Virgin CEO John Borghetti. Photo: Dominic K Lorrimer
They are exclusive hideaways for the rich and powerful. Hidden behind discreet entrances at airport terminals in Australia's major cities, these highly refined lounges offer their VIP guests the chance to network away from prying eyes while lapping up a la carte menus and highly personalised levels of service.
They represent an underground battle between Qantas and its arch enemy, Virgin Australia.
The Club is Virgin's response to Qantas' invitation-only Chairman's Lounge.
Neither Qantas nor Virgin donate money to political parties, but they lavish the country's decision-makers with free access to these exclusive lounges, flight upgrades, iPads and other devices.
''It is a very clever political tool,'' a former Qantas executive said. ''It creates an obligation - it doesn't matter if it is an obligation or not, but it is perceived to be one.''
Qantas' bid for financial assistance from the Abbott government highlights the high-stakes battle for decision-makers' ears.
Both airlines have teams of lobbyists in Canberra who have been working around the clock in recent months to prod and push politicians around to their company's way of thinking.
Once the sole domain of Qantas, Virgin has muscled its way into this secret high-end arena since it set about chipping away at its rival's grip on the lucrative corporate and government travel market three years ago.
Virgin chief executive John Borghetti is a master of this battle. Before he took the reins of Virgin in 2010, his role as third-in-charge of Qantas involved oversight of the Chairman's Lounge.
Federal politicians of all stripes have been beneficiaries of the airlines' largesse.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his wife Margie - both members of the Chairman's Lounge and The Club - and their daughters have been upgraded by the airlines in recent years. Qantas upgraded one of Mr Abbott's daughters to business class on a flight from Singapore to London in 2012.
Shadow transport spokesman Anthony Albanese also received upgrades by Virgin and Qantas between September and December on ''privately funded flights''. They included Qantas upgrading him on international flights on November 30 and December 5.
Treasurer Joe Hockey and his wife Melissa are members of the Chairman's Lounge and The Club. Virgin invited them to become members in 2012, and gave Mr Hockey a Samsung Galaxy tablet. However, the pecuniary interests register shows the Treasurer has not been upgraded on flights.
Liberal MP Dan Tehan, who has been leading the charge to unshackle Qantas from foreign-ownership restrictions, also discloses upgrades in his filings. In January last year, Qantas upgraded to premium economy Mr Tehan and his three children on a flight from Singapore to Melbourne.
Mr Tehan and his wife Sarah are also Chairman's Lounge members. Last month, Mr Tehan declared it was clear from his conversations with Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce that something needed to be done urgently.
Spokespeople for Mr Abbott and Mr Tehan declined to comment when asked whether the pair was compromised by receiving airline upgrades. Mr Albanese responded with one word: ''No.''