Qantas Clarifies Lounge Access for Oneworld Frequent Flyers

Qantas Clarifies Lounge Access for Oneworld Frequent FlyersAirport lounge access rules can be confusing at the best of times. But issues arise particularly often when frequent flyers try to use their status benefits from one airline while crediting the flight to a different airline’s frequent flyer program.

If you have Oneworld Sapphire or Emerald status with an airline other than Qantas, such as Qatar Airways or British Airways, it turns out that you can enter Qantas lounges by simply showing your membership card. Qantas clarified this after Muppet501st, who has Oneworld Emerald status as a Qatar Airways Platinum member, was recently told to leave the Qantas Club in Townsville.

Muppet501st entered the Qantas lounge using his Qatar Airways Platinum status, which entitles him to do so. But, as Qantas domestic flights do not earn any points in the Qatar Airways Privilege Club frequent flyer program, this member then replaced the frequent flyer number attached to the booking to his Qantas Frequent Flyer number. That way, the flight would earn Qantas Frequent Flyer points.

The lounge attendant noticed that the frequent flyer had changed the membership number attached to the booking, and implied that this wasn’t allowed. Muppet501st, who only has Bronze status with Qantas, wrote:

Then flying QF TSV-CNS, did the same thing, however upon leaving the TSV lounge, was informed that what i had done, wasnt allowed, and that i was double dipping. There were maybe 6 others in the lounge at the time. So my understanding is, that for contract tracing, all BPs are scanned to meet the laws. But since i had changed my FF #, i had dropped off the lounge agents screen, and since i was QF NB, i wasnt entitled to be in the lounge.

So as im new to all this, am i not allowed to do this?

We reached out to Qantas, who told us that the lounge attendant in Townsville had made a mistake. This member should have been allowed to enter the Qantas Club, a Qantas spokesperson told us, by showing his Qatar Airways Platinum card when departing on a Qantas flight.

This is consistent with Oneworld’s published lounge access policy, which states:

Members of oneworld airline frequent flyer programmes with the equivalent of oneworld Emerald or Sapphire tier status can use lounges offered by oneworld airlines when departing on any flight marketed and operated by any oneworld member airline, regardless of cabin class being flown…

And:

You must be prepared to show your boarding pass and frequent flyer membership card, with oneworld Emerald or Sapphire tier status, to access a lounge.

As Muppet501st has Oneworld Emerald status and was travelling on a Qantas marketed and operated flight, there should therefore be no issue with accessing a Qantas lounge. The member is just required to show their boarding pass and Qatar Airways Platinum card – there is no requirement to also credit the flight to Qatar Airways Privilege Club.

This is good news for the many Australians who recently took advantage of the Qatar Airways status match.

It is not allowed, however, to enter Qantas lounges using status with a non-Oneworld airline like Emirates, while simultaneously crediting the points to a different airline. You also couldn’t use Qatar Airways status to access Qantas lounges if flying with Jetstar, which is not a Oneworld airline. In these cases, Oneworld lounge access rules do not apply.

Australian Frequent Flyer understands that, within the Oneworld alliance, the airline operating the flight pays for lounge access when a frequent flyer enters the lounge based on their Oneworld status. If this is correct, then it wouldn’t make a difference to Qantas whether a frequent flyer had their Qantas Frequent Flyer or Qatar Airways Privilege Club number on the boarding pass. Either way, the flyer is entitled to use the lounge and either way, Qantas pays for the lounge visit if they are operating the flight.

Sadly, the frontline lounge staff aren’t always across the various intricacies of lounge access rules. Qantas has a history of incorrectly denying lounge access in contradiction to Oneworld rules.

So if you think you’re being denied lounge access incorrectly, you may wish to question the decision and provide proof of why you’re able to use the lounge. For example, you could refer to the relevant page on the Qantas website. (This goes without saying, but always make sure you’re respectful and don’t become abusive if you do this – or Qantas could call the police on you.)

Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Entering a QF lounge with QR WP and then changing to your QF FF #

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]