Qantas axes a prized perk of elite Chairmans Lounge status

By David Flynn, February 6 2018
Qantas axes a prized perk of elite Chairmans Lounge status

Members of Qantas' invitation-only Chairmans Lounge have long enjoyed an exclusive and highly-prized perk: they can turn up and use the luxury lounge, with its à la carte menu and private meeting rooms, even when they're flying with one of Qantas' competitors.

The same applies to the superb Qantas first class lounges at Sydney and Melbourne, with the added benefit of a free massage, facial or manicure at the lounge's day spa.

Flying with anybody from AirAsia X through to United Airlines? Well, come on in anyway, and have a glass of champagne while you wait for your salt and pepper calamari.

In fact, Chairmans Lounge members don't need to be flying at all – just a flash of their shiny black Qantas card is all it takes to enjoy hours in this haven for the well-heeled.

Any other passenger trying that – fronting up to a Qantas airport lounge without a ticket, or a boarding pass for the likes of Virgin Australia or Singapore Airlines – would be quickly turned away.

But from February 19, that all changes – and Chairmans Lounge members will be treated just a little more like the rest of us.

Qantas is tightening the rules for Chairmans Lounge entry, and declared that "any time, any airline access" is a thing of the past.

In an email dispatched to all Chairmans Lounge cardholders last week, Qantas has advised that as of February 19, Chairmans Lounge members visiting any Qantas lounge will "need to be flying, and your next onward flight that day must be on a Qantas, Jetstar, Emirates, China Eastern or Oneworld partner airline flight with that airline’s flight number on your ticket."

"This applies to the Qantas Chairmans Lounge, Qantas International First Lounge, Qantas International Business Lounge, Qantas Domestic Business Lounge and Qantas Clubs," the airline points out.

Chairmans Lounge members "can continue to invite up to two guests to join you in any Qantas international lounge when they are travelling that day on a Qantas, Emirates, China Eastern or Oneworld partner airline flight", although at Qantas domestic lounges "you can invite up to two guests to join you and the guests do not need to be travelling."

Read more: Qantas Chairman's Lounge – the unofficial guide


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.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Mar 2014

Total posts 135

this is not unreasonable...

15 Sep 2012

Total posts 92

Seriously! To be a member of chairmans lounge you or your company would have spent mega bucks flying Qantas. Yet Qantas can't provide a little back. What would it cost Qantas in food and drink they provide in the lounge. Maybe a few hundred dollars, depending upon the drink. How many people have they found using this very exclusive lounge who were not flying with them?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Oct 2013

Total posts 714

I suspect it's a little more frequent then that.

At the Qantas Sydney International lounge I've frequently seen NZ operated flights appear on the Qantas flight boards meaning they must have been added for some one...

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 795

There might have been a hard-core team of CL members that ruined it for everyone. Just as a certain bunch of people treating the OOL lounge as a Friday afternoon pub contributed to the end of anytime VA lounge access for Platinums.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum

07 Feb 2013

Total posts 558

There is always the pisshead bogan that ruins things for everyone

31 May 2017

Total posts 3

You defeat your own argument - if people are only using the lounge when they're flying Qantas, what harm is there in asking members to show their tickets?

04 Dec 2013

Total posts 149

"Yet Qantas can't provide a little back."

Your sense of deadpan irony is superb. By winding back a small aspect if a gold-plated perk, they are suddenly no longer providing "a little" back?

British Airways - Executive Club

28 Mar 2014

Total posts 75

Presumably quite a few...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Oct 2017

Total posts 3

“Next onward flight..” suggests that it can’t be used on arrival when you have no more flights that day.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 16

Another first world problem...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Sep 2016

Total posts 13

I think this is in response to the Chairmans lounge being, well... a bit to busy, I was in there the other week as a guest of a member, and the place was mad, like the Qantas club on a Friday evening around 6pm......some members were using it more as a restaurant or "serviced office".....

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1268

Fair call I say.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Nov 2016

Total posts 29

This is a good policy from QF. Hopefully it helps with the crowded restaurant in the Sydney First Lounge during peak periods.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 355

Honest story - Couple of years back I was invited to a meeting with colleagues at the Sydney CL and the meeting host (CL member) flew into Sydney for the meeting on Virgin .... wait for it ... and I quote "fly Virgin because their fares are cheaper than Qantas". To this day I'm still flawed when I think about it.

