge network across the world. It is appropriate that the likes of Visa, Mastercard and Citibank do something similar. If you're a Global corporate, then act like one.

The issue of offering airline lounge passes may be an appealing 'add-on' for the credit card companies, but it doesn't necessarily equate to added value for airlines. Many of these CC customers are high-tier FF's anyway and simply use their passes to invite friends, who may have no constatnt loyalty to QF anyway. The revenue earned by airline lounges comes from cc companies, so bringing a buddy in contributes to your 18-23% interest rate, if you don't settle on time.

BTW, there are more than 3 QF lounges (LHR, SIN, PER) declining complimentary Silver passes. I know of several 'silver' friends who have been declined at LAX, as well. Since QF uses partner lounges in JFK, DFW and SFO (where comp passes are naturally not valid), there is effectively nowhere in the mainland USA that these are usable.

wannabe_wp

wannabe_wp

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Mar 2019

Total posts 10

The LAX lounge is excluded as it is technically a oneworld lounge operated by Qantas. Been like that since it opened as far as I know.

Ourmanin

Ourmanin

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

08 Jun 2018

Total posts 65

@kimshep, you make a good point however this is a function of having a frequent flyer program that is commercialised through the sale of points to card providers. The value of these programs are huge, but these are 'perks' that Qantas can commercialise, they aren't given away, they are intrinsically valued either uniquely or within the price Qantas can sell their points to the card providers for. This problem is only going to get worse as Qantas have already stated within their rebrand / revamp of the FF program that thy are going to provide additional recognition for high spenders as well as high flyers.

kimshep

kimshep

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 492

I don't have a problem with airlines (QF or anyone else) selling points to cc companies - that's a fundamental 'earn' for the airline. However, providing lounge passes to cc customers comes at the expense of 'selling your crown jewels'.

One would think that an airline would like to retain control over capacity at lounges ~ and retain some leverage over service levels - particularly to your own loyal passengers.

I agree wholeheartedly that the problem will escalate as you state. With the new 'frequent spender' program module, QF is trying to attract / reward these (third-party) cc company customers directly - but will continue to compromise their own efforts by continuing to provide cc lounge access. Either the lounges must expand - not an inconsiderable cost - or there will need to be a review of overly generous 'comp' lounge access. Cutting the cc benefit (to external cc companies) goes a long way towards this - while keeping loyal 'silvers' happy.

The only other option is to expand lounges helter-skelter, thereby destroying the intrinsic value that a comfortable lounge offering presents. Don't know about you but a 'Westfield' sized lounge seems somewhat impersonal or relatable to me.

Ourmanin

Ourmanin

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

08 Jun 2018

Total posts 65

Absolutely agree, I dislike the Emirates lounges in Dubai for exactly the reasons you mention there. The problem is going to come when, if they restrict lounge access, Credit Card holders will complain to their card issuers and that has the potential to be reflected in what they pay Qantas for the points. There isn't an easy answer, because either way it has the potential to impact revenues.

People refer to them as 'complimentary' and they are to the end user, but the Credit Card issuers are paying for them and if enough people can't use them their value will decrease.

Sparksy

Sparksy

09 Aug 2015

Total posts 13

Well that was a quick flip-flop, well done AusBT because I think your reporting may have helped QF see the light. It's a bonus if the lounge pass will get you into another T3 lounge, at Singapore for instance the pass is declined and you're sent back to the public area of the terminal, and anybody who has been to LHR T3 knows this is NOT where you want to be!

greg959

greg959

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 May 2019

Total posts 11

The solution to this problem is to make the lounges with chronic capacity problems (LHR pre QF2, PER and for the next few months SIN) accessible to F/J and Emerald/ Sapphire only. That should be done up front so as to manage the expectations of pass holders and QC members - if they know they're not getting in, they're not in for a shock. The notion that capacity can be monitored in a dynamic way is just garbage - we all know the lounge fills to the brim before anything is done about it.

On my last trip through LHR there were no seats, showers or meals available due to overcrowding. The Wifi also collapsed. A number of the people at the bar and in the dining area conspicuously had "QC Bronze" on their boarding passes. Last year I spent $57,000 with Qantas and the company I own did about $340,000. The people hogging my seats spent $300 on a credit card, $500 on QC membership, or $3K to get Ruby. By all means recognise their 'loyalty' but if I can't get a seat and a meal I'll just take my business to SQ/VA.


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