Your guide to Sydney Airport's international business class lounges

By Chris C., October 19 2015
Your guide to Sydney Airport's international business class lounges

Sydney Airport boasts no less than seven business class lounges in its international terminal – and with some travellers able to access two or even three lounges with the one ticket, it pays to know all your options.

For example, Qantas business class passengers, Gold and Platinum-grade frequent flyers can choose between the Qantas International Business Lounge and The Emirates Lounge when both are open, or could stop by the American Express lounge if they've got the right credit card in their pocket or purse.

Similarly, Delta’s business class passengers can choose between the brand new Air New Zealand lounge and the also-new SkyTeam Lounge before their flight, each with a different look and feel.

And of course, both the Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines lounges are available to travellers on any Star Alliance airline.

So here’s what you’ll find waiting for you at Sydney Airport, regardless of which airline you prefer to fly with.

Air New Zealand, Star Alliance lounge

Where it is: Among gates 50-63

When it’s open: 6am to 9:30pm daily

Who gets in:

  • Business and first class passengers of Air New Zealand, Virgin Australia (excluding to Abu Dhabi), Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Asiana, Delta, Hawaiian Airlines, Philippine Airlines, Sichuan Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Solomon Airlines, Thai Airways and United
  • Air New Zealand Airpoints Gold, Elite and Elite Priority One before Star Alliance and Virgin Australia flights
  • Virgin Australia Velocity Gold, Platinum and The Club before Virgin Australia, Air NZ, Delta and Hawaiian Airlines flights, and before Etihad flight EY455
  • Star Alliance Gold, Air Canada Maple Leaf Club and United Club cardholders prior to any Star Alliance flights
  • Etihad Guest Silver and Gold members prior to Etihad flight EY455 when booked in economy
  • Air New Zealand Koru Club guests before Air NZ flights or NZ codeshares on Virgin Australia trans-Tasman flights
  • Virgin Australia Lounge members before Virgin Australia flights to New Zealand – includes codeshares on Air NZ but excludes all other destinations

What’s so special: A staffed cocktail and espresso bar plus power points galore.

Recently opened and with space for around 300 guests, Air New Zealand’s new lounge features different zones for different moods with defined areas for relaxing, dining, working and for children.

Chefs also dish up tasty treats at the ‘food theatre’ station, and as with any international business class lounge worthy of the title, you’ll too find private shower suites to freshen up before the long flight ahead.


American Express lounge

Where it is: Adjacent to gate 24

When it’s open: 6am until 11pm daily

Who gets in:

  • American Express Platinum, Business Platinum, Centurion and Business Centurion cardholders from any country: unlimited yearly access
  • AMEX Velocity Platinum, Qantas Ultimate, Corporate Platinum, Qantas Corporate Platinum, Platinum Reserve and David Jones Platinum cards issued directly by American Express: two free visits each calendar year and $55 per entry thereafter
  • ANZ Frequent Flyer Black, ANZ Rewards Black, Commonwealth Bank Diamond Awards, Westpac Altitude Black and Westpac Earth Black American Express cardholders: also two free yearly visits, after which the same $55 charge applies
  • No access for any other American Express cardholders, even if you’d be willing to pay

What’s so special: Perfectly-crafted barista coffee and bartender service in a contemporary space.

While not officially an airline lounge this classy little nook remains a great option for AMEX cardholders flying in Scoot’s ‘ScootBiz’ cabin to Singapore or on the least-expensive Jetstar business class tickets, both of which don’t come with lounge access.

It’s also a great move to have up your sleeve if your usual lounge of choice is a little noisy or crowded, as you can instead retreat to the AMEX facility and sip a lovely latte, delivered to your seat.

If you’re travelling on your own time, there’s also a quasi-living room at the far end of the lounge, great tarmac views, TVs and comfy chairs nearby the buffet spread.

The Emirates Lounge

Where it is: Near gate 58

When it’s open: Currently 4:15am through 9am and also 3:15pm until 8:15pm daily, and switches to 4:15am until 10am and then 4:15pm until 9:15pm outside of daylight savings periods.

Who gets in: Business and first class passengers of Emirates and Qantas plus Skywards Gold, Platinum and iO and Qantas Gold, Platinum, Platinum One and Chairman's Lounge cardholders prior to Emirates and Qantas flights.

The lounge also welcomes Citibank Emirates World MasterCard customers travelling with Emirates on an EK flight number and using one of their two free yearly Emirates lounge passes.

What’s so special: Veuve Clicquot champagne is practically on-tap.

The shining star of this lounge is very much the food and beverage service: there’s made-to-order omelettes in the morning and a good selection of hot dishes of an evening such as chicken and beef mains with rice, plus the expected wines, spirits and (French) champagne.

Complemented by proper dining tables that double as a great place to plonk your laptop, you can be both productive and well-fed before your flight.

