Qantas and Emirates have had a long standing partnership that opens up an extensive network to passengers and provides a wider choice of destinations on both airlines. To allow this increased connectivity, the airlines operate codeshare flights, where an airline carries passengers whose tickets were issued by another airline. A codeshare flight will show the flight number of the airline you booked through. For example, Sydney to London booked via Qantas on flights QF8415 and QF8009 will be on aircraft operated by Emirates.
Whilst on paper it may seem that there is little difference between booking on QF or EK flight numbers, there can be some significant differences, especially in business class. If you are ticketed on an Emirates flight number, operated by Emirates, you are entitled to a chauffeur service from your home to the airport and the arrival destination in selected cities. The transfers will be included up to a certain distance cap, which typically ranges from 50-80km.
If you travel on the same flights but ticketed with a Qantas codeshare flight number, or on a Qantas aircraft with an Emirates codeshare flight number, you will not be entitled to this service. Pre-Covid, this was provided but Qantas quietly removed this inclusion as of April 2020 and have not reinstated it. If you are also stopping over in Dubai, then the included value of the chauffeur transfers only increases further. For example, for a return trip to Europe you could be looking at private transfer costs as follows (approximately, based on Blacklane.com)…
Departure transfer to Sydney Airport - $170
Return stopover transfers in Dubai - $190
Arrival transfer from Heathrow to central London - $190
Departure transfer from Paris to Charles de Gaulle - $295
Arrival transfer from Sydney Airport - $195
A total value of $1040, on the basis of stopping in Dubai in only one direction. This is quite a significant value add for Emirates, not only compared to booking on a QF ticket but compared to their competition who no longer offer such a service. With post-Covid cost-cutting and the trend towards the unbundling of business class fares, we believe the days are numbered of Emirates continuing to offer chauffeur transfers, so it’s a great time to be taking advantage of this inclusion.
Whilst you will be able to have the chauffeur included, if you book an Emirates ticket your Qantas frequent flyer accrual is significantly impacted. You will still be able to earn Qantas points on Emirates flight numbers, but the earning ability will decrease and no status credits will be accrued. Flying Sydney to London Business Class return with Qantas flight numbers will earn 560-590 status credits and 36,000-40,000 frequent flyer points depending on the fare type. The point accrual will also increase if you are a higher tier frequent flyer member. However, if travelling on an Emirates ticket with Emirates flight numbers, regardless of whether the flights are operated by Qantas or Emirates, you will only earn 26,500 points and not be eligible for any status credits or additional point bonuses based on your status.
For passengers who are focussed on maintaining their membership level, giving up 560-590 status points may leave you just 10–40 status credits short of maintaining Gold Status and around half the points required to maintain Platinum status. Furthermore, you may be able to add in extra domestic sectors or stopovers to your trip to maximise your Qantas status credits. This may leave loyal frequent flyers stuck between a rock and a hard place, with Qantas forcing their hand towards booking on a Qantas ticket and missing out on a benefit they were used to enjoying pre-Covid.
The other element that is impacted is who controls your ticket, and ultimately your prepaid funds. Whilst as the ticketing agent we do the heavy lifting of dealing with the airlines for you, for changes and schedule change issues we will ultimately be dealing with the ticketing airline, and not the operating airline, on your behalf. We saw during Covid, that refunds and credits were handled very differently by each airline, even if you were going to travel on the same aircraft.
Emirates were far more generous in this regard with their rebooking flexibility and how quickly they processed refunds. Whereas Qantas did offer a multi-credit option and ability to utilize credits on shorter domestic flights, albeit their new prices were at significantly higher levels than the equivalent Covid credit values. Whilst we don’t expect a similar situation to be repeated, who you entrust your funds and business to is something to consider with your purchase.
Depending on your situation, it may be worth more to travel on a Qantas ticket to earn the status credits and chase Gold and Platinum status. Whereas those clients who don’t travel as extensively domestically, or perhaps are lifetime Gold with Qantas already, may prefer us to book Emirates flights/tickets to take advantage of the valuable chauffeur service.
Our airfare experts are experienced in itineraries, codeshare flights and frequent flyer accruals and can advise what combination and route is best for you. Contact us today to discuss your options and book your next business class fare.