Access to Lounges with Award Travel (non-elite)

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by DebraI, Apr 4, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. DebraI
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    DebraI Silver Member

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    Hi all,

    How does one go about finding out whether they would have access to one of the business lounges on an award ticket? My husband and I are flying YEG-YYC-FRA-CDG in business and back AMS-FRA-YYC-YEG.

    I booked the tickets with my US Airways miles, and my travel from YEG to YYC is with AC, and then LH from YYC through to CDG and back from AMS (via FRA, of course).

    So the question is mainly, does a business award ticket get you access to any of the *A lounges en route? Or is that for paying flyers only?

    Thanks so much for the help!

    Deb
     
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  2. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    Hey Deb!

    Here's a link to Star Alliance's lounge access rules.

    I'm not a Star Alliance expert, but the jist of what I've read there says yes you will have access to the business class lounges.

    The only issue I can see is if your ticket is actually multiple stops, i.e. you're not going directly to CDG, but stopping in YYC or FRA. If that's the case, you'll have some domestic ticket legs and the site seems to indicate that not all carriers allow access on domestic business class legs.

    Also, I can't tell if you'll have access to ALL Star Alliance business class lounges on your award ticket, or if you'll only have access to the business lounge designated by your carrier for that leg. That's just my quick read on your itinerary, I'm sure someone will come along soon to give you much more depth!

    Enjoy your trip!
     
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  3. MSPeconomist
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    An award ticket in business class should be treated the same as a revenue business class ticket purchased with money. In some locations, your boarding pass will admit you to the designated business class lounge (usually the one of your carrier) and in other locations you will be given and invitation and instructions at check in. It might help to pass by the check in counter even if you do OLCI and don't need to check a bag, just in case the invitation card is really needed. (Some lounges can call to verify that you should have access and others may photocopy your boarding pass.)
     
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  4. kwai
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    kwai Gold Member

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    You should have access at every airport as this is a business class international ticket. You will most likely not have a guest allowance though.
     
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  5. MSPeconomist
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    Be careful. You don't have access to lounges upon arrival unless there is a designated "arrivals lounge" for business class. AFAIK the only business class arrivals lounge at CDG is the one operated by AF in Terminal 2 for SkyTeam, not Star Alliance. Also, if any flights are not booked in business class (even if there isn't business class on a small plane), this can complicate lounge access at the departure airport for that segment and you must check the rules carefully and sometimes argue with the lounge dragon.
     
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  6. kwai
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    kwai Gold Member

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    You're right, I should have definitely clarified my post. Lounge access should be granted for each departure airport.

    This is from the AC site:

    And from *A's site:
    Since OP is on an business award ticket they qualify for MLL access in YEG (if I'm reading this correctly) and subsequent airports on the outbound. But not, as you point out in CDG, their destination.

    On the inbound they will have access in each international departure airport as well as YYC, again, based up AC's policies. But not their destination, YEG.
     
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  7. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    You definitely get access on an award, not just for paid customers.

    In YEG you should have access to the AC Maple Leaf Lounge. Ditto for the Maple Leaf Lounge in YYC and possibly another lounge if Lufthansa has a contract with one there but I don't think there are any other lounges there. You will have access to the Lufthansa Business lounge in FRA and, as noted above, no access once you make it to CDG. There are a couple different Business lounges in FRA; just use the one closest to your departure gate. Keep in mind that you need to clear immigration and security upon arrival in FRA so that will cut in to your lounge time.

    On the return I'm not sure what the Schengen lounge options are at AMS but the folks at the check-in counter can direct you to the correct one. In FRA you'll need to emigrate and then you will again have access to a Business lounge. Depending on where the FRA-YYC flight departs from you may be in the area that uses the Tower Lounge. It is one of the newest in FRA and is a bit nicer than the older Biz lounges though access in/out via the small, slow elevators is miserable. In YYC you can try for the MLL again but technically you are not permitted access as you are not departing from YYC on an international business class ticket. No harm in asking though. If you have *G status then you do get access in YYC on the return as well. Nothing on arrival into YEG, though I would imagine you'll be looking to get home at that point so less of an issue.

