Online auction site eBay removed all sales of Qantas airport lounge passes this week, saying they breach the company's ban on selling travel-related items including 'guest passes to airline lounges.’
However, hundreds of the Qantas Club passes remain up for grabs at the eBay-owned classifieds website Gumtree, where travellers who would not otherwise have access to an airport lounge can buy a pass for between $50 and $75.
Silver members of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program receive one of the wallet-sized Qantas Club ‘complimentary invitations’ each year, while selected credit cards – including the ANZ Qantas Frequent Flyer Black and Qantas American Express Premium Card – come with two passes each year.
Each pass provides entry for a single person flying on Qantas or Jetstar into a Qantas Club lounge ahead of a domestic flight or any of Qantas’ international business lounges – including those in Australia as well as Singapore, Hong Kong and, soon, London.
(The notable exception is the Qantas business class lounge in Los Angeles, which is technically a Oneworld Lounge run by Qantas in partnership with British Airways and Cathay Pacific).
Read more: Where can you use Qantas Club lounge passes?
This isn't the first time that eBay has culled Qantas lounge passes from its pages – the e-commerce giant went through a similar exercise in January 2015, when eBay Australia Communications Manager Megan English told Australian Business Traveller "our filters capture a lot of these kinds of listings and they are removed.”
At the time, English said that eBay would also "review the filters to make sure more get captured in the first instance”, but over the successive two years the popular passes crept back online.
In response, eBay ran another find-and-delete on the lounge passes this week, with eBay spokesperson Amber Morris reiterating to Australian Business Traveller that “eBay has a strict policy in place against Qantas Lounge passes and as such they are on the prohibited list.”
eBay maintains it has “filters in place which constantly monitor and remove any prohibited items.”
A different set of rules applies to the Gumtree classified network, which eBay acquired in 2005.
Qantas Club passes have become a popular item on Gumtree, with over 160 passes with expiry dates through to December 2018 listed for sale in this week alone
The sale of these passes is not excluded from Gumtree’s trading policies
Pocket over 100,000 Qantas points and free Qanats Club lounge passes with our selection of the top five Qantas credit card sign-up deals
PREVIOUS [January 2015] | It's a case of "going, going, gone!" for Qantas lounge passes being sold on eBay, with the online auction house blocking frequent flyers from selling 'free' invitations to the Qantas Club, Qantas Business Lounge and even the Qantas First Lounge.
Over the past week eBay Australia has removed all listings for Qantas lounge passes, citing the company's policy on travel-related items which includes 'guest passes to airline lounges' among the 'travel-related incentives' which are not allowed to be sold on the site.
"These passes are prohibited under our Travel Policy" says eBay Australia Communications Manager Megan English. "Our filters capture a lot of these kinds of listings and they are removed"
"We also remove any that slip through the filters that are reported to us," English tells Australian Business Traveller, adding that eBay would also "review the filters to make sure more get captured in the first instance."
Qantas First Lounge passes sell for over $100
eBay has previously been awash with Qantas Club passes priced at around $50 each, while invitations to the up-market Qantas First Lounges in Sydney and Melbourne typically sell for over $100.
The cards are valid for one visit to a domestic Qantas Club lounge (above) or a Qantas-operated international business lounge - including those in Australia as well as the Qantas lounges in Los Angeles, Singapore and Hong Kong (below) – when flying with either Qantas or Jetstar.
How to get a free Qantas Club lounge pass
These 'complimentary invitations' are typically issued as part of a Qantas credit card package – for example, the HSBC Qantas Platinum Visa and ANZ Frequent Flyer Black cards include two Qantas Club passes every year.
Silver members of the Qantas Frequent Flyer scheme also receive one free Qantas Club lounge pass each year, while passes are sometimes offered to Qantas customers in compensation for delayed flights, lost luggage and the like.
Access to the Qantas Club and international business lounges is a perk of Gold status in the Qantas Frequent Flyer scheme but can also be purchased on an annual basis starting at $510 plus a one-off $385 joining fee.
Barring a one-off promotion in December 2012 which offered four single-use domestic lounge passes for $179, the airline doesn't sell Qantas Club passes.
Despite the cards declaring among their conditions that 'Invitations are not for resale', they're a popular item on eBay among occasional travellers looking to snare lounge access, especially before a long international flight.
“Qantas lounge passes are not for resale but are transferable to family and friends" a Qantas spokeswoman told Australian Business Traveller.
eBay's English says the company is also wise to people listing the cards for free but with an exceptionally high postage and handling fee.
"If any item is prohibited we don't allow sellers to list it for "free" and then charge a shipping fee," English explains, "or also offer an allowed item in the listing to try to circumvent the policy."
Turning Qantas lounge passes into loot
Melbourne-based frequent flyer Michael Garlick usually advertises Qantas Club passes on eBay "once or twice a year", selling them "for around $50-$60 each."
"They come from my parents' credit cards" says Garlick, who had two Qantas Club passes removed from eBay this week. "My parents usually fly with me so they gain lounge access with my Qantas Frequent Flyer Gold status."
"My parents have zero interest in the Qantas Club which is why I sell them on their behalf" Garlick tells Australian Business Traveller. "Now I will probably just give the passes back to them to use. They would have preferred the cash."
While eBay has pulled down the shutters on the free passes, however, many remain on sale through online classifieds site Gumtree, which is also owned by eBay.
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