Qantas Baggage Tag Letters
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Qantas Club has been the unofficial watering hole of corporate Australia for the past 20 years, offering members benefits usually reserved for their top frequent flyers. However, membership does not come cheap; As such, I would like to answer the question, “Does membership represent good value for money?” Having been a Qantas Club member for over a decade, I hope I can give you some useful insights into its benefits and some tips on how to use membership.
Qantas Baggage Tag Letters
The Qantas Club experience begins as soon as you arrive at the airport, allowing you to check in at premium service desks as a member. What I found domestically is that there are usually two priority lines, one for Gold, Silver and Qantas Club members and another for Business Class and Platinum members. This is an absolutely amazing benefit because you can talk to a human being instead of an automated kiosk; A great benefit when you need help checking your baggage through ongoing flight connections, seat assignments and help in general. I’ve even scored the occasional upgrade without speaking to a member of staff, and on one occasion a Qantas staff member helped me carry a load of baby gear to the massive check-in counter—now that’s service!
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It is not clear which international check-in desks Qantas Club members can use. I spent a frustrating half hour on the phone to Qantas Club Membership. From what I can gather, if there’s a desk with a Qantas Club sign on it, go for it. Failure to do so will result in Premium Economy appearing as the default line for Qantas Club members. If your flight doesn’t have a premium economy section, I’d go to the business check-in line on the ‘easier to ask for forgiveness than to be allowed’. The goal here is to avoid the economy check-in desk at all costs, whose queue can sometimes be out the door.
This is huge and my primary reason for having a subscription. I can’t remember how many times over the years I’ve been upgraded thanks to being able to put in a request at the service desk at the club. For non-Club members, if you’re traveling in economy and your online request for an upgrade isn’t complete by the time you arrive at the airport, that’s it—no lie-flat beds and no Shaw & Smith for you. If you’re interested in upgrades, you can read my full How to Upgrade with Qantas guide.
As far as departure upgrades go, my advice is pretty obvious: get to the club nice and early and try to fly on your own, because if you’re only looking for an empty seat in business, your chances of getting one are better. . If only an upgrade is available, you can convince your travel buddy to do the generous thing and stay behind the scenes. If you can swing it, your persuasiveness is truly world class. Also, make sure you have the required number of points in your frequent flyer account to cover the upgrade—check out my Qantas Wine article to collect points quickly.
However, the reason most frequent flyers join the club is to make their daily travel experience more civilized. The club’s lounges offer a comfortable haven to relax with a drink and grab a bite to eat away from the maddening crowds.
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If this is what you’re looking for, Qantas Club does it very well. Lounges are designed to have clearly defined areas for eating, relaxing and working. There are tables and chairs for eating, bar stools for enjoying a drink and comfortable chairs for relaxing. There are business centers where you can set up your laptop at the desks provided, log on to the free wifi. Lounges are usually large enough to accommodate all traveling members comfortably. Over the years, even during peak periods in busy lounges like Perth and Sydney, I’ve always managed to find a seat.
The refreshments in the lounge are excellent and have only gotten better with time. Qantas always offers a great range of wines, beers and spirits available at the bar from noon. The wine selection usually consists of sparkling whites and both reds and whites. There are also soft options, mixers and juices. And if the bar is feeling creative, they might even throw in some cocktails or, like here, some lemons, limes and bitters.
However, what the club now offers as its dining service has improved beyond recognition. When I first joined back in 2005, the choices for breakfast were yogurt, fruit, cereal, and toast, and for the rest of the day, cheeses, cold meats, soup, and the occasional salad. Today the club serves a hot breakfast of eggs and frittatas, as well as muffins and croissants, and now there are hot options in the afternoon too: sweet potato fries, empanadas and meat pies—perfect at the end of the day!
Qantas Club recently followed suit with their business class lounges introducing Vittoria barista-made coffee and the option to use the Skip app to pre-order before you even get to the lounge. For members with an early flight, a really great new introduction is the grab-and-go breakfast option, where you can pick up a pre-packaged breakfast of fruit, juice and a muffin.
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Another great benefit Qantas Club Lounges offer is the provision of showers, which are actually private bathrooms, including toilets and sinks. So if you’re looking to freshen up before heading to your next destination, they’re a godsend. All you have to do is go to the front service counter, tell the staff you want to take a shower, and they’ll hand you a pack of fluffy white towels.
As a Qantas Club member, you can access the Qantas Club lounge until your next onward flight on a Qantas or Jetstar Airlines flight number that day. Also, you’re welcome to bring a guest with you and they don’t have to travel, which is great if you need to meet someone quickly for business or you want to offer a thank you drink to your lift.
The other great benefit of Qantas Club membership is that its lounge benefits are not limited to domestic travel as you are welcome to use international lounges. There are three categories of international lounges which grant membership Qantas International Business Lounges, Partner Lounges and Associated Lounges.
These are Qantas’ own business class lounges found at airports to which Qantas flies directly using their own aircraft. They are located at major hub airports; Auckland, London, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo (Narita). These lounges have a kangaroo near the door (not really) and should be well signposted so are easy to spot. They are also excellent lounges comparable to the Qantas Club lounges at home—usually smaller in size but with an upgraded wine list. However, with the launch of new international lounges like London and Singapore, you can enjoy a truly amazing lounge experience; Below is the newly opened Qantas London Heathrow lounge.
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To access the Qantas Business Class lounges you must be flying on the day and your next flight must be on Qantas or Jetstar. You are also welcome to bring a guest with you as long as they are traveling on the same flight.
Partner lounges are operated by airlines that have close relationships with Qantas; Emirates, American Airlines and Alaska Airlines. This is especially useful if you’re traveling in the States, as you can use American Airlines’ Admirals lounges. To access them, you must have the Qantas flight number on your American Airlines ticket. This is a really nice benefit because American Airlines has lounges in every reasonably sized airport in the US, so a Qantas Club membership gives you access to a well-established network of high-quality lounges across the States.
The Qantas/Emirates partnership means Dubai Qantas Club members are welcome to access the Emirates Business Class lounge when they travel, access conditional on same-day departure on a flight with a Qantas flight number. Members are also welcome to bring a search provided they are traveling on the same flight.
Qantas Club members will be able to access the lounges while traveling in Los Angeles, Seattle, Anchorage and Portland, thanks to the latter’s partnership with Alaskan Airlines.