    Have a great trip!

    ETA: I assumed LH for the TATL segments. If you are on AC metal for YYC-FRA-YYC then you definitely get access in YYC on the return, even without status.
     
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  8. MSPeconomist
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    I don't think the AC passage quoted above about access to any *A owned business class lounge is correct, at least in practice. It must be a designated *A lounge too in practice. My understanding is that, for example, SQ denies access to their lounges (for instance in SIN and SFO) sometimes to *A business class passengers not flying on SQ and not having status on SQ, sending them to another *A business class lounge that is either operated by their carrier (the Gold lounge in SIN's T3) or designated as a *A lounge and operated by a partner carrier.

    A similar technicality, which is pointed out in the quoted passage from AC, is contract lounges and those operated by a carrier that isn't part of *A. For example, in JFK, outbound SQ business class passengers use the (SkyTeam) Oasis lounge for business class, but the Swiss and/or Virgin lounge if IFC, *A Gold, or SQ elite status.

    LH also imposes some technicalities with their separate business class lounges versus Senator lounges (for *A Golds) at FRA, MUC, ZRH, etc. plus the Honors/FC lounges for their own top elites and IFC (not to mention the special FCT in FRA).
     
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  9. kwai
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    kwai Gold Member

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    I'm not sure I follow how this is relevant here. What do contract lounges have to do with this?

    OK, let's start with SQ. I've departed SIN in C on TG, SQ and UA and have never been denied access to the SKL T3. I think the pax who do get denied are attempting to get with their 1K card or some other meaningless and irrelevant piece of plastic. The SFO SKL is a different situation and is troubling. But i don't want to get too far off topic.

    LH has business class lounges for those who don't hold *G. F/C lounges are not relevant to OP's situation. Why cloud the waters?
     
  10. MSPeconomist
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    Sorry if I might have confused the issues, but I was thinking specifically of the SKL at SFO and I could imagine that use of the SQ lounge in SIN would be an issue when flying UA if UA had its own lounge there.

    I mentioned the LH case because I find it surprising that they maintain at least three (four if your count the IFC terminal as a different level, which I think it clearly is) types of lounges and you will only have access to the correct type. To further complicate things, it's not obvious whether a revenue long-haul business class passenger should have a worse lounge than a partner's mid-tier elite travelling in deeply discounted coach ticket to a nearby destination on a partner's metal that offers two or three classes.
     
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  11. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Yes, LH operates three different tiers of lounges, Business, Senator and First/HON. The OP will only have access to the Biz lounge as they do not qualify for the Senator (*G) lounge nor the FCL/FCT based on the credentials they've described. And the FCL/FCT are the same level IMO.
    Clear to whom? It is quite clear to Lufthansa and they're the ones that make the rules with respect to accessing their lounges. They have made lounges available to *G and they make lounges available to Biz class passengers.
     
  12. chanp
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    chanp Silver Member

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    What about if someone is on a F award, but the first leg is a 2 cabin plane, so they are in C on that first leg? More specifically, next week, I'm on a F award on *A carriers. Doing LHR-GVA-IST-HKG. The first 2 legs are in C, as there is no F cabin, then the longhaul in F. At LHR and GVA, I'm thinking I only get business lounges, but since I'm going F, I'll try the F lounges. On their site it does state:Customer must be departing from the local airport in International Business Class. Anyone have any luck otherwise?
     
  13. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    There is no F lounge in LHR that I'm aware of so it doesn't really matter there. In GVA you should have access to the Business lounge. If you are *G you'd have access to the Senator lounge. You can try the First/HON lounge but technically you're not supposed to have access to them in GVA based on having a IST-HKG F segment.
     
