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Qantas, Emirates reveal full alliance and frequent flyer benefits

By John Walton     Filed under: emirates, qantas, Qantas Frequent Flyer, Skywards, Qantas Emirates Alliance

Qantas and Emirates will offer an extended range of perks for business travellers and frequent flyers across their new alliance, which comes into force on 1 April.

Frequent flyers with Qantas Platinum and Gold status, along with Qantas Club members, will enjoy reciprocal lounge access, while all travellers will be able to earn and spend points at "home-airline" rates across the combined alliance network.

Passengers will also see chauffeur service, stopover perks and priority airport fast-track queues for frequent flyers, with a shakeup of baggage limits especially important for business travellers to note.

Earn points across the alliance, but status with "your" airline only

Both Qantas Frequent Flyers and Emirates Skywards members will be able to earn either Qantas Frequent Flyer points or Skywards miles on all flights "on the joint Qantas-Emirates network", the airlines promise, but there's one exception: Emirates' Skywards members can earn miles on domestic Qantas flights only when those flights that are part of an international booking with Qantas or Emirates.

You'll also need to book with your own airline to earn Qantas status credits or Emirates Skywards' tier miles equivalent.

In other words, if Qantas Frequent Flyers book a flight starting with the QF flight number, they'll earn points, status credits and status bonuses at the Qantas rate.

But if the flight starts with an EK flight number, QFF members will only earn points — not status credits, and without bonuses for their frequent flyer tier — and at a partner rate below the Qantas rate.

It's a similar reciprocal arrangement for Emirates' Skywards members: you'll only get tier miles and your tier bonus when your flight has an EK code.

Lounge access for Platinum, Gold and Qantas Club members

Qantas' Platinum One, Platinum and Gold frequent flyers will have the option of Emirates Lounge access in Australia, Europe, Asia, North America and the Middle East.

In Dubai, it's the First Lounges for Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers, while Gold frequent flyers get the Business Lounges. Emirates Golds will also regain the ability to bring a guest into the Business Lounges in Dubai and Emirates Lounges elsewhere.

Qantas Club members will be able to use Qantas lounges in Australia and the Emirates Business Lounge in Dubai. In London, they'll also be able to use the American Airlines Admirals Club — but only when flying Qantas or Emirates between Australia, Dubai and London.

"Reciprocal lounge access is not permitted for the Americas, New Zealand or South Africa," the airlines confirm.

Qantas Classic Awards available on Emirates flights

Qantas Frequent Flyers will be able to book flights across the joint network using Classic Awards — not the more points-expensive Partner Award level.

(Emirates' Skywards members can also redeem at the Saver Reward level on Qantas services.)

For Classic Awards, Qantas Frequent Flyers will need to book QF flight numbers on Qantas-operated aircraft, or Emirates flight numbers on Emirates-operated aircraft.

Upgrades with Qantas points are only possible on QF flight numbers on Qantas-operated aircraft — not on the onward journey with Emirates.

Priority fast-track access matches across tier

Both Qantas and Emirates will extend the priority airport services for their own frequent flyers — including premium check-in queues, priority wait-listing, and fast-track immigration — to equivalent frequent flyers from the other airline.

Qantas Chauffeur Drive rolls out

As previously announced, the Red Roo will also match Emirates' chauffeur program. "Chauffeur Drive will be offered to Qantas First and Business travellers on services between Australia, Dubai and London from 31 March 2013," Qantas says.

In addition, trips longer than 12 hours will receive chauffeur service starting in July 2013 — that covers flights from Australia to Los Angeles, Dallas, New York, Santiago and Johannesburg.

"Dubai Connect" accommodation for long layovers

If you have a long transit in Dubai on the joint network, Qantas will match Emirates' existing service where passengers who have no option but an inconvenient connection are provided with hotel rooms, transfers, meals and visa costs.

If you're in business or first class, you'll be put up if your shortest possible connection time is greater than six hours and less than 24 hours.

