Are Emirates Awards No Longer Bookable With Alaska Miles?

Update: Alaska claims this is a temporary glitch, and that Emirates awards will be bookable again soon.

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is one of my favorite loyalty programs, and one of the reasons for that is the unique airline partners they have. Despite being a relatively small airline based in the Pacific Northwest, they have an impressive array of international partners, with very lucrative mileage redemption opportunities. One of the best aspects of the program is that they allow stopovers on one-way awards, which not many airlines allow.

Alaska-Partners

Historically my favorite partner of Alaska’s has been Emirates, given that Alaska had among the best redemption values for travel on Emirates. Besides, who doesn’t like Emirates’ blingy first class cabins, along with their onboard showers and bars?

Emirates-A380-First-Class-001

While I’ve redeemed Alaska Mileage Plan miles for Emirates first class several times, I’ll find different ways to book Emirates first class in the future, given Alaska’s recent brutal award chart devaluation for travel on Emirates. The cost of first class redemptions on Emirates increased by 67-100% overnight, with no advance notice.

The one-way first class award costs went from 90,000-100,000 miles, to 150,000-200,000 miles. The way they handled the situation was deplorable, as they blamed customers rather than taking responsibility for the changes. Oh, and then they changed which subset of customers they blamed for the devaluation.

Emirates-Shower

Apparently this award devaluation caused a bit of an argument between Alaska and Emirates, as Emirates was the one pushing the change through. I figured after the devaluation award redemptions were back to normal.

However, something very strange is going on, as pointed out by Sach in the Ask Lucky forum — at the moment, for travel after today Alaska doesn’t have access to any Emirates award availability. This includes travel in economy, business, and first class, and is true whether you try to book online or by phone.

It’s not that Emirates isn’t making the space available, as they absolutely are. For example, take the below Emirates flights between New York and Dubai, all of which have award availability in all cabins:

Emirates-Award-Availability

Meanwhile Alaska doesn’t even see an economy award seat for the entire month (you know this because of the high surcharges, which show that they’re offering travel on British Airways instead):

Alaska-Awards

I called Japan Airlines Mileage Bank to see if they had access to Emirates award space, and they absolutely do. So there’s something going on with award redemptions between Alaska and Emirates, though we don’t exactly know what yet. I’ve reached out to someone at Alaska in hopes of getting clarity of the situation, and will report back when I find out more.

In the meantime, if you’re not seeing any Emirates award availability through Alaska Mileage Plan, you’re not alone.

Here’s to hoping this is just a tech glitch or that they’re updating systems, and that this doesn’t represent an actual policy change.

What do you make of Alaska Mileage Plan not having access to any Emirates award availability?

Comments

  1. “Meanwhile Emirates doesn’t even see an economy award seat for the entire month”…

    I think you meant to say Alaska here, rather than Emirates.

  2. AS has been weird recently, both BA and JAL shows the CX flight with availability, but AS said no, I have done several HUCA, same result. Any tips how to handle this situation? Thanks

  3. The panic among the sheep will happen.. I’m sure it will correct itself so that the world wont fall apart.

  4. soon award chart arbitrage will be over. the airlines will have a more consistent mileage across programs.

  5. Believe me, once this merger between Virgin America and AS progress, THERE WILL BE A DEVALUATION IN REDEMPTION ACROSS THE BOARD with Mileage Plan. Those rates won’t stay the way they currently are. That’s why it’s NEVER A WISE IDEA TO HOARD MILES.

  6. It’s a glitch on AS.com site. They’re investigating and we should have an answer for it soon.

  7. I am only able to find Y and J for JFK-DXB for 2 flights departing today only.

  8. I just got off the phone with Alaska a couple hours ago because overnight my EF alert went off for DXB-SEZ opening up in F in August. Alaska had to manually confirm the seats, but successfully went from J into F with no problem. Seats confirmed with EK. EF inventory matched what we were able to grab.

  9. Lucky- thanks for the credit in your post about finding this glitch. I really appreciate it! Also, I was going to use JAL miles to book anyway so I’m happy that you called them and they can see the seats. Hopefully those seats will pop up soon for those that want to burn the AS miles.

  10. EEK! Hope it’s fixed soon and that my AS miles post too! Need to book flights from LAX to DXB for next Feb.

  11. Am I the only one who can’t get excited about Emirates First? The cabins are so gaudy and ugly! From a design standpoint I’d rather fly Etihad/Qatar/Lufthansa/Air France or even BA First–their cabins might be short on extras like showers or an onboard lounge (except for Qatar’s lounge–so sweet), but they’re so much more elegant and beautiful!

    Anyways, sure I’m in the minority here, just wanted to see if anyone else thinks the way I do 🙂 and I love reading your reviews of everything regardless Lucky! Thanks for a killer blog!

  12. I have not seen anywhere where AS is going revenue based. Don’t believe everything u hear on the Internet.!

  13. I’m with you Jack. I was never excited about their FC, it’s over the top gaudy as you say. It might have been a deal at 100K points before the deval but I’m not interested now. Sure the A380 would be nice but they fly 777’s out of my base. So let’s see, First Class EK to Asia for 180K one way or CX 70K. Wait, where’s my calculator…..

    And I have zero interest in their business class seat. I’m not sure what they were thinking there. Even United finally got the direct aisle access hint.

    BTW: The EK rewards are back online.

  14. They are indeed back online but they are withholding F close to EOS. That hasn’t been the case for the last year- there was predictable F space at EOS for RTs ex-USA for even 4 people. Looks dry for F after May 11 but hopefully its just temporary.

  15. @Sach — it may be a busy period. I was watching F space closely as end of March 2017 slowly became bookable, day by day. Tons of F space on both DXB-LAX flights every day — then all of a sudden starting March 16 it just stopped — then it resumed beginning in early April. To this day there still hasn’t ever been F availability in that window from mid-March until early April 2017. Hopefully F will start being available again as new dates come into the system.

  16. Please write some original posts. Most of this post has basically been copied from about 5-10 previous posts over the last few months

  17. @Eli – I noticed as well. I see plenty of economy awards. Absolutely zero business and first awards. For June next year. Using multiple different routes.

  18. So I luckily booked a one way first class award from JFK-DEL via EK on 3/27/16 for a 2/20/17 flight for 90,000 AS miles, knowing full well I could change the ticket without any fees. Lucky for me this was before the unannounced devaluation.

    I need to change my ticket however and haven’t been getting anywhere with AS customer service reps. As mentioned in the post, there doesn’t seem to be any award availability to Del via AS, and any change to the destination will change the award redemption from 90,000 miles to 150,000 miles.

    There are plenty of award flights to Mumbai, but no EK flights to Del, only flight available on British Airways.

    I’m able to see (Z) first class avails on Expert Flyer to Dubai on 3/4 from JFK, and I’m able to find a 3/6 economy flight (x partner award availability) to Delhi on 3/6.

  19. Is Alaska Air now able to see Emirates award availability? If not where can I see availability from DXB-BOM in December? I cant find a way to check award on Emirates website 🙁

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