I have been a Velocity Gold/Platinum for several years and hence have been used to having access to lounges at majority of airports across the world as I usually fly Star Alliance.
However my upcoming international trip is through Emirates and I dont have the elite status with either Qantas or Emirates. So my question - is there any other easier/cost effective way of accessing international lounges? specifically in Brisbane/Sydney and Dubai and also potentially in Europe (Budapest, Prague and Munich specifically)? I do have AMEX Ultimate (Qantas co-branded) but not sure if it allows me access to any international lounges
The simple answer is a Priority Pass membership (see guide below).
But it’s more complex than that, particularly in Europe and in the larger airports, because in practice you won’t have access to every Priority Pass lounge in every terminal. In Europe, for example, airports are divided between “Schengen Zone” and “Non Schengen Zone” flights, so that if you’re travelling to a Schengen country you won’t have access to the Non Schengen lounge and vice versa.
So before you fork out the money, use the Priority Pass website to research lounges according to where you’ll be travelling and which airport terminal you’ll be in. If it works out that there are Priority Pass lounges available to you, then go for it. There are other lounge memberships out there too, such as LoungeKey and Plaza Premium (which may actually be your best option for Brisbane and Sydney, but which won’t help in Europe).
If that doesn’t work out, many lounges allow paid per-visit access. It’s pricey, but it might work for you.