It's Official: Alaska Airlines and Emirates Ending Partnership

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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.

Emirates Airline First Class Seat
Alaska Mileage Plan used to be one of the best ways to book Emirates first class.

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.:

Destination RegionEconomyBusiness
Middle East42,50082,500
India and South Asia42,50082,500
Europe47,500105,000
Africa47,500120,000

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:

Alaska Airlines award in Emirates business class

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:

Earning Mileage Plan Miles with Emirates through July 31st
Here's how Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan members will earn points with Emirates as the program comes to an end. (Image via AlaskaAir.com)

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.

Cathay Pacific First Class
You can still use Mileage Plan miles for award travel in a number of popular premium cabins including Cathay Pacific First Class. (Image by Max Prosperi / AwardWallet)

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:

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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Comments

  • Avatar
    Awais Latif says:

    Is there any chance that July 31st partnership date might get extended? I have a plan to fly by the end of this year. Not sure, if I will be able to fly with Emirates using Alaska Airline points by that time.

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    Bad news because Emirates has a lot of routes and destination to choose from.
    We will also see what will change in Mileage Plan programme when it will be possible to do redemption in OneWorld alliance partners.

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    So essentially Alaska substitutes Emirates with Qatar as its partner in the Middle East? Actually not as bad as it seems!

    • Avatar

      Emirates is much bigger than Qatar though so it is not a like for like substitution. Whilst both Qatar’s base in Doha and Emirates base in Dubai are Middle East hubs, Dubai is also much more of a destination in itself than Doha.

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    It’s a pity. It was really worth redeeming Alaska Airlines points with Emirates flights.

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    Ouch. This one hurts. Using Alaska miles for Emirates was my preferred spend. The other is Singapore but Singapore Airlines has removed access to award travel…in their words, “due to the complexities of enforcing global travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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    it’s bad news, emirates is a leading airline worldwide 😢

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    VIBHAV JINDAL says:

    I am sad to see this partnership end since I was saving up my Alaska Miles to book Emirates flights. Luckily I can still get good usage of my my Alaska miles with Singapore and Cathay miles.

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    This are really bad news; Just when I wanted to fly Emirates with my Alaska Airlines miles

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    A bummer to be sure, but the writing was on the wall years ago when Emirates basically doubled the AK miles required for 1st class on Emirates overnite with no warning whatsoever – the joining to OneWorld finally pushed AK out though the AK miles weren’t very useful anymore on Emirates anyway.

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    It’s really sad news…

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    This is too bad. Hopefully Emirates will choose a new partner.

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    Matias Gomez says:

    I find harder to use miles on Emirates (and Qatar) as they are reducing a lot their participation on major mileage programs, plus the reduction on routes they done. I am sorry, that also that happens now with Alaska Airlines.

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    fernanda andrade says:

    It is a pity. Two excellent airlines. The partnership between them was very good for customers.

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    Jennifer says:

    Its a good thing that Alaska airlines tied up with American Airlines where there are more numerous airlines to get to redeem with. This makes losing Emirates not that painful.

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    This partnership has been devalued already a lot over the years, so I’m not that sad to see it go. I have taken advantage of both earning and redeeming miles on Emirates to the Maldives, though.

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    Maryjane says:

    This is disappointing but bound to happen. Kudos to those who managed to get this aspirational redemption and those who can book in the next two months.

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    Sorry to see this partnership end however I feel the writing had been on the wall

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    Emirates is one of my favorite airlines and it is disappointing to see this partnership end. Much is made about how good they are in business and first, but even in coach/economy I have found them to be much better than premium economy in many other airlines. I wish Emirates would join oneworld, but unfortunately that isn’t going to happen.

  • Avatar

    Well that’s an unfortunate negative. Would be great to use alaska air miles to continue to book emirates flights

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    It is inevitable that Alaska will go ALL oneworld, sooner or later.

    • Avatar

      Whilst I don’t think it inevitable, I agree that it is likely that many of the non-Oneworld ties that Alaska have will be cut. Whilst they are probably not encouraged, I don’t think Oneworld rules prohibit ties outside the alliance. JAL and Qantas both partner with Emirates. Qantas even seems to have some sort of link up with Skyteam member Air France/KLM.

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    I do not think that many members are rushing to redeem the last-minute awards due to the indefinite international travel restrictions

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    Daniel Suzuki says:

    I love the Emirates services. Trust that Emirates will have a new agreement soon. Thanks

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    That was a great partnership while it lasted. Hopefully Emirates will come up with something even better once people start traveling in en masse again. I have hope!

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    Lisa Suzuki says:

    So sad. Emirates is the one of best service ever. Hope the Emirates made a new partnership soon.

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    Probably wasnt the best relationship to start with.

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    Andreas Markitanis says:

    sad to see this go to be honest.