As part of Qantas’ agreement with Emirates, eligible Qantas Frequent Flyer members are entitled to Emirates Lounge access when flying with Qantas. There are some restrictions; for example, flights to the Americas and South Africa are excluded, and you should be travelling on a Qantas-issued ticket. But, in general, access is available to Gold, Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers.
Unfortunately, it seems that some Qantas and Emirates staff are not too happy about letting Qantas flyers use the Emirates Lounge. Some AFF members have reported being incorrectly denied entry at various lounges, including in Auckland and Beijing. Other members report being allowed in – but only after receiving a lecture from lounge staff with an attitude problem.
The crux of the problem is twofold. Qantas needs to pay Emirates when its frequent flyers use the Emirates Lounge. They don’t want to do this when they have their own lounges available. Meanwhile, Emirates is concerned about overcrowding in its own lounges and therefore wishes to sometimes restrict access to customers on Emirates flights. Despite this, the terms of the Qantas/Emirates agreement clearly state that reciprocal lounge access is offered.
Auckland Emirates Lounge
In Auckland, the Emirates Lounge is vastly superior to the Qantas Business and First Class lounges. Thankfully, Auckland is on the list to receive a Qantas lounge upgrade in the near future. But in the meantime, the Emirates lounge is a better choice if you’re flying during its opening hours. At the moment, the Emirates Auckland Lounge is open daily from 10.45am to 2.15pm, and from 4.45pm to 8.45pm.
Qantas frequent flyers are entitled to Emirates Lounge access in Auckland when flying Qantas to Australia. But it seems the Qantas lounge staff would prefer that you didn’t bother. Here’s one AFF member’s experience from last year:
I had to make a brief stopover at the AKL [Qantas Club] for a paperwork change (FF number). When the front desk wanted to scan me in, I stated not to bother as I was heading off to the EK lounge next door. He again stated that a QF LTG travelling in J on a QF flight would not be allowed access to the EK lounge and that he would ‘see me again in a few minutes’.
Rocked up to the EK lounge and breezed straight in. I might give the QF front desk a ‘single finger wave’ as I pass by when it is time to depart…
The feeling appears to be mutual. Last week, another AFF member was allowed in to the Emirates Auckland lounge only after being told off.
When i got to the desk, the agent said “You are lucky. You will be one of only two Qantas passengers I’m going to let in today”. Why? “Because we have limited catering. And just so you know the hot food is not going to be started for a while”. That’s fine I said, I’m only here for half an hour (My flight was the 12:05 QF flight to Melbourne.) I then had the temerity to ask for a toothbrush kit. Got a death stare and a sigh.
Another member adds…
I had the exact same experience last year – being yelled at to ‘go to Qantas’ and the woman walked with me out of the reception area to make sure I left. I didnt bother trying again – felt really embarassed. At least the staff at the QF lounge are friendly.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Auckland Emirates Lounge [Now open approx. 11am-2pm,5pm-9pm]
Beijing Emirates Lounge
Generally, Qantas passengers are also entitled to Emirates Lounge access when flying from Asia to Australia on a Qantas flight. But Beijing is an exception. In this case, Qantas passengers are not allowed into the Emirates Beijing Lounge at all.
The anomaly appears to be because Qantas did not fly to Beijing when the Qantas-Emirates alliance began in 2013. Beijing was therefore never added to the list of lounges available to Qantas flyers, and this was not updated when Qantas resumed Beijing flights in 2017.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: EK lounge access for QF status pax discussion [where/when? where/when not?]