BA, Cathay fight Qantas, Emirates with new codeshare flights

BA, Cathay fight Qantas, Emirates with new codeshare flights

British Airways and Cathay Pacific are taking aim at the Qantas-Emirates alliance and wooing business travellers with new codeshare partnerships to Australia's international gateway airports.

Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Cairns will see BA codes on Cathay Pacific flights starting 31 March, to connect to British Airways' two Hong Kong-London flights.

The new Cathay codeshares will replace the long-standing Qantas-BA joint venture partnership, which comes to an end as the Qantas-Emirates alliance begins. It's high stakes on the Kangaroo Route as airlines adjust to the new landscape as the Red Roo starts hopping via Dubai instead of Singapore.

Business travellers heading to London via Hong Kong can already pick up Cathay Pacific's own flights all the way to the UK, but the option of two daily BA flights during busy periods adds another way to accrue those all-important Qantas Frequent Flyer points.

Read more: BA moves Australia flights to Heathrow T5: what's in it for you

In terms of timing and convenience, those two British Airways flights leave within half an hour of each other. When we checked for mid-May options, BA26 leaves at 2315 with BA28 following at 2345.

Depending on the flight you pick from Australia to Hong Kong, you might find yourself with a relatively long layover in Hong Kong.

Of course, you could also connect to one of Cathay's five daily flights between Hong Kong and London.

The extra codeshare options are especially welcome news for business travellers who travel premium economy, since Cathay Pacific's premium economy is available on Australian routes — yet there's no premium economy on Emirates.

Frequent flyers holding a Qantas Gold (oneworld Sapphire) card or better will also appreciate the chance to transit in Hong Kong, where Cathay's excellent set of lounges make even a long layover productive or relaxing — significantly better than the current set of oneworld lounges in Singapore.

For all the very latest news business travellers and frequent flyers need to know, follow @AusBT on Twitter!

John Walton

John Walton

@thatjohn

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.
 

35 comments

  • AusFlyer

    AusFlyer

    26 Feb, 2013 12:30 pm

    It's another option... but you would never fly CX to HKG and then transfer onto a BA flight with their dreadful forward / backward seats in Business unless you absolutely had to. I would just book CX all the way through - there are plenty of CX flights to choose from!

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  • John Walton

    John Walton

    26 Feb, 2013 02:19 pm

    Open question: it's well-known that BA's seat is less spacious than Cathay's and doesn't have direct aisle access. How much of a pricing percentage difference would that need to be compared with Cathay, on the Australia-Hong Kong route, for you to consider it?

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  • AusFlyer

    AusFlyer

    26 Feb, 2013 03:17 pm

    On the Australia - Hong Kong route? I thought BA were just code-sharing on the CX planes rather than having an actual BA plane fly this sector?

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  • Peter McMahon

    redwinepeter

    26 Feb, 2013 12:39 pm

    As a long time QF Platinum member based in Perth- goodbye QF

    We no longer has access to QF ticketed under $8k Europe return businness fare on QF without going via Syd. This is the only way we can retain our status credits.

    We have been b!@4%^ loyal - too bad we could not say the same for QF

     

    Come on BA lets get this roll out going with great transit times please

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  • airtraveladdict

    airtraveladdict

    26 Feb, 2013 01:30 pm

    But we would have to join up to Marco Polo, which is the most confusing FF program I have ever read. I don't know how you move up tiers, get tiers, or do you get it all?

    And we can't join BA's Avios, because we aren't UK citizens.

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  • airtraveladdict

    airtraveladdict

    26 Feb, 2013 01:34 pm

    Having said that, Asia Miles, which is linked to Marco Polo, has better redemption than Qantas FF. and fewer points required for business/first class seats.

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  • sq421

    sq421

    26 Feb, 2013 01:34 pm

    That probably was an outcome of the close relationship BA had with QF; a quid pro quo to not poach members in the other's "territory". I wouldn't be surprised if BA opens up BAEC signup to Australian residents.

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  • airtraveladdict

    airtraveladdict

    26 Feb, 2013 05:53 pm

    I hope BA opens up Avios to Aus residents, It is much easier to get BA silver, and also BA Silver gives access to business lounges.

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  • airtraveladdict

    airtraveladdict

    26 Feb, 2013 06:05 pm

    Yep I double checked, BA Executive club Silver is equivalent to One World Sapphire, which is QF Gold.

