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The best U.S. Lounge?
The consensus of reviews out in the blog-o-sphere seem to say it is. While I’ve been in my fair share of lounges in the States I can’t say that I’ve been in them ALL, but up until this past Thursday I couldn’t even have an opinion on the Qantas First Class Lounge. I’d never been. This weekend, that was to all change. I’d be flying on a One World partner internationally and have access with my One World Emerald status ( AA Exec Plat). I was pretty stoked and made plans to arrive at the airport a few hours in advance. At check-in, I was targeted for an upgrade to BA First Class for $709, and since I took advantage of the offer( which I’m still on the fence about), I wouldn’t even have to show my Emerald status to gain entry. If you’re wondering why it wasn’t on my ticket its because I was crediting the flight to Alaska to earn crazy points. Let’s see if the Qantas First Class Lounge LAX is the best the U.S. has to offer.
- When: August 2017
- Where: LAX Tom Bradley International Terminal
- Level 5
- Entry: Fly First Class or One World Emerald Status
The lounge was PACKED!
For an exclusive lounge, it was MEGA crowded. When Miles and I walked in we could barely weave ourselves through the crowd let alone snag pics. So checked in and bee-lined it for the restaurant.
As we headed there we got a good feel of the lounge. In all honesty, the appointments of the lounge I’d say rank below the One World Business Class lounge which has far more areas to sit, work, and relax. At the very least, I certainly wouldn’t say that the Qantas First Class lounge feels like a step up from it.
The Restaurant. Sit down. Menu. Waitstaff.
A large portion of the lounge is restaurant space. After eating here, I can understand why. It’s akin to dining out, which is very cool to do while waiting at the airport. Surprisingly, without any wait, I was able to snag a table at the restaurant, and was tended to shortly thereafter. It’s pretty cool to order from a menu, have a waiter, and everything be “on the house.”
Do other lounges offer a similar service? The new AA Flagship Lounge at JFK is offering the same sort of experience ( I haven’t visited it yet for comparison), and the Etihad Business/First Lounge at IAD offers something similar, but the food here is MUCH better – and the Etihad food ain’t bad 😉 Let’s dig in
The Food was delicious.
As in, if this were a restaurant I would come back, delicious. That’s not hyperbole. It’s really good food. I was feeling under the weather, and had decided I’d just piece at a few menu items., but I ended up eating everything I ordered: Tuna Ceviche, Soft Basil polenta and vegetables, and finished with Mango Mousse. The Polenta and veggies were outstanding.
At the back of the lounge you’ll find the showers. There’s a check-in and several showers to choose from. I nipped into one right after it had been cleaned. They’re nice, fresh, and feel relatively new. Are they much nicer than those in the One World Business Class lounge? Not in my opinion.
A great place to come for Emeralds who gained status outside of AA.
If you’re flying on a domestic AA flight and your Emerald status was achieved by a partner other than AA, congratulations, you have a great lounge to kick in that us AA Exec Plats and CKs cannot access. In fact, it’s one reason why I’m thinking of going for BA Silver or Gold next year – simply the unrestricted domestic lounge access. But that’s another conversation.
I liked the lounge a lot. The food is the hero and the bar/restaurant offers a great selection of mixed drinks and champagne. The space is quite open for a true first class lounge which isn’t my favorite. Comparing it across the world and I wouldn’t have in a true best first class lounge conversation. But, the question when writing this review was “Is it the best that the U.S. has to offer?” I think it’s 100% in the running. I haven’t visited the Polaris lounge at ORD, or the new Flagship First at JFK, but I would imagine that the Qantas First Class Lounge is going to be a strong competitor.
Will I come back to this lounge given the chance? Yes. The food is too good to pass up, but if it’s as crowded as it was this time. I’d eat and bounce to the One World lounge to relax, do work, and/or shower.
Affiliate link via Card Ratings
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based.
60k Points after $4k spend in 3 months
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If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash , Ink Business Unlimited you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners
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- 3x on dining
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We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.
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Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.
Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on.