What are the minimum requirements to upgrade Emirates economy flights booked via Qantas?


Does anyone know what the minimum requirements are to upgrade QF booked economy flights on Emirates?

I’ve tried to upgrade Emirates flights a couple of times, both failures.
It wasn’t until after the booking that I found out that the QF “sale” fare is probably the issue.

The responses that I have received from customer service have been a bit vague and confusing.

So can anyone please advise me - are there any QF booked Emirates flights that are eligible for upgrades to business?
Either by points, or points+pay ?
If I choose a “saver” instead of “sale”, can I then use QF FF points to upgrade?
What if I buy “flex”?
Or is the issue that Emirates just don’t allow upgrades?
What if you are QF Gold - does that allow you to upgrade?
Do Emirates accept Skywards miles to upgrade QF bookings on Emirates flights?

I currently only use the QF FF program, but I am wondering if it time to swap.

I most frequently travel domestically, and to Portugal.
My partner and I prefer to fly Emirates to Portugal, because of their direct service.
My partner flies Qantas domestically for work, so it makes sense to focus on QF FF.

I generally don’t fly full fare business for work, unless it is for short haul, as I can’t justify the price. But I like to upgrade.
QF Classic business rewards for flights to Europe in summer on Emirates are just too hard to get.

I’d like to keep flying Emirates through the QF FF program, but the upgrade rules are confusing and frustrating me!

Generally speaking you cannot use QF points to upgrade on QF flights operated by a partner airline; it must be QF metal. I do notice that the wording on the website has now changed to “flights, with a QF flight number on your ticket and from time to time on codeshare flights operated by another carrier that have a Qantas (QF) flight number on your ticket.” which never used to be the case.

In the rare instances where it is possible, the operating carrier may grant Qantas license to upgrade if the aircraft is empty. It’s not the case that there are specific routes or flights that are or aren’t upgradable, although Emirates as the major partner I find is the biggest player in this scheme, but it comes down to the load factors of a flight on a particular date. If QFF doesn’t currently give you the option to upgrade I would suggest with a summer departure it’s likely not to change.


Aside from this though to upgrade a flight you must always be booked in S class in economy or higher. Being a Qantas gold member does improve your chances of securing the upgrade as it puts you ahead of bronze and silver members, but anyone can upgrade. Booker higher economy flex and premium economy deals will assist you to sit higher in the pecking order for upgrades as well.