Alaska Airlines and Emirates is ending their relationship. Previously the two airlines were not aligned in any alliance and Alaska provided Emirates with feed from West Coast destinations. So much so that at one-point Emirates was flying twice daily to Seattle, along with daily flights to several other West Coast destinations. The relationship has had its ups and downs, but down Alaska is ending the relationship with the Middle East megacarrier. If you want to redeem miles on Emirates using Alaska Miles, now is your last opportunity.
Alaska Moves Closer to Qatar Airways
Alaska Airlines Joined the OneWorld Alliance on March 31, 2021 becoming formally closer with the 13 other Oneworld member. Included in this alliance is Qatar Airways. Another megacarrier located in the Middle East and a direct competitor of connecting long-haul traffic. As Alaska joined OneWorld, there was speculation about what would happen with their relationship with Emirates.
Emirates has a very close relationship with OneWorld members Qantas. Qantas routes most European connecting traffic through Dubai. In addition, Emirates has an extensive codeshare agreement with Malaysia Airlines. Finally, Emirates and JAL, another OneWorld member, codeshare and have frequent flyer reciprocity. All of these relationships have been a point of contention for Oneworld member Qatar, who sometimes feels shunned by other partners. Qatar Airways has vocally expressed that they wants better coordination with partners.
It appears that Qatar Airways is getting there way with Alaska Airlines. In late 2020, Qatar Airways and Alaska Airlines announced a new codeshare and partnership. This launched with Qatar Airways new service to San Francisco and lead to Qatar Airways starting service to Seattle as well. Miles can only be accumulated when flying Qatar Airways, but Alaska does plan to launch new award charts for All OneWorld partners this summer.
Last Call for Emirates Awards & Earning Miles
As of July 31, 2021 Alaska Airlines will be ending their partnership with Emirates. This means any and all award travel must be booked on Emirates before this day. Currently only Economy and Business class travel is permitted on Emirates. Emirates restricted First class awards starting on April 1, 2021. Which was truly disappointing, but I thankfully was able to experience Emirates New first-class suite to Frankfurt slightly before First Class awards were blocked.
If you choose to book an award, be sure to book something you know you will be able to travel. After July 31, no changes will be permitted to Emirates award tickets. If you need to make a change, you will have to find new routing on a different Alaska partner.
If you want to earn miles on Emirates, tickets will only earn miles through July 31, 2021. Tickets purchased before June 2, 2021 will still earn miles but will need to be submitted for manual review after travel.
Overall, I believe it is disappointing that Alaska Airlines is not working with both Emirates and Qatar Airways moving forward. Several other OneWorld airlines partner with both carriers. American Airlines coordinates with Qatar and Etihad. There, it is possible. However, on the other side Emirates awards are extremely expensive. So this loss of partnership might not be terrible for those who want to burn miles. However, I love connectivity and options. Overall this is a blow to the Alaska Airlines Mileage program.
How to Fly Emirates Going forward
Flying Emirates for free is still possible. Points can easily be transferred to Emirates from a number of credit card programs. Although Emirates awards can be expensive, Emirates doesn’t really charge more for tickets than Alaska Airlines. Currently, you can transfer points to Emirates Skywards from the following programs:
- Chase Ultimate Rewards – 1:1
- Amex Membership Rewards – 1:1
- Citi ThankYou Rewards – 1:1
- Capital One Venture miles – 2:15
- Marriott Bonvoy – 3:1. Plus an addition a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 Marriott points transferred
If you are looking to boost your Emirates Skywards account, any credit card program can help. In addition, awards are still available via other emirates partners such as Qantas, TAP, Korean Air, and others.