Hoping to use your Qantas frequent flyer points for a business class or first class upgrade when travelling overseas?
Then you’ll need to continue booking flights operated by Qantas, rather than Emirates, as points-based upgrades on Emirates flights remain off the airlines’ immediate agenda – even as the Qantas+Emirates partnership will soon require the ACCC’s approval to continue for a further five years.
Speaking with Australian Business Traveller following last week's announcement of changes to the Qantas-Emirates alliance, Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said that “for us, the filing to the ACCC is based on what we’ve been doing, the competitive nature of what we’ve actually delivered, and the benefits we’ve delivered to customers.”
“We’ll continue to work with Emirates through the refiling, and beyond, to clarify and adjust the customer proposition,” added Qantas International CEO Gareth Evans, tipping that the introduction of reciprocal frequent flyer upgrades would require “demand from customers, and (making it) work for both airlines”.
Qantas is instead seeing high demand for outright points-based bookings on Emirates in business class and first class, with that demand surging by 50% over the past year: making Emirates Qantas Frequent Flyer’s most popular international airline partner for travellers using their points.
As opposed to upgrade requests which may or may not be granted, outright reward bookings at the pointy end avoid the ‘international upgrade lottery’ system altogether, in favour of a guaranteed seat in business class or first class from the time of booking.
Unlike some airlines – Qantas included – where business class and first class reward bookings can be scarce on international flights, “there are no problems with availability in premium classes on Emirates for redeeming (Qantas) points,” Joyce highlights, and the number of points required to book an Emirates flight is the same as for Qantas flights of the same length.
“We’re pretty positive about it, and we’re using that evidence to the ACCC as part of our filing, because I think it shows our customers are getting huge benefits out of this that they wouldn’t have gotten without the Emirates alliance.”
Qantas Frequent Flyer members will be able to use Qantas Points for upgrades to premium economy and business class on Qantas’ upcoming Perth-London Boeing 787 flights, and to premium economy, business class and first class on the rejigged Airbus A380 Sydney-London route, which will detour via Singapore rather than Dubai from March 2018.