Emirates To Remove Partner Access to First Class Award Bookings – Huge Alaska Airlines Devaluation!
It appears the days of traveling in Emirates (EK) first class by redeeming miles via partner airlines is over as of April 1, 2021. This will be a big blow to those saving up their valuable Alaska Airlines (AS) miles, as Emirates First Class is one of the best redemption sweet spots in the MileagePlan program.
Emirates Removes Partner Access to First Class Space
Here is the full text on the Alaska Airlines’ Emirates Page. According to Alaska, at least, Emirates will no longer allow partner access to First Class award bookings as of April 1, 2021.
Book your First Class award travel with Emirates by March 31, 2021. Beginning April 1, 2021, Emirates will no longer allow partner access to First Class award bookings. Mileage Plan members can continue to redeem on the Emirates’ award-winning Economy Class and Business Class.
So, if you want to take that shower on an Emirates A380 by booking an award ticket via an EK partner, you have until March 31, 2021 to collect miles and redeem!
While this is a sad development, perhaps the following will soften the blow? (Hint: No, it does not)
Also on the same page, Alaska’s MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K members can now access the Emirates’ Business Class flagship lounge in DXB on a paid EK ticket, regardless of cabin:
New enhanced Elite member benefits with Emirates give lounge access at their Business Class flagship lounge in Dubai International Airport (DXB) for MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K members flying on Emirates on a paid ticket, no matter the class.
The beginning of the end of MileagePlan sweet spots?
Interestingly enough, Alaska is due to join the OneWorld alliance on March 31, 2021. While this appears to be a unilateral change by Emirates, one cannot help but think they had AS’ MileagePlan members in mind when they made this move.
It is worth mentioning that Emirates’ Skywards program is not part of the OneWorld alliance. So it may be a bit premature to say OneWorld airlines such as Qantas and Cathay Pacific will nerf Alaska Airlines’ redemption on their flights. But if I was a betting man, I would say the days of outsized valuable MileagePlan redemptions are limited.
So, smoke if you got ’em!