Qantas Golds, Platinums get new first class perks

By David Flynn, May 28 2017
Qantas Golds, Platinums get new first class perks

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.

Read more: American Airlines unveils new Flagship Lounge in New York

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.


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1423

Most US airlines treat their frequent fliers shabbily on domestic flights. Only business class gets access to any lounge on a domestic flight but a gold and above one world flier gets access on an economy ticket. They want to keep the local Hoi polloi out. Otherwise they would have to invest in bigger lounges. QF Canberra lounge is much bigger than most big city US lounges.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Jul 2015

Total posts 219

The Admirals Lounge at Terminal D, DFW, is pretty good. Food is stock standard dips, salad and chips but showers are fine and a good place to while away a few hours. T


21 Jul 2011

Total posts 90

Well I can tell you that AA staff sure don't know these perks. I was refused access to AA F check in at JFK on Saturday. Arguing was pointless as was showing the AA website. Once you get to the lounge, it is so overcowded, it was hard to find a seat. The place was filthy, stuff on a table near me not cleared the whole time I was there. WIfi was so slow it was useless. The seats were also very uncomfortable.  The buffet was DIRE like a school canteen. I didn't want food really so didn't really care.  But to top it off, even though I was flying JFK to AKL in J (yes I know the transcontinental 320 has a real F) but being WP I didn't even get Group One boarding and when I went to board was told my group hadn't been called. AA leaves a LOT to be desired when it comes to looking after premium pax

02 Dec 2016

Total posts 92

bsb, The AA lounge at LAX (terminal 4) is tiny.  Really useless at peak times. No room to sit down and limited food.  Delta's (now old) lounge at terminal 5 is much better.


22 Jul 2014

Total posts 5

The AA lounge experience varies vastly depending on which lounge you use, however there are a lot of refurbishments happening and they are getting better.  Same goes for staff, sometimes good but nothing like what we grow to expect in Australia.  The AA lounge at LAX Terminal 4 is undergoing refurb and a bit tight now, but it is still better than the Delta lounge in Terminal 5.

AA has also introduced the boarding number system since March 1st 2017, so all passengers (including FF's with status) must wait for their boarding number to be called.  Unlike the "old" days when Plati or Gold could board when gates opened.

The AA planes seem much more full since the US merge and the customer care is not as good.  I recently missed a flight on another airline, due to the 6 hour delay of my incoming AA flight.  Previously the letter from the airline was enough, but this time was made to buy a new ticket and when I complained and asked for refund through AA, was told too bad, so sad, no refund, but here is a $100 voucher to be used only on AA within 1 year.

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