Emirates is the largest foreign airline servicing Australia, carrying almost one out of every ten passengers in and out of the country pre COVID-19. In this guide, we explain why using your Qantas Points on Emirates flights to New Zealand, Southeast Asia, Dubai and beyond is a great option. And it isn’t hard.
However, since September 2020, you’ll need more Qantas Points to book Emirates flights than before (but carrier charges have also decreased). With Emirates making it increasingly harder to book its First Class cabin with points in 2021, Qantas Frequent Flyer remains one of your only options available.
Editor’s note: This guide was originally written by Matt Moffitt before the pandemic and is being kept up-to-date for future reference.
The Emirates route network and fleet
While it won’t mean much to us now, Emirates did have an extensive route network servicing Australia and we can expect the same once broader international travel returns, minus the green Melbourne-Singapore and Brisbane-Singapore links from the 2019 route map below.
At this stage, Emirates’ Sydney-Christchurch ‘fifth freedom’ tag leg is bookable with cash from early 2022, though not yet with Qantas Points.
The functionally-excellent Emirates route map can be found here.
Emirates First and Business Class products
Emirates First Class is one of the best in the world. There isn’t much difference between the actual seat on the Airbus A380 and Boeing 777. However, the latter does lack an onboard shower and bar.
The tradeoff is that there are only eight First Class seats on the 777 compared to almost double that (14) on the A380. Therefore, you may receive more attentive service on the older aircraft. Business Class is where there is a big difference. The A380 is set up in a 1-2-1 configuration and all beds are lie-flat.
Conversely, most 777s have angled-flat seats in a much more cramped 2-3-2 configuration. Some do have a refreshed 2-2-2 layout in Business, but that’s hardly industry-leading. But there’s one silver lining: selected Boeing 777s have Emirates’ signature new First Class suites, which comes with six private cabins.
Complimentary chauffeur service no longer available
Emirates used to offer a complimentary chauffeur service to First and Business Class passengers booked on reward tickets, e.g. with Qantas Points or Emirates Skywards miles. However, that benefit has been restricted to passengers travelling on tickets bought with cash since March 2019.
Qantas Points pricing for Emirates flights
Emirates is a key joint venture partner for Qantas. Previously, the points pricing for Emirates flights when using Qantas Points was the same as if you were flying with Qantas on the same route.
However, this is no longer the case. From September 2020, Emirates moved to a more-expensive ‘partner’ award table, meaning you need more points for premium cabins.
You’ll need to look at the Qantas Points Classic Flight Rewards tables to see the full list of prices. Our link takes you directly to the ‘partner’ pricing section where Emirates now sits.
The simpler way to calculate points pricing though is to use Qantas’ own points calculator, which you can find here. Here are some of the price-points for the key routes mentioned above:
|Route (from 1 Sep 2020)||Economy Class||Business Class||First Class|
With Emirates, it can absolutely make sense — in terms of travel time and routings — to fly beyond Dubai and travel onwards to Europe (definitely), Africa (especially North and Central African countries), South or North America (especially if departing from the Aussie West Coast, or travelling to the US East Coast).
For the longest multi-flight itineraries (9,601-15,000 miles), you will spend a maximum of 159,000 Qantas Points in Business Class or 227,500 Qantas Points for Emirates First Class.
That includes itineraries (with only transits under 24 hrs, not stopovers) such as:
- Sydney – Dubai – New York
- Melbourne – Dubai – London
- Perth – Dubai – Rio de Janeiro
You can also experience the Emirates First Class on some of the cheapest First Class flights to book with Qantas Points.
Taxes and fees are now similar to what you’d pay for a Qantas flight redemption of the same type.
When shouldn’t you use Qantas Points to fly with Emirates?
Depending on the route
Where you won’t be able to use Qantas Points effectively to fly with Emirates is, of course, where it doesn’t make economical sense to do so in terms of time and points spent, such as from the Aussie East Coast to US West Coast, for example.
Depending on the cash price
As a result, if you spot a good deal on a paid Economy fare, that’s probably going to be better value than using points for Economy travel (as it will include the taxes in the price you’re paying). That’s not to say using points for Economy flights is never good value. In some cases, it definitely can if paid fares are high on a particular route or in peak periods.
This is why we focus our best uses of points on Business and First Class. Paid fares are much, much higher in those cabins, so while you need more points to redeem for them, you’ll get a much higher value cents per point value out of your points. Plus, it’s a much more fun way to travel, if you can earn and save the points with this in mind.
Can I use my Qantas Points to upgrade my Emirates ticket?
No, you cannot use Qantas Points to upgrade Emirates flights purchased with cash.
How to research and book Emirates flights using Qantas Points
All this information is well and good, but you need to be able to act on it and make the purchase. Thankfully, Qantas.com is generally an excellent search tool for Emirates award flights.
Emirates award seats should appear to Qantas members 330 days before departure. However, I have seen up to 339 days, so it may pay to check a little early.
I prefer starting by going straight to the Qantas.com multi-city search tool here, regardless of whether I am searching for a multi-city itinerary. Make sure you check the box Use points – Classic Flight Rewards only.
You’ll also be prompted to log in with Qantas Frequent Flyer account credentials. Then you can start seeing flight results.
In this example, I am looking at Sydney to Dubai. On this date, both daily flights have Economy Class availability (not surprising) and only the earlier departure has Business Class seats. (First Class is missing, meaning there is no award availability in that cabin).
From here, if you have enough Qantas Points in your account, you can then get a quote for the taxes and fees along with the required points. If you don’t have enough points in your account yet, give Qantas a call to find out and scope out the additional costs so you’re fully prepped.
It’s very easy to use Qantas Points for Emirates flights. The Gulf carrier has steadily been removing the ability to redeem points and miles for its First Class cabins, with its partners Alaska Airlines and Japan Airlines being cut out. But you can still use Qantas Points for the foreseeable future.
Targeting your points earn-strategies and redemption goals toward Emirates flights to New Zealand, Asia, Europe or even the US is a great way to maximise the return from your Qantas Points.
For inspiration, here are some of the cheapest Qantas Points redemptions for luxurious Emirates flights.
Have you had any great experiences from using your Qantas Points from Emirates? Let us know in the comments!
Supplementary images courtesy Emirates. Updates by Brandon Loo