Update: On 10 March 2020, Qantas announced significant cuts to its international route network through to September 2020. This includes suspension of flights and aircraft swaps, including the grounding of a majority of its A380 fleet. Further information can be found in this guide.
Did you know that you need less than 30,000 Qantas Points to book a First Class flight? You’ll enjoy access to a world-class First Class lounge with à la carte dining, and then step aboard your own private suite.
Which is the cheapest First Class flight I can book with Qantas Points?
For just 27,600 Qantas Points + taxes, you can fly Emirates First Class one-way within the Middle East. (There is also an option closer to Australia explained later in this guide.)
You can choose to fly between Emirates’ hub in Dubai and:
- Kuwait City, Kuwait
- Manama, Bahrain
- Muscat, Oman
- Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
I think that Oman would be the pick of the bunch here—it’s becoming a really popular destination. As for the others, Saudi Arabia is opening up to tourism over the next decade. Finally, Bahrain and Kuwait are both rich oil-states in the Persian Gulf.
What’s Emirates First Class like?
In one word: opulent. We judge it to be the second-best First Class product in the world. Most of the flights to the destinations listed above are on Boeing 777s, which offer private suites to First Class passengers.
You can expect over-the-top comfort, delicious food and excellent customer service.
On some flights to and from Riyadh, you can fly on an Airbus A380. This is a better plane as it has an onboard bar where you could enjoy a drink. (Unfortunately, the two hours in the air would not be enough to enjoy a hot shower onboard.)
The flight to Muscat is the shortest, at under one hour; the flight to Riyadh, the longest, at two hours. Therefore, you’ll want to have realistic expectations of what you’ll get to enjoy as part of this (short) experience.
You’ll probably spend more time on the ground than in the air, so make sure to take your time enjoying Emirates’ First Class Lounges in Dubai. They’re huge, with many different areas to explore. My advice would be to enjoy a three- (or even five-course!) meal from the à la carte menu.
You’ll also receive a 15-minute complimentary spa treatment, like a neck and shoulder massage, before stepping aboard your flight.
How much are the taxes?
I must note that taxes on these flights are high, at ~AU$450 departing Dubai. It’s not much cheaper flying the other way around.
However, if you want to save money, you can halve your taxes by flying from Kuwait to Dubai—that’s a sweet spot.
How much would this ticket cost if bought with cash?
A one-way ticket in First Class on one of these routes starts at AU$2,000. Taking into account the taxes, that gives you a value of at least 5.5c per Qantas Point for this redemption. That’s over double the value that we put on each Qantas Point, which is great!
Another option closer to home
Emirates already has multiple daily flights between Dubai and Singapore. However, from 1 May 2020, they will tack on an extra flight between Singapore and Penang in Malaysia.
This will be operated by a Boeing 777, with a First Class cabin. Again, it costs 27,600 Qantas Points. However, the taxes for this redemption are much more reasonable, at ~AU$60 departing Singapore. Plus, you’ll get access to the highly-rated Emirates Lounge before your flight.
There are many options to fly from Australia to Singapore using your frequent flyer points.
How do I book these flights?
It’s easy—you can do so directly on the Qantas website. We have more information on the booking process in our guide to using Qantas Points for Emirates flights.
Which other cheap First Class flights can I book with Qantas Points?
Some other best First Class redemptions with Qantas Points are:
- Doha to Kuwait/Muscat/Sohar on Qatar Airways for 29,000 points*
- Shanghai to Tokyo on China Eastern for 43,500 points
- Sydney to Christchurch on Emirates for 62,200 points
- New York to Los Angeles/San Francisco/London on American Airlines for 62,200 points
- Hong Kong to Beijing/Tokyo on Cathay Pacific for 64,500 points
- London to Tel Aviv on British Airways for 64,500 points
- Sydney/Melbourne to Singapore on Qantas for 102,600 points
*Whilst the product that Qatar Airways flies to other Gulf states is not really a First Class one—they are essentially Business Class seats—these passengers get access to the airline’s fantastic Al Safwa First Class Lounge in Doha
Flying First Class using your Qantas Frequent Flyer balance doesn’t necessarily mean you have to fork out a lot of points. However, it’s important to be aware of the high taxes that can come with one of these redemptions.
Emirates First Class is offered on a large number of the airline’s flights around the world, including to Australia. The cheapest way to fly this product is within the Middle East. However, you can also experience this seat flying between Singapore and Penang, which has lower taxes.
If you have a few thousand Qantas Points in your account, you could book yourself to fly this product. Soon enough, you’ll be enjoying a massage in the lounge, your private suite in the air, and exquisite food in your belly!
You may also be interested in the cheapest Business Class flight you can book with Qantas Points. (Spoiler: you need less than 20,000 points.)
Do you have any other suggestions on how to use your Qantas Points to fly First Class for cheap? Share in the comments below!