If you happen to have spare Skywards miles, Qantas redemptions are relatively good value. But, as we’ll explain shortly, you shouldn’t transfer points to Skywards for the specific purpose of booking Qantas flights.
How to Book Qantas Flights with Emirates Skywards miles
Unlike for most Emirates partner airlines, Qantas award flights can be booked directly on the Emirates website. Once you’ve logged into your Skywards account, return to the home page and click on “Advanced search”:
On the next screen, select “Book Classic Rewards” and then “Search partner flights only” to search for award flights on Qantas:
It should be possible to book most simple itineraries online, provided there is award availability. If you successfully receive a quote for the desired itinerary, you will be able to complete the booking online. But the Emirates website can be cumbersome and you may receive an error message. If you are unable to book online, your best hope is to call Emirates. (Emirates also has an online form for requesting award flights on partner airlines that can’t be booked online. But Qantas is not included on this form.)
How to search for Qantas award availability
The Emirates website does not make it easy to search for award availability! If you’re looking for a route with tons of award availability (e.g. Sydney-Melbourne), you can probably just go straight to the Emirates website. But for most redemptions, it’s a good idea to search elsewhere for Qantas award availability before booking. You can get an indication of Skywards availability by searching for Classic Rewards on the Qantas website. But not all Qantas award flights are made available to Skywards members. So the Qantas award availability shown on other Oneworld airline websites may be more accurate. Read more about searching for Oneworld award availability.
How much do Skywards awards on Qantas cost?
The number of Emirates Skywards miles required for a Qantas award is identical to the number of Qantas points required for the same flight. For example, an Economy flight from Sydney to Melbourne costs 8,000 Skywards miles. And a Business flight from Sydney to Hong Kong costs 60,000 miles. There’s just one exception. For some reason, Economy flights between 5,800 and 7,000 miles in length are slightly more expensive when booked with Skywards miles compared to Qantas points.
Fuel surcharges are payable when redeeming Skywards miles on Qantas. These can be quite high but should be no more than what Qantas charges when using Qantas points to book the flight.
It appears Emirates Skywards miles cannot be redeemed for Qantas Premium Economy, nor First class on Qantas flights under 7,000 miles in length (such as Melbourne-Singapore).
Skywards Award Routing Rules
Emirates only allows round-trip award bookings on most partner airlines, but one-way awards are allowed on Qantas. Note that there is a maximum stay of 3 months on round-trip awards.
The Skywards website says that one free stopover is permitted on Qantas award bookings. This is interesting because stopovers are not allowed on Qantas Frequent Flyer redemptions. Having said that, it is not actually possible to book a stopover on the Emirates website. If you want to book anything other than a simple one-way or return booking, you’ll likely have to deal with Emirates’ dreaded call centre.
Emirates does not have an especially competitive frequent flyer program, and Skywards awards bookings are unnecessarily complicated. There is no real advantage in using Emirates Skywards miles on Qantas, compared to just booking with Qantas points. If you have a credit card that allows transfers to Skywards and wish to book a Qantas flight, consider transferring your points to Cathay Pacific Asia Miles instead. An Asia Miles redemption will likely be cheaper, easier to book and you’ll have access to more seats (including great-value Premium Economy awards).
But if you already have Skywards miles that you want to spend, and can find award availability, Qantas awards are a decent option.
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