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How to use Qantas Points to fly Emirates business and first class [2024]

Have you ever wanted to sip a cocktail at a bar while flying at 40,000 feet? Or get refreshed during a long-haul flight with a nice, hot shower?

You may think these kinds of experiences are out of reach, but that’s not the case if you’re a Qantas Frequent Flyer member.

Qantas Points can be used to fly business and first class with Emirates (which is where you’ll find such luxuries), and this is easily one of the best uses of Qantas Points.

Here’s how it works.

About Emirates

Emirates is one of the most popular airlines in Australia, thanks in part to its huge international network. Just take a look at its route map to see the array of places the airline can take you to.

In Australia, Emirates flies from Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane to its Dubai base and onward to destinations across the world. 

It also operates a couple of shorter sectors, such as Sydney-Christchurch and Melbourne-Singapore, which can be booked as standalone flights (and are a cheaper way to enjoy the Emirates experience!).

Emirates used to fly to Adelaide before the pandemic, but this route hasn’t resumed yet. It probably will later in 2024.

The Emirates experience

Emirates’ long-haul fleet comprises Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 aircraft.

All aircraft that service Australia have both business and first class. However, come of these planes have ‘old’ cabins while others have been modernised and refreshed. It’s matter of luck which version you’ll get.

I’ve reviewed Emirates’ old business class and first class on the A380s, so you can read those posts for a detailed overview of what to expect. 

First class is excellent on both aircraft and quite similar, with spacious seats and top-notch dining and service.

Business class is definitely superior on the A380s, with more space, fully lie-flat seats, and direct aisle access for every passenger thanks to the 1-2-1 layout. On the 777s, there’s an outdated 2-3-2 ‘angled-flat’ seating layout.

The onboard bar (available to both business and first class passengers) and first class shower are also exclusive to the A380s. So, in short – aim for the A380s if you can!

Elsewhere in the world, you’ll also find a 777 configuration with no first class cabin and 2-2-2 in business class, and several A380s with no first class. There’s also a small number of 777s with six fully enclosed suites in first class – which are among the best first class products in the world – but these are hard to find and book with points.

Emirates A380 First Class seat
Emirates A380 old first class seat
Emirates A380 new first class
Emirates business class
Emirates A380 old business class
Emirates A380 new business class
Emirates 777 new business class
Emirates new A380 onboard bar
Emirates A380 new first class bathroom

Emirates operates an extensive lounge network. In Dubai, the lounges are huge and essentially mini terminals in their own right. First class passengers can board directly from the lounge in Dubai.

Emirates business class lounge in Dubai
Emirates first class lounge in Dubai

How to book with Qantas Points

You can use Qantas Points to search for and book reward seats with Emirates on the Qantas website.

You can’t use Qantas Points to upgrade to a higher class of travel on Emirates-operated flights.

To search for reward seats, I recommend using the multi-city booking page, even if you only want to book a single route, because the search results will appear in a handy monthly calendar view (make sure to tick “Use points – Classic Flight Rewards only” and “Flexible with dates for all flights”).

When you identify a seat and click through to the next page, you’ll see the flight details and points cost, and then the subsequent page will also display the additional taxes and fees payable with money.

The amount of points you’ll need is based on distance, as follows.

Emirates recently jacked up the additional fees payable, so they can now add up to thousands of dollars, unfortunately.

For example, you’re looking at $3000-$4000 in taxes and fees when flying Australia-Europe return in business or first class. This is very disappointing and substantially reduces the value of the points redemption.

Shorter flights will have lower fees and charges. For example, the Sydney-Christchurch hop can be done in first class for 129,000 points plus $287 total return.

In addition, Emirates has reduced the number of reward seats available on popular routes. The airline used to reliably release seats around 330 days out on all flights, but now it’s more erratic. It could be a temporary situation while the airline gets back to its pre-pandemic capacity. Fingers crossed!

Emirates award seats now seem to be released in spurts. The airline does also release last minute seats (i.e. for the next few weeks), which could be an option if you have that kind of flexibility.

Summing up

Using Qantas Points for Emirates first or business class seats is a great option for Qantas Frequent Flyers and one of the best uses of Qantas Points – despite the high taxes and fees.

Right now, seat availability is quite limited, though your chances rise the closer you get to the departure date.

You’ll enjoy comfort on board, high-quality food and drinks, and potentially the memorable experiences of the A380 onboard bar and shower.

To read more about what it’s like to fly with Emirates, check out my reviews of the old A380 business class and first class.

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  1. Hey – is there an update for ‘mid-2024’ on these flights, their availability, the additional fees etc? Thanks!


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