After cutting its daily service between Sydney and Auckland back in July, travellers in Melbourne and Brisbane will no longer be able to fly Emirates to Auckland from March next year.
While we only got about six weeks’ notice last time, this time we have five months to make the most of one of the best uses of Qantas Points, flying Emirates’ excellent First or Business Class across the pond.
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, 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 – 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’.
Update: Emirates axes Melbourne and Brisbane to Auckland flights and Qantas takes over
From 25 March 2018, the daily Emirates flights between Melbourne/Brisbane and Auckland are being discontinued due to lack of demand.
These flights were one of the easiest ways to redeem 54,000 Qantas Points one-way for an excellent First Class experience with access to the Qantas First Class Lounge in Melbourne or Qantas International Lounge in Brisbane prior to your flight, plus an individual suite, onboard shower and inflight bar in the air (although some report the shower hasn’t been in operation due to the short duration of the flight.)
The Business Class offering was a spacious, stylish and comfortable product for the short hop across the Tasman, costing only 36,000 Qantas Points.
If you’re booked on one of these flights from 25 March 2018 onwards, contact Emirates to be re-accommodated on a Qantas flight, which will be increased on both Boeing 737 and the more modern Airbus A330 aircraft.
This A330 is a fantastic product and you can read more in our review of Qantas A330 Business Class.
Whilst Emirates were quite steadfast that they would not be cutting any more Trans-Tasman flights back in June when they announced the Sydney cut, they have gone against their word.
So, the only remaining Emirates flight from March 2018, an A380 service between Sydney and Christchurch, could be on the cutting board too.
If you have enough Qantas Points for a redemption (54,000 First/36,000 Business), you still have five months to book in a flight. After that, you’ll want to aim to redeem for Business Class in one of Qantas’ A330 Business Studios to Auckland, which will cost the same at 36,000 Qantas Points.
The Emirates route network and fleet
Emirates still have an extensive route network servicing Australia:
|From||To||Frequency and aircraft|
|Sydney||Dubai||2x daily on A380|
|Sydney||Christchurch||1x daily on A380|
|Sydney||Bangkok||1x daily on A380|
|Melbourne||Dubai||2x daily on A380 and 777; both A380 from 25 March 2018|
|Melbourne||Auckland||1x daily on A380 (discontinued from 25 March 2018)|
|Melbourne||Singapore||1x daily on A380|
|Brisbane||Dubai||1x daily on A380; increases to 2x daily from 1 December 2017 (1x A380 and 1x 777)|
|Brisbane||Auckland||1x daily on A380 (discontinued from 25 March 2018)|
|Brisbane||Singapore||1x daily on 777|
|Perth||Dubai||2x daily on A380 and 777|
|Adelaide||Dubai||1x daily on 777|
Note that some Emirates A380 flights in other regions can sometimes operate a configuration without a First Class cabin, 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 and there isn’t much difference between the actual seat on the Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 but 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, so 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:
whereas the 777 has angled-flat seats in a much more cramped 2-3-2 configuration:
Qantas Points pricing for Emirates flights
Emirates is a key joint venture partner for Qantas so 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 don’t fly many of the routes that Emirates fly – that’s why they are partners – but 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 Point redemption tables to see the full list of prices – look at the Qantas Classic Flight Reward which is valid for Qantas, Airnorth, 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:
|Route||Qantas Points Needed - One Way|
|Economy||Business Class||First Class|
|Australia - NZ, e.g. Sydney - Christchurch||18,000||36,000||54,000|
|Australia - Asia, e.g. Melbourne/Brisbane - Singapore||28,000||60,000||90,000|
|East Coast - Dubai||45,000||90,000||135,000|
|Adelaide - Dubai||40,000||80,000||120,000|
|Perth - Dubai||35,000||70,000||105,000|
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 (over 9,601 miles, up to 15,000 miles) you will spend a maximum of 128,000 Qantas Points in Business Class or 192,000 Qantas Points for Emirates First Class.
So that’s for itineraries (with no stopovers) such as:
- Sydney – Dubai – New York
- Melbourne – Dubai – London
- Perth – Dubai – Rio de Janeiro
Taxes and fees are comparable to what you’d pay for a Qantas flight redemption – so they’re not cheap.
When you shouldn’t use Qantas Points to fly with Emirates
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. Outside of Bangkok and Singapore to North and Southeast Asian destinations or China, or from the Aussie East Coast to US West Coast, for example.
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.
But this is why we focus our best uses of points on Business and First Class – as 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 – and it’s a much more fun way to travel too, if you can earn and save the points with this in mind.
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.
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 to show “Classic Flight Reward cities”, and to “Search Classic Flight Rewards”.
If you want a flexible date search, check that box too – but this can be annoying if you aren’t actually flexible with your dates, as it adds an extra step to get to the actual flight results.
On clicking Search, you’ll then be prompted to log in with Qantas Frequent Flyer account credentials, and then you can start seeing flight results. In this example I am looking at Sydney to Dubai in just a few weeks time.
Flights that begin with the EK airline code, e.g. EK419, are operated by Emirates. Qantas.com also clearly states this, and has a small Emirates logo icon in the results too.
Something you should look at closely, especially when searching for Sydney and Melbourne departures, is the number of stops on the routes returned. This is in small text near the flight details.
With Emirates operating flights from Sydney, 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.
Qantas, to their credit, have made using Qantas Points for Emirates flights very simple and 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 Asia, Europe, New Zealand or even the US is a great way to maximise the return from your Qantas Points.