What are airport lounges?
Airport lounges are exclusive airport facilities designed to provide a comfortable and relaxing environment for travellers while they wait for their flights. Airport lounges typically offer a range of amenities and services to make the pre-flight wait more enjoyable. Here are some key benefits of airport lounges:
- Comfortable seating
- Free food and beverages
- Free wi-fi
- Business facilities such as desktops, charging outlets and printers
- Entertainment such as TVs, magazines and newspapers
- Showers and restrooms
- Dedicated quiet areas
It’s important to note that not all airport lounges provide the same features and lounge quality varies between locations.
How do I access an Air New Zealand airport lounge?
Travel Business Premier
A Business Premier ticket is available on all Boeing 777-300ER and 787-9 long-haul services operated by Air New Zealand.
Business Premier is essentially Air NZ’s version of a first-class ticket, and comes with perks like extra luggage, a lie-flat or leather armchair and complimentary meals and drinks. But, before you embark on a luxurious flight, you’ll be able to relax in the comfort of an Air NZ or affiliated partner’s lounge.
If you’re willing to dish out the dosh to fly Business Premier, it makes sense to get the most out of the perks, especially the airport lounge.
If you’re a frequent flyer with Air New Zealand, or any of its Star Alliance or partner airlines, and are a member of the Airpoints™ program, you can earn access to Air New Zealand, Star Alliance and partner airline lounges.
The Gold and Elite tiers of membership offer progressively more travel benefits, although you’ll need to keep flying to ensure you maintain your lounge access.
Buy a Koru or Qantas membership
A Koru membership is a paid membership program for Air NZ passengers. The membership offers a range of perks, including access to Air NZ regional, domestic and international lounges, plus selected partner lounges.
A Koru membership isn’t cheap: $694 for a one-year membership, plus an additional $255 joining fee. However, there are slightly discounted membership options for those aged 65+, or corporate members. So, unless you’re travelling frequently, a Koru membership may not be the best option.
Access to Qantas regional, domestic and international lounges, plus selected partner lounges is dependent on your Frequent Flyer membership tier, or Qantas Club membership status.
For example, all tiers of Frequent Flyer and Qantas Club memberships can access select airport lounges when waiting to board a Qantas flight. However, Qantas club members aren’t permitted access to select lounges when flying with Oneworld or China Eastern. More information about Qantas lounge accessibility can be found here.
While Qantas Club memberships are slightly cheaper than Koru memberships, they’re still not exactly cheap. A one-year membership costs $600, plus an additional $99 sign-up fee. So, once again, a membership to access Qantas lounges is only recommended if you’re flying often enough to make the expense worthwhile.
Credit card rewards
When it comes to credit cards, there are a few options for gaining access to airport lounges. Two lower cost options include:
- American Express’ Airpoints Platinum Card. This card comes with four lounge passes every year.
- Westpac’s Airpoints World Mastercard offers priority pass membership that has unlimited lounge access for the member. However, anyone travelling with the member will need their own separate lounge access.
Or, American Express Platinum cardholders recieve Priority Pass membership as part of the cards’ rewards. This offer includes unlimited complimentary lounge visits for the cardholder and one additional guest. Cardholders can also give a friend, partner or family member a free extra American Express Platinum card, which gives them a Priority Pass membership as well.
Airport lounge day pass
Some lounges offer day passes for a fee, which allow passengers without a relevant membership or first-class ticket to enjoy lounge amenities for a limited time. Some airports require you to book at least 24 hours in advance, or offer discounted rates if you do so. Door sales may be offered, depending on availability, so it’s best to book early.
For example, Auckland Airport’s Strata Lounge offers four-hour access from $66 per adult.
If you’re planning on buying a day pass for an international airport lounge, consider using a Travel Money Card. Prepaid travel money cards are a safe and affordable way to travel. These cards are widely accepted, you can lock in an exchange rate before you go, and if they are lost or stolen they can be replaced easily.
Are airport lounges worth it?
Whether airport lounges are worth it depends on your individual travel preferences, needs, and circumstances. If you’re travelling often, or have free access, then airport lounges can definitely be worthwhile and make the overall experience more pleasant.
If you rarely travel but fell like splurging, it may be worthwhile purchasing a lounge day pass.
And, of course, if you have free lounge access because of a membership, ticket or credit card reward, then by all means, embrace the experience. However, be mindful to do your research first, as not all airport lounges offer the same features or service.
Compare Travel Money Cards
Headed off overseas and looking for the best in money cards? Here’s a rundown of some of the most popular cards in New Zealand:
The display order does not reflect any ranking or rating by Canstar. This information is not an endorsement by Canstar of travel money cards or any specific provider. Information correct as of 20/09/23. For full pricing details see individual providers’ websites.
About the author of this page
This report was written by Canstar Content Producer, Caitlin Bingham. Caitlin is an experienced writer whose passion for creativity led her to study communication and journalism. She began her career freelancing as a content writer, before joining the Canstar team.