Inside the exclusive Qantas Chairman’s Lounge

We reveal all the benefits high-flying VIPs enjoy as members of this invite-only tier.

By Staff Writers, April 15 2024
Inside the exclusive Qantas Chairman’s Lounge

Platinum One frequent flyers are well-versed in enjoying the finer side of Qantas travel, with first lounge access, upgrades and more among the tier’s platinum-plated perks. Yet even those avid flyers can’t access the exclusive Chairman’s Lounge.

In fact, no amount of travel will gain you entry – it’s strictly an invitation-only affair, with even the guest list a closely-guarded secret. Want to know what awaits inside?

 

How to get Qantas Chairman’s Lounge status

Often dubbed ‘the most exclusive club in the country’, Chairman’s Lounge access isn’t open to just anyone, nor are the entry requirements freely displayed on the airline’s website. (It’s a similar setup to Virgin Australia’s Beyond lounge and status tier).

To gain access, you need to be personally approved by the airline’s chairman (hence the name), with your membership then renewed every two years at Qantas’ discretion.

Among those making the cut: senior-ranking MPs including Ministers, state Premiers and the Prime Minister, leaders of major unions and sporting groups, Qantas ambassadors, selected A-list celebrities and other high-profile members of the media.

It's an exclusive guest list for sure.
It's an exclusive guest list for sure.

Other recipients of the cherished black card are senior management at some of Australia's largest companies – the ones spending big on Qantas flights at home and overseas.

Qantas also extends Chairman’s Lounge membership to partners of the above.

Chairman's Lounges generally have one of the best views in the house.
Chairman's Lounges generally have one of the best views in the house.

It’s worth noting Chairman’s Lounge membership actually sits alongside the Qantas Frequent Flyer tiers – so a VIP flying regularly could be a Chairman’s Lounge Platinum One member, while one relatively infrequently could be Chairman’s Lounge Silver.

Where to find the Qantas Chairman’s Lounges

Chairman’s Lounge isn’t just a membership tier with impressive perks: it’s also a network of airport lounges where members can cool their heels away from the general public.

You’ll find Chairman’s Lounges in six of Australia’s busiest domestic airports – that is, Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide – but unless you know where to look you may not even notice they’re there, as they’re not always marked by name.

There's just a Qantas logo at the entrance to Perth Chairman's Lounge.
There's just a Qantas logo at the entrance to Perth Chairman's Lounge.

For those who are curious, here’s where the domestic Chairman’s Lounges lurk:

  • Sydney: tucked away behind a frosted glass door in the walkway between the Business Lounge and Qantas Club
  • Melbourne: through a subtly-marked door opposite the Qantas Club reception
  • Brisbane: near Gate 23
  • Canberra: on the main lounge level
  • Adelaide: to the left of the Qantas Club
  • Perth: upstairs, next to the Qantas Club

There aren’t any international Chairman’s Lounges, though thanks to the design of Adelaide and Canberra airports, members can stop by ahead of international flights.

The restaurant zone in Qantas Sydney Chairman's Lounge.
The restaurant zone in Qantas Sydney Chairman's Lounge.

As part of the Qantas/Emirates partnership, access to the Chairman’s Lounges is also extended to members of the equivalent Emirates iO (Invitation Only) program.

Qantas Chairman’s Lounges: what’s inside?

Brisbane Chairman’s Lounge is the freshest of the bunch, adopting a ‘residential’ aesthetic reminiscent of Cathay’s business and first class lounges in Hong Kong. Think finishes of wood, brass, wool carpet and marble flooring, all bathed in natural light.

Brisbane Qantas Chairman's Lounge is the newest in the network.
Brisbane Qantas Chairman's Lounge is the newest in the network.

Sydney, Canberra and Perth, on the other hand, are like scaled-down versions of the Qantas First lounges – minus the spa and with dusk green in place of bold reds seen in Sydney and Melbourne First.

Melbourne and Adelaide are outliers, with the former embracing a vibrant Mondrian-inspired design, while the other sports a vintage (read: older) feel with white marble dividers and curved timber panels.

The colourful Melbourne Chairman's Lounge.
The colourful Melbourne Chairman's Lounge.

Where they all unite is dining, which takes the form of a dedicated à la carte dining zone, complemented by a premium array of beers, spirits and Australian wines.

On the menu are familiar First Lounge favourites such as salt and pepper squid, alongside a small buffet with bite-size snacks plus a rotating ‘soup of the day’ for quick visits.

