The Qantas-Emirates partnership not only adds a score of new routes and one-stop flights via Dubai into Europe and the UK, it also lets Qantas Frequent Flyers earn points and status credits when travelling with Emirates.
But there’s a catch – and it’s a big one.
Depending on something as simple as the two letters which appear before your Emirates flight number, you could either be earning a full-sized serve of Qantas points and status credits – or less than half as many points and no status credits.
Here's what you need to know before booking your next Emirates flight to Dubai or beyond.
How the Qantas-Emirates codeshare works
Central to the Qantas-Emirates alliance is a codeshare agreement, which in plain English means that Emirates flights can carry a Qantas flight number – one that starts with the letters QF – in addition to Emirates’ own EK flight number.
For example, the evening Emirates flight EK413 from Sydney to Dubai also carries the Qantas flight number of QF8413 (Qantas flight numbers in the 8xxx series are all codeshares).
Travellers can book onto this Emirates flight under either the EK or QF code: the former via the Emirates website, the later at the Qantas website, or both through a travel agent.
It’s the exact same flight, same service, same everything – with the exception of how many Qantas points and status credits you’ll earn if you list your Qantas Frequent Flyer number against the booking.
That said, there are some differences, such as Emirates’ chauffeur drive service for first and business class not being available to passengers travelling on a QF8xxx ticket.
And while prices can nominally be the same between airlines, some ET readers report seeing fares on the Emirates website listed much cheaper than the same flight through Qantas.
Earning Qantas points, status credits on Emirates flights
Here’s a practical example: booking an Emirates business class flight from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane to anywhere in what Qantas terms as Western Europe (a dozen countries, including the UK) under the native EK flight numbers and listing your QFF membership number will earn a baase rate of 13,125 Qantas points in business class.
However, you can forget about any pocketing any status credits, as the Emirates partnership is one where no Qantas status credits are earned on the Gulf carrier’s "own marketed" flights, unlike other Qantas partners such as Cathay Pacific and Qatar Airways.
(You can check with Qantas partner airlines have the option to earn status credits by visiting the Qantas partners page and using the Filter Partners drop-down menu to select Earn Status Credits for the category of Flights.)
But if you booked that same Emirates trip through Qantas with those QF8xxx flight numbers, you’ll earn the same number of points and status credits as if this was actually a Qantas flight.
This includes a hefty serve of 295 status credits for a one-way flight in business class, plus a substantially higher number of points than if your ticket carried that EK flight number.
So for a one-way Emirates standard business class flight from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane to say London or Paris, but booked through Qantas with QF8xxx flight numbers, you’d earn anywhere from 20,150 Qantas points as a Qantas Bronze frequent flyer to 29,450 points for Qantas Gold and 32,550 at the Qantas Platinum tier.
Compare that to just 13,125 Qantas points on the same Emirates trip under the EK flight number and you can appreciate why savvy Qantas Frequent Flyers make sure they look for and book that QF8xxx flight.