Emirates First Class Awards Using Alaska Miles Are Back!!!

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Woooooooohoooooooooo!

If you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time you probably know that Alaska Mileage Plan hasn’t had access to Emirates first class award space for a while now.

Emirates-First-Class

Basically, Alaska wasn’t showing any Emirates first class award space for travel after March 28, 2015, and that date has finally passed. Here are the previous posts on the subject, for those of you not up to date:

Alaska miles can be redeemed for Emirates first class again!

Well, I have some great news — Emirates first class awards using Alaska miles are back once again!

Alaska-1

Alaska-2

As a reminder, Alaska’s one-way redemption rates for travel in Emirates first class are as follows:

  • US to Middle East (via Dubai): 90,000 miles
  • US to Europe (via Dubai): 100,000 miles
  • US to Asia (via Dubai): 100,000 miles
  • US to Africa (via Dubai): 100,000 miles

Given that Alaska allows stopovers even on one-way awards, this means you could have a stopover in Dubai enroute to your final destination.

Dubai-1

Generally speaking:

  • Award availability is the best out of Dallas, Houston, and San Francisco
  • In many cases, Alaska only has access to one fewer first class award seat than Emirates makes available to their own members
  • You can search Emirates award space through ExpertFlyer, or through Alaska’s website for travel to/from the US

Alaska is selling miles with a bonus until tomorrow!

The timing of Emirates first class award availability returning to Alaska couldn’t be better. Alaska Mileage Plan is selling miles with a 40% bonus until tomorrow, Friday, April 3, 2015.

As I previously explained, a 40% bonus on purchase Alaska miles is as good as it gets, and generally a promotion we only see twice a year (then two more times each year Alaska has historically offered a 35% bonus on Alaska miles).

Emirates-first-class

This is an opportunity to pick up Alaska miles for ~2.1 cents each. That’s like paying $2,100 for Emirates first class from Los Angeles to Dubai to Hong Kong, all in A380 first class. Or from New York to Milan to Dubai to Singapore, all in Emirates A380 first class (given that as of June the New York to Milan to Dubai route will be operated by an A380).

For ~$2,100 that’s an absolute bargain, so if you’re interested in Emirates first class I’d recommend buying Alaska miles under the current promotion by tomorrow. I just did.

Alaska-Buy-Miles-123

Bottom line

I love Emirates first class, so couldn’t be happier about first class awards returning through Alaska Mileage Plan. Once you’ve flown Emirates’ A380 first class and showered on a plane, it’s tough to fly any other way (well, maybe aside from Etihad’s A380).

Who is ready to book some Emirates A380 first class awards? šŸ™‚

(Tip of the hat to Ivo)

Comments

  1. Are they still not allowing out-of-US residents to buy points like you mentioned sometime last year?

  2. Flying EK A380 longhaul (over 9 hours) is simply amazing. I never fully understood this partnership but if both carriers are happy with the situation then that’s great news for us!!! šŸ™‚

  3. thank you Ben, great news. question: if i book MLE-DXB (coach) – JFK (first) will i be able to easily change the first segment to biz if it becomes available online or by calling? or does DXB-JFK need to be available in F at the same time?

    thank you.

  4. anyone had luck with a DXB-MLE leg (or vice versa)? as above, everything i’m seeing has a coach/ Y leg for this sector.

    super pumped that its back though – EK shower definitely a bucketlist avgeek item

  5. Woohoo! Thought my flights a couple of weeks ago were going to be my last! This is great news!

  6. @ Lantean — Generally Emirates uses married segment logic with Alaska awards, so all segments would need availability to make a change.

  7. @ Dave Op — Nope! You can just use a single credit card for up to four points.com transactions every 30 days. That’s the only restriction.

  8. It’s funny, I was just thinking about it earlier today.. Was wondering if it will ever come back…and here is your post… Thank you Ben for great news..see you on 380!

  9. “Or from New York to Milan to Dubai to Singapore, all in Emirates A380 first class (given that as of June the New York to Milan to Dubai route will be operated by an A380).”

    How many miles for just JFK-MXP ? The chart does not say?

  10. Hi Lucky,

    I’ve read reports about passengers transiting through DXB on Alaska-miles issued tickets do not have access to the EK DXB F Lounge?

