With the largest lounge network in Australia and a respectable offering overseas, Qantas lounge access is a valuable perk to passengers travelling in Business or First Class, higher-tier frequent flyers, and those lucky enough to have one of the credit cards that offer complimentary access.
In this guide, we outline the six different types of Qantas lounges, where they are located, which ones are the most basic and which are the best, our experiences of select lounges, and the methods to gain access.
The six lounge types in Qantas’ lounge network
Qantas really wins out against Virgin Australia’s meagre offering of 12 domestic and no international lounges (you can read our overview of Virgin Australia’s lounges here).
However, it is a bit more confusing with Qantas, which has six different types of lounges (which we have ranked in order of service quality and facilities):
- Domestic Qantas Club: the most common type and lowest-tiered Qantas lounge, with 24 across the network, in all capital cities as well as far afield as Karratha, Devonport and Mackay
- Domestic Business Lounge: a step up from a Qantas Club, it has better food and drink offerings, and is quieter and smaller. There are five Domestic Business Lounges, in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Canberra
- International Business Lounge: for departing international flights from Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, plus a number of overseas locations in Los Angeles, Honolulu, Auckland, Wellington and Tokyo Narita
- International (Premium) Lounge: there are currently four of these combined Business and First Class Lounges, in Brisbane, Hong Kong, London Heathrow and Singapore (although the lounge in Singapore will be expanded and a separate, new International First Lounge built by the end of 2019)
- International First Lounge: for First Class passengers and elite frequent flyers in Sydney, Melbourne, Los Angeles and Auckland (and Singapore by the end of 2019)
- Chairman’s Lounge: invitation-only lounges in major Qantas hubs such as Sydney, Canberra and Brisbane, for members including politicians, High Court judges, CEOs and celebrities. Number of members is said to be ~7,000
You can see a full list of Qantas lounges here.
Eligible Qantas customers also have access to associated lounges run by partner airlines (such as Emirates, American Airlines and British Airways) in key airports where Qantas does not operate its own lounge, such as New York, Dubai, San Francisco, Dallas/Fort Worth, Johannesburg and Bangkok.
Key lounges which the Point Hacks team has reviewed
Consistently ranked as one of the world’s top ten airport lounges, we give the International First Class lounge a five-star rating.
This lounge goes above and beyond by allowing you to tailor your experience, with table service either in the restaurant area or at your lounge seats, a good menu, spa offerings and a full bar.
The International Business Lounge is disappointing and thankfully due for an upgrade by late 2019.
And the Domestic Business Lounge is well-regarded for its food, drink and comfort but is a little behind the curve when it comes to Qantas’ latest lounge design ethos.
The International First Lounge is like a mini clone of the Sydney lounge but has a bit less of a ‘wow’ factor.
Having said that, the Melbourne lounge is more intimate than Sydney’s and we find it a more relaxing, personal experience, with staff members really willing to interact and give decent personal service.
There is also a Qantas International Business Lounge in Melbourne. It’s a big workhorse lounge that caters for guests flying on Qantas, oneworld partner airlines (many Cathay Pacific guests prefer this lounge over the Cathay Pacific one) and non-alliance partners like China Eastern.
The Qantas Club is the go-to lounge for many of Qantas’ frequent flyers and lounge members plus their guests, with well-utilised spaces, good distinct zones for relaxing and working/eating. While the food options are certainly nothing to write home about, there is absolutely nothing to complain about either.
The Domestic Business Lounge is an exclusive area which caters to Business Class guests, Platinum Frequent Flyers and higher.
The Domestic Business Lounge might just be one of the best in Qantas’ entire portfolio.
It carries a common theme of promoting health and wellness in its spaces, lighting, and food and beverage offerings.
The Qantas Club offers a welcome escape from the main terminal but, like the other Qantas Clubs, can get crowded.
The Qantas Club is the main lounge for the majority of Qantas’ frequent flyers and lounge members flying interstate from Western Australia, which means it can get quite full at times.
The combined Domestic/International Business Lounge has a relaxing ambience and ‘premium’ feel to it and is complete with high-quality furnishings and amenities.
