I’m planning on doing a one off First Class return redemption next year for 2 pax from Australia to Europe with no great interest whether we fly out of Melbourne (MEL) or Sydney (SYD) to London Heathrow (LHR) or Paris (CDG). Once in Europe, the opportunity for cheap return flights from our port of entry to our preferred holiday location (not yet determined) are endless, especially when booking a year in advance.
My only priority is to have all legs in an A380 to maximise the luxury factor, preferably in a suite.
As best I can see, the carrier that uses the lowest no of points and provides the greatest level of inflight luxury is Singapore Airlines with 112,250 Krisflyer points (inc the 15% online discount) for a Sydney to Paris one way flight. The accompanying Singapore Airlines fees are just over AU$500 per pax on top of the points.
At that number of points, it is significantly lower than Qantas Frequent Flyer’s 128k for Business (J) class and 192k for First class and way lower than Emirates (EK) or Qatar Airways(QR) via Qantas Airways (QF) or Etihad(EY) via Virgin Australia (VA).
While Qantas (QF) might have a nicer First class lounge in Sydney (haven’t been there), its First class layout appears to be behind the times when compared to Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Etihad or Qatar Airways, especially for a couple.
I always expected to do a Qantas flight outbound (mainly for the lounge) and a Singapore Airlines flight for the return journey, but on points alone, I think it’s hard to justify.
The return journey will amount to 449k points and about AU$2k to Singapore Airlines for fees and charges.
Interested in your opinions and experience.
thanks for your comprehensive reply.
We decided to fly F class on SQ for the outbound leg from SYD to CDG and purchased the tickets on the day they came available. No problems in availability and 112,250 points plus AU$470 for fees was a bargain as far as I’m concerned. The luxury of Singapore and number of points were big winners.
Just waiting for the return leg dates to click over and make the purchase. Then (on advise from SQ) get a ticket reissue of the outbound flights and link them to the inbound flights (for US$12 ea) so we can do a Singapore stopover and then enjoy the Private Room and F class check-in experience at Changi.
Looking forward to the trip!!
Now I just have to spend hard on the AMEX to replenish the account. In the meantime I have plenty of QF and VA to get me buy, albeit in “lowly” J class.
It all depends on where your allegiances and points balances lie. It’s a little unclear to me as you’re talking about redeeming with Qantas one way and then Singapore airlines the next, so presuming that you have a ton of both and no particular allegiance as to which one you spend I think I can help.
If you’re looking at flying East Coast of Australia to London or Paris in an A380 there are really only a handful of options. I don’t blame you as the offering is vastly superior to anything I’ve encountered in my travels previously, however it does restrict your airline choices. Basically you have Qantas running their A380 in and out of London, Emirates who will do an A380 to both, Singapore who will do an A380 to either and Qatar who will do an A380 to either.
Out of those carriers the pick is definitely Singapore as it offers the most luxury, followed by Emirates as it also offers a private partitioned “room” for lack of a better word. I would still rate Qantas as preferable to Qatar in terms of the layout, just as I find that the Qatar first class layout doesn’t offer as much privacy as I might expect, especially if you were paying full fare for the seat. You might notice that Singapore stands out amongst those four, with all the other three being redeemable using points through Qantas Frequent flyer.
The bad news is that First class redemption seats are very very seldom made available through Qantas, Emirates or Qatar. I’m not as well versed with the Krisflyer situation, however with the other three they will make a small amount of First class seats available for redemption 330 days out from departure. If you’re organized and you only need two you might have a decent shot at grabbing them when your dates come into range. If you can’t get them however it’s not good news I’m afraid, as the airlines will generally only free up more award seat space in the lead-up to departure (30-60 days beforehand). If you’re a couple going for a spot of luxury then I’m guessing you probably wouldn’t fancy your chances of just seeing if some drop in in the meantime as you may miss out entirely.
The back up option which I would recommend is take what you can get in Business and then use points to request an upgrade. Unless you’re travelling over super peak season (i.e. December, early January or the European summer) the first class cabin is rarely full, so your chances of an upgrade to first with your points are reasonable. It’s not a plan A, but if you try your best and can’t get a first class seat when they become available 330 days out but you can get a business one, possibly worth a shot securing something in the knowledge that you’ve got at worst business but a probable first upgrade. Bare in mind however that most airline loyalty programs will only allow you to use their own points to upgrade i.e. QFF points are good for only Qantas, and not Emirates or Qatar even though they’re oneworld.
If points are absolutely no obstacle and you don’t mind getting stuck in the luxury or first class for a little longer, perhaps consider some interesting routing to get the availability you want? For example if you have no luck getting redemption seats to Europe, try getting the QF A380 to Los Angeles and then link up with one of British Airways A380 services across to London which you can also redeem using QFF points. It would only extend to a total travel time of say 26 hours instead of 22 hours stopping in the middle east, so worth considering.
Hope that helps!
You have asked the exact same question that I would like answered!!? I agree with you about wanting to travel on the A380. I was very disappointed the last time we flew to Europe because after experiencing the luxury of A380, the next leg was on a 777 and it did not compare! I have found that Qantas staff can, at times, seem resentful when you ask the question about what type of aircraft it is. We live in far North Queensland and for us, it isn’t necessarily important which Australian city we leave from and which European city we arrive at – but because it IS such a long haul from here, to get the most out of my hard-earned points, I believe it is important to get the BEST experience ever. Maybe someone who has had the experience can list flight numbers and what type of aircraft is usually used for it ie EK415 uses the A380-800. I know the aircraft used could change due to schedules, etc. but at least it would give the customer a better idea of the type of trip they could have. For me, it really is about the whole airport/flight experience from beginning to end. I love this website and I have learned so much about the points earning etc since having discovered it. Thank YOU Keith!!