Cathay Pacific has added footnotes to its business and first class lounge access rules affecting those passengers that may have received operational upgrades at the airport (before gate).
Lounge access is not based on the class to which the passenger has been upgraded to (business or first) but Oneworld status (Sapphire or Emerald) or the original ticketed Cathay Pacific cabin.
You can access Cathay Pacific page for lounge access rules here.
Here are the updates:
These changes mean that if you get operational upgrade from business to first and you don’t have Oneworld Emerald status or cannot get someone to let you in to the first class lounge as their companion, you need to access the lounge based on your original ticket (likely business).
Passenger that get operational upgrade from economy or premium economy to business and doesn’t have Oneworld Sapphire at the minimum, won’t have lounge access at all.
Not sure how Cathay Pacific will mark the boarding passes (especially mobile ones) to prevent partner lounge access outside of Hong Kong or Qantas lounge access at Cathay’s home airport?
Many airline process operational upgrades at the gate and thus you won’t get any higher cabin benefits such as luggage allowance or lounge. Cathay usually processes upgrades before. At least for me they have always happened at the check in.
Not sure how much money these changes save to the airline? I would assume that Cathay Pacific uses status to determine the upgrade priority and most passengers getting upgrades to first are Emeralds and get first class lounge access anyway. Business upgrades go to Sapphires and Emeralds.