Holiday devaluation: Emirates Skywards increases award prices with no notice
To bring in the holidays, Emirates has increased its award rates again.
Unfortunately, this isn't the only bad news Emirates has rolled out on the award travel front this year. In 2022 alone, we've written the following stories about Emirates Skywards award pricing changes and increased fuel surcharges:
- Feb. 2: Emirates Skywards devalues again by raising one-way business-class award prices
- Feb. 28: Emirates significantly increases fuel surcharges on Skywards award redemptions
- March 14: Emirates increases fuel surcharges on award tickets ... again
- June 21: Emirates raised its fuel surcharges again — will other airlines follow suit?
But now, Monkey Miles discovered award rate increases on routes between Dubai and Europe. And then One Mile at a Time found that the increases apply in many more markets.
Emirates doesn't have an award chart but directs flyers to check a miles calculator for prices. Emirates has now mostly updated this calculator, but it may still show the old, lower prices on some searches.
Related: An inside look at Emirates Skywards, as told by the program's president
Let's look at a few of the changes.
A one-way award between Dubai and Frankfurt used to cost 38,750 miles in economy class, 72,500 miles in business class and 85,000 miles in first class. The economy-class rate hasn't changed. But now, you'll need to redeem 87,000 miles in business class or 102,000 miles in first class. And taxes and fees aren't insignificant on this one-way award, costing 1,610 United Arab Emirates dirhams (about $438) in business or first class.
Routes between the U.S. and Dubai are also affected. For example, a one-way award from New York to Dubai used to cost 136,250 miles in first class. But now you'll need to redeem 163,500 miles plus $836.20 to fly in first class.
One Mile at a Time notes that Emirates' fifth-freedom route from New York to Milan isn't affected and hypothesizes that awards to or from Dubai are what's mostly affected. But concerningly, the Emirates miles calculator says awards from New York to Milan now cost 168,750 miles one-way in first class and 142,500 one-way in business class.
When I do an award search, the news is better. The search engine claims I can redeem 72,500 miles plus $102.80 to fly one-way in business class or 85,000 miles plus $102.80 to fly one-way in first class from New York to Milan.
If you want to book Emirates Skywards awards before rates increase more, you can transfer to Skywards from many programs with transferable currencies, including:
- American Express Membership Rewards: 1:1 transfer ratio; transfers are usually instant.
- Bilt Rewards: 1:1 transfer ratio; transfers are usually instant.
- Capital One: 1:1 transfer ratio, transfers are usually instant.
- Chase Ultimate Rewards: 1:1 transfer ratio; transfers are usually instant.
- Citi ThankYou: 1:1 transfer ratio; transfers are usually instant.
- Marriott Bonvoy: 3:1 transfer ratio with a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 Marriott points transferred (at least for now, as this bonus is ending for some programs); transfers usually take three days.
Remember that you don't have to redeem miles through the Emirates Skywards program to fly on Emirates. Air Canada and Emirates expanded their partnership in early December by introducing the ability to redeem Aeroplan points for Emirates flights. However, Emirates flights won't be available at the same rates as other Aeroplan award flights, and first-class awards won't be bookable until early 2023.