How I flew in Emirates' first class A380 suite for just $400

By Steve Hui, April 14 2015
How I flew in Emirates' first class A380 suite for just $400

Flying from Sydney to Dubai in Emirates' private first class suite on an Airbus A380 can cost you around $11,000.

Or it can cost you $400.12, if you're smart enough to use Qantas Frequent Flyer points.

My name is Steve Hui, and my company iFLYflat helps businesses make the most out of earning and using their reward points to get free airfares.

So when I had to fly to Dubai last week to speak about loyalty at the Web In Travel Middle East 2015 conference, it presented a perfect opportunity to 'walk my talk' and use Qantas Points to try out Emirates' highly-regarded A380 first class.

I booked my Emirates first class suite with just 144,000 Qantas Points plus $400.12 in fees and taxes.

Flying Emirates first class comes with some welcome preflight perks, such as a complimentary chauffeur drive at both ends of the journey plus access to Qantas and Emirates first class lounges in Sydney and Dubai.

My EK415 flight – which can also be booked as Qantas flight QF8415, to ensure you earn a full serve of frequent flyer points and status credits if you pay a full fare instead of using points – left Sydney at 6am.

The cabin is opulent and comfortable.

After settling into my suite, a pair of pyjamas and a glass of champagne were quickly provided.

First class time is always champagne time, any time of the day.

And I have 14 hours of pure on-board bliss stretching out ahead of me.

In no time, we're off the ground in a very smooth takeoff. The cabin noise is very low, even without the supplied noise-cancelling headphones.

Time for breakfast – waffles seem like a good choice.

Soon after that, caviar is served.

It feels like I'm dining in a five-star restaurant at 40,000 feet.

First class passengers have access to two inflight showers.

You nominate a time-slot and the shower suite is prepared for you.

You get 30 minutes in the shower suite, with five minutes of running water and a gauge indicating the remaining time.

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

There's also a bar towards the back of the upper deck business class cabin.

It's a good place to mingle to pass the time.

I meet a few people. One was going to Kenya for a safari, and received a surprise upgrade from economy to business class. Another was heading to Venice to visit her granddaughter (she was flying on points - smart!). Another off to Ireland with his family (his company paid).

I tried a glass of Hennessy Paradis cognac, which turned out to be the most expensive drink on the menu – a single bottle retails for AUD$1,000.

I'm not a cognac drinker, but I like the Hennessy so now seems like a good time to start!

Ready for a nap, to take the edge of that early morning start?

The flight attendant will prepare your bed.

Ensure your privacy by pressing a button to close the suite's door and the window shades.

Once the doors are closed the suite feels surprisingly spacious. And it seems Emirates is planning an even bigger first class suite with a private bedroom.

Read: Emirates Airbus A380 to get first class private bedroom "very soon"

Before I knew it, we were arriving at the massive Dubai International Airport.

14 hours of flying time seemed too short – I didn't even watch a movie.

This was without doubt the best $400.12 I ever spent!

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Executive Traveller points specialist Steve Hui is the founder and CEO of iFLYflat, and when he's not helping business professionals maximise their reward points he's flying flat in business or first class himself!

14 Apr 2015

Total posts 3

The title is very misleading. It should be 'How I flew for $400 and a lot of Qantas points that cost thousands to get (potentially)'. 

144,000 QF points is a *lot* of points. Putting 'just 144000 points' makes it seem like it's easy to get for most. 

04 Nov 2012

Total posts 218

It sure is missleading, pitty that.

Then again just try and find an award flight its near imossible what a joke.

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 654

many 'businesses' market themselves towards the gullible...unfortunately....but that's the way of the world

Precisely - what he's writing on will no doubt wow some folk.

But there are others who do crazier/more luxe redemptions on a far more regular basis and don't write about it. 

As for the product itself? sorry dah-ling - this product first surfaced 5 1/2 to 6 years ago. It's been flogged to death already. 


23 Jan 2013

Total posts 175

While I enjoy any article about First class flying, this isn't anything new really. It's mostly about the cabin and service, which has been written about to death over the years. 

