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Qantas devalues its Emirates award chart

Emirates award flights using Qantas points will become more expensive from 1 September

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Australia’s Qantas launched its full alliance with Middle East giant Emirates back in April 2013. It’s a partnership that has continued to this day, however the airline has just advised its frequent flyers that it will be changing the way Emirates flights are priced when redeemed using Qantas Frequent Flyer points.

This will result in some significant increases and will also prevent you from combining a mixed Qantas-Emirates itinerary at the usual Qantas redemption rate.

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Emirates redemptions using Qantas points will become more expensive from September 2020. (Photo: Emirates)

Singapore-based Qantas Frequent Flyer members can currently transfer into the programme from Citi, DBS and Standard Chartered credit card reward points.

How it works now

Using your Qantas points to redeem an Emirates flight currently falls under the Qantas distance-based award chart:

QFF

Classic Table
Current Qantas and Emirates award chart using QFF points (click to enlarge)

As you can see this chart also applies to other Qantas partners including Jetstar, Fiji Airways and American Airlines.

This award chart has the lowest rates, so it was good that Emirates flights were also included.

What’s changing?

For bookings made from 1st September 2020, Emirates is being shifted to the airline’s more expensive ‘Partner Classic Flight Reward’ table, also applicable for redeeming Qantas points on many oneworld airlines like British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Qatar Airways.

QFF

Partner Table
Emirates awards using Qantas points will soon be based on this more expensive partner table (click to enlarge)

This will unfortunately remove the (happy) disparity on some routes where redeeming Qantas points was actually cheaper than redeeming Emirates Skywards miles.

For example Singapore to Dubai in Emirates Business Class is priced at 68,400 Qantas points compared to 72,500 Skywards miles.

That route will change to 75,000 Qantas points when booked from 1st September 2020, though remember you can always book up to the end of August 2020 for flights around 1 year in advance at the current rates.

Examples

If you’re using Qantas points to redeem Emirates flights from Singapore, there are some significant differences once this change kicks in. Here’s how the miles rates look based on a one-way award ticket:

Economy Class
Route Current rate New rate Change
Singapore to
Dubai
25,200 30,200 increase_rd 19.8%
Singapore to
Melbourne
Bali to
Auckland
Singapore to
London
41,900 50,300 increase_rd 20.0%
Business Class
Route Current rate New rate Change
Singapore to
Dubai
68,400 75,000 increase_rd 9.6%
Singapore to
Melbourne
Bali to
Auckland
Singapore to
London
108,400 119,200 increase_rd 10.0%
First Class
Route Current rate New rate Change
Singapore to
Dubai
102,600 107,700 increase_rd 5.0%
Singapore to
Melbourne
Bali to
Auckland
Singapore to
London
162,800 170,800 increase_rd 4.9%

In all cases these rates will now be higher than using Emirates Skywards miles to redeem, though you can only transfer into the Skywards programme in Singapore from American Express and Standard Chartered credit cards, with the latter at an unattractive ratio compared to a Qantas points transfer.

For example 140,000 Standard Chartered points transfers into 56,000 Qantas Points but only 40,000 Emirates Skywards miles.

Combined itineraries

For our Australia-based readers it’s worse news, as not only are you more likely to have a Qantas Frequent Flyer balance, but you will no longer be able to make a redemption involving both Qantas and Emirates flights at the old Qantas rate from 1st September 2020.

Qantas A380 Business 2
Itineraries with combined Qantas-Emirates flights will cost more miles when booked from 1st September. (Photo: Qantas)

That’s because once an airline in the partner reward table is included in the redemption booking, those rates supersede the Qantas ones for any flights in the itinerary flown on the partner airline, which will increase the cost and requires two award tables to be used.

As noted by The High Life, if you fly from Sydney to Singapore with Qantas and then connect to an Emirates flight from Singapore to London (via Dubai) in Business Class, you currently pay 144,600 points (Zone 10 from the single Qantas table). If you book from 1st September this will be priced at:

  • 68,400 points for Qantas’ Sydney-Singapore leg, plus
  • 119,200 points for Emirates’ Singapore-Dubai-London leg,

a total of 187,600 points – 43,000 points more. That’s a significant 30% increase.

Summary

There are still some routes where it’s cheaper to use Qantas Frequent Flyer points than Emirates Skywards miles to redeem Emirates flights, including Singapore to or from Dubai in Business Class.

Unfortunately that won’t be the case once Emirates awards are moved into the regular partner chart from September this year, though there is still time to book well into 2021 at the current award rates.

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You can still book Emirates award flights using Qantas points at current rates, provided you do so by 31st August 2020

Emirates recently significantly reduced its fuel surcharge, which in turn reduces cash costs when booking award tickets using either the Skywards or Qantas Frequent Flyer programme.

We outlined some of the differences in our article here, which mostly focused on using Skywards miles. Unfortunately this rate hike when booking using Qantas points now outweighs these advantages over using Skywards on pretty much all routes.

Unfortunately this change also wipes out the better miles rate options when using Qantas points to fly on some Emirates services, for example between Singapore and Dubai in Business Class.

If you have Qantas points and intend to use them to redeem Emirates flights, remember to book by 31st August 2020 to still benefit from the current rates.

Hat-tip to The High Life

(Cover Photo: Qantas)

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