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Emirates significantly increases fuel surcharges on Skywards award redemptions

Feb. 28, 2022
3 min read
Emirates Airbus A380
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Emirates' Skywards program has seen a string of negative changes over the last few months. And now, there’s even more bad news for award travelers.

Emirates has massively increased the cost of its fuel surcharges on award tickets. These surcharges vary heavily based on your departure city and destination, but Emirates appears to have raised prices across the board.

On some routes, the increase — which was first reported by One Mile at a Time — is by over $250 per person, equating to a roughly 140% hike on select routes.

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Emirates increases fuel surcharges

(Photo by AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)

Back in 2020, Emirates reduced fuel surcharges by hundreds of dollars. The taxes and fees on business and first-class awards between the U.S. and Dubai (DXB) dropped to less than $200 each way.

(Screenshot courtesy of emirates.com)

However, Emirates has now backtracked and increased the dreaded "YQ" (the industry notation for fuel surcharges) on these tickets to $400. Factoring in government taxes and fees, your total cost when booking these awards will now be $431, plus the miles you redeem.

Related: Everything you need to know about Emirates Skywards

(Screenshot courtesy of emirates.com)

Awards in economy class, as well as on Emirates' fifth-freedom flights from the New York area to Milan (MXP) and Athens (ATH), also got more expensive, though the increase wasn't as drastic.

A business class award on one of these European routes will now set you back about $70 in taxes and fees, compared to about $40 before.

(Screenshot courtesy of emirates.com)

While no official announcements have been made, we can presume that this change was driven by the same reason ANA and British Airways increased their surcharges earlier this year — higher oil prices.

When Emirates reduced fuel surcharges in 2020, the price of oil was down significantly due to the coronavirus pandemic. While certainly not a guarantee, we can hope that Emirates will lower its surcharges again when oil prices go back down.

Related: The best programs for booking Emirates awards

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Bottom line

Today's news is just another blow in a string of devaluations of the Emirates Skywards. Just a few weeks ago, many premium cabin award rates went up, but now the copay element is more expensive as well. This change is especially bad news for aspirational redemptions as there aren't many ways to book Emirates premium cabin awards through partners.

Featured image by (Photo by Eric Rosen/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

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The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

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  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
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  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases