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.
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.