Emirates offers gratis hotel in Sydney, longer chauffeur rides

By Chris C., April 18 2019
Emirates offers gratis hotel in Sydney, longer chauffeur rides

Emirates is broadening the driving distance of its complimentary chauffeur service for business class and first class passengers in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide, with journeys of up to 80 driven kilometres now covered for eligible passengers.

High flyers departing on Emirates’ early-morning EK415 flight from Sydney also have a new option in lieu of the chauffeur ride: a free stay at the Rydges Sydney Airport hotel the night before they travel, conveniently located just across the road from the airport’s international terminal.

Here’s what you need to know.

Extended chauffeur driving distances in Australia

As above, Emirates’ complimentary chauffeur service will now cover driving distances of up to 80km in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide at no charge.

For Sydney-based flyers, that represents a doubling of the city’s previous 40km cap, extending the service to the likes of Penrith and Palm Beach, and stretching to some addresses in northern Wollongong: all of which were outside the scope of the previous limit.

Down in Melbourne, the increase from 60km to 80km now covers addresses in places like North Geelong and Dandenong, while in Brisbane, destinations as far north as Bribie Island or as far west as Marburg also join the map, as do some Gold Coast addresses just north or west of Southport, such as Runaway Bay and Tamborine.

For Adelaide, a drive between the airport and Mount Pleasant is now well within the bounds of the free service, with rides to and from the Barossa Valley also now covered.

In Perth, the previous 60km driving cap will be retained.

A spokesperson for Hughes Limousines, which now provides the chauffeur service in Sydney and Brisbane, confirmed to Australian Business Traveller that these increased driving distances are now in effect.

Complimentary Rydges Sydney Airport hotel stay: eligibility

For business class and first class travellers taking the 6am EK415 flight from Sydney, booking a chauffeur often meant a pick-up time of around 3am, and a wake-up alarm even earlier: but staying right at the airport allows for a little extra sleep before embarking on the long journey.

AusBT review: Emirates Airbus A380 business class, Sydney-Dubai

Offered to passengers travelling up to and including December 31 2019, this offer covers those with an Emirates reservation originating in Sydney with a ‘ticket number’ beginning with 176.

As such, passengers who book their Emirates journey via Qantas would not be eligible – even if choosing the EK flight number as opposed to the Qantas QF codeshare, and even if they’d otherwise be eligible for chauffeur drive – as all bookings made through Qantas carry a ‘081’ ticket number.

Emirates shares that codeshare flights are excluded as well: so even if the booking is made directly with Emirates rather than through another airline, ensure that the flight is booked as EK415 if wanting to enjoy the hotel stay, rather than an alternative flight number such as QF8415.

(Of course, for Qantas Frequent Flyer members, status credits for travel with Emirates are only earned on QF flight numbers: so a choice would need to be made between earning Qantas status credits, or the free hotel stay.)

Finally, flights booked using Emirates Skywards miles are excluded, because these itineraries are no longer eligible for the chauffeur drive service, and the hotel offer replaces that. By extension, Emirates flights booked using Qantas Points wouldn’t be eligible either, as these would carry a ‘081’ ticket number in any case.

Read: Emirates axes complimentary chauffeur drive on Qantas, Skywards award bookings

Complimentary Rydges Sydney Airport hotel stay: booking

If you’ve jumped through all the hoops and your journey meets the rules, the hotel stay can be arranged by contacting Emirates reservations, or via your travel agent.

Passengers who are arriving into Sydney Airport on a domestic flight the day before their Emirates departure can also mention their domestic flight details when arranging the hotel – even if booked as a separate ticket – as Emirates will also cover a transfer from the domestic terminal to the hotel via Rydges’ shuttle.

Once approved, you’ll receive an accommodation voucher when the arrangements have been made, which you’ll need to present at the hotel upon arrival. Naturally, extras like mini-bar charges and room service aren’t covered by the airline.

Any amendments to the hotel booking such as for flight changes must be made by 12 noon the business day prior to the hotel check-in date – otherwise, changing to a flight on a different day without also changing the hotel reservation to match would forfeit that hotel stay.

As a reminder, if you’ve booked the complimentary hotel stay prior to EK415, you can’t also book a chauffeur in conjunction with the same flight, such as from your home or office to the Rydges hotel: although chauffeur availability upon arrival at your destination remains unchanged.

On the morning of your Emirates flight, you'll simple be able to walk across the road and into the international terminal for check-in, with no shuttles or chauffeurs required.

Also read: Your guide to Emirates' seven business, first class lounges in Dubai

Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.


Emirates Airlines - Skywards

30 Nov 2015

Total posts 729

Great offer from a great airline. Thank you Emirates.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Nov 2014

Total posts 356

@Chris: do you know which chauffeur company covers BNE?

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1242

"A spokesperson for Hughes Limousines, which now provides the chauffeur service in Sydney and Brisbane, confirmed to Australian Business Traveller that these increased driving distances are now in effect."

Your answer lies somewhere in the above sentence from the article.

American Airlines - AAdvantage

15 Feb 2013

Total posts 45

That used to be one of the biggest annoyances with the Emirates car service. I always had to pay an extra $50 cash to the driver to do the extra 5km to palm beach.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

27 Nov 2017

Total posts 8

Good user-centric changes. Our recent Hughes driver mentioned it would be a heavy blow to the previous contractor Brunel.

Heard Emirates are also terminating their Dubai contractor in June after >25 years.

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

20 Jan 2018

Total posts 39

I'm in Red Hill South, 136 driven km from Tullamarine airport, so the current approximately $160 should reduce incrementally. However, when considering the cost of a taxi over that distance, it is remarkably good value. And it just got better!

Etihad - Etihad Guest

24 Apr 2019

Total posts 2

Hughes Perth service is subject to a new WA State Transport Dept effective 1st April 10% levy for a so called Taxi Plate buy back scheme, which has nothing to do with Emirates Chauffeurs who are not taxis. The Drivers here are going poorly with only EK420 / 421 left and rates barely more than taxis.

It's not a need to know and many pax do not give a hoot but the experience is being altered. It may be the Flintstones driving soon if anyone at all.

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

20 Jan 2018

Total posts 39

Cavok, I agree. The drivers work on very low margins and long runs in particular cost them personally, which should not be the case. Hughes can be very tough and uncompromising with their drivers. They are on contract, maintain their own vehicles, and don't get much warning at all of where their next pickup or drop off will be. That's what I'm told by them regularly. There's a significant amount of dissatisfaction, and many say it's down to Emirates who strike a very harsh deal with Hughes, and that is simply passed on down the line.

That's why I always make a point of giving a significant tip of around 15 to 20% of the specified amount. They are always surprised when I do that. Drivers say that many passengers' perception of or need for opulence mostly does not allow them to recognise that drivers have to make ends meet somehow. They assume they are very well paid, which is not the case.

So everyone who uses the Emirates chauffeur drive service, whether "free" or with the surcharge, should engage with the driver and tip generously. It makes a big difference to them. We are all human beings. Hughes and Emirates take note!

17 Sep 2015

Total posts 388

Because it is 'STPC' - provided "gratis" by EK airline - one assumes that the good Rydges Priority Rewards loyalty scheme would not be able to be +1 night for a member. There's also some tie up with Discovery Hotels.

If at all possible, try to obtain a tarmac-facing room, as some (in which I've not stayed) have a 'view' of a car park.I

Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Emirates offers gratis hotel in Sydney, longer chauffeur rides