Alaska Airlines publishes Emirates award chart!

Last January Emirates was added as an Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan partner, though only on the accrual side, with plans to allow redemptions starting late in 2012. In mid-December they announced a delay in that option. Then just a couple of weeks ago I broke the news that they’d begin allowing redemptions starting January 16, 2013.

Well, Alaska Airlines has just published their award redemption chart for travel on Emirates (for redemptions starting January 16, 2013, as predicted). Alaska publishes their award charts by region, so here’s the Emirates award chart for travel to India, the Middle East, and Africa:

And here’s the chart for travel to Asia:

These are the only regions for which they publish an award chart, though aside from restricting this for travel to North America this makes sense since in other cases it’s not logical to fly Emirates. The award chart is exactly what I had expected, being a realistic optimist.

My fear was that they wouldn’t allow redemptions in first class, though that’s not the case. My other fear was that they’d only allow redemptions out of certain markets, like Seattle, though that’s not the case either. And my last fear was that they’d price each segment individually (for example, publish a chart between North America and the Middle East, and then one between the Middle East and Asia, charging the cumulative cost of the two awards).

So I’d say this looks pretty good. It’s worth noting that they’re only publishing awards between North America and other destinations, and not between other regions (like just between the Middle East and Asia, for example).

They’re basically charging 180,000 miles for first class to the Middle East/India, and 200,000 miles for first class awards to Asia/Africa.

So if you have Alaska miles this is a great use of them, in my opinion. Alaska also partners with Starwood Preferred Guest, though if you have those points you’re typically going to be better off transferring them to Japan Airlines and booking Emirates from there, as they have a pretty lucrative distance based award chart. Roundtrip first class travel on Emirates between New York and Dubai costs just 135,000 miles, while it’s 155,000 miles for up to 20,000 miles of roundtrip travel.

As a reminder, you can search Emirates award space on ExpertFlyer.com. For first class award space you’ll want to look for the “Z” fare bucket, while for business class award space you’ll want to look for “D” fare bucket.

Award space is generally quite good, and with a bit of planning it shouldn’t be tough to find several first or business class award seats, even on the Airbus 380.

And while I doubt I need to remind y’all, Emirates first class on the Airbus 380 is the only place to shower on a commercial airplane. ;)

For those of you that haven’t read it, here’s my report of Emirates first class from London to Dubai.

So, what do you guys think of the award chart? Better or worse than you expected?

PS: I was in my garage on the way to the supermarket when a friend texted me to say the chart has been published. I ran back to my apartment as fast as I could and literally tripped over myself and fell in my kitchen. My leg is bleeding a bit, but decided to write the blog post while on the floor before seeking medical attention. Do I get an A+ for being a dedicated blogger or what? ;)

Comments

  1. says

    Awesome chart for the purpose of roundtrip first or business on Enirates. I’m gonna have to start stockpiling Alaska miles to try out Emirates first.

  2. AdamH says

    India rates (which I imagine might also get you to the Maldives) is really the best deal. That is only a 20k premium from using UA miles for F. That is assuming this doesn’t stick you with a big fuel surcharges or anything though.

  3. Golfingboy says

    Better than I expected, I had the same fear as you where they will force us to break redemptions [JFK-DXB+DXB-SIN rather than JFK-SIN], but I am happy with both charts.

    Rumor says AS hopes to enable one-way award bookings for EK within the next 60 days. I will believe it when I see it though.

    Now, I hope AS won’t fondle with the CX award chart for Africa…

  4. lucky says

    @ aussie — Yes, sorry about that, just corrected it. See the “PS” portion of the post. :D

  5. lucky says

    @ AdamH — Agreed, quite a good value. Also think the value to Africa is very good. American charges 200,000 miles for first class to Africa and you end up paying massive fuel surcharges on BA. Meanwhile United charges 160,000 miles for first class, but outside of Lufthansa (which only opens up space 14 days out) there really are no decent first class options.

  6. lucky says

    @ Golfingboy — Hah, yes, the CX chart to Africa is still a much better value, probably one of the best in the industry.

    One ways would be awesome!

  7. says

    Not bad! 180K to India is actually on par with AA for RT First. Helps that EK started another A380 to JFK ;). I heard rumors that Mr. Clark wants to put A380s on the LAX route, which is currently their longest flight out of DXB.

    Now I just need to stay on the look out for more Alaska miles. I only have ~6,000 from my first Emirates flight.

  8. Angeleno228 says

    This is great, too bad I don’t have a lot of AS miles, and no easy way to get 180-200K quickly :p (or is there?) My hope is that AA partners with Emirates as well at some point that way I don’t have worry about Alaska miles!

  9. naseefc says

    Hmm, the only way this helps is if you have tons of Alaska miles, otherwise you are still better off transferring your points through JAL, am I correct? Or are there Alaska transfer partners that Emirates/JAL don’t have?

  10. lucky says

    @ Angeleno228 — Join the club! Only easy way to rack up Alaska miles quickly are:
    a) Alaska Visa card, which is churnable
    b) Starwood points transfers
    c) 50K points bonus for reaching MVP Gold 75K

    Which isn’t especially helpful.

    Wish AA would partner with Emirates as well. As of now it’s not likely given their partner with Etihad and future partnership with Qatar, though I guess it’s not totally out of the question if Qantas forces Emirates into OneWorld…

  11. lucky says

    @ naseefc — You’re absolutely right, in almost all instances you’re better off with Japan Airlines if you have Starpoints. So this is useful for those that actually earn Alaska miles.

  12. AC says

    Don’t forget Korean Air. Even it’s much higher miles (210K-round trip between NA to DXB plus fuel surcharge and no one way) required, but it’s much easier to accumulate thanks to Chase Bold Ink.

