As first noted by Nick Reyes, Alaska Airlines sent out a program update to Mileage Plan members informing that “Beginning April 1, 2021, Emirates will no longer allow partner access to First Class award bookings.”
- It’s possible that this restriction – no first class awards with partner miles – is for Alaska Airlines only.
- However that’s not what this update says.
Alaska first class awards on Emirates have been a terrible value since the airline devalued these awards without notice in 2016.
Other partners include Japan Airlines, Korean Air, Qantas and others. Partner redemptions on Emirates aren’t generally a great deal. Qantas is their closest of these partners, but charges an extravagant number of miles on all but the shortest trips. JAL Mileage Bank has historically been the best deal though devalued 20% – 30% two years ago. And Japan Airlines miles are tough to get, mostly available via Marriott transfers.
For most people Emirates Skywards miles will be the best way to book Emirates first class awards anyway since they’ve eliminated fuel surcharges on redemptions.
Emirates Skywards awards are distance-based, with longer flights costing more. And business class awards cost double coach, first class awards trip the cost of coach. But Emirates miles are easy to get.
- Emirates is a transfer partner of Chase, American Express, Citibank, and Capital One
- There’s a brand new Emirates credit card from Barclays
There will be no shortage of Emirates Skywards miles available to book first class awards with, but it will still be a shame if partner redemptions for first class are no longer possible starting April 1.