Qantas axes a prized perk of elite Chairmans Lounge status

Qantas axes a prized perk of elite Chairmans Lounge status

Members of Qantas' invitation-only Chairmans Lounge have long enjoyed an exclusive and highly-prized perk: they can turn up and use the luxury lounge, with its à la carte menu and private meeting rooms, even when they're flying with one of Qantas' competitors.

The same applies to the superb Qantas first class lounges at Sydney and Melbourne, with the added benefit of a free massage, facial or manicure at the lounge's day spa.

Flying with anybody from AirAsia X through to United Airlines? Well, come on in anyway, and have a glass of champagne while you wait for your salt and pepper calamari.

In fact, Chairmans Lounge members don't need to be flying at all – just a flash of their shiny black Qantas card is all it takes to enjoy hours in this haven for the well-heeled.

Any other passenger trying that – fronting up to a Qantas airport lounge without a ticket, or a boarding pass for the likes of Virgin Australia or Singapore Airlines – would be quickly turned away.

But from February 19, that all changes – and Chairmans Lounge members will be treated just a little more like the rest of us.

Qantas is tightening the rules for Chairmans Lounge entry, and declared that "any time, any airline access" is a thing of the past.

In an email dispatched to all Chairmans Lounge cardholders last week, Qantas has advised that as of February 19, Chairmans Lounge members visiting any Qantas lounge will "need to be flying, and your next onward flight that day must be on a Qantas, Jetstar, Emirates, China Eastern or Oneworld partner airline flight with that airline’s flight number on your ticket."

"This applies to the Qantas Chairmans Lounge, Qantas International First Lounge, Qantas International Business Lounge, Qantas Domestic Business Lounge and Qantas Clubs," the airline points out.

Chairmans Lounge members "can continue to invite up to two guests to join you in any Qantas international lounge when they are travelling that day on a Qantas, Emirates, China Eastern or Oneworld partner airline flight", although at Qantas domestic lounges "you can invite up to two guests to join you and the guests do not need to be travelling."

Read more: Qantas Chairman's Lounge – the unofficial guide

David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


  • turbojezz


    6 Feb, 2018 07:10 am

    this is not unreasonable...
    No member give thanks

  • aniljak


    6 Feb, 2018 09:14 am

    Seriously! To be a member of chairmans lounge you or your company would have spent mega bucks flying Qantas. Yet Qantas can't provide a little back. What would it cost Qantas in food and drink they provide in the lounge. Maybe a few hundred dollars, depending upon the drink. How many people have they found using this very exclusive lounge who were not flying with them?
    No member give thanks

  • henrus


    6 Feb, 2018 09:26 am

    I suspect it's a little more frequent then that.

    At the Qantas Sydney International lounge I've frequently seen NZ operated flights appear on the Qantas flight boards meaning they must have been added for some one...

    No member give thanks

  • johnaboxall


    6 Feb, 2018 10:02 am

    There might have been a hard-core team of CL members that ruined it for everyone. Just as a certain bunch of people treating the OOL lounge as a Friday afternoon pub contributed to the end of anytime VA lounge access for Platinums.
    No member give thanks

  • Doubleplatinum


    6 Feb, 2018 11:42 am

    There is always the pisshead bogan that ruins things for everyone
    Member who gave thanks


  • aavw


    6 Feb, 2018 04:55 pm

    You defeat your own argument - if people are only using the lounge when they're flying Qantas, what harm is there in asking members to show their tickets?
    No member give thanks

  • Rufus1


    6 Feb, 2018 07:48 pm

    "Yet Qantas can't provide a little back."

    Your sense of deadpan irony is superb. By winding back a small aspect if a gold-plated perk, they are suddenly no longer providing "a little" back?
    No member give thanks

  • cloud-9


    7 Feb, 2018 08:57 pm

    Presumably quite a few...
    No member give thanks

  • Rohan Dangerfield


    6 Feb, 2018 10:51 am

    “Next onward flight..” suggests that it can’t be used on arrival when you have no more flights that day.
    No member give thanks

  • humanuscomotose


    6 Feb, 2018 10:52 am

    Another first world problem...
    No member give thanks

  • daniesut


    6 Feb, 2018 11:18 am

    I think this is in response to the Chairmans lounge being, well... a bit to busy, I was in there the other week as a guest of a member, and the place was mad, like the Qantas club on a Friday evening around 6pm......some members were using it more as a restaurant or "serviced office".....
    No member give thanks

  • eminere


    6 Feb, 2018 11:40 am

    Fair call I say.
    No member give thanks

  • GoldCanyon340


    6 Feb, 2018 12:23 pm

    This is a good policy from QF. Hopefully it helps with the crowded restaurant in the Sydney First Lounge during peak periods.
    Member who gave thanks


  • Adam T


    6 Feb, 2018 04:15 pm

    Honest story - Couple of years back I was invited to a meeting with colleagues at the Sydney CL and the meeting host (CL member) flew into Sydney for the meeting on Virgin .... wait for it ... and I quote "fly Virgin because their fares are cheaper than Qantas". To this day I'm still flawed when I think about it.
    No member give thanks

