Qantas Offering Free Lounge Access… But Only If You’re 18-35

Filed Under: Qantas

Qantas has just rolled out an interesting promotion for those who are the “right” age. It’s not unusual to see companies offer discounts for seniors or youth, though this latest promotion targets a different demographic.

Qantas Frequent Flyer is offering free lounge access to 18-35 year olds who travel internationally on a Qantas operated and marketed flight.

The details of this promotion are as follows:

  • You must be 18-35 to take advantage of this offer
  • You have to register prior to booking your flight
  • You have to book a Qantas marketed and operated flight by August 31, 2019
  • Your departing flight can take off between June 1, 2019, and February 29, 2020
  • You must book at least seven days prior to travel, and include your Qantas Frequent Flyer number in your booking

You’re limited to one free lounge pass per person, so you’d only have lounge access from this promotion once during the promotion period. You can use it at your Australian airport on departure, and not at any international location.

Each pass is only valid for one person, so if you’re traveling with someone who is also 18-35, you’d need to both register to take advantage of this offer.

I find the 18-35 year old age restriction to be interesting. I get Qantas’ perspective — they probably want to go after customers who they think might consider a lounge membership in the future, and they think going after younger people who may not have accessed a lounge before is the way to do that.

At the same time, it’s not often you see age “discrimination” in this way, as usually we only see limits that require someone to be 18+, or promotions targeted specifically at youth or seniors. I imagine this promotion will rub some people the wrong way.

Does anyone plan on taking advantage of Qantas’ lounge promotion? Do you take issue with a company limited a promotion to 18-35 year olds?

  1. Way too old for this promotion. Sounds like this age segment is abandoning. Qantas for international travel. Given their lack of price competitiveness, I’m not surprised.

  2. Theaters do this all the time to get younger people in the audience. In DC they have “pay your age” and “under 30 tickets” all the time. Pretty standard. Maybe there will start trying to get a younger crowd in first class 😉

  3. I definitely see the purpose in Qantas targeting that specific market. Like you said, those people probably haven’t been to a lounge before and this might get them hooked for the future. Because let’s face it, flyers over 40 (and especially over 60) are significantly more likely to pay for lounge access or J class when flying long haul.

  4. I only just saw this, and literally purchased a Qantas flight 2 hours ago. And I’m within their target age group. Frustrating.

  5. @ Ben — This is illegal in the US. Age discrimination is allowed against the young, not the old. Serisouly. I guess that is why this isn’t being offered for international destinations.

  6. Interesting and strange. As an Australian I’m also surprised this complies with anti-discrimination legislation. You’ll find many older Australians are loyal to Qantas while many of those who are younger either pick the best product or choose based on price, rather than jingoistic tendencies.

    Maybe as a result of this Qantas’ elite ranks are thinning as younger travellers choose based on price or quality of product. I don’t think I’ve received so many double status credits offers in my life – I think I’ve had five in the last year and I’m already Platinum. Or maybe they know I’m usually flying on SQ because they’ve taken so much cost out of the J product it’s no longer competitive…

  7. @Erica – Check to see if you can cancel your booking for free within 24 hours. If possible, you can do that, register for the promo, then book your flight again and get the pass (unless the T&Cs specifically forbid this).

  8. I’m assuming the logic Qantas have here is that these young people will tweet, Instagram, YouTube, blog etc etc about how amazing the lounges are, therefore encouraging other youths to book business class flights. Which your typical 22 year old probably can’t afford so will get into debt to be able to do.

    If this is the thinking behind this, then I don’t fancy the idea of Qantas lounges full of people taking staged Instagram photos. Accompanied, as always, by a motivational quote “it’s not the number of breathes you take, it’s the number of moments that take your breath away.” And so on.

  9. Anti-discrimination laws are quite complex, and courts will typically consider the whole circumstances of the case. This includes whether there is a legitimate (business-driven) reason for the differential treatment, whether it is positive or negative discrimination, how significant the difference in treatment is, what the basis of differentiation is etc. Free gimmicks and somewhat lower prices for specific groups are often allowed, e.g., discounts for students, or free drinks for female customers at a bar. The Qantas thing here seems legal to me. 18 is the legal age in Australia, so this is the lower cap. 35 is a random upper cap for targeting young adults, who you could argue have less money on average than older people and therefore need to be targeted with specific offers.

  10. Wow, I find this very cool.
    I am 25, and just finished an LHR-WLG return all on QF last week. With this now I have reached Alaksa MVP gold, so I’ll get lounge access anyway in the future. Its too bad they didn’t release this offer before.

    Lucky you should mention that QF lounges have rather funny, but strick dress code rules, advertised at entrance (no surf shorts, flip-flops, etc).
    I imagine those surfer guys with a shark’s tooth in ther neck, arriving to the lounge entrance soaking wet from the waves, claiming that they are 21, and turned away immediately.

  11. @Gene – “This is illegal in the US. Age discrimination is allowed against the young, not the old.” So age discrimination IS legal in the US.

    This was also my experience when in the country. I also experienced many other occasions when only “certain groups” were allowed (e.g. free entry into museums, or access to some events). So age discrimination is alive and well in the USA.

  12. @ Dennis — Yep. I guess I should be glad to be an American and getting (not there yet) old….