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  • spinoza

    spinoza

    26 Feb, 2013 01:53 pm

    It's not that confusing, there's asia miles, which works the same as QFF points, and there's marco polo miles / sectors, which is like qff status credits, except they have 2 ways of qualifying, either miles or sectors. 1 economy flight is equal to 1 sector, and 1 mile travelled in economy is equal to 1 marco polo mile. To reach Gold, you need 60,000 miles OR 40 sectors. So if you fly a lot of short trips, you might qualify with sectors, if you fly a lot of long trips, you'd probably qualify with miles. 

    Benefits include - much less points to redeem any seats, and even their silver members get lounge access with CX lounges (including the Qantas lounge in Sydney), which is a huge benefit to less frequent travellers compared to Qantas silver.

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  • airtraveladdict

    airtraveladdict

    26 Feb, 2013 05:55 pm

    thanks, you explained it to me alot better than the site. The mumbo jumbo on the site was confusing, i couldn't understand it after reading it about 8 times over.

    I've been seriously considering moving to Marco Polo Club, but I didn't want to do it unless I understood the programme.

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  • LHRBNE

    LHRBNE

    26 Feb, 2013 10:32 pm

    I would caveat spinoza's point to say that CX SL only gives you access to a lounge if you're flying on CX metal or CX codeshare (ticketed by CX) - this is a CX-exclusive benefit and is not an OW mandated benefit if you were otherwise an OW Sapphire (CX GO) or Emerald (CX DM).

    Don't get the two confused! ... You will, from time to time, see disgruntled CX SL holders being denied entry to BA lounges on the basis that they don't have OW status...!

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  • airtraveladdict

    airtraveladdict

    26 Feb, 2013 06:09 pm

    So do you earn tier bonuses points with Asia Miles/Marco Polo? Like silver 25% gold 50% etc?

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  • kash

    kash

    26 Feb, 2013 07:09 pm

    no Asia Miles has no tiers

    you earn tier bonuses etc via club miles (marco polo)

    so there are basically 2 type of miles-Asia miles for redemption etc

    and club miles/sectors for status benefits

     

    I like it  a lot

     

    also why would anyone even fly BA???- CX business all the way! and economy too

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  • airtraveladdict

    airtraveladdict

    26 Feb, 2013 08:01 pm

    thanks, so for example, if i flew business and was silver? i would earn 1.25 points per mile for the cabin and the silver tier bonus?

    sorry im just thick in the head sometimes

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  • kash

    kash

    26 Feb, 2013 09:54 pm

    http://www.cathaypacific.com/cpa/en_NZ/ffp/mpo/clubmiles

     

    yup!!

     

    however certain fares are not classified as club routes/fares!!!-anyways that is what CX told us when we inquired as to why no club miles were added but Asia miles were

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  • LHRBNE

    LHRBNE

    26 Feb, 2013 10:27 pm

    No - you don't earn any tier bonuses on CX MPO.

    You would only earn a cabin bonus of 1.25x per mile or 1.25 sectors, regardless of whether you were GR (green, which is equivalent to QF Bronze), SL, GO or DM.

    Sorry.

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  • airtraveladdict

    airtraveladdict

    26 Feb, 2013 10:37 pm

    thanks, now it makes sense.

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  • airtraveladdict

    airtraveladdict

    26 Feb, 2013 06:12 pm

    Yeah Asia Miles does have very generous redemptions, for a First Class ticket from Melb/Sydney to New York, its 130,000 points one way. Whereas with Qantas FF its 192,000 points for the same redemption.

    And Melb/Sydney to London First Class is 160,000 one way and Qantas with 192,000 points.

    Big diffference.

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  • LHRBNE

    LHRBNE

    26 Feb, 2013 10:48 pm

    As a general rule for Y redemptions, QFF is still generally cheaper on one-way, whereas AM is cheaper on return.

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  • madge

    madge

    27 Feb, 2013 09:14 am

    You will also need to account for the fact that CX do not offer F between AU & HKG so that leg will be in J. At least they lower the points amount when the class isn't available, unlike QF.

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  • akw

    akw

    27 Feb, 2013 09:52 am

    I am with you here. I've decided to fly a few times with CX and see what the program would take me.

    Will be flying overnight SYD-HKG on CX for the first time, for me this timetable is best. I know the Qantas exec in HK and they 'begged' Qantas to give them just one overnight flight SYD-HKG per week, answer 'not interested'.

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  • spinoza

    spinoza

    27 Feb, 2013 10:10 am

    Hope you have status that can get you into the arrivals lounge, otherwise it'll be about a one hour wait until the first airport express to central

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  • TheRealBabushka

    TheRealBabushka

    26 Feb, 2013 02:06 pm

    Oh this is FANTASTIC news!!! The devil's in the detail...