  11. @ ILDC — They should. Alaska award tickets are mistakenly viewed as staff tickets at lounges, but most agents know about the glitch. It can take a couple extra minutes, but shouldn’t be an issue.

  12. Maybe its just me, but $4500+ for RT US to Asia/Europe with the headaches of availability, published fare, leaving from ariports other than served by Alaska, Lounge admittance issues, No car pick up, no miles earned……
    Too much hassle. Yes it is a great discount and would work for many in certain situations. I would just do it once and one way if I was traveling alone to get the experience.
    Not sure if a stopover in DXB adds much value either.
    In simple ways, I ask myself, would i pay $4500 cash for this. probably not. Something tells me EK is okay with selling these flooded capacity for this price and letting AS keep a cut. They can always alter availability to match real demand. Also, Alaska get to keep a big interest free loan from us until those miles are redeemed.

  13. I just created an Alaska Airlines account, and I got a message saying “The Mileage Plan account you specified is not eligible to purchase miles.” What could be happening?

  14. @ Jackie — Your account has to be open for a couple of weeks before you’re eligible to buy miles, unfortunately.

  15. Well, that’s the good news. The bad news is everybody burned their last Alaska miles in anticipation that EK would never be available again.

  16. If i am booking one way from JFK to Singapore, can i have two stopovers in Milan and dubai? How do i book the stopovers? By phone only? Is there additional charges by phone?

  17. @ carol — You’re only allowed one stopover, and it should be bookable online using the multi-city tool.

  18. I nearly soiled myself at just the headline, Ben! Woohoo indeed!

    “Alaska only has access to one fewer first class award seat than Emirates makes available to their own members”
    I was looking all the way out to Feb 2016, and searches for 2 F seats on AS.com returned positive results on several city pairs!

  19. Many thanks Lucky! Booked my seat DXB-IAH in January!

    Interesting tidbit: though Biz were widely available on that day (initially planning to go with 3 other friends), as soon as you book (and confirm) just even one Biz seat, the rest of the Biz inventory just disappears. The same applies to First. This happens on the website, tried various permutations and got the same result.

  20. This was great news. Booked a return from MLE-DXB-DFW with about 12 hours in Dubai. I’m doing Singapore LAX-NRT-SIN-MLE so looking forward to an A380 around the world (at least for most of the trip).

    @Abbas: That wasn’t my experience. I needed to book 2 tickets under separate accounts. When I went and booked 1 seat under my account, I was able to go back and book another one under my wife’s account a few minutes later. However, as Ben points out, it could be an availability issue where many Emirates flights show Z=2 in ExpertFlyer, which means Alaska may only have access to 1 seat. Thankfully, EF shows Z=3 for many of the DXB-DFW and DXB-IAH flights, so that means Alaska has access to 2 seats.

  21. Hi Lucky.

    Im based in europe and I’m looking at the MXL-JFK route with a possible stopover, before continuing my trip to LAX on Jet Blue

    I have yet to decide if this will be a businnes or first class flight.

    Its been advertised here on Emirates web page

    http://www.emirates.com/us/english/offers/2084433/jetblue-mint-and-emirates?intcid=1082976_2084433

    Would I:-

    1)Be able to book MXL-JFK-LAX with JAL points?

    2)Would I be allowed a stopover in NYC before continuing my trip to LAX 3-4 days later?

    3)Would it cost the same amount of JAL points to get to either JFK or LAX?

    4)What other Emirates flights leave europe for USA destinations?

    If I cannot connect with Jet Blue,I plan to connect at JFK with AA and use my avios points, to pay the JFK to LAX return segment.

    I would value your input

    Kind Regards

    Ronster

  22. Hi Lucky

    Going back to Alaska Miles.

    I forgot to ask, am I correct in thinking that Alaska will let you book Emirates return flights from USA to Europe but not from Emirates flights from Europe to USA?

    Thanks

    Ronster

  23. @Lucky

    Is there a away to book awards on EK with Alaska from Europe-DXB or DXB-Australia? When I put it into the Alaska Airlines search it wasn’t able to produce anything. Also how much are awards for those regions?

  24. @Josh: good to know it is working for others. I had the exact opposite experience. I initially booked and confirmed 3 Biz and when I tried booking the 4th one under my wife’s account, there was no more Biz seats available. I canceled the 3 tickets and then booked 1 Biz under my wife’s account, same thing happened: 0 Biz seats left. We ended up calling the agent for one account while booking online for the other simultaneously.

