The end of an era: Last chance to book Emirates awards with Alaska miles

Jul 23, 2021

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If you’ve been saving Alaska miles to book an Emirates flight, now is the time to cash in.

As we reported in June, Alaska Airlines is cutting partner ties with Emirates next week. Starting July 31, 2021, you’ll no longer be able to earn or redeem Mileage Plan miles on any Emirates flights.

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This announcement came roughly two months after Alaska Airlines officially joined the Oneworld alliance. When Alaska originally announced plans to join the alliance, the airlines said it planned to maintain its relationships with unaligned partners like Emirates.

That’s no longer the case. Per a message on Alaska’s website:

Our partnership with Emirates will end on July 31, 2021. Mileage Plan members can continue to earn and redeem* miles on oneworld® member airlines and our Global Partners to more than 1,000 destinations on 20+ airlines worldwide. For travel to India, the Middle East or Africa, guests can fly Qatar Airways in unparalleled comfort with their revolutionary Qsuite, the most private Business Class in the sky.

Tickets booked before June 2, 2021 will earn miles as usual for any dates already ticketed. Meanwhile, those booked on or after June 2 will only earn miles through July 31, 2021.

In addition to losing the ability to earn and redeem miles, Alaska and Emirates elites will lose reciprocal lounge access.

A spokesperson of Alaska Airlines confirmed the news to TPG, explaining, “After a successful partnership spanning nearly a decade, Alaska Airlines and Emirates will end their partnership on July 31, 2021. Effective Aug. 1, the airlines will no longer have agreements covering codeshare, frequent flier programs and lounge cooperation. The partnership began in 2012. ”

Emirates 777
(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

On the flip side, we now have a better idea of when Alaska will launch Oneworld alliance-wide redemptions.

Although Alaska has been a part of Oneworld for a couple of months now, it hasn’t yet been possible to redeem Mileage Plan miles on all partners, including Qatar Airways. So far, we just knew that Oneworld alliance-wide redemptions were going live by the end of the summer. However, the Qatar partner page on Alaska’s website has been updated to say, “award bookings will be available in August 2021.” Today’s news might suggest that Aug. 1 is the date that you’ll be able to redeem miles across all alliance partners.

Related: The best programs for booking Emirates awards

Bottom line

Overall this is disappointing news for Alaska Mileage Plan members, as it means one less way to redeem your miles. On the bright side, members were given plenty of notice and can still book Emirates awards beyond July 31 — they just won’t be changeable past that date.

Alternately, the Emirates Skywards program is still a solid option for booking Emirates awards since it no longer tacks on massive fuel surcharges. Another perk of Skywards is that, unlike Alaska, it’s a transfer partner of all the major flexible points programs: Chase Ultimate Rewards, Amex Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards and Capital One Venture miles. It’s also still possible to book Emirates awards through other partners, including Oneworld members Qantas and Japan Airlines.

This April, Emirates began limiting first-class awards to some partners, including Alaska. It may have been in anticipation of this announcement.

Alaska hasn’t announced any changes to other non-Oneworld partners like El Al, Icelandair and Singapore Airlines.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

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