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UPDATE 2019 | Emirates will now let weary travellers pay their way into its airport lounges in Dubai and around the world, regardless of their frequent flyer status or class of travel.
The Gulf airline and Qantas partner is charging Skywards members without lounge access US$105 (A$150) for four hours' access to its business class lounges, and US$210 (A$300) for the first class lounges. Business class travellers can also pay their way into the first class lounge for US$105.
If you're hanging out at the Dubai Concourse B business class lounge, we suggest you make a beeline for the Moët & Chandon champagne bar and the selection of canapés created to complement each champagne.
(Travelling on holidays with your kids? Children aged 2-12 years pay half the above rate, while infants under two years get into the lounge free.)
If you happen to stay more than four hours, even due to "flight disruptions and delays", Emirates reserves the right to hit you up for an additional US$100 (for the business class lounge) or $200 (in the first class lounge) to cover a further four hours.
Skywards Gold and Silver members, who already enjoy access to Emirates’ business class lounges at Dubai, can also plonk down US$105 to be upgraded to the airport's sprawling first class lounges and tuck into their extensive food and drink selection.
Non-Skywards members can purchase access in Dubai only at higher rates – that's US$130 (A$186) for business class lounges and US$250 (A$$357) for the first class lounges. If you're not planning on attaching another airline's frequent flyer number to your Emirates booking, then it's highly advisable to sign up for Skywards Blue and link that to your booking to save up to $57 on lounge access without any other work.
For selected Emirates lounges around the rest of the world, such as Sydney, Perth and Melbourne, Skywards Silver and Blue passengers can part ways with US$100 (A$143) for access, while Gold, Platinum, business and first class guests can pay the same to bring in extra guests above their entitlement. You'll need to be travelling on an Emirates flight, as the terms & conditions make no exception even for the flights of Emirates' partner Qantas.
Note that you'll need to be an entry-level or Blue member of the airline's Skywards frequent flyer scheme to buy your way into these worldwide lounges.
(Fortunately, you can sign up for Skywards online, and there's no cost – but this shouldn't be something you do while you're at the airport).
Naturally, the pay-to-enter lounge access is "subject to capacity restrictions", so a series of delayed flights – as can happen during the UAE's winter fogs – could see some would-be lounge lizards stuck on the wrong side of the door.
Additional reporting by Brandon Loo