Qantas moves to digital passes for Qantas Clubs, business lounges

Qantas moves to digital passes for Qantas Clubs, business lounges

Qantas and its credit card partners will no longer issue physical lounge passes for travellers to tuck inside their wallet or hand to a colleague, family member or friend.

In their place: digital lounge invitations stored in your online Qantas Frequent Flyer account, which like their paper counterparts provide access to domestic Qantas Club lounges and international business class lounges.

(There's one notable exception in the LAX business lounge, as despite being operated by Qantas it's officially a Oneworld lounge run in partnership with British Airways and Cathay Pacific.)

Read: Where can you use Qantas Club lounge passes?

Qantas some time ago shifted to digital lounge passes for Silver-grade Qantas Frequent Flyers and its own-branded Qantas Premier credit card, and most banking card partners have followed suit.

Westpac's Altitude Black card is making the changeover from July 2, although previously-issued physical lounge invitations will of course remain valid through to their expiry date.

A spokesperson for Qantas confirmed to Australian Business Traveller that "all credit card partners - AMEX, ANZ and most recently, Westpac - have now transitioned" to issuing digital passes.

Qantas' shift from paper to pixels should also stymie the sale of lounge passes on trading sites such as eBay and Gumtree, where the 'complimentary lounge invitations' fetch between $30 and $75 depending on how far its expiry date stretches into the future.

Digital invitations can be shared with fellow frequent flyers by transferring the invite to their QFF account.

However, the electronic lounge passes are less flexible than their paper predecessors.

The process of redeeming a pass requires that it be linked to an upcoming Qantas or Jetstar flight (via the 'Complimentary Lounge Invitations' section on your QFF account page) but this has to be done "at least the day prior to flight departure" rather than deciding on the day if you want to use the invitation or save for a future flight.

For example, if a hiccup in your schedule on the day of travel sees you arrive at the airport much later than planned, you might decide it's not worth redeeming the invitation if all you'll have time for is a cup of coffee. That's an option you have with a paper lounge pass but not its digital equivalent.

And should you change or cancel your booking within 24 hours of its scheduled departure, "the linked Complimentary Invitation becomes invalid, cannot be linked to another flight, cannot be reinstated and will be forfeited", Qantas says.

If Qantas cancels the flight within 24 hours of departure, you're entitled to have a linked lounge pass 'unlinked' and made available for re-use, but this doesn't happen automatically – you'll have to "request for the Complimentary Invitation to be reinstated to unused status through the Qantas Refunds form," according to the airline.

David Flynn

David Flynn (David)

[email protected] / @djsflynn

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.


20 Jun, 2018 08:02 am

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