In economy or premium economy, that increases to the 8-24 hour window.

New baggage limits bring Qantas back to a "weight-only" system

As part of the alliance, Qantas is returning to using weight only to calculate luggage allowances. That's the same system Emirates uses, and a similar method to the one Qantas used before it changed to a "piece and weight" system in May 2012.

There are winners (mainly in economy) and losers (mainly in business class), so check out our article outlining exactly who gets what under the new joint Qantas-Emirates baggage allowances.

For all the latest on the Qantas-Emirates alliance and more, follow @AusBT on Twitter. 

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About John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

 

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1 on 12/2/13 by hutch

Shame QF is not matching EK Lounge access in Dubai for Silver QFF. Yeah, I know Silver's are towards the pleb end of the program, but would have been nice.

2 on 12/2/13 by KG

No big surprises here, a few things that stick out to me:

  • Shame about no earning status credits or tier mileage if you are not on a flightnumber of "your" airline. To me this is a huge drawback and I'd rather fly BA or CX if the price is right as that will earn me status credits towards my QFF status.
  • Classic awards on either EK operated and marketed flights or QF operated and marketed flights is good, but what is annoying is that you can only upgrade on QF flights (this is the case now but it is annoying as QF has limited routes and the one thing they market big time is how they have expanded thier network by joining the alliance). It would have been good that if youhave a ticket booked under one PNR you would be able to upgrade all the way (understand technical difficulties with matching award inventory and hooking up systems, but still). 
  • Reciprocal lounge access is good, bit confused about the last line in that paragraph: 

"Reciprocal lounge access is not permitted for the Americas, New Zealand or South Africa," the airlines confirm.

It seem to contradict what was said prior in the same paragraph (bar the NZ and SA bit)? No access in NZ is not a big problem, QF has proper lounges in AKL and WLG which are adequate. Qantas Club members seem to be missing out in London when flying to DXB or Australia as they are only allowed in the Admirals Club (which is not too shabby, but I would prefer an EK lounge). At the moment they can use BA Galleries if I am not mistaking?

  • Chauffeur driuve is an added bonus but I wonder why not to CGK, PVG, SIN, HKG and NRT? Seems a bit meagre. Emirates has it on most flights (except trans tasman when in business).
  • As a last remark I think  that, although it is a step down for most flyers, the new baggage allowance is more than enough.

 

3 on 12/2/13 by sdwylie

Very disappointed about the inability to upgrade with points on a QF flight number on EK metal.

4 on 12/2/13 by moa999

sdwylie,

Did you really expect to be able to upgrade on EK metal.

You can't use QF points to upgrade on any other oneworld airline (whether on Q codeshare or other airline code)

1 on 12/2/13 by KG

Speaking for myself (also being disappointed at the inability to upgrade on EK metal) I think looking at how "tight" this alliance is I did expect them to give FF the ability to upgrade, esp when you buy a QF ticket to e.g. Milan flying QF to DXB and EK to MXP. Indeed it is not possible on any OW carrier, but I feel that this alliance has been brought as a partnership rather than alliance.

1 on 12/2/13 by spinoza

I see the wisdom in both your comments. My first reaction is, well of course, you can't do it on other oneworld either. At the same time they are harmonising a lot, with the idea being to convince Qantas members that flying Emirates will be in many ways the same as flying Qantas. So now Qantas doesn't need to fly to Frankfurt or anywhere in Europe, because Emirates will go to all those places, so its just as good as if you were flying Qantas. 

1 on 12/2/13 by TheRealBabushka

@spinoza

Oneworld does allow it, well technically "core Oneworld" carriers (to borrow the language of the two-speed Europe!) allows it. As AA, BA and IB frequent flyers you can upgrade on either three airlines using points from your "home" programme.

1 on 12/2/13 by spinoza

Is it just these 3 airlines? IB and BA are the same company.. this sounds more like a bilateral agreement rather than an aspect thats part of oneworld. 

