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Many of us knew this day was coming. However, it's now official. The long-standing partnership between Alaska Airlines and Emirates is coming to an end. But, you still have some time to take advantage of this partnership.
An Overview of Alaska Airlines Partnership with Emirates
Before Alaska Airlines joined the Oneworld alliance and expanded its partnership with American Airlines, one of the best selling points of the Mileage Plan program was the ability to redeem miles with Emirates.
Emirates' first-class cabin is among the best in the world. The airline's business class cabin is also a competitive product. Paired with a massive network of flights across the globe, flights operated by Emirates have long been a popular use of points and miles. Historically, one of the best ways to book Emirates award flights was with Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles.
In addition to redeeming points, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan members could also earn points on flights booked through Emirates. Also, Mileage Plan elite frequent flyers including MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K enjoyed complimentary access to Emirates' business class lounge at Dubai International Airport (DXB).
All-in-all, the Alaska-Emirates partnership was great for travelers. However, it has long been suspected that this partnership was coming to an end — between Alaska joining Oneworld and restrictions put on Emirates awards. Alaska Airlines has now confirmed this and has set a date on which Emirates will no longer be a Mileage Plan partner.
Breaking Down The End of the Alaska-Emirates Partnership
There is still some time for Mileage Plan members to take advantage of Alaska Air's partnership with Emirates. The partnership is set to end on July 31, 2021. This gives travelers some time to book those final award flights through the Mileage Plan program.
Redeeming Mileage Plan Miles for Emirates
Mileage Plan members wanting to redeem miles for travel on Emirates can book award travel through July 31. Travelers hoping to book travel with Emirates beyond that date will not be able to do so.
Additionally, Alaska Airlines notes on its website that if Mileage Plan members have already booked travel on Emirates for dates beyond July 31, they will not be able to make any changes after the 31st. Instead, they will be required to cancel their reservation and book with another Alaska Airlines partner.
Mileage Plan currently charges the following award rates on Emirates award flights to/from the contiguous U.S.:
|India and South Asia||42,500||82,500|
Stretched to the max, you can fly over 10,000 miles (across 20 hours) in Emirates business class from Los Angeles (LAX) to Male, Maldives (MLE) for 82,500 Alaska Mileage Plan miles each way — with just $29 in taxes and fees:
Earning Mileage Plan Miles on Emirates
Mileage Plan members can still earn miles on flights operated by Emirates through July 31. Furthermore, flights booked for travel after July 31 may still be eligible to earn miles. Here's a summary of how Mileage Plan members will earn with Emirates as the partnership comes to an end:
Alternatives to Redeeming Mileage Plan Miles with Emirates
The good news is that Alaska Airlines is now a part of the Oneworld alliance. Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan members have more award redemption options than ever before.
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan members can still book popular premium cabin awards including:
- British Airways First Class
- British Airways' New Business Class Suites
- Cathay Pacific First Class
- Cathay Pacific Business Class
- JAL First Class
- Korean Air First Class
- Qantas First Class
- Singapore Airlines
Those are just some of the top premium cabin awards available to Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan members. Additionally, beginning in August 2021, Mileage Plan members will also be able to redeem miles for travel on Qatar Airways. This will likely include all cabins and classes of service including Qatar Airways QSuite.
Overall, while losing Emirates as a partner isn't great, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is still a strong program with plenty of value for travelers.
Other Ways to Book Emirates First Class, Business Class with Miles and Points
Booking Emirates First Class with points or miles has become increasingly difficult. Ultimately, the best and most straightforward way to book Emirate First Class with points or miles is by transferring points earned with eligible credit cards to an Emirates Skywards account.
All five major transferrable point programs partner with Emirates to allow members to transfer points to the Skywards program:
- American Express Membership Rewards
- Capital One Venture Miles
- Chase Ultimate Rewards
- Citi ThankYou Rewards
- Marriott Bonvoy
There are a few others ways in which points and miles can be redeemed for Emirates First Class. However, the value of these redemptions isn't great. Booking these awards can also be somewhat convoluted.
Qantas and Japan Air Lines are two airlines that still allow members to redeem points and miles for travel on Emirates. But, just because you can book award travel on Emirates through those programs doesn't mean you should.
The Bottom Line
The Alaska-Emirates partnership was one of the best ways to travel on Emirates in the airline's popular premium cabins. There is no doubt that this partnership is a big loss for travelers. However, many travelers and frequent flyers saw this coming.
Luckily, Mileage Plan members still have until July 31, 2021 to enjoy the advantages of Alaska Air's partnership with Emirates. Finally, with Alaska Airlines having joined the Oneworld alliance, there is no shortage of Mileage Plan partners to fill the gap left by the loss of Emirates.
Are you sad to see this partnership come to an end? What are your favorite ways to use Mileage Plan miles?
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