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.
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 (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:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.