It's about to get harder to turn your frequent flyer points into a first class suite – or an upgrade from business class – with Qantas, Singapore Airlines and Emirates.
Changes rippling through each of those airlines will reduce the availability of first class 'reward seats' booked using points instead of cash.
Funnelling your points into the premium cabins has always represented some of the best value.
A classic and oft-quoted example is the mere 60,000 – 75,000 points needed to bump up from business class to first class on Qantas' Airbus A380 flights from Sydney or Melbourne all the way to London.
That's a fantastic deal given the 20+ hours you'll spend in the suite – along with access to the Qantas first class lounges at Sydney or Melbourne, and the Emirates' flagship first class lounge during your Dubai stopover.
Sadly, that opportunity will shrink from March 2018 when Qantas shutters its Melbourne-Dubai-London Airbus 380 flights in favour of the new non-stop Boeing 787 service between Perth and London.
Many Melbourne-based travellers who currently fly first class on the daily red-tailed superjumbo to London are expected to shift their bookings onto the Sydney-Dubai-London A380 service, rather than patronise the Melbourne-Perth-London Boeing 787, which tops out at business class.
This will see far fewer of the superjumbo's 14 first class suites left empty from commercial bookings and thus made available for points-based upgrades.
The first class cabin is tipped to sport just six suites instead of the twelve of the current A380s, while also relocating the cabin from the lower deck to the upper deck.
While those all-new suites are said to be larger than what first class flyers enjoy today, the 50% cut will drastically reduce the stock set aside for upgrades by SQ's KrisFlyer members.
The Star Alliance member will take delivery of five new A380s to replace its first five superjumbos which the airline leased from 2007, although it's not yet advised if the other A380s will be reconfigured with the new first class suites.
Qantas' partner Emirates is also trimming the number of first class berths on its Boeing 777-300ER, with a similar move expected for the Gulf airline's forthcoming Airbus A380 superjumbo suites.
The Boeing 777's revised first class layout will cut the number of suites from eight down to six and adopt a 1-1-1 configuration for the luxe cribs, compared to today's 1-2-1 configuration.
The fewer-but-larger suites will be unveiled in early November at the Dubai Air Show and debut on a Boeing 777-300ER.
Emirates CEO Tim Clark has previously described the suites as being even more private than the current closed-door cabin, saying "we’re talking fully enclosed rooms, with all the touches and amenities that you’d expect in hotel or a private bedroom on a luxury yacht, room service and so on."