Perhaps the article should have been more focused on how to maximise and use QF miles in the best way with EK flights. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2011

Total posts 363

He has just used points and paid taxes. Not sure what the fuss is, other than an ad for his company.

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 654

so true russell...this type of self promotion actually makes me  want to avoid his 'business'...using the spiel basically saying 'use your FF points to obtain a 'free' airfare'....we all still need to make purchases (spend money) somewhere (that is linked to the FF scheme), to rack up those points.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Nov 2012

Total posts 68

Lets not get too crazy about the definition of 'free', it means different things to different people, whether it is purely financial or includes time.

Getting reward points on expenses that you are already spending is pretty close to 'free', especially for businesses who can rack up huge spends running their functions, can pick up a lot of points fast, or an individual accumulating points over a few years to fly fancy with their family - that's still very cool.

When you see people in a long line, lining up for 'free' icecream or free anything - is that free? Your time can be measured in some value too.

You know what it means - and its equally achievable by everyone here, short or long.

Hope to see you on-board sometime.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Oct 2013

Total posts 31

I agree Steve, it's all about being predatory about hunting points at no extra cost. I have just got a J/F return Sydney-Larnaca via Doha on Qatar Airways for 288k points +$800. Effectively this flight is costing me $800 vs real price over $14k

30 Aug 2013

Total posts 439

Is this an article or an advert?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum

07 Feb 2013

Total posts 553

+1 I was looking for the statement at the bottom of the article where it states its advertising or the author was a guest of a company.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2555

It's an article. If it was 'sponsored content' that would be clearly declared.

Removing the name of the company and the html link would tip the balance away from the perception of advertising.

Folks I think we're sophisticated enough to discern advertising from proper pieces, with or without disclaimers. On the merits of this post I would deduce it to be an advertisement.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2555

And you'd be wrong – as has been pointed out before, this is not advertising. It's a story geared to a more mainstream audience than AusBT's primary audience. Steve didn't pay AusBT to run it, and for that matter AusBT didn't pay Steve to write it. Clearly some readers don't like the article and/or don't 'get' the article, but nobody has to like every story we run, and I certainly don't expect that.


Would you agree removing the name of the company, html link and credentials would limit the perception that the article is an advertisement?

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2555

I would agree this might lessen that perception, TRB, however I believe that underscores Steve's 'expertise' in this area and that it's fair enough for us to name Steve's company and link to it in exchange for AusBT running this article.

Thank you David. I take your point even if I disagree with its effect.

Let me clarify. An advertisement can occur in the absence of the exchange of consideration.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 593

is that 144k miles one way?  I'd rather use 160k miles on SQ plus $1200 tax for business class return to london.  That's 4 flights (40+ hrs) vs 1 flight.  Sure you don't get the bar or shower but you get a seat that is the same size as EK first (double the size of EK's abysmal business class) and inflight service on par with EK first.

20 Apr 2014

Total posts 94

clickbait...ausbt is usually a little more discrete when publishing 'news', can't imagine anyone using this site not being aware of using points for flights so seems unlikely it's going to get the advertiser any additional custom.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2555

AusBT's audience is far wider than just the core of business travellers and frequent flyers, Yohy. Articles like this help to bring in new readers who, we believe, will love the rest of the unique content which AusBT serves, and also reminds people that there are better ways to spend those points than on toasters :P


14 Jun 2013

Total posts 354

I don't see what all the fuss is about. If you don't like the article, don't read it. I don't think anybody here is Mr Hui's audience as we are all very cluey when it comes to points but be realistic, if you are smart about using your credit cards for the things you would usually do such as shopping and paying bills, and taking advantage of sign-up deals and Qantas Acquire then earning QFF points is easy. Anyway, it's not like any of us pay to read ABT but seems a lot of people are quick to criticise even though the site has so many great articles for free. I think some people are just a bit 'precious'.

