New Restrictions On Emirates Chauffeur Drive

Nowadays a good number of airlines offer chauffeur service for premium cabin passengers as a way of differentiating themselves. The terms of using the chauffeur service vary, whether it be a fare class restriction, ticketing restriction, etc. Then there are some airlines which are especially generous, and offer chauffeur service even on award tickets.

I’ve always been intrigued by chauffeur service as an airline product offering. In many cases it’s not cheap to offer (especially when it’s contracted out in cities like London and Paris, or even Venice, for example), and is there really any marginal return on offering a chauffeur? Presumably if someone is traveling in a premium cabin on the company’s dime they could also expense a car service.

I think one situation where it makes a lot of sense is with Emirates and Etihad in the UAE. The two cities are only an hour apart by car, so it kind of narrows the gap between the two — it’s a way for people to “fly” Emirates to Abu Dhabi, and a way for people to “fly” Etihad to Dubai.

Emirates-Chauffeur

Anyway, Emirates has historically been one of the most generous airlines when it comes to their complimentary chauffeur service, though it seems they’ve recently tightened up their rules.

For tickets issued as of January 1, 2015, Emirates is only offering complimentary chauffeur service to first & business class passengers booked on Emirates and Qantas ticket stock. That means if you issue your ticket through another airline, you’ll no longer be eligible for a complimentary chauffeur (yes, that includes issuing Emirates award tickets through Alaska Mileage Plan). 😉

Emirates-Chauffeur-2

Emirates will continue to offer chauffeur service for all first & business class tickets issued directly through them, including award tickets — it’s just partner tickets they’re excluding.

Bottom line

Of course this is a negative change, though I can’t really say I’m surprised. Emirates first class continues to be a great use of Alaska miles, though I will miss getting four chauffeur drives on a one-way Alaska award ticket (one at the origin, two at the stopover, and one at the destination). 😉

(Tip of the hat to Ron)

Comments

  1. Guess I got this booked just in time. My wife is on a paid ticket for part of the travel so we would have been able to use her car service but my reservation has all the legs showing the car service.

    Even with this downgrade Alaska’s value to fly Emirates first is great.

  2. How about updating the article you linked to Luckey? Since the Emirates details in it is now outdated?

  3. Lucky-
    We should still be able to transfer Amex MR points to Emirates and still receive the chauffeur service since it would be Emirates own award ticket that would be booked, correct?

  4. @Lantean & Lucky, from what I recall, Qantas only removed chauffeur service on their US routes, but not their LHR/DXB routes, correct?

  5. So, since I booked my ticket using Alaska miles prior to January 1 (for travel in May 2015), I should still be able to get Chauffeur Drive service, correct? I wonder how much hassle I’m going to run into when I go to book the service. Was gonna book it online, but now I’m assuming that may not be possible.

  6. Can you provide a link to where this information is located? I am not finding it in the terms and conditions on Emirates’ website.

  7. @ Robert D — It’s not online anywhere, but I confirmed it with the call center. Two agents read me the memo word for word.

  8. @Joey

    you’re right… i am on SYD-DXB award and i can get chauffeur… but i could swear it was not the case before…

    in any event, it’s nice they gave the option back! 😉

  9. Good to hear. Book that chauffeur now before they take it away! I also have a QF booking SYD-DXB and was able to book the chauffeur with no issues.

  10. @ Joey — They first removed it for all routes and then brought it back for the Australia routes, probably due to Emirates.

  11. FWIW, on January 4th, I booked an award ticket in EK C using AS miles but when I go into the Emirates website and pull up my booking, I still have an option to book a car.

  12. Well that sucks. We were looking at booking award travel on EK again for the Fam, but this just put that all into question. Those transfers were huge money savers!! Crap.

  13. Wow….now I really feel blessed that I had the chance to use their car service back in May. (Booked the ticket with Alaska miles.)

  14. I too have a AS first class award booking from DFW/DXB made in late September 2014 for travel mid-Jan 2015. I was able to reserve a chauffeur online in Oct 2014; however, they’ve removed my chauffeur reservation online and are not honoring it. I’ve called two call centers Dubai and New York and both give the same answer and they all admit it is posted no where online. A huge disappointment after everything positive that has been written about Emirates. Not at all what I what I was expecting. I understand changing the policy going forward but surprised they are changing it a flight that was already booked.

    I agree with Kelly that those transfers are huge money savers and were part of the original agreement from AS. I planned my hotels around those transfers. I’m shocked they are doing this on reservations even ticketed before Jan 1!!

  15. I have also just run into the same problem as Bill G. Booked tix early 2014 and our flight is tomorrow – our chauffer booking mysteriously disappeared online (both pickup and dropped) and after calling we’ve been told we’re ineligible even though tix were issued in 2014. Bit of a disappointment and very lucky we proactively checked.

  16. Lucky,

    It seems that booking chauffeur option are back with my recent booking, I am not sure if there will be anyone waiting for me if I elect this service. Any insights? TIA.

  17. @FAN, we’re you successful?

    @lucky, does this exclude QF mileage redemptions for EK flights, or is that still available as it is “QF ticket stock”?

  18. Hello Lucky,

    Do you know if a guest is allowed to ride along with? Im planning on using Alaska Air to purchase my first class ticket, but have my father booked first class via Emirates/Skyward Miles, thus he will have the car service under his name.

  19. @ Lucky
    Is this still true? My Emirates First reservation ( booked via Alaska) viewed on Emirates site, allows me to book a car service in JFK and MXP, but not DXB or MLE.

  20. I have booked a business fully paid fare from perth west Australia to Dubai return. Do I have a chauffeur to and from the airport in Australia?jane

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