  13. Paul says

    Wonder what stopover/open jaw options will be?

    Would be great to do a stopover in Dubai….

  14. says

    Their redemption chart is more generous/fair than the one TAP has with Emirates.
    TAP Victoria charges 120,000 miles from North America to Middle East in coach, and 160,000 miles from North American to Middle East in Business. And they do not allow First Class awards.

  15. lucky says

    @ Paul — Alaska typically allows a stopover OR an open jaw, but not both.

    @ Bikar — Just by transferring from Starwood as far as I know.

  16. lucky says

    @ AC — True, though I find the opportunity cost of Ultimate Rewards points to be too high to burn them on Emirates on most cases given how high Korean Air’s prices are.

    @ Fabio — Ouch!

  17. Mike S. says

    Starwood seems to have a limit of 20,000 buy points per calendar year – i wonder if that is strictly enforced?

  18. lucky says

    @ Mike S. — It is, though keep in mind they allow household transfers for those at the same address, so that’s one way to get around it.

  19. blueline7 says

    I am a bit concerned about availability in first…When using EK’s own website F Saver Fares are rarely available ex YYZ, for example. Does Alaska only make available saver fares or are EK flex fares in F also available?

  20. lucky says

    @ blueline7 — I suspect that Alaska availability will match the saver space Emirates releases to their own members. I’m seeing GREAT availability out of many cities. For example, I frequently see three first class award seats on the Airbus 380 out of New York.

  21. Glenn says

    Thanks for the news. Sitting on 295,000 AS miles and the wife has about half that. Of all my Alaskan friends, I am the only one who has been to Dubai so I am encouraging them all to spend their miles on an unforgetable trip there on EK.

  22. Al says

    Can you please help me: is pakistan considered middle east in the award chart? Whats the best redemption to fly emirates roundtrip los angeles to pakistan using ultimate rewards points or alaksa points?

  23. lucky says

    @ Al — I would assume that Pakistan is considered the Middle East on the award chart. Purely in terms of price United Mileage Plus (transferred from Ultimate Rewards) would have the lowest redemption rates.

  24. MillValleyMom says

    Hi, does this work in reverse? Meaning, can I use my EK miles on AS flights? I took your beloved EK First suites flight last year from DXB to LHR and earned over 25k miles in the process. Now I’m wondering what (if anything) I can do with them. Thx!

  25. lucky says

    @ MillValleyMom — You will be able to starting next week. Emirates hasn’t yet published their award chart for travel on Alaska, though once they do I’ll be sure to write about it.

  26. Saketh says

    Is SPG a transfer partner from Amex membership rewards? And if I can transfer membership rewards to spg, can I transfer those again to JAL or Alaska?

  27. Golfingboy says

    @Blueline, it is because Canada refuses to allow EK to add more frequencies to YYZ, so they are stuck at 3x a week when there is plenty of demand to support a daily service. Therefore, the # of F seats available on this route in a given week is tiny, which as result makes it more difficult us to redeem awards in F on that flight.

  28. lucky says

    @ Saketh — They are transfer partners, though only at a 3:1 ratio, so it’s a horrible value. If you choose to take advantage of it you can transfer to Alaska or JAL, though.

  29. ffi says

    Lucky
    You are the mist dedicated blogger for those who want to spend their miles on showers in the sky. No doubt about it.
    :-)

  30. ffi says

    If one is buying SPG; regular price is 3.5c each
    you need 140k SPG min for F to India and 160k for Africa
    140×3.5c= 4900$, 160×3.5 = 5600$
    When SPG sells it at 2.8c during sales
    140×2.8= 3920$ 160kx2.8=4480$
    Add taxes and this is no cheap award.

  31. Rich ( arizona) says

    Get well. I tripped and fell the night before my vacation to europe. Hurt my wrist but toughed it out during the 10 nght trip. When I returned i found out I had fractured a bone in my wrist and have been wearing a cast for a month now.

  32. Carl says

    how simple (or difficult) is it to book awards on JAL? Does one have to call or can it be done online ?

  33. lucky says

    @ Carl — You do have to call, which is a bit of a pain, though it’s not as bad as Korean Air and Asiana, for example.

  34. LTL says

    Can you earn JAL Asia Miles for flying on EK? Strangely, they aren’t listed as an earning partner. Does that mean you can only redeem Asia Miles, not earn them, on EK?

    My father flies Emirates paid business class with some frequency, where would you say they should credit miles to get the most bang for their buck (i.e., a future F redemption)? JAL (if possible)? Emirates itself? Alaska?

  35. RestlessLocationSyndrome says

    Glad to see this as an option for aspirational travel.

    Personally don’t see it as a good value for miles use considering business class from US-Asia tends to only run 120k for many programs and even less to North Asia.

  36. Mohan says

    Lucky, I want to commend you on your blog and “breaking news” to all of us. I have been following all the blogs for the past year and a half and your blog is consistently the most creative in content and extraordinarily timely!! Kudos to you. Keep up the great work you do. Thank you!!

  37. Doog1000 says

    I presume this means europe to middle east awards will not be possible? – a real sweetspot in the AA Advantage programme

  38. Joey says

    This is awesome! The AK awards chart is a lot better than Emirates’s own skywards frequent flyer awards chart. To obtain JFK-DXB saver award for skywards, you need 217,500 miles!

  39. lucky says

    @ David — Not possible as of now.

    @ Mohan — Thanks very much! :)

    @ Doug1000 — That’s correct.

  40. dan says

    Hi Ben

    Just wanted to to double check. So if I wanted to fly Emirates A380 for 2 from US to Tokyo in first class with a stopover in dubai as a 1 way award. That would be 200k Alaska miles for 2 people correct?

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