Qantas and Emirates are now sharing flights between Australia and New Zealand, adding the popular trans-Tasman route to their international network.
This unlocks a real gem for business travellers: flying across the pond on Emirates Airbus A380 in business class or even first class, instead of making do with a domestic-grade Qantas Boeing 737-800.
Emirates offers daily superjumbo services on the Sydney-Auckland and Melbourne-Auckland routes, with Brisbane-Auckland launching on October 2nd.
At a little over three hours, they're among the world's shortest Airbus A380 flights – but for Emirates, this offers a way to press its flagship A380s into service between trips to and from Dubai rather than spend time sitting on the tarmac.
Trans-Tasman, superjumbo style
The cost of a business class ride across the pond on a conventional Qantas flight or the superjumbo of new alliance chum Emirates is exactly the same: for Sydney-Auckland return that comes in around $1,634 (Business Saver) or $1,934 (Business Flex).
Now take this snap quiz: given that identical price tag, which of the following two seats you rather be in?
a) Qantas' domestic-grade Boeing 737 business class recliner
b) Emirates' international-grade Airbus A380 lie-flat
In case you need further convincing, the Emirates A380 also includes a business class bar and lounge for a bit of sky-high socialising.
Fly Emirates A380 style, earn Qantas points
We've already explained how you can book these great seats on Emirates' Auckland A380 service using Qantas Frequent Flyer points.
If you or your company is footing the bill in dollars rather than points, be sure to book the Emirates flights under their equivalent Qantas flight numbers in order to maximise your haul of frequent flyer points and valuable status credits.
Here's why: Emirates flights earn Qantas Frequent Flyer points at a relatively low partner airline rate of 1 point per mile with a cabin bonus of 25% in business class and 50% in first class.
For flying Sydney-Auckland on Emirates' A380 business class, that means you'd collect 1,345 Qantas points (one way) plus your 25% cabin bonus of 336 points – for a total of 1,681 points.
But if you book the same Emirates flight under its Qantas flight number, through Qantas or a Qantas travel agent, it carries the same weight as if you were flying on one of Qantas' own superjumbos and delivers a full serving of Qantas Frequent Flyer points.
This sees your business class cabin bonus doubled to 50% so those 1,345 points nudge up to 2,017 points.
More importantly for Qantas Frequent Flyer members, there's also an additional bonus based on your status: 50% for Silver, 75% for Gold and 100% for Platinum.
So if you're carrying a Gold card the tally jumps by a further 1,513 points to reach 3,530 points. That's more than twice the haul you'd have earned if your ticket was booked on the Emirates version of the same flight.
It's also worth noting that Emirates flights booked under their native EK number don't earn any Qantas status credits, so you'll be stalled at your current Qantas Frequent Flyer level.
Book the Emirates A380 as a Qantas flight and you'll collect status credits – in the case of Sydney to Auckland in business class, that's a handy 80 status credits each way.
What are the Qantas flight numbers to look for and book for?
Emirates' Sydney-Auckland A380 flight EK412 carries the Qantas flight number of QF8764, with the return leg EK413 co-marketed as QF8763.
Want to do Melbourne-Auckland in A380 style? The Emirates flight codes of EK406/407 become Qantas' QF8762/8761.
Emirates' forthcoming Brisbane-Auckland service lists as EK434/435 for the Gulf carrier but QF8770/8771 for the Red Roo.
(All four-digit Qantas flight numbers beginning with '8' are actually Emirates flights, but Qantas assigns different flight numbers for the A380's trans-Tasman legs compared to the primary Dubai flights.)
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About David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.