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 654

we may be 'precious' ....but as you pointed's a free site...and we all have the right to post opinions/ post your views...and others post long as we dont incite hatred/violence/bigotry

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Nov 2011

Total posts 186

Haven't used this company nor am I affiliated with it, but perhaps the cynics here should give him more credit. This just points out a simple example, that granted most of the core readers probably know how to get. However, I have used a similar company recently to get me an insane deal on a paid fare that cost a share over 4k for return paid J tickets to Europe with QF/CX/AY that accrued enough status credits for me to retain platinum and my partner to jump to Gold. I think the haul was over 700 from memory.  I tried to replicate the prices he got, could not do it. So perhaps his company can do things for business travellers who rack up a ton of points and who simply aren't as savvy when it comes to redeeming them. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Nov 2012

Total posts 68

Hi - thanks for reading.

The trip was a bit of fun to get me to my travel conference, where I was speaking about loyalty rewards - so the stage was set to use my own rewards points to make the trip.

Nothing better than to book redemptions to fly Emirates First and Etihad First to make the point!

The purpose of this post was to showcase how you can maximise your reward points to pay for business trips (where availability matches your travel dates), and save on a large travel cost and have a good experience.

To travel more comfortably and without the burden of the costs of premium travel.

Lets face it - if cost was not an issue, no one would be flying economy, and you would fly more often to visit customers/suppliers/family and friends.

Hence the real power of accumulating points to fly.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2213

Hear, hear!


31 Mar 2015

Total posts 8

Hi Steve,

Unfortunately a lot of people have just missed the whole point of this article. I have just sent it on to my parents because they don't believe in the whole "FF [email protected]" thing and just blew a couple of hundred thousand points on some crappy luggage. I had tried to explain to them they could have done 2 x F for the long haul of their BNE-LHR or 2 x J all the way. Fantastic article to point it out to people who don't know.

To the other trolls, it was pretty evident what the piece was and what his business is. Get over yourselves.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

03 Mar 2014

Total posts 20

It's also a bit misleading to suggest a classic award will earn status credits and frequent flyer points: "My EK415 flight – which can also be booked as Qantas flight QF8415, to ensure you earn a full serve of frequent flyer points and status credits – left Sydney at 6am."

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2555

Good pick-up, Turner773 – that was a mistake in editing and has now been rectified to clarify that this applies only to a paid ticket.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Aug 2014

Total posts 506

I honestly thought he found a loophole in the FF system and exploited it, only costing him $400 but I was proven wrong.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Aug 2014

Total posts 506

"Or it can cost you $400.12, if you're smart enough to use Qantas Frequent Flyer points."

If you're smart enough to not spend 144 freaking miles on a one-way flight between Sydney and Dubai where as like elchriss0 said you can rather spend 160K flying J (not Y but still) with SQ all the way to and back from London.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2555

Some comments have been deleted in accordance with AusBT's comment policy. This includes comments which become overly hung up with criticising the way an AusBT article has been written or presented, or which are less about the content of the article than about AusBT. If you want to make suggestions or offer constructive criticism, send an email to  [email protected] – but 'comment clutter' will be edited or deleted as we see fit and at our discretion.

14 Apr 2015

Total posts 7

I wasn't smart enough to use 144k QF points... I only used 60k AA miles + US$85.60 to redeem a MEL-SYD-DXB ticket, Qantas first class. And AA doesn't partner with Emirates.

Well, when Etihad's A380s start flying to Australia I could remain silly enough to use 60k AA miles for Etihad's SYD-AUH flights, and below $100 again...

$400 is just too much spending for an award ticket.



30 Mar 2012

Total posts 13

Some persons, such as myself, would look at something like this as a once in a life time opportunity. In January, my wife and I are flying from Rome to Perth,  first class, A380 all the way, at a COST of 144000 and $500.00 each. I consider this fantasic value and it will be a most likely the only time we will get to fly first class. So we blow some points, its well worth it to us.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer - Chairmans Lounge

01 Sep 2011

Total posts 413

i think this would have been a better and more interesting article if the writer had some clever way of maximising the points as i think was indicated by one other person. i don't know of the writer, but the way the piece has been written does not tell us anything new.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Jan 2015

Total posts 36

title is missleading definatley. It should atleats say somthing about ff points

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