Etihad Airways First and Business Class Lounge

Where it is: Adjacent to gate 51 and the National Geographic store

When it’s open: Three hours before all Etihad and Virgin Australia flights to Abu Dhabi

Who gets in:

  • Business class, first class and The Residence passengers travelling to Abu Dhabi with Etihad and Virgin Australia (EY451, EY455 and VA29, as offered)
  • Etihad Guest Silver members booked on EY451
  • Etihad Guest Gold and Virgin Australia Velocity Gold, Platinum and The Club frequent flyers prior to EY451 and VA29
  • Etihad Guest Platinum and Exclusive cardholders before EY451, EY455 and VA29

(Frequent flyers booked in economy on EY455 not included above can instead use the Air New Zealand lounge.)

What’s so special: A dining room that’s more ‘first class’ than business.

What we like about Etihad’s Sydney dining room is that the dishes are relatively small – allowing travellers taste a number of different things during the same sitting, or to simply eat something light before partaking of the inflight meals once on-board.

There’s also a buffet for more casual grazing, along with bartender service, comfy leather armchairs, tarmac views, a kids room and a small business centre housed within this relatively cosy space.

Qantas International Business Lounge

Where it is: In the centre of the terminal near gates 9 and 10

When it’s open: 5am until 10pm daily

Who gets in:

  • Business and first class passengers of Qantas, Emirates, Fiji Airways and Oneworld airlines including American Airlines (from December), British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, LAN Airlines, Malaysia Airlines and Qatar Airways (from March 2016)
  • Travellers flying with Jetstar on a Business Max fare
  • Qantas Gold, Platinum, Platinum One and Chairman's Lounge frequent flyers prior to Qantas, Jetstar, Emirates or Oneworld flights, or when travelling with other airlines such as Asiana and Fiji Airways with a Qantas or Jetstar flight number on their ticket
  • Emirates Skywards Gold, Platinum and iO members prior to flights with Qantas and Emirates.
  • Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald frequent flyers such as AAdvantage Platinum and Executive Platinum and Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Club Gold and Diamond prior to a Oneworld flight
  • Qantas Club members prior to a Qantas or Jetstar flight, or when travelling on a Qantas or Jetstar codeshare flight operated by another airline
  • American Airlines Admirals Club members travelling with Qantas on an AA flight number, or flying with American Airlines from December
  • Qantas Silver frequent flyers using their free once-yearly lounge pass, along with customers who receive these passes from their credit card company such as with ANZ Frequent Flyer Black and Qantas-earning Westpac Altitude Black cards
  • First class passengers and Emerald-grade frequent flyers can also relax in the Qantas First Lounge

What’s so special: ‘Island Dining’ with table service and plates of the day.

While not quite the Rockpool-inspired restaurant in the Qantas First Lounge one floor above, being able to order breakfast and a barista-made coffee to your seat in the mornings makes a wonderful change to the traditional buffet fare: just perch yourself on a stool and look for a waiter:

Elsewhere in the lounge you’ll also find a gelato counter, a business centre with computers and power outlets for your own tech and a selection of reading material to while away the time.

Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounge

Where it is: Next to the Air NZ lounge in the pier for gates 50-63

When it’s open: 5am until 7pm daily

Who gets in:

  • Business and first class passengers of Singapore Airlines plus those of Star Alliance airlines Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, Asiana, Thai Airways and United if desired
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Elite Gold, PPS Club and Solitaire PPS Club members before Star Alliance fights, along with other Star Alliance Gold cardholders, Air Canada Maple Leaf Club and United Club members
  • Virgin Australia Velocity Gold and Platinum frequent flyers prior to Singapore Airlines flights

What’s so special: Productivity pods make for a great place to work.

Whether you’re intent on working or relaxing, the SilverKris Lounge has you covered – taking on more of a ‘living room’ style but still providing business-friendly amenities such as wireless internet to complement those productivity pods.

In the food department, keep your eyes peeled for tastes of Singapore such as laksa and mee siam alongside meals from around the world:

SkyTeam Lounge

Where it is: Adjacent to gate 24 and next door to the AMEX lounge

When it’s open: 6am to 10pm daily

Who gets in:

  • Business and first class passengers of SkyTeam alliance airlines including China Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, Delta, Garuda Indonesia, Korean Air and Vietnam Airlines
  • SkyTeam Elite Plus frequent flyers when flying with any SkyTeam airline
  • Passengers of any airline, who can pay $77 for visits up to two hours or $132 for up to five hours

What’s so special: A separate TV room allows holidaymakers to relax while business travellers aren’t disturbed by blaring TV sets.

After taking the escalators or lift down one floor from reception, you can choose between chairs by the windows enjoying enviable tarmac views, curved seating for groups, single chairs for solo travellers, an oval table for collaboration or even a spot near the wine bar:

As you’d rightly expect, there’s also a buffet area which reminds us of SkyTeam’s London and Istanbul lounges.

Have your say: what's your pick of Sydney Airport's best business class lounges?

