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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.

Love Qantas Points? Don’t miss the rare offer of 100,000 bonus points and an annual $450 travel credit with our favourite Qantas card: the Qantas Amex Ultimate Card!

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 On the 777s, there’s an outdated 2-3-2 ‘angled-flat’ seating layout.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.

Love Qantas Points? Don’t miss the rare offer of 100,000 bonus points and an annual $450 travel credit with our favourite Qantas card: the Qantas Amex Ultimate Card!

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  1. I do have enough points to book Emirates First Class from SYD to DXB for my partner and me. I can see First Class reward seats available on several dates later this year, but when I try to book for 2 adults, it does not show First Class reward seats. However, if I change it to 1 adult, it shows a First Class reward seat. Do you have any ideas on how I can book 2 First Class reward seats? Any information would be highly appreciated.

  2. Hi, is there a certain month when they will release more business or first class reward seats?

    And what’s the chances of getting 2 classic reward seats

    • Emirates is being very sporadic with releasing seats right now. It seems seats are more likely to be released as you get closer to the flight date.

  3. Hi Kris,

    Is it possible to book a classic rewards flight through Qantas (Brisbane to Dubai) and then pay cash to upgrade to business? Either at the airport of before hand?

    Is there still a bidding system to upgrade with a classic rewards flights?


    • Hi Bec, unfortunately you can only use Qantas Points to upgrade Qantas-operated flights – not Emirates or any other partner airline.

  4. Hi,
    Thanks for sharing, I am trying to get SYD-DXB in June 2024, but I don’t see reward seats available after April. Do you have any insights on when do these get pushed through.

    • I’m afraid I don’t know. It could be that Emirates is not releasing seats during the peak northern summer travel period. Best to just keep checking regularly. Good luck!

  5. Hi Kris,
    Does Qantas points qualify for an upgrade from Dubai to Melbourne? Also, can one use Velocity points on the way back from Dubai for an upgrade? Thanks a lot – Jai

    • Hi Jai, I’m assuming you’re flying with Emirates. You can’t use Qantas or Velocity points to upgrade Emirates flights (even when they are a codeshare flight with a QF code).

  6. Hi Kris, is it better to fly under my Qantas or Emirates FF number when booking a rewards flight on Emirates through Qantas? I’m a Points Club member and Silver QFF but gold Emirates FF. It looks like I won’t earn anything using my Emirates FF number but under Qantas Points Club I’m supposed to be able to earn Qantas Status credits. Not sure whether this would work on an Emirates flight though? Advice would be much appreciated!

    • Hi James, you have to fly under your Qantas FF number when booking a reward seat via Qantas. Sadly you won’t earn status credits on an Emirates operated flight. Points Club members only earn SCs on Qantas operated flights.

  7. Hi Kris,
    Your article is great! I didn’t realise I could use the multi-city tool for single destination flights. Qantas is not releasing enough business class reward seats, so getting one from the partner airlines might be much easier, though longer flight times in some cases. I do Melbourne-Toronto twice a year, the best route is via Hong Kong where your bags can check through, but it’s a really difficult route to fly on reward points, and Cathay appear to not release any seats at all post pandemic. Any tips from you would be much appreciated.

    • Hi Jeannie, yes finding seats is really hard at the moment. I’m hopeful that once airlines get back to pre-pandemic capacity, and travel demand drops a bit, there’ll be more reward seat options. That includes Cathay. Their recovery is lagging other airlines because HK/China opened borders so much later.


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