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Qantas revises award chart upwards for Emirates flight redemptions

Qantas Frequent Flyers need to use more points to redeem seats on Emirates from 1 Sep 2020

Qantas has recently raised the number of Qantas points required for an award ticket on its long-time partner Emirates. From 1 Sep 2020, members will need up to 20% more points to book the same seat as before.

To be sure, Qantas did not revise any other award charts, but instead, moved Emirates from the Qantas Classic Flight Reward table to a seperate chart, the Partner Classic Flight Reward table. The latter chart is used for redemptions on oneworld partners, and requires more points for seats.

How much will it increase by?

If you are based in Asia, this how the adjustments will change the rate of one-way redemptions:

Singapore – Melbourne (on Emirates-operated flights)
Singapore – Dubai

ClassRedemption before
1 Sep 2020
Redemption on or
after 1 Sep 2020

Singapore-Rome (via Dubai)
Singapore-Paris (via Dubai)

ClassRedemption before
1 Sep 2020
Redemption on or
after 1 Sep 2020
Emirates A380 business class cabin

Qantas has a bad reputation for charging sky-high ‘additional carriers’ fees’ along with award tickets redemption for both its own tickets, as well as tickets on partner airlines.

Breakdown of additional fees and taxes for one-way Qantas Frequent Flyer award ticket on Emirates from Singapore to Milan

Emirates has most recently reduced its surcharges off award tickets, but it will remain to be seen if this savings will be passed on to Qantas Frequent Flyer members from 1 Sep when the higher award rates kick in.

Mixing Qantas and Emirates awards will cost you more

The move of Emirates from the Qantas chart to the partners’ charge will now mean that any itinerary with a mix of Emirates and Qantas flights will now use more points than before, as the Emirates leg and Qantas leg of the trip will be calculated separately.

For instance, if you were to redeem a trip from Singapore to Hobart in business class, travelling on Emirates from Singapore to Melbourne, and Qantas from Melbourne to Hobart:

Before 1 Sep: you will pay 68,400 points + fees for the entire one-way trip.

From 1 Sep: you will have to pay 75,000 points for the Emirates leg plus 18,400 points for the Qantas flight, and taxes for the entire one-way trip.

In points alone, you will need to fork out 18,400 or close to 25% more points.

Why the move?

This move here is perhaps another signal towards the slowly fading partnership between Qantas and Emirates, most possibly due to the latest developments.

A bit of history here: Emirates entered into a joint venture with Qantas back in 2013 when Qantas adjusted its Europe strategy. By joint venture, this doesn’t mean a new business, but instead, allows both airlines to legally cooperate and coordinate schedules, fares and other details without flouting competition laws.

Singapore-based readers will remember that this is also the year Qantas temporarily ended its London service from Singapore, as Qantas moved its offshore hub to Dubai, where it could leverage Emirates’ network to serve other destinations in Europe.

This worked out well for Qantas’ cost base, given that it can reduce its own footprint into Europe while still serving the needs of Australians who need to go between Australia and Europe. This partnership was one of the lifelines during that time, allowing Qantas to review and transform its business into a highly profitable one over the next few years.

In 2017, both airlines sought regulators’ approvals to renew the partnership for another five years, but this time round the realities are a little different. Qantas was on a streak of a few record-profit years by this time and was financially a lot more stable. While the partnership was renewed, Qantas moved its hub back to Singapore. More critically, Qantas also launched the much awaited Perth-London service in March 2018, a historic moment given its the first commercial non-stop UK-Australia service. This is another move towards less reliance on an Asian or Middle East hub for the Australian carrier.

Final thoughts

First things first: it would have been nice if Qantas had sent out any type of communication to its customer on this change, although some avid followers may argue that this point is moot, as availability on Emirates has been severely limited for a while now.

This move has effectively diminished the role of Emirates in the Qantas network from an important ally to just any other partner, which is such a pity. The Emirates experience has been a strong pull to earn and keep Qantas points, given that Qantas Frequent Flyer programme is one of the handful of FFPs that allow a redemption on Emirates since the Middle Eastern carrier is not affiliated with any global alliances.

For those who have been saving up points for a seat on Emirates, you have some time to lock in an award booking before 1 Sep, so do so quickly.

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