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  14. DebraI
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    DebraI Silver Member

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    Wow, thanks so much for the info everyone! I'll definitely check out the biz lounge in FRA. We're not in Calgary very long, so I'm not too worried about that.

    I figured that there were lots of rules, but I never realized how complicated it really was!

    Cheers everyone. :)
     
  15. MSPeconomist
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    There are several business class lounges operated by LH in FRA, although I don't know the difference between them. In the one that I seem to be sent to, which might be the closest one for my flight, there's beer, wine, alcohol, coffee/tea, some cold breakfast items (early in the morning) and a couple types of German-style small cold sandwiches. There are a few computer terminals with free internet access, although LH seems to have trouble keeping them operational. Lavatories are inside the lounge. Most importantly, there are no flight information monitors or agents inside the lounge, so please be sure that you know your departure time and gate before entering.
     
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  16. MLW20
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    When I flew biz on a BA award flight I was told about having lounge access. Why don't you just send an email to the airline or call and ask if it is included?
     
  17. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    There isn't much difference. They are mostly the same, except for the Tower Lounge.

    This was not my experience in any of the 5 or 6 LH lounges at FRA I've been in. All had agents at the front desk inside.

    And the Biz lounges have showers. After a long flight that's one of the most important things for me. That and a beer. :D
     
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  18. ande777emt
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    ande777emt Gold Member

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    You won't get F/HON lounge access at GVA as only pax with LH/LX F in their itinerary have access to LH/LX F/HON lounges. Since you have TK F and no LH/LX F in your itinerary, you aren't eligible for access.

    Some airlines, like OZ, NH, and UA, allow other carrier's F pax into their F lounges whereas others such as SQ, LX, and LH do not.
     
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  19. kwai
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    kwai Gold Member

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    SQ allows other *A F pax into their SKL FC lounge. They do not let them into TPR. That is solely the place for SQ F pax.
     
  20. MSPeconomist
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    This is indeed the rule, but check the thread I started in the SQ forum on getting in without the required credentials or SQ/*A elite status. You might find it amusing, as I did when it first happened. Mine was a SQ award ticket using DL miles, so no longer even a partner.
     
  21. chanp
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    chanp Silver Member

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    Thanks, business class lounges it is. The one F lounge that I can get into, at IST, I hear is not all that great.
     
  22. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    This was my experience as well, though having a "handler" to get you through the airport and such is a nice touch. The whole service was just spotty and not well coordinated. It made for a less refreshing layover than we would have liked. When they delayed our flight 4 hours, causing a misconnect that they didn't really care about that was even worse. :mad:
     
  23. chanp
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    chanp Silver Member

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    Yea not expecting much, just want to make sure that the F seat is there.
     
  24. torbster
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    I think it's pretty simple, if you have a *A business ticket - you have access to any *A business lounge.

    In my experience the boarding card doesn't differ between an award or paid ticket, so there's no way the "lounge-dragon" can tell that it's an award ticket AFAIK - but wouldn't matter for lounge access if he/she could anyway.

    In some legs your boarding card might state "economy" even though it's part of a business flight, this is when the leg doesn't have a business cabin - but it matters not for lounge access, as they will still recognize it as part of a business-flight. :)

    Enjoy your trip!
    (FYI: just put your airport(s) and cabin-class info in the *A lounge finder, and it will show you all the lounges available to you at each airport, with directions and all:
    http://www.staralliance.com/en/benefits/lounges/lounge-finder/)
     
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  25. Lufthansa Flyer
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    Thats not entirely true, I have flown several itineraries on various *A carriers where if I am not departing on a biz or F flight, I can not access the lounge even though most of the itinerary is F or Biz. Fortunately the *Gold card comes in handy. Most recently happened with LH flying from Nurnberg back to the states, and my NUE-MUC flight was economy, and I was not allowed to enter the NUE lounge until I presented my BMI DC Gold card. But I've experienced it on UA as well for international flights, unless its just my luck of drawing the wrong lounge dragon.
     
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