  13. Age discrimination is alive and well in both the US and Canada. Private golf clubs commonly offer reduced initiations and dues to younger people. And no, I am not referring to junior memberships.

  14. It might backfire when they discover there’s no avocado toast, quinoa , arafura or goats milk cheese.

  15. Lots of desperate promos at Qantas. I guess they are really struggling. Time for new management kinda like Boeing…

  16. QF domestic lounges are very subpar, even at MEL. Heck, even the MEL international F lounge is subpar, per our experiences last Nov flying QF F MEL-LAX. (the flight was mer as well). QF F lounge at TBIT beats the one at MEL by a mile. QF J lounge at HKG also are head and shoulder above its MEL F lounge.

    Within Australia only the SYD international lounges are good enough to get excited about. Seriously can’t see how the promo can be exciting.

    Talk about the weird dress code QF lounge has, those young folks better learn that QF bans UGG boots to the lounge. Bet the young crows have no idea about this.

  17. The strict dress code rules only apply to domestic lounges, so irrelevant to this promo.

  18. So now we want to get into discrimination territory???

    Yep after all those anti discrimination BS and being civilized, in USA there it is still legal for age discrimination.

  19. Qantas Biz lounges are nothing to get excited about. But crowded already even without this promotion (every man and his dog has access in Aus given how long domestic flights or going anywhere overseas can be).

    The dress rules are necessary, and I don’t think that weird (you shouldn’t be wearing flip flops / thongs in a lounge anyway!)

  20. Unless you are flying out of Sydney, i suggest you forget it!
    Qantas has very few international flights from other airports around the country and they are mainly routes from Australia to New Zealand. Don’t see too many 18-35 year olds flying to Wellington!
    Most Aussies in this age group are doing the big trip to Europe and generally don’t fly Qantas as only serve London and way more expensive than the Asian and Middle East carriers.
    Not sure how this promotion gets around Australia’s age discrimination laws. Hope someone decides to challenge them!

  21. I admit to being hypocritical here. I support ‘pay your age’ initiatives to encourage younger people to support the arts. And I understand other corporate entities that encourage new long term members from a younger age. But for some reason the words age discrimination ring true on this one.

    There’s something about the ‘equality of travel’ ethos that Qantas has turned a blind eye to.

    I get that travel is not equal. We all pay different fares and receive a different product experience. But ticket price inequality is not discriminatory. (Or Is it?)

    Age criteria in this instance to me feels discriminatory.

  22. An added data point is that they only targeted emails at 18-35s with Bronze/Silver (OW Ruby) status in their program. I’m 24 in AU and hold two QFF accounts, one is Platinum (OW Emerald), the other is Bronze (Noddy No Status) and that account was specifically not targeted but the other was.

    I’d suggest it’s a means of creating a buzz amongst younger travellers who aren’t at a position in their career to travel frequently on the corporate dime. The Instagram culture amongst the countries youth is intense and may be enough to get some more bookings from an audience that would otherwise skip Qantas as they’re not pricing competitively for leisure travellers and create some hype on social media.

    It’s not dissimilar to what they do with P1s where they get given tickets to experiences they would like (e.g. meet and greet with the Australian cricket team at a private training session) in lieu of flight rewards. Creates buzz amongst the social circles of that flyer that asks the question, “how’d you get to do that?”

  23. I’m just shuddering at the thought of what the lounges are going to look like at “Schoolies” (Australia’s equivalent of Spring Break)! I can just imagine a serious pre-loading session going on before jumping on the plane to Bali. Remind me to avoid travelling during this period!

  24. As Qantas SYD Business Class Lounge is already close to standing room only could get a bit messy .

  25. Jeez, a lot of people seem to have their back up about this for no good reason.

    It would be only be age discrimination if QF were to exclude people from the lounge based on their age. This is a promotion. Promotions are allowed to exclude people.

    As for the quality of lounges, this is all subjective as most QF lounges are part of their domestic network where their only competition is VA. They are good for what they are. Obviously they’re targetting young people who do not fly at the pointy end of the plane or fly regularly enough on corporate travel to warrant Gold/Platinum status.

    Furthermore, if QF lounges are completely full they would normally exclude people on “Free” passes.

  26. @gene

    You’re simply incorrect. Many members clubs etc also target specific age groups, especially in higher spending groups. Take Soho House for example. Private members club where if you’re under 30, membership costs half the price.

  27. Are there seriously complaining about “age discrimination” because Qantas won’t give them something for free? LOL, go back to calling millennials “entitled” on facebook

  28. @Nathan, yeah agreed, Gene hasn’t really thought this through, stating as fact that age discrimination against older people is illegal. Ever been to a movie or taken a bus? I can think of a ton of other things where there are junior rates and ‘full adult’ rates. Like a buffet restaurant, or Disneyland…

  29. Australia has tough discrimination laws and this is definitely age discrimination . Not sure how they will get away with it .

  30. @Lucky, QF also has another interesting promotion, they are selling discounted first and business class longhaul flights on Airbnb. 50.000 QF miles each.

  31. In the US, age discrimination in EMPLOYMENT is illegal at the federal level.

    But for “offerings” like this, it would depend on state and local laws.

    San Francisco, for example, has extremely strict laws around this. This would definitely be illegal in SF. I don’t know specifics about other US cities/states.

    Maybe that’s why it’s only being offered in AUS, not at international destinations?

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