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Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

wilsoni Banned
wilsoni Banned

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Sep 2011

Total posts 321

What comes through very strongly from this excellent roundup is the expansive list of people, other than business (and first) class customers, who can access the lounges. Except for Etihad.  Time for lounges to be split into exclusive areas for premium paid passengers and other areas for the remainder? There are times in NZ lounges when I think it would be quieter, and more room, in the airport proper.

So why should someone who paid for 10 economy tickets at a price of $1,000 each in the calendar year be treated less for their loyalty than a person who paid $10,000 for a business class ticket once in a calendar year?

How do you define "premium paid passenger"?

10 Sep 2012

Total posts 149

Premium passenger = passenger holding boarding pass for either the business class or first class cabin on the flight.



That's your narrow interpretation of the word "premium"

It depends if the word "premium" refer to a noun or an adjective.


23 May 2014

Total posts 120

Because the airline has made much more profit on the $10k business class ticket.

"Loyalty" is just a proxy (and a bit of marketing spin) - the airlines want to reward those customers who are more profitable.


The rules are as they have been written. Any unintended consequences of poorly designed rules are purely the responsibility of the airline.

Therefore, you have to ask yourself; is this a case of poorly designed rules or is the design accurate and intended to define premium treatment to include both Business/First Class pax, who provide greater margins, as well as so-called loyal members (e.g. OW Sapphire & Emeralds)?

10 Sep 2012

Total posts 149

It wouldn't take much to offer an exclusive lounge for F and CL at Sydney T1.   Peak-hour would be prior to QF11 and QF7 deaprting; 14 F seats on each 388, plus maybe 2-3 CL on each, and you only have to build a beautiful, totally peaceful oasis for a max of 45 pax, and let the emeralds have their FLounge; and no, BA and EK F pax would not be permitted entry.  QF pax with boarding pass for F cabin only.  CX would do well to build something similar at HKG.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1247

"While not officially an airline lounge this classy little nook remains a great option for AMEX cardholders flying in Scoot’s ‘ScootBiz’ cabin to Singapore or on the least-expensive Jetstar business class tickets, both of which don’t come with lounge access."

What does the bolded part mean?

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2476

Simple: the headline refers to "international business class lounges", however this is a credit card lounge that we've included among the list.


28 Jul 2013

Total posts 29

Hi Chris, being now "retired" I have lost all my privilages, but often fly Air Asia X Business who have no lounge. So are there any public  "pay to get into"  lounges like in Asia.  

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Nov 2014

Total posts 360

I think air NZ allows pay per use lounge access if you fly with NZ. Delta (DL) also have day passes as well, but I think that's restricted DL operated lounge only so no good in SYD. Or you can purchase American Airline's Admiral Club 30 day pass for $99 USD, which allows you to access Qantas lounge, although there has been conflicting report whether you have to fly AA coded flights. Most people seem to be ok traveling on Qantas. 

Otherwise, you may consider join on of the paid membership such as Qantas Club to access Qantas lounge or United Clud/Mapleleaf Club to access star alliance lounge. 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Mar 2014

Total posts 569

I've heard conflicting reports re Air NZ paid access. I think it depends on how busy it is. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1378

The Amex lounge is effectively 'pay' - pay for the credit card and get 2/unlimited entries plus a bunch of other benefits

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Nov 2014

Total posts 360

What are the guest access policy like for each lounge? AFAIK, all gold members and first class passengers can invite a guest traveling on the same flight. Amex lounge is also open to one guest. Please correct me if I'm wrong. 


23 May 2014

Total posts 120

Thanks Chris, really useful round up. Just one point on the AirNZ lounge, under:

  • Air New Zealand Airpoints Gold, Elite and Elite Priority One before Star Alliance and Virgin Australia flights
Might be worth mentioning that doesn't include Virgin Australia flights to the Pacific islands - no access for NZ FFs there.

12 Apr 2011

Total posts 71

Is the Amex or skyteam lounge also the plaza premium lounge?


11 Jul 2014

Total posts 939

Good info to put in the memory bank

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Jul 2014

Total posts 113


Small correction to the Qantas Lounge Access, Admirals club members also have access if they are flying on a QF flight, i.e. Deosn't need to be an AA flight number. I did this in September when flying QF1 to LHR.

29 Aug 2015

Total posts 2

Chris, excellent review and why aubt rocks. Look forward to more similar reviews . 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jun 2014

Total posts 7

Nice one Chris,  just a heads up,  the David Jones Platinum Amex now provides  2 entries to the Amex lounge!  I received a letter a few weeks ago.  Ta.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Oct 2015

Total posts 27

While the old NZ lounge was a bit dated, the new one seems smaller and is a zoo!!  Travelling out on Thai (1st Class) the only seats available were at the canteen tables. There is an "invitation only" section, but neither my Thai Platinum membership or 1st Class boarding pass would get me in.  Probably the worst lounge at Sydney airport.

15 Nov 2012

Total posts 1

Can anyone please advise which business class lounge  Qatar Airwyas will use in December 15 and February 16


Hey im gonna fly with Cathay Pacific's business class and is my only option of available lounges is the Quantas lounge?

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