What am I missing - Brisbane to Nairobi with Emirates?

I’m looking at flying to Kenya some time later this year, hopefully using a lifetime’s worth of points to upgrade from economy to business class.

Emirates have Business class fares listed for approx $3400 + 350000miles, or Economy Flex fares for $2600 + 160,000 miles.

I must be missing something here - is it possibly that the economy flex fare upgrade is not guaranteed. How do I find out if the upgrade is possible? Thanks for any info or insights you can provide.


After rereading your question or post a few times, I still don’t fully understand your question. Excuse me but it could be that it’s just me or it is missing a few details.

I assume you are talking about Qantas points and not Emirates Skyward miles?

Can you please clarify your question instead of saying what am I missing? I.e. are you questioning Business class upgrade being expensive or cheap?

Where exactly do you find the quoted point and cash prices? Is this for upgrading your economy tickets that you have already booked with cash? Or are you looking at redeeming outright with points? The start of the post points towards an upgrade with points but you mention a cost for economy as well, which doesn’t make sense if you already have an economy ticket booked.

A bit more info/detail would be helpful in helping us help you.


Hi @w.hiew

Thanks for your comments. I have several hundred thousand credit card points on various cards which can be transferred to a number of frequent flyer/reward programs, Emirates Miles being one of them.

What I am finding hard to understand, is that there seems to be a big difference between buying an Economy flex fare for $2600 and using 160,000miles to upgrade to business, compared to buying a business class fare for $3400+350,000miles.

Perhaps what confused you was that I omitted the part where the 160,000 miles to was to upgrade from Economy to BC? This seems to be much better value than buying the BC option outright.

So my questions are: Is this because the upgrade is not guaranteed? And, how do I find out if/when the upgrade will be available?

If the attached image loads - the Economy Flex fare says “Eligible” under the “Upgrade to Business” option, but when you click on Eligible, it says that no seats are available on this flight.

I think your guess is as good as mine. The upgrade costs is subject to you finding award space for the flight. I’d guess you need to search for available business class award seats via the Classic reward search function before buying the economy flex ticket for those dates. I guess the good thing with Economy Flex is you could easily change the dates or get a full refund if you couldn’t find the award space?

What you are seeing with the high costs for business class outright redemptions is due to Emirates increasing the taxes/surcharges for about 3 times in the last 12-18 months. In many travel bloggers opinions, killing the program in the process.

If your points are flexible since you said they are from various credit cards, you may be better off checking award costs/availability with other airline partners that have better business class availability with potentially lower point/mile costs and taxes/surcharges.

If you provide more details on your credit card program, our helpful community members may be able to advise further.

Thanks again.

The credit card award points can be transferred to various programs at various exchange rates, for example:

Emirates 1:4 (i.e. 1 Mile = 4 credit card reward points)
Etihad 1:3
Kris/Singapore 1:3
Velocity 1:2

It seems that flight options from Brisbane to Nairobi are limited without multiple stop overs, with Emirates having the most direct/fastest option. I have even tried to find options flying via OOL/SYD, or via KUL/SIN etc, but these routes still require an additional stop in Dubai or Doha.

If there is a better option for upgrading to business class, even if just for the 12-14 hr leg that anyone can suggest, I would be grateful for any suggestions.

If Emirates has the best option, and you can see there is confirmed business class upgrade availability, then this could be a good way to go. Emirates recently increased the miles needed to buy an award ticket outright and also increased the tax and surcharges significantly. It is not surprising that it might work out to be cheaper to get an economy ticket and then upgrade straight away to get that locked in with fewer miles and cheaper cash copays.

Another option could be velocity, but as you said, one stop options are relatively hard to come by.
I see mostly two stop itineraries in business via Bali and then Doha in business costing 141,500 Velocity points and $847.42 in taxes.

For a random date (13 July) later in the year, I could see 2 one stop options between Brisbane and Nairobi via Google Flights. One is via Doha and the other via Dubai. (Not sure whether my screenshot will upload).

It would be wonderful if you could find business award space with Qatar Air via Velocity points. Otherwise, any options to get you Emirates business class would be great too, whether that’s direct business class redemption or upgrade, albeit costing more points and cash portion.

You’ll have to decide whether it is worthwhile use of your credit card points or $.

Not sure whether the costs make sense. Have you considered just using points from Brisbane to Doha/Dubai if there is award space? Then finding your way to Nairobi separately. Obviously, factor in your flights being on separate itineraries. Just throwing more ideas in the bag. This is evidently not as great an option as the first two. But if you get desperate and there are award space between Brisbane and Dubai/Doha, this could be an option. However, the bottle neck is usually flights in and out of Australia.

@djtech thanks for that info. Could you tell me which airline/s the Bali/Doha option is through please?

Brisbane to Bali on Virgin, connecting onto Qatar from Denpasar to Nairobi via Doha.

@djtech - thanks so much. I’ll look into this today.