  25. @ Daniel — Nope, all travel has to be to or from the US. You can’t book Alaska awards on Emirates for travel exclusively between other regions.

  26. @ Kelly — Yep, in many cases they have access to the same number of seats, and in other cases they don’t.

  27. Hallelujah and thank you Lucky. I just changed my flight to align with my Etihad Apartments booking out of JFK, also thanks to your heads up =)

  28. Question: Can I do the reverse routing as well — say JNB – DXB – USA and can I do it on Cathay JNB-HKG-USA; will alaska let you get to the U.S. destination as an add on if it is one of their flights? thanks

  29. For travel to Asia, buying AA miles right now with the 60% bonus would be a much better deal than this. ~$1350 vs ~$2100 each way in Cathay first vs Emirates first. I’ll take Cathay plus the $800 in my pocket every time.

  30. Hi Lucky

    Thanks for correcting me. Yes I did mean MXP

    1)Regarding the JAL points needed. You state in that link

    “They allow a maximum of six segments, and up to two stopovers per itinerary. Best of all, they donā€™t impose fuel surcharges for Emirates awards originating in the US.”

    Does that mean that the JAL agent would see the Jet Blue code share option that Emirates has in place and be able to book me on that same connecting flight from JFK to LAX and back to JFK,before reconnecting with the Emirates flight to MXP?

    2.i.) With Alaska, did you mean if I used their points, from MXP to JFK (with the intention of getting to LAX), that I would have to fly from JFK,and connect in Seattle for my final flight to LAX?
    ii) Would the miles needed for the award be thus the same for either MXP to JFK return as MXP to JFK to LAX,(with the last leg via Seattle)

    Many Thanks

    Ronster

  31. Great news! Although it’s a small shame Emirates no longer allows car service for those of us who book a ticket with miles.

  32. Hi Lucky. Thanks for posting. I expect an avalanche of Alaska miles purchases for those short of miles for an Emirates award!

    More philosophically though I note that the actual cost of a round trip ticket to Asia solely via purchases is about $4800 ($1182 to buy the 40K miles and of course you get 56K miles). I see @Luis points out it might make more sense to buy Cathay.

    Even more fundamentally I have bought F tickets on Emirates for about $6K (they are rare but do happen occasionally) to Asia and more frequently to Moscow (DME). Last year on assignment to Moscow I was there every month for the first six and about half the time the F ticket was approximately the same as an SQ ticket (Moscow-Houston-San Francisco, last leg on UA). I would do Emirates as the DME DXB flight was a 380 and I could try the famous shower which was missing on the DXB SFO flight.

    So….at some point purchasing miles will only be useful to supplement spend and I suspect we are there (or very close to it) now. Given the contortions required to get an award ticket for those who cannot do a last minute journey and the very frequent discounts being offered on revenue flights for popular routes (North America to Europe) the hobby might just soon be that…a hobby!

    Apologies for making this a long comment. I do want to share with you my ranking of various F services and I note the number of F segments I have flown in parentheses.

    1) LH (2)
    2) JL (2)
    3) SQ (7, of which 5 on the 380)
    4) AA (1)
    5) BA (over 20)
    6) EK (over 20 about half on 380)

    I generally rate BA higher than EK as while I may get indifferent service on BA I don’t see actual misery on their faces as I do on EK. Thanks for all your work

  33. @ marcus — Fair enough, though at 2.1 cents per mile we’re looking at $4,200 for a roundtrip , but really I think the best value is with booking Emirates one-way, and then booking another airline in another direction. It’s awesome for the novelty factor if nothing else, given that many people haven’t been to Dubai and haven’t showered on an A380.

  34. @ Ronster —

    1) No, you can’t redeem JAL miles for travel on JetBlue.
    2) Correct, and price would be the same as just MXP-JFK.

  35. @ Luis — All depends what the goal is. Yes for someone that has done both, absolutely, but keep in mind a vast majority of people haven’t flown Emirates first class yet. It’s a unique experience, you can do a stopover on a one-way, etc.

  36. a shout out to Alex at PointsPro who managed to get me an LH F ticket on two segments, one of which was the seemingly impossible MUC SFO! I now see what Lucky has been saying all along!

  37. @lucky in regards to not being able to buy Alaskan points with a new account; what about SPG transfers to Alaska Air? Is that something I also have to wait a few weeks to do since my Alaskan account is brand spanking new?

