Emirates and Qantas both offer a chauffeur drive service to their business and first class passengers for the longest time, but this is now set to be tightened from 1 March 2019.
Emirates will no longer offer complimentary chauffeur drive service for customers on any redemption tickets after 1 March 2019. This includes tickets redeemed using Emirates Skywards, or any other frequent flyer programme such as Qantas Frequent Flyer or Alaska Mileage Plan.
The service will also no longer be given to those who use miles to upgrade economy class tickets to business class.
Qantas changes are a little more complex. From 1 March 2019, they will no longer offer chauffeur drive service to business and first class customers in Singapore and New Zealand, meaning that customers departing and arriving in these two countries will have to arrange their own transport. This also includes customers transiting in Singapore, who will no longer receive the service.
The service will also be scaled back in London to a 50-mile radius, down from 70 miles. Any customer travelling to outside of the 50-mile radius will now be required to pay an extra distance fee of GBP24.30 for every 10 miles.
The service remains unchanged in Australia, where its available at most major cities. Also, unlike Emirates, redemption tickets on Qantas-operated services are also still eligible for the service, where it is available.
What it means for customers in Singapore
For business and first class customers travelling on QF1/2 from Singapore to London, this means that they will no longer get chauffeur drive service in Singapore, but they will still get it in London.
However, for those a little savvier and book a business class seat on a Qantas codeshare service operated by Emirates, they are still eligible for a chauffeur drive service in Singapore and their final destination.
For redemption bookings, it’s a little more complicated. If you are redeeming your miles for a business or first class seat on the Qantas flight (QF1/2) between Singapore and London, you will get the chauffeur drive service in London. But if you use your miles to redeem for a seat on Emirates service via Dubai, tough luck – you will not get the chauffeur drive service.
Emirates was the first airline ever to introduce a chauffeur drive service for its premium customers. Qantas later introduced its chauffeur service in April 2013 to match what Emirates was offering, as part of the then newly-formed alliance, offering the same service to business and first class customers travelling from Australia/New Zealand to London, Dubai and the USA. However, over the years this has been scaled back, and now only the London-bound services receive the service.