Your guide to hotel club lounge access

By Brandon Loo, October 23 2018
Your guide to hotel club lounge access

Hotel club lounges can be a business traveller’s best friend, offering a place to perch and work during the day, and to unwind with a tipple in the evening (not that we’d ever suggest spending your whole day indoors!)

Of course, booking into an executive/club room or a suite is the sure way to get in, but the major hotel chains also allow access to their elite members. 

We take a look at the most common hotel loyalty programs and what it takes to get in if you’re booked to stay in a standard room.

Hilton Honors

Access to Hilton’s ‘executive lounges’ comes gratis with a sparkly Diamond membership card, even if you weren’t upgraded to a room that included it anyway.

Gold members aren’t guaranteed access and have to rely on their space-available upgrade perks to try nab a room on the lounge-worthy executive floors.

As an example, the Sydney Hilton executive lounge promises continental breakfast, afternoon tea, evening drinks and canapés from 6pm-8pm, as well as business facilities and complimentary pressing/shoe shine. 

Hilton Sydney executive lounge
Hilton Sydney executive lounge

The Hilton portfolio includes the Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, Curio, DoubleTree and Tapestry brands, to name a few.

Velocity Platinum frequent flyers can access a one-time gift of Hilton Diamond status as part of their membership benefits, valid for at least one year. 

Shangri-La Golden Circle

A brand that is eponymous with the Asia-Pacific region, Shangri-La has three properties in Australia two in Queensland and one in Sydney with a fourth set to open in Melbourne in 2022.

The lounge is called the Horizon Club (or Traders Club in other countries), which is open to guests staying in club level rooms and suites as well as Diamond members and their plus-ones.

Those with access to the Shangri-La Horizon Club will enjoy perks such as check-in at the lounge or even in your room (Diamond members), late check-out, complimentary breakfast, morning/afternoon tea, plus evening canapés and cocktails.

The Shangri-La Sydney Horizon Club rooms offer picturesque views across Sydney Harbour and the Opera House.

The view from a Horizon Club room, Shangri-La Sydney
The view from a Horizon Club room, Shangri-La Sydney

Free top-level Diamond status and access to the Horizon Club remains available for American Express Centurion cardholders.

Le Club AccorHotels

AccorHotels has more than 200 properties in Australia, under many brand names including Sofitel, Novotel, Mercure, Pullman, The Sebel and Ibis.

Of the hotels that have executive lounges, only Le Club Platinum members can access them freely, otherwise, it’s tied to guests of club rooms and suites.

The Sofitel Club Lounge Sydney offers private check-in, meeting rooms, a-la-carte breakfast options, as well as drinks and hors-d'oeuvres served every evening.

Club Sofitel, Sydney Wentworth
Club Sofitel, Sydney Wentworth

Le Club Gold members can request an upgrade on check-in subject to availability, so it would be wise to book a room one tier down from a Club room, to maximise your chances.

You can also ‘purchase’ Le Club Accorhotels Gold status for €90 (~$145) through the Ibis Business Card program, saving you the need to earn it from 30 nights or €2,800 in eligible expenses.

Marriott Rewards

Marriott recently merged with Starwood, and now their hotel portfolio includes familiar brands such as The Westin, W, Sheraton and the Four Points by Sheraton.

As you’ve probably guessed by now, executive lounge access is a perk afforded to Platinum Elite members and higher, while Gold Elite members will have to rely on room upgrades.

As a result of the merger, SPG Gold now matches to Marriott Gold Elite, rather than Platinum Elite, so members who received their SPG Gold status courtesy of the American Express Platinum Charge Card are out of luck when it comes to guaranteed lounge access.

There’s also some properties, like the New York Marriott Marquis, that don’t allow lounge access with any room – only Platinum Elites and higher have access to the Concierge Lounge.

Breakfast at the Concierge Lounge, New York Marriott Marquis
Breakfast at the Concierge Lounge, New York Marriott Marquis

Also read: What makes a great hotel executive lounge?

Brandon Loo

Based in Perth, Brandon enjoys tucking into local delicacies, discovering new cocktails, and making aeroplane food look good on camera.

Delta Air Lines - SkyMiles

14 Apr 2013

Total posts 329

I am loyal to Hyatt and find that their lounges (where offered) a cut above the rest. I recently stayed at Grand Hyatt NYC and the club Lounge there was simply outstanding


03 May 2013

Total posts 663

Agree about the NYC GH lounge-they cope very well despite the huge numbers and the offering is really good....but the hotel itself is a zoo to say the least and nothing like a typical plush Grand Hyatt any Hyatt member has come to expect, neither in ambience or hard product.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 May 2013

Total posts 135

Hilton Lounges are getting worse. They are dishing out these complimentary gold and diamond statuses. Most lounges do not police the number of people coming in. Plus, people think this is where you have your dinner and all your drinks rather than going there to have a drink or two and enjoy some pre dinner snacks.

I cannot think of one good lounge where it is actually being used as a lounge!!!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

20 Nov 2012

Total posts 43

I used to be a member of Accor Plus, but decided to not renew last year as I didn't see the value in it. I was ony an Accor silver member, then out of the blue Accor sent me a shiny new Platinum card. I don't even know why but it was greaty appreciated! I'm enjoying the benefit of free lounge access everytime we stay somewhere.

13 Jun 2017

Total posts 8

Beware of Hilton Honors. They have changed it that you officially have to book through Hilton directly to get any diamond privileges, including lounge access.

Some places will however honour it, most don't. I had to complain to get privileges in Dublin garden inn, and Hilton London Bankside have already made it clear I will get nothing for my diamond status.

I think this has significantly devalued their program.

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

15 Sep 2018

Total posts 3

We find many perks with platinum card!

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