There's no denying that Qantas' domestic Business Lounges outrank their neighbouring Qantas Clubs – but what, precisely, sets the two apart?
Yes, the former is for Platinum flyers and business class ticket holders, and the latter is for Gold-tier travellers and paid-up lounge members: but that's who gets in, not what awaits.
Executive Traveller recently spent time in both the Business Lounge and Qantas Club at Brisbane Airport to see how the two compared throughout the day.
Qantas Club vs Business Lounge: breakfast
Many business travellers begin their day with breakfast at the airport.
On that front, Qantas Clubs generally deliver a selection of yoghurts, muesli, salads, healthy bowls, and bread rolls with accompaniments.
Fruit, DIY pancakes, toasts and cereals complete the typical menu.
Qantas Business Lounges, on the other hand, take that up a notch.
A recent visit to the Qantas Business Lounge in Brisbane found treats like a vegetable frittata, and an upgraded take on that breakfast bowl with a beautifully runny poached egg.
At the 'snacking station' counter, a range of other bites are also at your disposal.
For other breakfast staples, the Qantas Business Lounge also has a separate buffet, with many similar choices to those found in the Qantas Club, but with a more premium twist – such as the yoghurts, which are served in a small jar with muesli.
The biggest difference at breakfast, however, are the 'tray arounds' in the Business Lounge, also known as 'plates of the day' – a beautifully presented Egg Benedict, for example.
As you'd expect, however, barista-made coffee is available throughout the day in both lounges.
In some smaller Qantas Clubs, the brews are instead machine-made: but at airports with a Business Lounge, you can always count on barista coffee in the Qantas Club, too.
Qantas Club vs Business Lounge: all-day dining
Fast-forward to lunch and dinner, and you'll often find a selection of light dishes in the Qantas Club.
This can include salads – such as potato and parsley, or a mix leaf bowl – as well as ham and cheese plates, being an easy-to-grab base for a toasted sandwich, in lounges where local restrictions allow for this.
Depending on the time of day, you may also find snacks like crudités and crackers, as well as a main hot dish.
On our most recent Qantas Club visit, this was a tasty pasta plate, served with Parmesan cheese.
The Business Lounge again offers a slightly wider variety of choices at the buffet – many dishes being similar to the Qantas Club, but dialled up a notch: antipasto plates versus basic ham and cheese, for instance.
On the hot food front, there's also usually a choice. Most recently for lunch, this was between spiced chicken wings with rice pilaf, and Moroccan chicken tagine with couscous.
In domestic Qantas Clubs and Business Lounges across the country, the bars open at noon.
You'll find a selection of beers, wines, and spirits in both lounges.
Qantas Club vs Business Lounge: atmosphere
While every Qantas Club is different – some adopting a more modern style, and others having been designed in years past – they all have one thing in common.
That's the seating arrangement: which, for the most part, see rows of chairs squeezed closely together, to provide the highest capacity possible within the space available.
This is true whether you're in one of the zones designed more for relaxation, or pull up a perch in the working spaces.
In fact, the design of many Qantas Clubs caters a little more to business travellers being productive on the road, when compared to the 'Business' Lounges.
Here in Brisbane, there's an entire section of the lounge configured like a co-working office, which comes in addition to those long laptop benches above.
That's echoed throughout other parts of the Qantas Club as well, with power points available to most seated guests in these areas.
That likely reflects not only the typical Qantas Club clientele – Gold-grade flyers booked in economy – but also the airline's paid Qantas Club members, who get the best value from their membership when shuttling about in economy, and use the lounge to improve their travel experience and keep on-track with work.
This isn't to say you can't get work done in the Business Lounges, of course. If a laptop bench or co-working table is what you're after, seek and you shall find.
At some locations like Melbourne and Brisbane, the Business Lounge also gets tarmac views, as opposed to terminal or roadway views from the Qantas Club. That's contrasted with Canberra, where the Qantas Club enjoys a better vista.
But beyond those areas, Qantas' Business Lounges have an increased focus on pre-flight relaxation.
Whether that's a quick visit for a drink and snack, or a slightly longer stay, there's no shortage of seating choices.
While Qantas Business Lounges again differ between ports, those in the airline's newer style devote more space to dining, too, versus the neighbouring Qantas Club.
That no doubt reflects the broader choice of food available in the Business Lounges – particularly hot dishes, which are best enjoyed at a dining table.
Whether you're gearing up to work or kicking back with a beverage, both lounges offer WiFi, too.
As the lounges typically share the same access point, speeds aren't discernibly different between each airport's Qantas Club and the Business Lounge next door.
Qantas Club vs Business Lounge: travelling with kids
Qantas Business Lounges almost always trump the Qantas Club at the same airport, but in many locations, the latter has one key difference: Joey Club.
Nestled within the Qantas Club itself, Joey Club operates like a 'lounge within a lounge' for children.
Its kid-friendly furniture, games, and TV all help keep the little ones occupied, conveniently positioned away from most of the lounge's working areas.
There are seats nearby for adults, too.
So, while the Business Lounge wins on most fronts, those with kids may appreciate the distinct advantage of the Joey Club.