Jul 9, 2024 3 min read

How I used Qantas Points to fly First Class with Emirates for less than $200

It was a crisp autumn morning in 2018 when — at the last minute — I lined up what would become one of my most memorable travel experiences.

How I used Qantas Points to fly First Class with Emirates for less than $200

I knew I needed to be in Australia for some meetings that week and that Emirates typically opened a rewards seat in First Class one or two days before departure.

Right on schedule, Emirates released a First Class seat from Dublin to Sydney via Dubai.

Thanks to the American Express Business Platinum Card we had for our credit card comparison business Credit Card Compare — which we used for every possible expense — access to Qantas Points wasn’t an issue. This particular card earns Membership Rewards points per dollar spent and we’d waited until there was a Qantas transfer bonus so we got 25% extra.

After selecting dates and seats, I used a couple of hundred thousand Qantas Points to book a return ticket in First Class with Emirates. Taxes and charges came to just under $200.

And just like that, I was booked on one of the most luxurious flights in the world, less than 24 hours before departure.

The Journey Begins

I threw a few things in my trusty carry on and was ready to go. The following morning, a black Mercedes arrived. At that time, Emirates First Class came with a free limo airport transfer — incredible value considering it was a three-hour-long drive. They’ve since limited this perk to cash tickets only.

Cruising down the M1, I couldn't help but chuckle at the absurdity of it all. The airport transfer alone would cost more than what I’d paid for a return First Class flight.

More perks at Dublin Airport. I was able to use the dedicated First Class check-in and breezed through security thanks to the free Fast Track included in the ticket. Once through, I went to the lounge. It was a fairly stale affair, but it was a comfortable space to relax before the flight.

Dublin to Dubai

Boarding the Boeing 777, I was escorted to my private suite in First Class. Settling into my seat (which was more like a small hotel room), a flight attendant appeared offering Arabic coffee and dates.

What followed was a parade of gourmet meals and top-shelf drinks. At one point — as I sipped on a glass of whiskey — I calculated that the retail value of what I’d drank already was more than the taxes and fees I'd paid for the entire journey!

Dubai Stopover

The sun rising over Dubai International Airport.

Arriving in Dubai, I made my way to the First Class lounge.

It was huge — almost too big. Since there weren’t many around, it lacked atmosphere and soul. Still, I wasn’t complaining. I had just about enough time to order a light snack from the a la carte menu and a refreshing shower. One of the benefits of there being so few around was that there was no queue.

Getting to the gate was easy, with access to the jet bridge directly from the lounge itself.

Dubai to Sydney

Emirates First Class Suite 1F.

The final leg of my journey was on the Airbus A380. This is perhaps my favourite aircraft, except for maybe the A350.

The First Class cabin is located at the front of the upper deck. Tonight’s flight was surprisingly full. The quality of the in-flight service remained high. Arabic coffee was followed by dates, which was followed by champagne and a choice of newspapers.

After settling in and enjoying a top quality meal — Emirates have some of the best in-flight dining in the sky — it was time for a snooze. There were still 10 hours left. After returning from changing into the provided pyjamas, I found my seat reclined and made up into a bed complete with mattress topper, duvet, and pillow. Incredible.

After a few hours of decent sleep, I awoke over the outback. I made my way to use the famous onboard shower, which I’d reserved. Although water is limited to 5 minutes, this is a surreal experience and one that’s particularly useful when you need to go straight into meetings!

Touchdown in Sydney

As we descended into Sydney, I felt a mix of excitement and sadness. The journey had been extraordinary, but like all good things, it was coming to an end.

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