Emirates axes Chauffeur Drive on award bookings and upgrades

By |2019-01-08T17:48:15+00:008 January 2019|

One of the key perks of flying Emirates business and first class is a complimentary chauffeur drive to and from the airport. It’s a very comfortable way to start and finish a trip, and much more convenient than having to worry about taxis or other transport options, especially when landing somewhere new.

The service is available in over 70 cities worldwide, including all of Emirates’ Australian ports.

Those of us who travel on points have been able to enjoy this service. Chauffeur Drive has been accessible to customers on award bookings paid with Emirates Skywards miles as well as those upgrading from economy to business class.

Thanks to Emirates’ special tie-up with Qantas, travellers who booked seats through Qantas with Qantas Points also received the complimentary transport.

I’ve enjoyed Chauffeur Drive many times when booking with Qantas Points. To me, this perk has helped offset the very high taxes and fees imposed on Emirates award tickets.

Unfortunately, it looks like the good times are coming to an end. Emirates has updated the T&Cs on its website to state that “effective 1 March 2019, new Chauffeur-drive service reservations are not available in conjunction with Skywards Business and First Class Classic Rewards and Economy to Business Class Upgrades.”

While there’s no mention of Qantas Points bookings, I think it’s only a matter of time before this restriction extends to them as well. After all, why offer something to Qantas Frequent Flyers that you don’t provide to your own loyalty program members?

While it will surely be a term in the airlines’ joint venture agreement, I doubt Qantas is going to fight that hard to keep it. We’ll just have to wait and see, but I suspect it won’t be long before it’s jettisoned.

(NB if you’re looking at the T&Cs on Emirates website, the statement that “Chauffeur-drive service is not available on reward tickets booked via Emirates Skywards airline partners for travel on Emirates” doesn’t apply to the special arrangement with Qantas.)

If you have an eligible booking, make sure to reserve your cars before 1 March. My interpretation of the new clause in the T&Cs is that the car reservation has to be made by 1 March but the travel can be in the future (I could be wrong, of course, so best check with Emirates).

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About the Author:

Kris is the founder of The High Life and a total travel addict. Originally from Perth, he's now based in Melbourne - but he's happiest in the air travelling to somewhere new. Follow his travels on Instagram at @thehighlife747

2 Comments

  1. Angie 10 January 2019 at 5:47 pm - Reply

    Thanks Kris. Very useful information. I was wondering if China Eastern Airlines offers this service to award business class booking with Qantas?

    • Kris Brankovic 10 January 2019 at 5:48 pm - Reply

      Hi Angie, don’t know about that one!

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