Reader Question: Cathay Denies Emerald Member Lounge Access When With Spouse + One Children?

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A LoyaltyLobby reader left a message on the website regarding status based (BA Emerald) lounge access in Hong Kong when traveling with spouse + five year old kid.

Reader Question Oneworld Lounge Access HKG

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Here’s the email from the reader:

I am a oneworld Emerald through BA executive Gold and recently travelled with my wife and 5 year old from HKG-NRT on an economy Cathay flight. Though I was able to checkin in fine at the first check in counters, I was denied entry into the Cathay first and business lounges as I had 2 guests with me. I did explain it would be awkward to leave my wife or the 5 year old out alone while I sat in the lounge, they did not budge from their policy.

The lady did mention that if the child was below 2 years of age, it would have been fine.

Is this a policy that is strict ly enforced at cathay lounges at HKG airport only? I did not have any issues when I was coming from HAN-HKG earlier with my family. They allowed us – no questions asked.

Here’s what Oneworld’s website states about the lounge access policy:

oneworld lounge access for frequent flyers by tier status

Enjoy exclusive access to premium airport lounges around the world with oneworld Emerald or Sapphire frequent flyer tier status. Members of oneworld airline frequent flyer programmes with the equivalent of oneworld Emerald or Sapphire tier status can use lounges offered by oneworld airlines when departing on any flight marketed and operated by any oneworld member airline, regardless of cabin class being flown (exceptions are noted below).

  • Emerald tier frequent flyers can use First Class, Business Class or frequent flyer lounges.
  • Sapphire tier frequent flyers are welcome in Business Class* or frequent flyer lounges. (*does not include Qantas Domestic Business Lounges)
  • Emerald and Sapphire members may invite one guest to join them in the lounge. The guest must also be travelling on a flight operated and marketed by a oneworld carrier.
  • You must be prepared to show your boarding pass and frequent flyer membership card, with oneworld Emerald or Sapphire tier status, to access a lounge.

The following exceptions apply:

  1. American Airlines and Qantas offer programmes enabling customers to pay to gain access to their lounges. These programmes are not part of the oneworld agreement, and members of these programmes are not entitled to access lounges under the oneworld agreement.

  2. American Airlines AAdvantage® members, regardless of their tier status or class of travel, are not eligible for lounge access when travelling solely on North American flights within or between the U.S., Canada, Mexico (except Mexico City), the Bahamas, Bermuda and the Caribbean. For more information, visit, http://www.aa.com/i18n/travelInformation/airportAmenities/AdmiralsClub.jsp

  3. Qantas Frequent Flyer Gold members, regardless of their oneworld tier status, cannot access Qantas Domestic Business Lounges.

  4. Qatar Airways’ Al Safwa First and Al Mourjan Business lounges in Doha (DOH) and Qatar Airways’ Premium Lounges at Dubai (DXB), London (LHR) and Paris (CDG) are excluded.

Conclusion

This is really tricky situation. The rules are clear that Oneworld Emerald can guest one person to the lounge that can be problematic when traveling with family.

I guess that the two year mark is because the children below that can travel as lap kid without having to pay for extra seat. Being able to guest only one is borderline useless in a situation such as this. Would you leave the kid or spouse outside?

Where do you draw the line? Some may have more than one children. We like when the access rules are bend in our favor but perhaps don’t like when the lounges are over crowded or too many children.

Airlines in Asia tend to follow the written rules more to the point than elsewhere. I would say that this is generally good but fewer favors than elsewhere (rules are rules).

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