15 Dec 2017

Total posts 4

Maybe I missed something, but what's so ridiculous about someone flying with Virgin over Qantas because they have more competitive fares?

Is it just because he was CL member and presumabley quite wealthy?


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 355

Nothing ridiculous about choosing one carrier over the other because of price, that wasn't it. It was more the principle of it and the blase way it just came out.I'll never forget it, I thought you ungrateful piece of work.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jan 2014

Total posts 316

Too many politicians and public servants with their nose in the trough by the sounds of things, some of them half live in there.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer - Chairmans Lounge

01 Sep 2011

Total posts 402

Sounds like a comment from someone who hasn't had the privilege.

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

11 Mar 2015

Total posts 191

Who cares?only those fat cats winging that now their little free treat is curtailed!

Get some real problem"!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer - Chairmans Lounge

01 Sep 2011

Total posts 402

I think this is only fair and have no issue with QF applying this. However as a CL member, I can say I did not receive any notification last week as suggested by the article. Also, it appears the dress code guidelines don't seem to apply in the CL lounges as they do in the regular lounges.

07 Feb 2018

Total posts 1

Entirely reasonable from QF to apply a rule I had always assumed was a condition of entry in the past.


30 Aug 2013

Total posts 5

As I former CL member. I think it’s a fair decision.

03 May 2012

Total posts 11

As a non CL member, I think the decision is outrageous and preposterous! How dare they?! They have such gall limiting the free gift of CL to when using their service. Before long it will be just like the regular cattle class lounge. I suspect QF must have a newer, better, more secretive and exclusive lounge, hence they're downgrading the CL rabble.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Jan 2013

Total posts 246

I wonder what percentage of members are polies and top public servants. Neither of which pay anything for their airfares as it’s a work expense.

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

12 Feb 2016

Total posts 22

Well i was in sydney aitport with my wife, she was flying back to new zealand on nz and i was heading for dubai business classi on ek. I had gold cards for both airlines she had airnz gold. Neither airline would allow us to take in a guest. We ended up eating outside. I was not amused. After she left i met up with a colleague who was flying to dubai on qf. Could i join him in the lounge - no problem they didnt even ask how i was flying. I almost swapped allegiance on the spot. But it sounds a good thing i didnt. You have to travel a hell of a lot with an airline to get elite status. Being able to use the lounge at any time was a valuable perk.. After all you dont rack up that many points flying economy so chances are you have lounge access for the airline you are flying with anyway.

This is where the American Express lounge at Sydney Airport comes in handy: it doesn't matter which airline you're flying with or where you're headed, you can just wander on inside.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Aug 2014

Total posts 76

Some politician has pissed of Allan Joyce, the goal post have moved now!!!!

Jetstar Airways - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Jul 2016

Total posts 12

If it helps reduce the overcrowding of the Lounge, I think it is a good call, isn't the lounge for people flying on that Alliance.

29 Jan 2012

Total posts 109

All airlines, once they have your loyalty, love to keep you flying while slowly removing the luxuries we all have enjoyed over the years. This is the way the industry is and will continue to be until only the special few will be gifted with privileges while all the rest will be simply passengers occupying a seat. .

Once again, competition and choice is out there with companies and their CEO's ultimately choosing their carrier - and remember for most of the pampered companies and CEO's affected by these changes, their loyalty with said brand is usually only as long as the contracts are active.

Airlines take note, it is harder to keep a passenger than to loose them.

10 Jun 2015

Total posts 1

This is a reasonable policy change and certainly a very first world problem.



21 Jul 2016

Total posts 37

How can you enter The Sydney first class lounge without flying? You have to pass immigration . Perhaps you have just arrived from an international flight and want to linger at the airport. It does work for domestic flights though.

PS. I have seen the Air NZ flights on the flight board but didn't think much about it until now.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2517

You can't use the first class lounge without flying, but you can use the domestic Chairmans Lounges in that way.



21 Jul 2016

Total posts 37

I think anyone can access a domestic lounge without flying.

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