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

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!

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.

Emirates business child

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.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to see our latest articles on earning and spending your points and click here to see our list of current Avios promotions.)

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  1. Didn’t know this. Just booked a few days ago, return flights to Dubai with Emirates.

  2. This is very very interesting

  3. This is really interesting. I was under the impression that you only earned Avios, not tier points.

    Two months ago, my partner flew to Aus with work on QF code/Emirates metal and was awarded tier points, which I had thought was an error. Clearly not! 🙂

    • Head for Points says:

      The comment on the BA website which I highlighted above has only appeared in recent weeks.

  4. This happened to me a couple of weeks ago on the way back from Sydney and I assume it was a mistake. Annoyingly I had a single flight number on the way out (on Qantas metal) and so got less TPs on the way out, than the way back!

  5. I always seem to find I can’t book with qantas to a lot of these places- for eg their website won’t let me book flights to mle – is there a good heuristic for where you can and can’t get on qfs website?

    • Use the QF route map, the green lines are code shares.

      • Head for Points says:

        Not all Emirates flights will be Qantas codeshares.

        • Indeed. It appears you can’t book BHX-DXB on a QF code, but you can book BHX-DXB-SIN…

      • Right – but the qantas route map shows for e..g a codeshare from DXB to SEZ – but i don’t seem to be able to buy it under a QF ticket number if originating in London…

  6. I thought it was a mistake when I got avios and tier points for a LAX-NAN Fiji Airways flight booked as QF last year but now it seems it wasn’t one.

  7. Avios and tier points also on QF code shares on Air Tahiti Nui last year from LAX-PPT and PPT-AKL.

  8. I think is has been on the BA website for some time. Was certainly there mid last year when I flew EK on a QF code (via the now gone Brazilian travel agent trick).

    I don’t believe the part about the DXB lounge access is correct though. They won’t let you in with a BA card if you are on a EK flight in Y, regardless of any codeshare. They will let you in with a BA card if you are on QF metal though.

  9. OT. Does anyone , rob?? Know if I add a new card holder to my BAPP card, is there am extra bonus of miles? Like the current platinum offer by any chance? Tnx

    • There used to be, in fact the link was up until last week, but a reader got in touch to tell me that – whilst the webpage still exists – the offer is dead and he didn’t get the Avios. The call centre confirmed. It was only 500 anyway.

  10. flyforfun says:

    The Qantas link has been beneficial to me a few months ago when I had to fly Emirates for the first time. I had particular flights I needed to catch and thankfully they were part of the QF codeshare. Just checked and I earned TP for them, but only 25% of the miles I earned when QF and BA had their proper alliance a couple of years ago.

    Travelling in Y, the A380 was excellent, but from Dubai to Australia I was in a 777. Never again, despite the better food than QF the 10 abreast seating they have is awful.

  11. Looking at the Alaska program, can I also put points on an upcoming trip with KLM ABZ-AMS-JFK return on a Delts codeshare (long story) to the Alaska program then transfer to Avios?

    Thanks in advance.

    • 1. On a Delta codeshare? Good question. You would need to look at the Alaska website and see the rules for earning on KLM – is it based on marketing carrier (KLM) or operating carrier (Delta)?

      2. You cannot transfer Alaska points to Avios. You CAN use them to book BA redemption flights because BA is a partner with Alaska.

      • Thanks for clarifying point 2.

        Regarding point 1, it lists DL flight numbers so as long as its one of them I would think you can.

    • No, you can’t transfer the Alaska miles to Avios – they remain as Alaska miles but you can redeem them on BA.

      Alaska also offer frequent bonuses for top-ups and very good value on CX awards from Europe to HKG.

  12. Michael Abson says:

    What a shame that Avios are worth practically nothing now, and BA offering the same earn rate on their sale fares as on partner flights.

  13. needroos says:

    OT – if I have a negative MR balance on my AMEX gold and call in to cancel, what will happen?

    • Nothing. Points have no cash value as per the rules. Amex may put a black mark against your name, of course, but no bill will come.

      • needroos says:

        Would a potential black mark cause issues in the LR? Should I go back to spending on it to bring it to 0 before cancelling?

        • Potentially. I honestly don’t know if they do this or if it is a problem but, obviously, the next time you apply for an Amex card they will take a look at what happened last time you had one. Whether or not this would be an issue I don’t know, I just flag it as a potential problem. It definitely is not a problem in terms of whether you can close the card now.

  14. Does the same apply with Etihad and airberlin?

  15. Hi Raffles. So just to confirm. If I fly Emirates to Melbourne via Dubai with an QF flight number in first, I will earn the full 450 in tier points (210+240)? Will I also earn the class related bonus miles?


  16. Jimmyjimmy says:

    Just to check I understand this correctly

    Gla-dbx on Emirates – not a Qantas code share (not available to book on – no points

    Gla-dbx (Emirates) – syd – code share hence points ?

  17. 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.

  18. 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?

    • 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.

  19. 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!