Emirates to be added as an Alaska Mileage Plan member as of March 1, 2012

Alaska has just announced that Emirates will be added as a Mileage Plan member as of March 1, 2012, the same day that Emirates starts daily service between Seattle and Dubai.

The earning rates are as follows:

Beginning March 1, 2012 Minimum 500 miles or; 50% of actual flight miles for Discount Economy (M, B, U, K, Q, L, T, V, X, H classes of service); 100% of actual flight miles for Full Fare Economy (Y, E, R, W classes of service) ; 125% of actual flight miles for Business Class (C, J, I classes of service) and 150% actual flight miles for First Class (F, A, P classes of service)

To qualify for mileage accrual, flights must must be marketed and operated by Emirates.

To ensure flight credit, the two letter airline code (EK) must precede the flight number (for example,Ā EK XXXX) on your ticket receipt or boarding pass.

The earnings rates are actually pretty good, and you can even earn elite qualifying miles (which is rare for partner airlines). Just keep in mind that in order to earn miles you need to book an Emirates flight number and not a codeshare. I’ll actually be taking advantage of this, since Alaska is one of the few decent partners to which you can now credit Emirates flights. I’ll likely be flying Emirates first class soon from Colombo to Singapore to London, so I think I know where I’ll be crediting my miles.

But the really exciting news is at the bottom:

Redeeming Miles: Coming in late 2012

Up until last March, Continental was an Emirates partner, so it was possible to redeem miles for coach and business class on Emirates. United was also a partner until last May, and they even let you redeem for first class. Unfortunately both of those partnerships were discontinued. Now the only practical way to get an Emirates first class award is through JAL, which is a Starwood transfer partner. Their award chart for travel on Emirates can be found here.

Either way, Alaska being added as a partner is really exciting, given that it’s easier to accrue Alaska miles through credit cards promotions, etc., than it is to accrue JAL miles. Also, assuming the redemption rates are reasonable, this greatly increases the value of Alaska miles. I’m quite excited to see what the award chart looks like!

Comments

  1. @ caveman — They say the option to redeem on Emirates starts late in the year, so I suspect we won’t see the chart for at least another six months or so. Who knows…

  2. I can’t wait to find out what the award chart will be like for EK flights, particularly in the premium cabin. However, I am embracing myself for some eye-popping amounts for F awards [in the 200-300K range for a long haul F R/T award maybe].

  3. Before I got into the points game, I took a flight through Dubai on Emirates, and now I have 18.5K points stuck in an Emirates Skywards account. Any advice on how I can use these in a valuable way? Will I be able to book Alaska miles using Skywards miles?

  4. @ Carl — It’s about 7,500 miles, so you’re right, miles will add up quickly.

    @ Golfingboy — Only time till well, though I suspect it won’t be *that* bad. Maybe 180,000 for first class, similar to what JAL charges. But I am curious, because I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s as high as you suspect.

    @ marzman — While they haven’t announced their redemption chart yet, chances are you’ll be able to redeem your Emirates miles for travel on Alaska.

  5. Thanks lucky! I’ve recently started following points/travel blogs and I find that you’re the most responsive of them all (even though this is my first post here). Love your work!

  6. Hang on a sec, I can’t redeem continental miles for emirates flights any more? Ouch, I was planning to redeem some onepass miles to gift an award ticket to a relative.

  7. I just love Alaska’s program! Am actually thinking of switching from UA to AS for my domestic travel.

    My CX F award to JNB was fantastic, and now this. Too bad I already burned the UA miles on EK F for my trip to the UAE in March. But at least it was an easy award, as EK F is wide open.

  8. Lucky,

    I am flying JFK-DXB-MAA in February on Emirates. I live in Northeast USA. Would I be better off earning the miles for this trip in Alaska or Emirates? I cant figure out if I can earn Alaska miles for that trip.

    Also, my dad (who lives in Canada) goes to Dubai on EK every year. Should they start to accrue miles on Alaska instead? What do you suggest for a Canadian?

    Thanks.

  9. I flew from SMF-DXB-MAA. I was able to fly Alaska from SMF (Sacramento) and check my bags all the way through to Madras (India) via Emirates. This is a great convenience for those of us who don’t want to drive to SFO to use Emirates.

    In addition the increase in fare for this extra leg is minimal so its much better than driving your car and leaving it near the airport or taking a flight to LAX as we had to do before the new Emirates SEA-DXB flight was announced in March.

    There were some hiccups since I was among the first customers using the Alaska Emirates partnership. I was able to book my ticket on Emirates.com however it did not know (or care) about my Gold Status on Alaska and wouldnt upgrade me on Alaska nor could I print Alaska’s boarding pass.

    However if you call Alaska they have it in their system and you should get Alaska’s confirmation number and have them add your FF number since it does not always transmit correctly and hence you will not get upgraded.

    My miles also did not post to Alaska even though I had them put it in the record, the Miles went to Skywards instead for the SEA-DXB but for the DXB-MAA they showed up on Alaska..wierd.

    I have not seen the miles posting to Alaska yet for my return trip since I just got back, but I think its 8000 miles for SEA-DXB, plus with the double miles program its a good deal.

    Skywards miles are sometimes useful to have to upgrade on Emirates. For short legs like DXB-MAA (4 hours) it took about 25000 miles which seems worth it since you can get Chauffeur service. I upgraded on DXB-MAA and MAA-DXB and booked Chauffer service from MAA and at DXB (since I had a 2 day stopover). A shiny white Mercedes E class picked me up in Madras and took me to the airport, while a Volvo in DXB picked me up and dropped me off at the Hotel.

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