The Neil Perry-designed Chairman's Lounge menu.
The Neil Perry-designed Chairman's Lounge menu.

Larger Chairman’s Lounges feature a library of books and magazines, while business suites are also available for those needing to do a little business in private.

The honeycomb glass will look familiar to anyone who's visited the Sydney or Melbourne First lounges.
The honeycomb glass will look familiar to anyone who's visited the Sydney or Melbourne First lounges.

Shower facilities are also provided for a quick freshen up. Given the rather limited guest list, you likely won’t encounter a queue.

Even the bathrooms are impressive.
Even the bathrooms are impressive.

Other Qantas Chairman’s Lounge benefits

Members enjoy access to the full range of Qantas lounges, not just the Chairman’s Lounge, though we can’t imagine many would swap their serene haven for a crowded lounge.

It’s understood members can also bring two guests at a time into the Chairman’s Lounge, making them a fine de facto meeting venue for those flying visits.

Private meeting rooms are available in most lounges.
Private meeting rooms are available in most lounges.

On all Qantas domestic and international flights, Chairman’s cardholders (along with Platinum One frequent flyers) can select from any available seat at any time, too.

That includes the prized 1A in first class on the Airbus A380 and three-row cabin on the Boeing 737. And, when stuck in economy, extra legroom seating and the coveted row four on Boeing 737 flights (a row now attracting a fee for travellers Platinum and below).

So what’s it like as a Chairman’s Lounge member?

For starters, there’s no need to keep an ear out for your boarding call. Lounge attendants are well aware of who you are and your departure time, and will alert you when it’s time.

Brisbane is styled like an upmarket living room.
Brisbane is styled like an upmarket living room.

On board, your status is flagged to cabin crew, so they’ll know to look after you during the flight. Your preferences are also tracked from flight to flight, including preferred wines.

As with Platinum One, when a Chairman’s Lounge member requests a frequent flyer upgrade on behalf of an eligible family member, that request is treated with the same priority as if the Chairman’s Lounge cardholder were flying themselves.

Qantas Sydney Chairman's Lounge.
Qantas Sydney Chairman's Lounge.

In addition, all Chairman's Lounge members enjoy Oneworld Emerald status, which affords access to the best lounges of partner airlines such as British Airways and Cathay Pacific, plus the usual perks like priority check-in, boarding and baggage delivery.

Objectively speaking, it’d be fair to say the Chairman’s Lounges are a small step below the excellent Qantas First Lounges, which top the rankings with champagne, free day spa treatments and more expansive dining menus for international travellers.

Perth's footprint may be small, but it still delivers a premium experience.
Perth's footprint may be small, but it still delivers a premium experience.

However, the associated benefits are more rewarding, with yet more additional perks varying from lounge to lounge, including bottles of wine to take with you as a last-minute gift.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Feb 2015

Total posts 385

Not that I have ever been in the Chairman’s lounge, but isn’t the one in Brisbane in the main lounge precinct  (since the upgrades) opposite the lounge check in desk on the right with the frosted door. Essentially next to the business lounge (not the entrance) looking out over the tarmac?

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 967

Doesn't look appealing to me and neither did the menu, the perks might be worthwhile but unsure about that as well.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 715

And, oh God, does that 'wine list' need work!  There'd be a riot in the MCC Members Reserve if that were presented.  

That said, the beers looked sort-of o-kay, though I note the absence of an IPA (Tsk Tsk).

05 Dec 2018

Total posts 148

They really need to move on from the beers distributed by Lion (Kirin). There is so many better craft beers that could be offered. Seeing that Stomping Ground Brewery is actually in the Melbourne airport, it would logistically be an easy collab to get distribution for the Melbourne Lounge. Each state should have at least one local brew showcased.

Alaskan Airlines had local beers in LAX and it was lovely to see them get a pour in their lounge.  





Qantas - P1 Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2013

Total posts 45

As an interesting aside, I got a guernsey to visit the Chairman’s lounge in Adelaide. I’m Platinum One – but in the scheme of things, a fairly lowly one and have maintained this status only because of COVID. I also suspect that they know it was going to be a quite day in the Lounge and Adelaide is one of the less fancy Chairman’s Lounges. Anyway – I received an Email from the VIP Service Team a couple of days before my flight from Adelaide to Melbourne. They made it clear that this was a once off and that I couldn’t invite a guest. The lounge was very quiet, and it was a nice experience. Needless to say, I got in there early to make the most of it! I imagine that other Platinum One members have also been invited at some stage. 


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