And since this includes AA, I think this is more like the PIGS than core oneworld :)

1 on 12/2/13 by TheRealBabushka

@spinoza

LOL

Good one! The PIGS might be the core if the Teutonic axis breaks free! Heavens!

5 on 12/2/13 by mitchimus

have to echo the comments about the lack of upgrades on EK metal with a QF flight number. Seems the only people who aren't penalised by the new arrangements are those who fly through Melb or Syd - a big backward step from pre EK alliance days. Then again I guess we shouldn't be surprised as we are talking about Qantas the airline of Syd//Melb. To add insult to injury those of us who fly at the back of the bus have to put up with ttights on  EK 777's with the tight 10 abreast economy seating the whole way...oh wait no I don't I can go MH or CX or maybe just switch to SQ and earn VA points and status credits.

6 on 12/2/13 by Drinazz

Brisbane flyers get a really bad deal with the whole arrangement.  Given there is no QANTAS metal on the first leg to London, we won't be able to use points for upgrades without going through dreadful Sydney

7 on 12/2/13 by Skipp

Further dissapointing is the lack of options regarding the now popular (and award winning for QF) Premium Economy Class. For a 10+ hour flight to Dubai from Australia, you can only rely on the very limited Qantas metal to snag a Premium Economy seat (the seats that are much more affordable for business travellers). Certainly for most premium economy customers (unless you are flying to London on the very limited QF metal) Dubai is where their 'premium' experience ends as you board a codeshare flight to European cities on Emirates metal in the sqwishy economy cabin.

8 on 12/2/13 by James

Just to clarify - If I fly QF to DXB and then EK on the second leg to Frankfurt (post mid-2013), do I not get QFF Status Credits for the Frankfurt leg of that journey? 

1 on 12/2/13 by KG

If the second leg hs a QF flightnumber you will earn, if you are on an EK flightnumber you will not earn SC (and bonus mileage according to QFF program rules)

2 on 12/2/13 by TheRealBabushka

@James

Regardless of who you fly (i.e. the aircraft), if your flights have a QF flight number then you will earn QFF Status Credit. So for your example;

QF to DXB: You will earn Status Credit

EK to FRA (QF flight number): You will earn Status Credit

However if

EK to FRA (EK flight number): You will not earn Status Credit

9 on 12/2/13 by TheRealBabushka

I was thinking to myself, "Why did Qantas specifically mention the use of the Admiral's Club lounge at LHR?"

Then it became apparent. This was another PR gloss by Qantas to distract from the fact that it does not operate its own lounge from its last few remaining international destinations! 

Whilst the JSA with BA concealed that fact for a long time, due to its ability to accommodate Qantas Club pax, the proposed arrangement  with EK has blown this wide open!

Qantas, with its twice daily A380 service to London, one of its leading international stations, does not even operate its own lounge there! 

Disgraceful? Your thoughts?

1 on 12/2/13 by moa999

Disgraceful???...Renting and staffing a lounge for 3hrs out of 24hrs every day....I would call your suggestion outright stupidity and a great way to make Qantas International even more loss making.

I can't think of any airline that has a lounge at every port it flies to --- using third party lounges or alliance arrangements is very common and much more efficient to do.

As for Qantas Club... it is a lounge membership program lounges come and go (eg. Gold Coast, most BA lounges) and it is a far more generous paid scheme than most other airlines offer for those who are only occasional fliers.

1 on 12/2/13 by TheRealBabushka

Singapore Airlines operates its own lounge at SFO even though it does only 2 daily flights a day, one a 777-300ER the other an A380. So its not that rediculous an idea.

BA lounge access is available only if you're connecting on a QF flight. Its not the blanket access (as the case with Admiral's Lounge) as it was once before.

But since it has been brought up, why would QF specify access to Admiral's lounge at LHR if the current access to BA Galleries at LHR T3 is unchanged?

2 on 12/2/13 by spinoza

No need for the extremism... 