  38. @marcus

    so what kind of magic do you think they can do? they call LH and cry on the phone so LH opens seats?

    you can monitor the award calendar and book this yourself if the seats open… you should have saved your money.

  39. Lucky, I know you can do something like BKK to DXB (stopover) to NYC. Can your stopver be somewhere else in the middle east such as Doha, making the routing BKK-DXB-DOH (stopover) – DXB – NYC? Thanks.

  40. I think it’s already been insinuated, but just to make it perfectly clear – Could I route USA-DXB-JNB on EK First class with a stopover in Dubai, have a dream trip to South Africa, then fly CX First JNB-HKG-USA with a stopover in Hong Kong all for 170k Alaska miles??!! My mouth is watering…

  41. @Lucky – I understand that all Alaska miles redemption has to be for flights to/from the US. I live in Canada – can I use Alaska miles to upgrade YYZ-DXB?

  42. @Daniel, hate to be the bearer of bad news, but JNB-HKG no longer offers F with the retirement of the 747s. You will still get a top notch biz class seat, but nothing extra special.

  43. @Stargold UA:

    You can buy a one way cash EK F ticket for BKK-HKG for ~$700 if you simply MUST experience a shower and a bar to sip Dom Perignon/JW Blue at while you’re cruising at 35,000 feet.

    Given that you could connect to CX for 67.5k AA miles or 70K AS miles at that point… it’s pretty close to a wash. You lose the chauffeur (not given on HKG-BKK or v.v.), but you keep a bunch of miles and can actually earn EQM/RDM on Alaska for the segment. You don’t get the DXB F lounge, but you would get the Wing F in HKG… and for coming home from BKK to the USA, it’sconsiderably faster than a BKK-DXB routing (though it’s not so bad for the East Coast).

    Also… EY F is 40K on AA for AUH-Europe. Pick a First Apartment/A380 route like LHR and you’re getting a shower too. You won’t even pay APD for flying into LHR. šŸ˜‰

    The problem with DXB from the USA is that unless you’re going to India, the Arabian Peninsula, or a ‘stan, it’s a big diversion. A pleasant one in F to be sure, but a diversion. Worth 30,000 miles over a really good CX F product for a bar, bling and a shower? Not so sure.

  44. @topgunner thanks :/ You see any possibility of this route being served by a 777 with F service in the near future, or do people think it will be just j class from here on out (JNB-HKG, that is)?

  45. Need some help here!
    Getting this message while trying to buy the points:
    Forbidden
    You don’t have permission to access /PointsPartner/Buy/Pointstest.com<!–body { background-color: on this server

    I'm currently in South America. Could it be that? or it's just a temporary problem?

  46. We are going to book LAX-DXB-MLE, LAX=DXB in F; stopover; DXB-MLE in J. The online tool only lets me price in J since this is a mixed cabin award. Will a call into Alaska solve this issue and will they be able to book a mixed cabin itinerary? I don’t mind pricing out in F as long as the long LAX-DXB segment is in first.

  47. @ SPC — Yes, there are many routes on which they release two first class award seats in advance.

  48. @Lucky @Mike Re: You can only transit a city once on a one-way.

    I may have misread Mike’s question, but I had no problem adding DFW-DXB-DOH (stopover) DOH-DXB-SIN to my cart.

  49. @Lucky Old Account.. But solved, the problem persisted with chrome, tried with firefox and went fine!

  50. @Lucky
    I appreciate your help here.
    I am interested in any US-DXB-TOKYO in first (either HND or NRT, not being picky here).
    I’m looking several dates, intially for 2 people but couldn’t find any (only in business), then tried with 1 and the same. Is there any restriction on this routing? or is it that i’m not looking deep enough?

  51. @ BBK — Have you tried searching segment by segment first? In other words, first find a flight from the US to Dubai with space, and then from there try to add on the second segment.

  52. Hey Lucky,

    I’m been craving an Emirates F experience on the A380 (to BLR via DXB), but living in Chicago, I cannot get on an A380. I know SFO is an option, which would give me SFO-DXB-BLR. My question is – with the 90K Alaska Air F redemption, will I be allowed an ORD-SFO connection / stopover? So, essentially, would I be able to do ORD-SFO-DXB-BLR for 90K miles? Or am I on my own to get myself (and my bags) from ORD->SFO?

