Ever stepped off a long overseas flight – especially one that touches down early in the morning – and wished Australian airports had international arrivals lounges for a spot of breakfast, a coffee and shower so you can hit the ground running?
However, Qantas Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers have an almost-secret option up their sleeve: access to domestic Business Lounges and Qantas Clubs after an eligible international flight, even without an onward domestic connection.
How practical this is depends on each airport. In Sydney and Brisbane, to get from the international terminal to the domestic terminal requires hopping onto a bus or train – a time-consuming process which few business travellers can be bothered with.
On the other hand, if you've touched down at Melbourne, Adelaide, Canberra or the Gold Coast, the Qantas domestic lounges are an easy walk from international arrivals.
Here’s what you need to know to turn a Qantas domestic departures lounge into your international arrivals lounge.
Qantas international arrivals lounge access: eligible travellers
As above, this is an option exclusively for Qantas Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers.
If you’re a Qantas Gold frequent flyer, Qantas Club member or hold elite status with a partner airline – even one at the same level as Qantas Platinum, such as Emirates Platinum; Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Club Diamond or another Oneworld Emerald tier – you’re not eligible.
With that shiny Qantas Platinum or Platinum One card in-hand, you’ll also need to have arrived on a flight booked under a Qantas, Emirates or Jetstar flight number.
Beyond flights operated by those same airlines, this also includes eligible codeshare flights operated by other airlines too, such as a Fiji Airways flight booked under a Qantas (QF) flight number.
Alternatively, you’ll need an arriving boarding pass from what’s known as a “Oneworld operated and marketed flight”, being a flight with a Oneworld airline flight number on your ticket – which doesn’t necessarily need to be a Qantas QF number – and which was also flown by a Oneworld member airline.
In Australian skies, that extends your ‘on arrival’ lounge access to flights operated by American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, LATAM, Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways and SriLankan Airlines, covering most points-earning international trips for Qantas flyers.
(Of course, flights operated by Qantas but booked under a Oneworld partner airline flight number are also eligible under that same rule.)
It doesn’t matter whether you flew up the front in first or business class or were stuck down the back, as your arrivals lounge access is provided by your frequent flyer status: all that matters is that you’ve just arrived on an eligible flight from the list above.
Qantas international arrivals lounge access: entering the lounge
As most Australian airport lounges are located after security screening, this option naturally favours business travellers with only carry-on baggage – and by extension, those arriving from shorter trips rather than longer journeys – given the need to pass through security to reach the lounge.
Of course, Qantas Platinum and Platinum One members can still use priority screening lanes where available, but if carting along any checked bags, the prospect of using a lounge on arrival becomes more difficult, unless those bags can be stored somewhere first.
Once past security and at the lounge reception desk, simply present your inbound international boarding pass for entry, and your Platinum or Platinum One card as well, if that status isn’t clearly displayed on that boarding pass.
If there’s any confusion from lounge staff, simply remind them that you’ve travelled on an eligible same-day flight, as Qantas’ published access rules allow: and when you enter the lounge, you can also bring two guests in with you, as you can when flying domestically.
Those guests don’t need to be arriving on the same international flight as you, or even travelling at all that day: as long as the Platinum or Platinum One member has a same-day boarding pass, you’re all clear to enter the lounge, freshen up, enjoy a coffee and a meal, and relax before heading into the city, or returning home.
Overseas, lounge access on arrival is much more limited for Qantas flyers, although the airline does provide access to the purpose-built American Airlines Arrivals Lounge at London Heathrow when stepping off a Qantas-operated flight in first class or business class, although there’s no access for Platinum-grade frequent flyers sitting further back.