As expected, the Dubai-based carrier is cutting this fifth-freedom flight to the Lion City from late March 2020.

Emirates to cut Brisbane – Singapore route

As the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore has reported, the airline’s application to withdraw from the route has been approved. The Commission said:

Emirates provided evidence to support its claims on capacity under-utilisation, falling revenues and rising costs in relation to the Singapore-Brisbane route.

The airline flies a Boeing 777-300ER between the two cities, with First, Business and Economy Class cabins. The last day of service will be 29 March 2020.

Emirates Boeing 777-300ER exterior
An Emirates Boeing 777-300ER

It will continue to fly daily from Melbourne to Singapore on a 777. In addition, its twice-daily services (one A380 and one 777) from Brisbane to Dubai are not affected by this announcement.

This comes after Emirates cut its Sydney – Bangkok flight in May (but left its Sydney – Christchurch one intact). Sydney/Melbourne/Brisbane – Auckland services were cut in March 2018. Finally, the airline axed Melbourne – Kuala Lumpur flights in October 2016.

Emirates' fifth-freedom routes from Australia November 2019
Current (yellow) and cancelled (red) Emirates fifth-freedom flights from Australia to New Zealand and Southeast Asia

If you are flying on this route after it has been cancelled, contact the airline or frequent flyer program you booked with (most probably Emirates or Qantas).

Should I try to book this flight before it ends?

There is ample award availability for the next four or so months until the route is cancelled.

My tip is to book a First Class seat for 102,600 Qantas Points. You’ll get a private suite (albeit with no onboard shower or bar as on the Airbus A380).

Emirates 777 First Class
This is a great use of Qantas Points

You’ll probably enjoy the flight back from Singapore more than the one there. That’s because the return flight is during the day whereas the flight departing Brisbane leaves just before 3am.

Business Class isn’t really worth it as it features angled-flat seats in a less-than-ideal 2-3-2 configuration.

EK419-Emirates-Business-Class-Christchurch-to-Sydney-5.jpg | Point Hacks
This is far from one of the best Business Class products flying from Australia

What are my alternatives to get to Singapore?

Qantas will continue to operate its daily service on an Airbus A330. Singapore Airlines is the market leader on this route, with four daily flights on Airbus A350 aircraft.

Singapore Airlines 777-300er Business Class | Point Hacks
Singapore Airlines two types of Business Class products from Brisbane—you can check which one you’re on here

Singapore Airlines’ low-cost offshoot Scoot also operates from the Gold Coast.

For more information, check out our guide on how to use frequent flyer points to fly from Australia to Singapore.


In this guide

Emirates is the largest foreign airline servicing Australia, carrying almost one out of every ten passengers in and out of the country.

In this guide, I 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.

Here’s a quick look at the Emirates route network, the kind of pricing to expect, and how to go about researching and booking points availability with ‘EK’.

The Emirates route network and fleet

Emirates have an extensive route network servicing Australia.

Emirates routes from Australia November 2019
FromToFrequency and aircraft
SydneyDubai2x daily on A380 (sometimes third daily 777 flight)
SydneyChristchurch1x daily on A380
MelbourneDubai2x daily on A380
MelbourneSingapore1x daily on 777
BrisbaneDubai1x daily on A380; 1x daily on 777
BrisbaneSingapore1x daily on 777 (ends 29 March 2020)
PerthDubai1x daily on A380; 1x daily on 777
AdelaideDubai1x daily on 777 (no First Class)

The functionally-excellent Emirates route map can be found here.

Note that some Emirates A380 flights in other regions can sometimes operate a configuration without a First Class cabin. That means cramming in over 550 Economy seats, but that isn’t applicable to flights into and out of Australia.

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.

Emirates A380 First Class | Point Hacks
Emirates A380 First Class

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.

Note that Emirates have unveiled a First and Business Class products on some of its 777 fleet. However, the rollout will be very slow, so it is much more likely you will be flying on one of the two aircraft above.

EK New First Class | Point Hacks
New Emirates 777 First Class
EK New First Class | Point Hacks
New Emirates 777 Business Class

Passengers on flights to and from Adelaide have the new 777 Business Class product (there is no First Class on these flights). All other Australian 777 services have the older product.

Complimentary chauffeur service no longer available

Emirates used to offer a complimentary chauffeur service to First and Business Class passengers booked on award 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. Therefore, the points pricing for Emirates flights when using Qantas Points is the same as if you were flying with Qantas on the same route.

Of course, Qantas doesn’t fly many of the routes that Emirates flies—that is why they are partners. However, that pricing is equivalent, unlike many of Qantas’ oneworld airline partners like Cathay Pacific or British Airways, which would be comparatively more expensive.

You’ll need to look at the Qantas Points redemption tables to see the full list of prices. Look at the Qantas Classic Flight Reward, which is valid for Qantas, Air Vanuatu, American Airlines, Emirates and Fiji Airways flights.

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:

RouteEconomy ClassBusiness ClassFirst Class
Sydney - Christchurch18,00041,50062,200
Melbourne/Brisbane - Singapore25,20068,400102,600
Perth - Dubai31,50082,000123,100
Adelaide - Dubai37,60094,900142,300
East Coast - Dubai41,900108,400162,800

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 144,600 Qantas Points in Business Class or 216,900 Qantas Points for Emirates First Class.

You can also experience the Emirates First Class on some of the cheapest First Class flights to book with Qantas Points.

So that is for itineraries (with no stopovers) such as:

  • Sydney – Dubai – New York
  • Melbourne – Dubai – London
  • Perth – Dubai – Rio de Janeiro

Taxes and fees are more expensive than what you’d pay for a Qantas flight redemption.

Qantas 787 Business Class
Whilst you’ll pay the same amount of points, the taxes and fees are cheaper on Qantas than Emirates

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. That’s of Singapore to North and Southeast Asian destinations or China, or 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.

Emirates multi-city search

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).

Emirates Sydney search

Flights that begin with the EK airline code, e.g. EK409, are operated by Emirates. Qantas.com also clearly states this and has a small Emirates logo icon in the results too.

Emirates nonstop booking

Something you should look at closely, especially when searching for Melbourne and Brisbane departures, is the number of stops on the routes returned. This is in small text near the flight details.

Emirates one-stop booking
The first two options are nonstop but the third one goes through Singapore, adding almost three hours to your journey time

With Emirates operating flights from Melbourne and Brisbane to Dubai that also stop in Southeast Asia, if you want to go to Dubai or beyond then those one-stoppers are not desirable—unless you feel like ‘maximising’ your time and fun in Emirates Business or First Class.

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.

Summing up

Qantas, to their credit, have made using Qantas Points for Emirates flights very simple. They are also attractively-priced compared to their own flights as a key Qantas Frequent Flyer partner.

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.

Emirates to cut Brisbane – Singapore route: last chance for good First Class redemption was last modified: August 12th, 2020 by Matt Moffitt