Qantas Club vs Qantas Business Lounge for domestic frequent flyers

Everybody knows the Qantas Business Lounge trumps the Qantas Club, but what actually makes the Business Lounge better?

By Chris C., November 25 2021
Qantas Club vs Qantas Business Lounge for domestic frequent flyers

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.

Also read: Your guide to flying Qantas with children and infants

16 Oct 2012

Total posts 34

For much of the last year the Business Lounge has offered little exclusivity. 

On many occasions when I flew, the QF Club was closed and those guests were funnelled into what became overcrowed (and overwhelmed) Business Lounges in SYD and MEL. 

Not good for those paying for J. Do they take them for granted?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Aug 2014

Total posts 129

No. If they took them for granted they would have just re-opened the Qantas Club instead of the Business Lounge. What would you have them do? Qantas lost approx $6.4 million PER DAY last f/year.

31 Jul 2018

Total posts 24

If it was 2019 you may get some sympathy. In 2021, well it may not be so polite. I’m really grateful that they did not just close the Business Lounge and keep the Qantas Pubs open!

16 Oct 2012

Total posts 34

My point is that they've been providing sub-par J service, yet charging top-shelf ticket prices. I'd have no problem with the offering over the last year if, in acknowldegement of the somewhat reduced service, they also reduced those business class ticket prices.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Jul 2011

Total posts 60

Then how much more would they have lost? If people are still prepared to pay for J class despite clearly being able to determine the offering they would get, then that is on them. 

05 May 2016

Total posts 635

The business lounge normally is a nice step up from the QANTAS Club. However for Platinum flyers, the bigger difference is for international lounge access. The First Class lounge is a  much bigger step up from the International Business Lounge, than the domestic Business Lounge is from the QANTAS Club.

If you do most of your flying domestically, the First Lounge is a nice treat for the occasional overseas holiday.

Yes, I would very much agree with that. Platinum has a number of perks of course, not just within Qantas but across OneWorld, but while access to the domestic Business Lounges is certainly nice, the Qantas Clubs at least in the capital cities are 'good enough' when you're not spending much time at the airport anyway. It's the international First Lounges where Platinum pays off, they are miles ahead of the international Business Lounges, and the First lounges are sure worth getting to the airport a bit early for!

18 Sep 2015

Total posts 106

I'm still a bit disappointed about some of the food - processed supermarket style ham rather than sliced direct off the bone leg ham (even on the eggs benedict!). And the processed cheese slices.


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