80% Savings: Emirates Stops Adding Big Fuel Sucharges To Award Tickets

Emirates has imposed some of the highest surcharges on award tickets in the world. Taxes and fees flying New York – Bangkok in business or first class were recently has high as $1736 roundtrip – and that’s in addition to paying with miles.

All of a sudden, though, that’s changed. One Mile at a Time notes that big surcharges no longer being added to redemption tickets. They’ve been a staple since 2013.

Lucky finds it ‘odd’ that he hasn’t “seen any official announcement” of this change, though it’s notable that it isn’t really a change in policy regarding award tickets – the change is that Emirates has stopped filing exorbitant carrier-imposed surcharges with its paid fares, so isn’t collecting them on redemptions either. (And this means other programs that partner with Emirates should no longer be collecting hefty surcharges, either.)

Examples of current premium cabin one-way surcharges:

  • Newark – Athens: $30
  • New York JFK – Milan: $30
  • New York JFK – Dubai: $150
  • New York JFK – Dubai – Bangkok: $225

Emirates offers great award availability from a variety of U.S. destinations, however fuel surcharges used to be the major stopper using the Skywards program for redemptions. Points prices are roughly based on distance, and premium cabin awards are priced at 2x coach for business class and 3x coach for first class.

Shorter flights like U.S. – Milan or Athens run a fantastic 85,000 miles one way or 135,000 miles roundtrip in first class. However once you fly as far as Dubai roundtrip pricing gets up to 217,500 miles. And connecting beyond Dubai is pricier still, for instance New York – Dubai – Bangkok runs 285,000 miles roundtrip.

Emirates became an American Express transfer partner in 2013, a Chase transfer partner in 2019 and a Citi transfer partner just last month.

In fact since Emirates is also a transfer partner of Capital One, it is one of four programs along with Singapore Airlines, JetBlue, and Air France KLM that are transfer partners of all the major bank currencies.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Gary, is this change only for EK flights using EK miles, or does it also apply on EK flights booked via other programs like JL?

  2. Is award availability for their own program the same as what we are able to see on Alaska’s site?

  3. Is booking a partner award on JAL Mileage Bank still the best option for to redeem for EK first class from the (combined) perspective of miles and fuel surcharges?

  4. The big problem now that YQ is gone is only that there are no value redemptions on Emirates in first class. Before the overnight doubling of prices through Alaska Airlines a few years ago you could find good value. Now the best that can be said is that there a a few values that aren’t terrible. Not exactly a rousing endorsement.

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