This guide shows you how you can use your Asia Miles or Qantas Points to get there with only one stop.
The ideal route: fly in and out of Tehran
Tehran is Iran’s largest airport, with direct Emirates and Qatar Airways connections from Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha, respectively (none of the reputable full-service Asian airlines such as Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific or Japan Airlines fly to Iran, so the big three Gulf carriers are the way to go).
Ideally, as the main tourist trail of Tehran-Kashan-Isfahan-Yazd-Shiraz is basically on a north-south line, it is quite easy to work your way down and then catch the comfortable overnight train from Shiraz back up to Tehran. An ideal length of time for this trip is 2-3 weeks.
The map below also shows legs to two other tourist centres in the north, Tabriz and Mashhad, which are reachable by train from Tehran.
Option 1: Fly Qatar Airways via Doha using Asia Miles
Asia Miles offer the lowest-priced redemptions, and they especially shine for their reduced roundtrip awards.
Flying from Auckland will set you back 55,000 one-way / 90,000 return in Economy, or 85,000 one-way / 145,000 return in Business. Your flight from Auckland to Doha will be on a Boeing 777.
Option 2: Fly Emirates via Dubai using Qantas Points
Emirates offers the widest network here, and has some really great availability through Qantas, as shown by the Business and First award space for September/October 2018 from Auckland to Tehran below:
Flying one-way from Auckland or Christchurch will set you back 55,000 Qantas Points in Economy, 112,000 in Business, or 168,000 in First. Simply double these figures for the return flight cost.
Whilst you can also redeem your Qantas Points for Qatar flights, Emirates makes more of its award space available to its preferred partner Qantas, and the redemptions are slightly cheaper on Emirates vs Qatar.
Having said that, do check if there is a Qatar alternative on your dates. For example, from Auckland, both had great connections in the Gulf hubs, however Emirates costs slightly less at 112,000 compared to Qatar’s 139,000:
Depending on which points programs you have access to, you’ll get the best value from flying Qatar through Asia Miles, followed by an Emirates redemptions through Qantas.
If you’re relying on American Express Membership Rewards points, a Qatar award booking though Asia Miles will win out.