Its perfectly sensible not to operate a lounge in London for Qantas. When did Qantas last have a dedicated Qantas lounge? 

Note that CX has 4 flights daily to Sydney (and this is a hugely profitable route for them), and they don't have a dedicated lounge because they have an arrangement with Qantas.

On the other hand, moa999, its not a totally ridiculous idea to have a lounge in London either, after April Qantas will only have ~3 daily flights out of Hong Kong. Hong Kong has 5 (soon 6) CX lounges, and yet Qantas feels the need to build their own. Strange... IMO Qantas needn't have a lounge in HKG...

1 on 12/2/13 by TheRealBabushka

Agreed.

I'd prefer if they had gone down the honest-up front approach and say "Hey you know what, our marriage with BA has broken down and as such we're crashing on Emirate's sofa. So give us some time and we'll sort this out. Meanwhile Qantas Club pax, since it's Emirate's sofa, we haven't got enough space, so while we know you'de rather not hang out at an Admiral's lounge, during the stop over you get to chill at the Emirates Business Lounge. How cool is that!"

Candour goes a long way...

10 on 13/2/13 by STU

Has anyone noticed that the admirals club in London closes at 7pm. This is several hours before qantas flights depart. I wonder if qantas will negotiate new hours with aa or does this mean qantas club members won't be able to access a lounge at LHR once the agreement with ba finishes.

11 on 13/2/13 by Rufus

Meanwhile I was looking into return Frankfurt - Oz flights for travel in May.  I do this trip regularly, generally on QF6/5.

Qantas is offering me codeshares on EK - I noticed the following:

- the timings are poor, with hours wasted in Dubai and an arrival in FRA several hours after I would have arrived on QF5 (timing inbound to Oz isn't bad);

- I usually book business - the fare at first glance looked reasonable (around EUR3,800) but then the fine print told me "your flight from Dubai to Sydney will be in Economy" (and vice versa SYD-DXB)!  What on earth?  To get a flight which is actually business class was closer to EUR5,000 - and god forbid had I actually wanted to connect to QF1/2 to fly on an actual Qantas aircraft.

- Meanwhile BA and CX are offering very competitive J fares.   

I'm about to call QF and get them to pay out the couple of grand in credit I have with them from a fare I had to cancel a few weeks ago.  Doens't look like I'm going to need it...

12 on 13/2/13 by DaveK

I might be missing someting obvious on the QF website...you can book SYD-DBX, no problems...lots of options displayed, how do you book DBX-anywhere else? DBX does not appear as an origin option.

UAE?

1 on 15/2/13 by peteshep

Currently to book ex-DXB without a flight from AU first, you can go to the Expedia website (or potentially other third party sites - I just haven't tried any others).

Qantas will need to add UAE as a country to the drop down list in the top right corner of the screen to book flights ex-DXB (currently you have to use the local country site to book flights that are not ex-AU).

13 on 15/2/13 by antkleve

I'm curious to know a couple of other things;

1. How do the taxes on award redemption tickets compare between QF and EK?

2. Are the fares one each airline always identical for the same flight/class?

3. What is the Earn/Burn comparison between each airline?

1 on 15/2/13 by peteshep

Not yet, but my understanding is that they are going to be aligned.  In some cases, QF flights are actually cheaper (especially on Expedia for ex-DXB flights).

14 on 15/2/13 by Brian

Well, as someone who almost never flys QF, either domestically or internationally, but often flys business class on EK, the whole arrangement appears to be next to useless for me, particularly with the comment that "Upgrades with Qantas points are only possible on QF flight numbers on Qantas-operated aircraft — not on the onward journey with Emirates."

It seems that my collection of credit card /shopping QF points is as worthless as ever.

15 on 16/2/13 by Peter Alba

Just wondered if any word about whether Emirates will offer premium economy to match Qantas offering? If you cant afford business to travel PE on all long haul would be better than Emirates camped economy.

1 on 17/2/13 by David

Emirates has no plans to introduce premium economy.

 

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