Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

How to earn Avios and BA tier points when flying on Emirates!

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Here is another of those ‘things you didn’t know you didn’t know’.

There are many good reasons to fly Emirates from the UK to the Middle East, Asia, Australasia etc.  They have departures from various UK regional airports and, in Business Class and First Class, the seats are far better than British Airways.

One downside is Emirates Skywards.  It is a pretty feeble loyalty scheme with low earning rates and high redemption rates.  You can redeem for Arsenal VIP football tickets and for easyJet flights but that is about it.

How to earn Avios and BA tier points when flying Emirates

The only upside is that Emirates is an Amex Membership Rewards partner so it is fairly easy to top up a Skywards account.  You could also get the UK Emirates credit cards.

One alternative is crediting Emirates flights to Alaska Airlines as the two are partners.  Alaska is also a British Airways partner so you could redeem the miles for BA flights.  If you didn’t have enough, you could credit a few BA, Air France or KLM flights to Alaska to top up your account.

There is an easier alternative, though.

Qantas signed a major tie-up with Emirates two years ago.  A large number of Emirates flights now carry Qantas flight codes.  Qantas, of course, is also a member of the oneworld alliance alongside British Airways.

As long as your Emirates flight is booked under a Qantas (QF) flight number and not an Emirates (EK) flight number, you will receive Avios points when you fly.

There is some debate about whether you should receive BA tier points as well.  It does not always happen automatically it seems.  However, this page from the BA website makes the position clear.   At the bottom it says:

“Flights booked under the Qantas code (QF) operated by a non-oneworld airline will earn Avios and Tier Points unless operated by Jetstar in a class other than L class.”

That is as clear as you can get.  Avios and tier points can be yours when you fly Emirates.

Lounge access, for BA status card holders, is a different question.

If you have a British Airways Silver or Gold card AND your Emirates flights are under a Qantas flight code AND you are flying economy, it seems that you will receive access to the Emirates business lounges in Dubai.  This is because the Emirates lounge in Dubai is treated as if it was a Qantas lounge.

You will NOT get access to either the BA or Emirates lounges at Heathrow as a BA Gold or Silver in economy on a QF coded ticket. The BA lounge access rules require you to be flying on a flight operated by a oneworld member and the Emirates lounge at Heathrow is not treated as a jointly owned Qantas facility.  (If you are flying in business class, you obviously get lounge access regardless.)

BA Silver and Gold members should also note that they will not receive the higher Silver and Gold baggage allowances on Emirates flights with a Qantas code, because these only apply to oneworld-operated flights.

To book an Emirates flight under the Qantas flight numbers, you should use the Qantas website to book.  Flights may be cheaper, the same or more expensive than booking via the Emirates site – it varies by service – so be careful.  Expedia and other third party sites may also show Emirates flights with Qantas flight numbers but you need to check this carefully before hitting the ‘buy’ button.

(EDIT:  My wife later flew to Singapore on Emirates, booked on Qantas flight numbers.  It credited perfectly to her British Airways account.  You can read that story on getting BA tier points and Avios from Emirates in this 2019 article.)


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (March 2024)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

American Express Business Platinum

Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 9th April) and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

Huge 60,000 points sign-up bonus (until 9th April) and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (39)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Dave P says:

    I did this to Dubai in October, I’m BA Gold and was able to use the BA First Lounge in T3 with no fuss.

    I was also able to use the Emirates Lounge upon my return, however, I wasn’t able to take a guest in with me.

  • nerd. says:

    Slghtly OT too (sorry) but related to Skywards – I have 6,000 points sitting in my account for a flight I took a few years ago. The points are due to expire in June this year and I would like to do something with them rather than just lose them.

    I’m looking for either an option to spend them on something small or some way of stopping them expiring, anyone got any recommendations?

    • Rob says:

      a) raffle tickets (if the raffle is back up and running)
      b) £24 of easyJet flight credit
      c) buy 4000 miles and get an Arsenal ticket (see my recent article on Emirates and Arsenal)

      Not much else you can do unfortunately. You can’t stop them expiring.

  • James G says:

    This looks pretty good, but it seems there’s no way to use this on a flight other than to Australia; I was looking to try a flight to Tokyo with Emirates on this basis, but the destination isn’t offered on Qantas’ web site!

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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