  • williamfinn


    7 Feb, 2018 12:11 pm

    Maybe I missed something, but what's so ridiculous about someone flying with Virgin over Qantas because they have more competitive fares?
    Is it just because he was CL member and presumabley quite wealthy?
    No member give thanks

  • Adam T


    7 Feb, 2018 05:41 pm

    Nothing ridiculous about choosing one carrier over the other because of price, that wasn't it. It was more the principle of it and the blase way it just came out.I'll never forget it, I thought you ungrateful piece of work.
    No member give thanks



    6 Feb, 2018 04:24 pm

    Too many politicians and public servants with their nose in the trough by the sounds of things, some of them half live in there.
    No member give thanks

  • crosscourt


    7 Feb, 2018 03:05 pm

    Sounds like a comment from someone who hasn't had the privilege.
    No member give thanks

  • bl812


    7 Feb, 2018 03:07 pm

    Who cares?only those fat cats winging that now their little free treat is curtailed!
    Get some real problem"!
    No member give thanks

  • crosscourt


    7 Feb, 2018 03:10 pm

    I think this is only fair and have no issue with QF applying this. However as a CL member, I can say I did not receive any notification last week as suggested by the article. Also, it appears the dress code guidelines don't seem to apply in the CL lounges as they do in the regular lounges.
    No member give thanks

  • Blindfreddy


    7 Feb, 2018 03:27 pm

    Entirely reasonable from QF to apply a rule I had always assumed was a condition of entry in the past.
    No member give thanks

  • Tim Tabulator


    7 Feb, 2018 03:34 pm

    As I former CL member. I think it’s a fair decision.
    No member give thanks

  • obscurebug


    7 Feb, 2018 04:09 pm

    As a non CL member, I think the decision is outrageous and preposterous! How dare they?! They have such gall limiting the free gift of CL to when using their service. Before long it will be just like the regular cattle class lounge. I suspect QF must have a newer, better, more secretive and exclusive lounge, hence they're downgrading the CL rabble.
    No member give thanks

  • Jono


    7 Feb, 2018 04:19 pm

    I wonder what percentage of members are polies and top public servants. Neither of which pay anything for their airfares as it’s a work expense.
    No member give thanks

  • David Lupton


    7 Feb, 2018 05:24 pm

    Well i was in sydney aitport with my wife, she was flying back to new zealand on nz and i was heading for dubai business classi on ek. I had gold cards for both airlines she had airnz gold. Neither airline would allow us to take in a guest. We ended up eating outside. I was not amused. After she left i met up with a colleague who was flying to dubai on qf. Could i join him in the lounge - no problem they didnt even ask how i was flying. I almost swapped allegiance on the spot. But it sounds a good thing i didnt. You have to travel a hell of a lot with an airline to get elite status. Being able to use the lounge at any time was a valuable perk.. After all you dont rack up that many points flying economy so chances are you have lounge access for the airline you are flying with anyway.
    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin


    7 Feb, 2018 05:28 pm

    This is where the American Express lounge at Sydney Airport comes in handy: it doesn't matter which airline you're flying with or where you're headed, you can just wander on inside.
    No member give thanks

  • Anthony Spasevski


    7 Feb, 2018 06:16 pm

    Some politician has pissed of Allan Joyce, the goal post have moved now!!!!
    No member give thanks

  • Wayne McK.


    7 Feb, 2018 09:53 pm

    If it helps reduce the overcrowding of the Lounge, I think it is a good call, isn't the lounge for people flying on that Alliance.
    No member give thanks

  • traveller90


    7 Feb, 2018 09:58 pm

    All airlines, once they have your loyalty, love to keep you flying while slowly removing the luxuries we all have enjoyed over the years. This is the way the industry is and will continue to be until only the special few will be gifted with privileges while all the rest will be simply passengers occupying a seat. .

    Once again, competition and choice is out there with companies and their CEO's ultimately choosing their carrier - and remember for most of the pampered companies and CEO's affected by these changes, their loyalty with said brand is usually only as long as the contracts are active.

    Airlines take note, it is harder to keep a passenger than to loose them.

    No member give thanks

  • John Gaffney


    8 Feb, 2018 04:47 pm

    This is a reasonable policy change and certainly a very first world problem.
    No member give thanks

  • EdS


    6 Mar, 2018 09:55 am

    How can you enter The Sydney first class lounge without flying? You have to pass immigration . Perhaps you have just arrived from an international flight and want to linger at the airport. It does work for domestic flights though.

    PS. I have seen the Air NZ flights on the flight board but didn't think much about it until now.

    No member give thanks

  • David Flynn


    6 Mar, 2018 10:09 am

    You can't use the first class lounge without flying, but you can use the domestic Chairmans Lounges in that way.
    No member give thanks

  • EdS


    6 Mar, 2018 10:51 am

    I think anyone can access a domestic lounge without flying.
    No member give thanks


18 Jun, 2019 07:12 am


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