    Thanks again for all your posts and answers!!

    -Arun.

  53. @ Arun — You can include a positioning flight on an Emirates award using Alaska miles, though the positioning flight has to be on Alaska. So they may let you do ORD-SEA-SFO-DXB-BLR, though to be honest I doubt you’d find an agent willing to book it, when you could fly the much more direct ORD-DXB-BLR routing. So you’re probably best off booking your own positioning flight.

  54. This change in policy made my day as well. Within a few minutes of reading it, the Alaska rep gave me my EK record locator number from LAX to DXB to BKK. My trip will then continue to DAC and KTM, probably back to BKK, and return either cheap J on JAL to HNL or go back via EY to SFO (the Indian food on the Jet Airways wet lease is beyond excellent, in my opinion).

  55. Hi Lucky,

    I’m trying to book 2 one-way tickets from MLE-DXB-LAX on Emirates first class with Alaska miles for next year and I find that the only MLE-DXB flights that shows up on the Alaska website leaves in the morning (9AM or 11AM), which leaves me with a 18+ hour layover in DXB, even though there’s an 11PM Emirates flight that would give me a much shorter layover and more time in Maldives. Do you know if I can call Alaska to see if there’s award availability on the 11PM flight, even though it doesn’t show up on website?

    Else, do first class passengers (even those using Alaska miles) with super long layovers get a free hotel stay in Dubai?

    Thanks so much for your invaluable help! This is for our 10-year anniversary so I’m hoping to surprise my husband with an amazing trip!

  56. @ Ashah — You can certainly call, but if it’s not showing up it’s probably just not available, unfortunately. Emirates doesn’t do free hotels for those on Alaska awards. Enjoy the trip, sounds like a great one!

  57. Hi Ben,

    I’ve been playing around with various award dates and legs and have noticed that when I click the radial button in the First or Business section it reveals the class of travel for each individual leg, which on almost all flights reveals that only one leg will be in a premium cabin with all the rest being in coach. For instance, SIN – DXB – JFK on the 10th of August at 1:40 am shows the first leg SIN-DXB in coach and DXB-JFK in first for 100,000 Alaskan miles. Are there any tips/tricks to get first all the way?

    I tried to get around this by booking leg-by-leg, however, there are discrepancies between multi-leg searches and leg-by-leg searches. For example, when I try to book SIN-DXB alone on the same day I am brought to a screen that claims no award tickets are available on that day (or any days +/- a few)

  58. ^ Ignore my previous comment – I have realized that there is a small icon to inform you which ones have multi-cabin itineraries!

  59. @ JoshM — Are you looking up space through ExpertFlyer or somewhere else first, to verify there’s actually first class availability? It sounds like first class just isn’t available on those flights, in which case you’ll want to use a different source to search space before going to Alaska’s site.

  60. Looks like they are not available now on Alaska. Alaska is showing British airways flights. I checked JFK , DFW and Houston via the calender with nothing showing.

  61. @ robertw — They should still be available. Did you check a variety of dates? Definitely still seeing some space.

  62. I searched Calender award to make it easier. Where I see Fuel surcharges, those are all BA flights
    I am searching on Alaska website. Havent seen a single flight. A few weeks ago I saw the Emirates flights

    I searched JFK-AUH Jan-April 2016
    AUH-JFK
    DFW to AUH
    AUH-DFW

    Houston shows zero available on any airline

  63. @ robertw — The issue is probably that you’ll want to search space to DFW rather than AUH. Emirates doesn’t fly to Abu Dhabi at all, but rather only to Dubai.

  64. I don’t have ExpertFlyer. But I could see First class availability in Alaska Website, can I assume that it is available for real? I have read about EK phantom availability issues earlier, do you know if that has been fixed?

  65. @ Raj — Yeah, in a vast majority of cases if it shows on Alaska’s site it should also be bookable.

  66. I just noticed browsing through the award travel on Alaska, that they no longer offer direct LAX-DXB for 2016 flights, they route it via LAX-SEA-DXB using Emirates 777 plane. LAX-DXB is still available for Nov or Dec 2015.
    I wonder if its possible to call them at the call center to get a direct LAX-DXB award ticket?

  67. Lucky,

    Is there still an issues with entry into the Emirates First class lounge with an Alaska Airlines F award ticket?

    Thanks

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