Taking advantage of Alaska’s promotion for double miles on Emirates

Yesterday I posted about Alaska’s promotion offering double Mileage Plan miles for travel on Emirates between March 1 and May 31, 2012. Before I get too far into this post, let me say this post is simply intended to look at some of the more “fun” options for earning status, or at the very least paying for business/first class and getting a decent bit of value out of it.

Through this promotion they’re offering double miles for travel on Emirates, and it’s assumed that MVP Gold members will also receive the 100% elite mileage bonus for travel on Emirates. If you’re not an elite member with Alaska, it’s worth noting that they’ll typically status match mid-tier elites and above in other programs to MVP Gold status, so it’s not all that tough of a status level to attain.

Anyway, Emirates has some very reasonable premium cabin fares originating outside of the US that could earn you a ton of Alaska Mileage Plan miles during the double miles promotion. Of course positioning costs could negate the value of this, but if you’re thinking of vacationing somewhere anyway, it’s not quite as bad.

For example, take a look at this Cairo to Seattle business class fare on Emirates through Dubai:

When you do the math on that, that’s 17,856 flown miles. With the double miles promotion, that’s 35,712 miles. If you’re an MVP Gold member you get an additional 100% mileage bonus, for a total of 53,568 miles. Since this is paid business class you’re earning an additional 25% bonus miles, for a total of 58,032 redeemable miles and 22,320 elite qualifying miles (base miles plus 25%), nearly enough for MVP status.

Originating in Cairo is incredibly inconvenient, though I’ve been meaning to visit Egypt for a while, so I’d have to book an award ticket either way. I’m kind of tempted to pick up one of these fares, not just for the nearly 60,000 redeemable miles and MVP status, but also to try Emirates business class.

It’s also worth noting that since there’s an overnight in Dubai in both directions, Emirates will provide you with a complimentary room at the Le Meridien as a business class passenger.

More than anything else, though, I’m tempted to pick up a paid first class ticket out of Colombo, Sri Lanka, as outlined here. That offer is more lucrative than ever, now that you can actually credit miles flown on Emirates to a good frequent flyer program, not to mention earn double miles over the next few months.

Anyone else tempted?


  1. Hmm…I have a week-long break in March and am just crazy enough to make a Colombo-based trip my first pseudo-mileage run. But I don’t know if I could travel with you Lucky, I’m a Diet Pepsi guy. 😉

  2. Unbelievably tempted, especially as positioning flights aren’t bad from my part of the world, and there’s family in the NW. The overnight in Dubai might be a deal-breaker though 😉

  3. Anyone able to get the dxb-lhr leg to come up cheap for the emirates flight? I see the cheap fare, but with ba being the carrier for that leg. Looks at a few dates from next month through the fall.

  4. @ David — Are you talking about an ex-CMB fare? If so, have you tried searching segment by segment on Orbitz or Expedia?

  5. I am looking at the ex-CMB fare. There is plenty of seat availability showing on the travelocity multi city search to find the fare, but the emirates leg from dxb-lhr on the 380 increases the price to $7000 ish.

  6. Food for thought…

    If you cancel your Park Hyatt Shanghai stay and rebook into the IC using PointBreaks (as you discussed a day or so ago), then that would cover a substantial portion of the cost. A month down the road, I’d have to believe that spending the money on the EK flight would provide a greater return and value for you.

    Just my .02.

  7. Will Emirates provide a free hotel room on an overnight for first class AWARD passengers? If so, where can I find the details?

  8. @Lucky: Having flown EK quite a bit in both Business and First (including the A380 to/from North America), I recommend you go for First. The difference is like night and day. Business is great, but First is a game-changer. Plus, you’ll get the A380 with the shower experience (which is actually more than just a gimmick as you arrive pretty much with a “reset” biological clock).

    @Gene: I can tell you from first-hand experience that EK does offer award passengers in First (and Business) the hotel and chauffeur. I have actually only used it a couple of times, since there are so many amazing hotels in Dubai that are worth trying out, but they do offer it and you can even book the chauffeur online (though it’s buggy).

  9. Colombo definitely makes more sense from a logistical perspective. Looks like a lot of fun. Would be tempting if I had the time.

  10. I actually have a general question… how does one know if an airline I want to fly would provide me with free hotel on my overnight itinerary? How common is that airlines do this for premium passengers and for premium award passengers? Random examples would be EWR-HNL on Alaska via SEA or VIE-JFK on Finnair via HEL.
    Thank you.

  11. @ Lantean — Generally airlines are pretty good about hiding the benefit, so the best way to find out is to go to a website like FlyerTalk and search “transit hotel” in the airline’s specific forum.

    As a (very) general rule, the airlines that most commonly offer the transit hotel are airlines that are in a region between two big markets, where they’re trying to attract passengers that would otherwise take nonstop flights. This includes airlines like Emirates, Turkish, etc.

  12. Why would an airline offer CAI-SEA-CAI for $2000 but SEA-CAI-SEA for $6000? What difference is it to them what order the flights are taken?

  13. @ anita — The logic, rational or not, is that peoples’ willingness to pay is different depending on where they’re originating. The assumption is that a business traveler flying from the US to Egypt is willing to pay more than an Egyptian traveling to the US for business.

    In general it makes sense, though in many instances (where the fare is 10x higher originating in one city vs. another) it just seems a bit extreme.

  14. Well AS managed to shoot themselves in the ass. They just updated their program rules and now COS bonuses will NOT count towards to Elite Accrual… That does not only apply to EK but to all partners [DL, AA, LA, etc] and we will only get bonus RDM for COS, no more bonus EQMs.


    Elite qualifying flight miles: Yes.
    Class of service bonuses do not count toward elite status accrual.

    I have used this benefit a few times when flying in paid F and it made the cost a touch more bearable. Now, no more.

    Great. AS is slowly turning themselves in to a sucky program for elites. Fare restrictions on gold certs [not to mention you can’t even waitlist using the certs], increasing the requirement to get the 50K bonus miles for AS+Partners from 75K to 90K, changed SDC rules from 24 hours to 6 hours, eliminated guest pass access to the Boardroom for members, increased the companion fare from $50 to $99, stopped giving Christmas cookies for MVPGs, and too many more for me to list. >:o News Flash, they miraculously managed to do all of that in just 2 years. North of Expected? My ass.

    They are having record breaking quarters and year end EPS, yet they are sucking the elite program dry.

    Since you asked the question on FT, I thought I’d let you know. Now off to vent a little and reconsider whether I should even bother with AS any more.

    Current status: Very ANGRY MVPG75K.

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