Qantas has the largest frequent flyer program in Australia, and one of the biggest drawcards of the program is its partnership with Emirates, one of the world’s largest airlines. This gives Qantas frequent flyers access to Emirates rewards seats and the ability to earn Qantas points and status credits as you would on any Qantas flight. This means you can leverage this vast route network and get many of the benefits of Qantas Frequent Flyer membership with a few caveats and careful planning. Here is the best way to earn and use Qantas points on Emirates.
Earning Qantas points on Emirates is confusing
There are two ways of earning Qantas points on Emirates flights. The best way is to book directly through the Qantas website. This will ensure that you get a Qantas codeshare flight, earning the equivalent points and status credits that you would get on a Qantas flight flying the same route. This can be tricky because of the way Qantas presents the information. Have a look below:
These are the same flight; however, on one of them, the Dubai – Munich leg is QF8051 (a codeshare), and the other is EK51. The first flight would earn you 9,300 Qantas points and 95 status credits in economy, while the latter will only get you 8,350 points and 60 status credits. To make matters even more complicated, if you book this flight through Emirates’ website, you can book the exact same flight but only with an EK flight number. This would net you no status credits and only 5,300 points. All these flights are the same and cost the same amount of money, but the amount of points you earn will differ depending on where you booked the flight.
While this can be confusing for those Australians who fly Emirates often, it may be worth exploring this avenue to acquire status with the airline due to the relative ease of earning Qantas points in Australia compared to Skywards miles. Qantas frequent flyers will still get access to Emirates lounges (again with caveats) and all of the benefits of being a Qantas frequent flyer within Australia as well.
Lounge access on Emirates as a Qantas Frequent Flyer
Lounge access can be confusing for people unfamiliar with the Qantas-Emirates partnership. Passengers flying on a QF or EK flight number who are either in business or first class or have gold or above status can access their usual lounges in Australia and Dubai. When you hold Qantas gold status or above, you can still access Emirates lounges when flying Emirates or Qantas flights, but only within Australia, Europe, Asia, North Africa and the Middle East. You cannot access the lounge by default using your status outside of these areas. You would be required to fly in a class providing lounge access, i.e. Business or First.
Redeeming Qantas points for Emirates flights
I’ll start with the good. Qantas frequent flyers have access to one of the best First and Business class products in the sky and to Emirates’ huge route network. This allows the opportunity to book reward seats to destinations that aren’t as accessible with other partners. An example is flights to Africa, often poorly covered by Asian carriers. Qantas Frequent Flyers get access to almost the same seats as Emirates Frequent Flyers, including First Class seats (which can’t be said for many other partners), and as you can see below, costs are similar. When combined with how easily you can churn to gain Qantas points, using Qantas to redeem Emirates flights can seem like a no-brainer.
Economy flights can be great redemption opportunities as you can get one-stop flights to most destinations in Europe and Africa. While taxes can be higher, it can still be worth it when going to destinations that are harder to get to, as these flights can be pricey in general. For instance, a return flight booked a year in advance from Sydney to Nairobi is $2,800 in Economy. You would pay 132,400 points and $944 in taxes if you used points. While that may seem steep at first (especially compared to some redemptions to Europe and the US), if you’ve received your points through churning or other bonuses, they’ve cost you nothing. Here, you’ve saved almost $2,000 on flights, which is nothing to sneeze at.
There is one downside, though. Emirates has increased their surcharges on premium redemption flights even further to sometimes eyewatering amounts. Look at this First Class redemption to Munich. While a cash First Class ticket will cost you a lot more than the taxes you are paying, you’re still on the hook for $1,800. The fees are similar for Business Class redemptions. Compare this to other airlines like Air France, Singapore Airlines and Japan Airlines, which would charge you a maximum of $400 in surcharges. Due to this, if you have another option, it is often not worth redeeming your points to fly Emirates, despite how good the product is.