    John, will one be able to buy a BA coded, CX operated flight from ba.com to connect to BA's own HKG/LHR service?

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  • KG

    KG

    26 Feb, 2013 02:37 pm

    I would think you can, as I have frequently bought BA coded but QF operated flights and if this new BA/CX partnership works in the same way as the BA/QF partnership did, that would be the way to go!

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  • TheRealBabushka

    TheRealBabushka

    26 Feb, 2013 04:03 pm

    The BA/CX partnership is most definitely not the same as the BA/QF partnership.

    I've performed a mock booking on ba.com and it would appear itineraries with BA coded CX operated flights are considerably more expensive than the BA/QF ones.

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  • madge

    madge

    26 Feb, 2013 03:35 pm

    You certainly can, they are already available. Prices seem to be lower for longer connections (5+ hours).

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  • Glynn Gill

    GG

    26 Feb, 2013 05:13 pm

    QF may suffer because they lose the traditional pleasant "afternoon flight" to Asia on QF 1 followed by the "long sleep" to London.  Its now going to be hard arriving in London after a 90 min midnight wait in Dubai, interrupting what would otherwise be sleep.  Worse out of London at night on QF 2 with a short 7 hours to a dawn 2 hour wait in Dubai.  CX and BA maintain the current more attractive sleep pattern via Asia

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  • Rufus

    Rufus

    26 Feb, 2013 06:08 pm

    I agree, Glynn.  I've only flown via the Gulf once, and the flight was all the wrong way round.  I can't fly QF anymore in any case (my usual QF6/5 combo has been cancelled), the EK flights have terrible times (and guaranteed bad sleep) so it's going to be Cathay in future.  

    I'm keeping an eye out to see if CX or BA will match my Qantas status.  QF is worth nothing to me now.

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  • KG

    KG

    26 Feb, 2013 10:10 pm

    Despite the fact that QF might be useless (I agree with that, it redemption options are pretty poor), I personally credit a lot of mileage earned via my Australian CC to the QFF scheme. This enables me to redeem premium tickets which I value wuite a lot despite the poor rates.

    If you switch to Marco Polo it is harder to do so (perhaps via AMEX rewards you can transfer mileage to Marco Polo, but it would be less lucrative?).

    In a perfect world AAdvantage is the program to go for, best redemption rates you can find, but again the lack of CC earn posibillities it is not too good....

    No member give thanks

  • airtraveladdict

    airtraveladdict

    26 Feb, 2013 10:43 pm

    KG have you head "How American Express have leapfrogged the competition – Part 1, oneworld redemptions" on points hack?

    http://www.pointhacks.com.au/american-express-leapfrogged-competition-part-1-oneworld-redemptions/

    Keith talks about AMEX and Asia Miles

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  • KG

    KG

    27 Feb, 2013 09:57 am

    @Airtraveladdict: Thanks for the link, interesting read (some good articles). I am revising my overall strategy in terms of where to credit points to and AMEX is definitely on the radar. If only they would offer the Platinum card for 450aud as they do in the US....

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  • airtraveladdict

    airtraveladdict

    27 Feb, 2013 11:15 am

    @KG, anytime! Keith is pretty nifty when it comes to points. He has got a good AMEX/Mastercard combo plan to maximise your point earnings.

    Yes, the USA has a lot generous programmes, but alot of people have told me, "well they also have a bad debt reputation". But if you are a smart traveller and know how to move your points around, you would be doing business class trips for 90,000 points from new york to sydney, or europe or asia... just one of the examples i read.

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  • LHRBNE

    LHRBNE

    26 Feb, 2013 10:25 pm

    Good luck having CX or BA match QF status - they are both extremely stingy and, more often than not, because it's still within OW, they'll refuse the status match as you still notionally receive OW benefits when presenting QF status.

    KG is right though - you can switch AMEX MR to CX AM, but the CC earning options are considerably more limited than QFF (and for the limited range of providers outside of AMEX that do provide earning opportunities, they aren't as attractive as QFF linked programmes).

    No member give thanks

  • airtraveladdict

    airtraveladdict

    26 Feb, 2013 06:03 pm

    On Air France's site I saw business class fares from Melbourne - Hong Kong - Paris for $5250 return with Cathay Pacific/Air France combo. I thought that was a good fare?? maybe I'm wrong.

    Or Melbourne - Singapore Jetstar economy - Paris Air France Business, same setting return for $5050.

    But we can't credit the AF flight to BA executive club/Avios, cuz we cant be members of BA, So I guess you can credit the flight to Marco Polo/Asia Miles.

    No member give thanks

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