Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

How to earn Avios and BA tier points when flying Emirates

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I’ve been running a few reference articles this month as news is thin on the ground, sharing some tips which new readers might not know about.

One of those ‘things you didn’t know you didn’t know’ is that it is possible to earn British Airways Avios points and tier points when flying with Emirates.

Emirates is an excellent choice for long-haul travel, especially in premium cabins on the A380 routes and especially if you live in the regions and would otherwise need to connect at Heathrow.  Here is my review of Emirates A380 First Class and here is my review of Emirates A380 Business Class.

Emirates 777

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 and for Heathrow Rewards credit 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 alternative, though.

Qantas signed a major tie-up with Emirates four years ago.  A large number of Emirates flights now carry Qantas flight codes.  Qantas 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.

I got my wife to try this out back in 2015.  She had to fly to Singapore for a conference and got herself routed London – Dubai – Singapore – Dubai – London.

This is what posted on


As you can see, full long-haul tier points – 560 tier points for the return trip – and Avios were received.  Whilst it states that all four flights were ‘operated by Qantas’, this is not the case.  Three were on Emirates with only QF1 being on a Qantas aircraft.

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.

Not all Emirates routes carry a Qantas flight code unfortunately, but you should be OK to most places in Asia.  For corporate bookings, you need to carefully explain to your travel booking company what you want to do.

British Airways BA Amex American Express

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 2021)

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

There are two official British Airways American Express cards. Both have increased sign-up bonuses until 2nd November 2021:

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

10,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 241 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

40,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

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

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel 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:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company 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. This card has a limited time offer of 60,000 Avios when you sign up:

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

60,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios 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.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)

Comments (48)

  • Manuel says:


    Do you know if you will also get points + tier points credited to other one world partner? Eg Finnair Plus


    • Alan says:

      Yes – this isn’t specific to BA, just a function of using the QF code.

  • Wade says:

    Can confirm this worked for me over the new year – QF flight numbers, Qantas out and Emirates back – tier points and avios for both

  • Peter K says:

    For those travelling in economy you also need to be aware that on Qantas Metal flights you have to pay to pre-choose your seats but on Emirates you don’t.
    At £30 (IIRC) a segment from Man-Mel it’s not cheap.

  • Simon says:

    OT – RFS bookings: last couple of days I’ve had a “Error: There was a problem with your request, please try again later.” when trying to book a RFS – anyone else have this problem? Thanks

    • Simon says:

      It was a domestic RFS booking – seems a common problem looking at the “ technical issues tracker” thread on flyertalk. I shall call.

  • Aaron says:

    In a slightly different but similar topic:
    Crediting a Virgin America First flight (Booked from Alaska site) credited to Alaska or to British Airways?

  • James says:

    Hello, my Father has just got the Amex Gold card but will be spending two of the next three months in France where I understand it is hard to use the Amex 🙁
    Which UK supermarkets are the easiest to accumulate gift cards / vouchers to bring forward some future spending to ensure they can hit the target ?

    Also does anyone know which, if any, French supermarkets accept Amex ?

    Any other suggestions ?


    • Alex W says:

      Tesco if you have any £x off £y spend vouchers. Non-tesco gift cards qualify for the discount.

    • johnny_c-l says:

      Morrisons used to offer some ‘More’ points when buying GCs, not sure if they still do. Otherwise it’s probably just a case of which retailers sell the brands you want to stock up on.

      If you want to keep your options open then you could buy Tesco gift cards now, then at a later stage use those to buy branded gift cards from Tesco for stores you want to use.

      • johnny_c-l says:

        …or you could use Amex via PayPal to buy Zeek credit and then convert into discount branded gift cards which would get you a better price if you’re interested in saving a few quid.

      • mark2 says:

        Morrison’s still give extra points on GC equivalent to 2.5% in vouchers, which you can use to buy more GC.

    • roberto says:

      Carrefour are a huge French supermarket chain and in Spain (where I shop) they take amex..

    • CDB says:

      I used Amex at Intermarche recently

    • SteveB says:

      Also Geant Casino… I used Amex at a couple of their hypermarkets last month.

    • Polly says:

      Actually James,
      Many major supermarkets take Amex in France, we use our Lloyd avios Amex everywhere there, even some restaurants accept it. Petrol stations no. But he would be paying the forex fee every time. Depends how quickly he wants to make his target. Are you a named 2nd cardholder. You could do the spend for him here in the uk tho.
      Yes, advance gift card spend is the way to go.

    • HAM76 says:

      You could simply top up your Amazon account, if you shop there. You then have ten years to spend the whole amount.

  • Neil Vernon says:

    I can confirm that this also worked for me multiple times.

    However, on one trip booked in business I used the Emirates First Lounge as I was EK Platinum at the time. I didn’t notice but when I handed over my card my Emirates number was entered into the booking replacing my BA number.

    It was only when the flights got credited to Emirates that I realised what had happened.

    I asked Emirates to reverse this and they refused but suggested I contact BA. I filled out a missing miles and tier points form and to my surprise they were credited very quickly and to my even bigger surprise the Emirates miles were not reversed.

    I’d not recommend this as a reliable process but might work for you in similar situations.

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