The definitive first class upgrade guide

By Chris C., July 30 2016
The definitive first class upgrade guide

Put your hard-earned frequent flyer points to work on your next international trip and swap your usual business class seat for a first class suite.

Australian Business Traveller's series of expert 'upgrade guides' explain just how easy it can be and how many points you'll need when flying with Qantas, Emirates, Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific.

(Stuck further back in economy or premium economy? Look to our business class upgrade guides instead.)

Qantas first class upgrade guide

Flight upgrades are considered one of the best ways to use your Qantas Points, and upgrading from business class to first class on the Qantas Airbus A380 is no exception.

From Sydney and Melbourne to Los Angeles or Dubai, you'd need just 45,000 Qantas Points from any paid business class ticket, while from Sydney to Dallas/Fort Worth you're looking at an even 50,000 Qantas Points.

Upgrade on the longer journey from Sydney through to London Heathrow (via Dubai) and part with just 60,000 points overall, or between only Dubai and London for a mere 15,000 points.

That's a great option for travellers on QF9 and QF10 which run during the day, giving you seven hours of first class luxury that you're awake enough to enjoy.


Emirates first class upgrade guide

Fancy an inflight shower at 35,000 feet in a spacious bathroom with a heated floor, lengthy mirrors and even a hairdryer? Then use Emirates Skywards miles for a first class upgrade on the airline's Airbus A380 flights.

AusBT review: Emirates Airbus A380 first class 'shower spa'

Not forgotten is the first class seat itself, nestled behind closing doors in which you can stretch out, watch a movie or dine when it suits you best – with similar first class suites offered on both Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 flights.

(You won't find a 'shower spa' on the Boeing 777s, however.)
(You won't find a 'shower spa' on the Boeing 777s, however.)

AusBT review: Emirates Boeing 777 first class, Melbourne-Singapore

Emirates allows upgrades to first class from all but the least expensive 'Special' business class tickets, starting at just 5,000 miles between Australia and New Zealand, from 30,000 miles to Asia, 54,000 miles to the Middle East and 62,500 miles to the UK and Europe, one-way.

Read more... 

Singapore Airlines first class, Suites upgrade guide

Jet from Sydney to The Lion City in Singapore Airlines business class and 42,500 KrisFlyer miles are all you need for a bump into SQ's Airbus A380 Suites or Boeing 777 first class seats:

Better yet, book that first class upgrade from Australia right through to the UK or Europe, and for 65,875 KrisFlyer miles you'd be perched up front for the long 24-hour journey.

In both cases, upgrades can be locked in from the moment you book or filed as a request on a 'waitlist' when these can't be confirmed straight away, with the figures provided including a nice 15% mileage discount for upgrading online rather than over the phone.

Read more... 

Cathay Pacific first class upgrade guide

You won't find first class on Cathay Pacific's Australian flights, but travel onwards from Hong Kong to the likes of London, Los Angeles or New York and you could use your Asia Miles for a ride in first class on that longer leg of the journey.

Asia Miles offers first class upgrades both as one-way and return awards: you'll find the best value in upgrading a return journey as the number of miles needed is less than for two one-way flights.

For example, between Hong Kong and either London or Los Angeles, you'd need 50,000 Asia Miles for a one-way upgrade from a paid business class ticket, but only 85,000 miles to upgrade a return trip on the same route, lowering the cost to 42,500 miles per flight.


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Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

11 Jun 2016

Total posts 14

Was really surprised recently that 1st class on Emirates 1 way from Dubai to Paris was only 75k Qantas ff points + $100 tax and could be booked through the Qantas website. When you look at the $ value of those flights if you paid with real money I think that's the best use of Qantas ff points I've seen in a while. 

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