If you are flying nonstop to London, then you may prefer the International Transit Lounge instead. Access to that lounge is granted both to those departing from Perth and those arriving in Perth from other cities and connecting onto the London flight.
We give the International Business Lounge a solid four-star rating for its spaciousness, fast wifi and well-stocked bar, but it is let down by dark lighting, some disappointing food and no tarmac views.
It is run by Qantas in partnership with oneworld partners British Airways and Cathay Pacific. As such, single-use complimentary passes cannot be used at this lounge, nor can Emirates Skywards frequent flyers gain access as it is technically a oneworld, not Qantas, lounge.
Passengers eligible for access include those travelling in Qantas Business Class, higher-tier Qantas and oneworld Frequent Flyers, and Qantas Club members.
There is also the excellent International First lounge for eligible customers.
Whilst functional and conveniently-located, this lounge is old and tired and one of the more disappointing in the Qantas network.
Partner airline Emirates’ lounge is a good alternative in Auckland, if you can gain access.
Qantas operates this mixed lounge to service their daily flights to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, with some table-service dining options and a full-service bar.
This lounge is a massive improvement over the International Business Lounges in Sydney and Melbourne, showing how Qantas needs to invest in their other Business Class lounges to bring them up to the same level.
What to expect when you use the Qantas lounges
Obviously, with six different types of lounges, you’ll receive quite a different experience in each.
Starting at the bottom, at most Qantas Clubs, you can expect:
- Tea, coffee and beverages
- Newspapers and magazines
- Family zone
In addition to the above services and facilities, Domestic and International Business Lounges will also tend to offer:
- Lounge dining
- Bar service
Moving up, the International, International First and Chairman’s Lounges will have more a attractive interior design and enhanced personal service from staff, as well as wider food and drink offerings.
Credit cards that offer Qantas lounge access
There is currently a small selection of credit cards that each offer two entries per calendar year to Qantas Clubs or International Business Lounges as a perk.
All credit cards have transitioned to digital lounge passes, however, existing paper passes with a valid expiry are still, of course, able to be used until they expire. You can view as well as transfer your digital invitations to any other Qantas Frequent Flyer member on the Qantas Complimentary Lounge Invitations website.
These lounge passes also gets you access to Qantas’ eleven regional lounges, which are similar to Qantas Club lounges but with a very cut-down experience. These are usually available in major regional towns around Australia where Qantas’ regional subsidiary QantasLink flies into. Read our overview of the Qantas Regional Lounge Launceston to know what to expect.
Note that you cannot use these passes for shared lounges (such as the one in Los Angeles) or associated partner lounges (such as Emirates lounges).
Whilst the annual fees differ, other perks such as sign-up bonuses, ongoing points earning through spending and trip protection do also, so it is worth clicking through to decide which offers the best value to your circumstances.
*Note that with these cards, you will receive your passes after your first spend with Qantas
For more information on how to link these digital lounge passes to your next Qantas or Jetstar flight, read this guide.
Accessing Qantas lounges through other methods
Obviously, whether paying in cash for a flight or redeeming an award in First or Business Class, you will have access to the lounge corresponding to the cabin in which you are flying.
Higher-tier Qantas (starting at Gold status) and oneworld Frequent Flyers (starting at Sapphire status) also have access to these lounges, regardless of the cabin in which they are flying.
Buying a Qantas Club membership will give you a year’s access to Qantas Clubs, International Business Lounges and associated lounges.
And, Qantas is running a trial to give lower-tier frequent flyers the opportunity to buy a day pass for Qantas lounges in Australia and overseas from $49.
With an extensive network across Australia and its overseas destinations, Qantas’ lounge offering vastly outshines Virgin Australia in this area.
It is worth knowing the difference between the types of Qantas lounges as you can calibrate your expectations before your upcoming flight/s.
Holding a credit card that gives you access each year that you are a cardholder, having Qantas or elite oneworld status and/or being a Qantas Club member means that you can enjoy a moment of respite away from busy terminals before departing on your trip.