Top-tier Qantas frequent flyers can enjoy some first class perks with Oneworld partner American Airlines, even if they're flying in economy.
For starters, Gold-grade Qantas Frequent Flyer members now enjoy entry to American Airlines' new Flagship Lounge at New York’s JFK Airport.
The old rules restricted access to first class travellers and Oneworld Emerald cardholders such as Qantas Platinum.
However, lower-grade Oneworld Sapphire members – a band which includes Qantas Golds, along with the likes of BA Executive Club Silvers and Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Club Gold – are now also welcome to step through those frosted doors and enjoy the buffet spread...
... self-service bar (no queues or tipping)...
... as well as, work pods and even spacious shower suites.
This is a major step up from the more mainstream Admiral's Club lounges to which Qantas Golds were previously confined.
American has also opened up its Flagship lounges to business class passengers, so expect these less-exclusive digs to get pretty crowded pretty quickly during peak travel times.
Other Flagship lounges will join the network this year at Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami; London Heathrow, Dallas / Fort Worth and Philadelphia will follow in 2018.
In addition, Qantas Platinum frequent flyers now qualify to use American's Flagship First Check-In areas.
These are special check-in zones formerly restricted to American Airlines' first class travellers on international or selected transcontinental flights – not the usual 'first class' checkin counter – with a dedicated 'premium customer service representative' to check your luggage and whisk you through to an 'expedited security line'.
As of this week the Flagship First Check-in areas will also welcome Oneworld Emerald passengers – which includes Qantas Platinums – when travelling in any cabin on any flight operated by American Airlines, according to these updated rules posted on the American Airlines website.
(Note that this ironically puts Qantas Platinums one rung above American Airlines' own AAdvantage Executive Platinums, who are not eligible to use Flagship First Check-In access if "traveling solely on North American itineraries.)
American Airlines operates Flagship First Check-In areas at New York JFK, Chicago O’Hare, London Heathrow, Los Angeles and Miami, with plans to extend to Dallas / Fort Worth.