Barely a week since Emirates reduced carrier charges applicable to reward flight bookings, Qantas Frequent Flyer has revealed that it will increase the number of points required to book a Classic Flight Reward on Emirates.
While the reduction in carrier charges is immediate, the points increase will take effect from 1 September 2020. This means you can still book at the lower rates for the next 3 months.
Emirates typically releases award availability around 11 months in advance, although there are some strange things happening with Emirates award availability at the moment. Seats are not being released at the usual time, and on many routes there is currently no Business class award availability at all.
How much more will you have to pay for Emirates reward tickets?
Currently, Qantas Frequent Flyer prices Emirates award flights according to the Qantas Classic Flight Reward table:
This is the table used for Classic Flight Reward bookings including flights on Qantas, American Airlines, Fiji Airways, Jetstar (when combined with flights on another airline), Air Vanuatu and, until 31 August 2020, Emirates.
From 1 September 2020, Emirates flights will instead be subject to the more expensive Partner Classic Flight Reward table:
This will result in a roughly 5-20% increase in the amount of Qantas points required for most reward flights, depending on the route. For example, a one-way Emirates Economy reward booking from Sydney to London via Dubai will increase from 55,200 Qantas points to 66,200 Qantas points. In another example, a one-way Emirates First class flight from Brisbane to Dubai would increase in cost from 162,800 Qantas points to 170,800 points.
Moving Emirates to the Partner Classic Flight Reward table will also significantly increase the cost of award bookings that include a mixture of Qantas and Emirates flights. When redeeming Qantas points to fly on any combination of airlines from the Qantas Classic Flight Reward table, the reward “zone” is determined by adding the distance of all flights in the booking. But when combining airlines from different reward tables, the flights are priced as individual segments.
For example, under the current system, a Business class reward ticket from Canberra to Melbourne on Qantas, connecting from Melbourne to Dubai on Emirates, would cost 108,400 Qantas points. But from 1 September 2020, the same reward would be priced as the sum of cost of the individual sectors, meaning the total Classic Flight Reward price from Canberra to Dubai would increase to 137,600 Qantas points.
The silver lining is the recent reduction in Emirates carrier charges. For the aforementioned Emirates First class award flight from Brisbane to Dubai, as an example, the carrier charge payable is now $144 lower.
A Qantas spokesperson said that in many cases, customers would now get more value from their Emirates bookings due to carrier charges being reduced.
“This change will bring Emirates points pricing in line with our other airline partners that fly to Europe such as Cathay Pacific, British Airways and Qatar,” the Qantas spokesperson added.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Qantas increases points required for Emirates rewards