Emirates: We’re Going To Keep Devaluing Over The Next Month

The Emirates no-notice devaluation of premium cabin long haul awards is going to get worse, according to the airline. They’ve only just gotten started with itineraries to and from Dubai.

According to the airline, it will take until January 31, 2023 to fully roll out their devaluation plans:

In line with current market conditions, Emirates Skywards is introducing an increase on Skywards Miles required for Upgrade Rewards and Classic Rewards booked in Business Class and First Class. The increase will be gradually introduced on reward tickets across the Emirates network between 22 December 2022 and 31 January 2023.

To reduce the impact of this change on our most loyal customers, we will be increasing the bonus Skywards Miles earning opportunities for all Platinum, Gold and Silver members travelling with Emirates.

On all Emirates flights booked from 31 January 2023 onwards, Skywards Platinum members will earn a further 100% of the Economy Flex+ Miles earned on a given route (increasing from 75%); Skywards Gold members will earn 75% of the Economy Flex+ Miles earned on a given route (increasing from 50%); and Skywards Silver Members will earn 30% of the Economy Flex+ Miles earned on a given route (increasing from 25%).

An increase in bonus miles earned on flights for Skywards elite members doesn’t come close to ‘reducing the impact’ of this change.

  • They’re saying existing miles you’ve earned in the past are worth less
  • Give them even more business after they’ve broken your trust, devaluing without notice, and they’ll give you more miles to make up for it
  • Which you can expect them to devalue again without notice. Lucy, Charlie Brown, football.

Emirates Skywards is simply not a trustworthy program. The only use for the program for anyone in the U.S. is transferring points in from a bank program to book an award immediately – keeping a balance of zero. By the way they still haven’t even said what the rest of the devaluation will look like – just that it’s coming!

Original December 23 post follows:

Emirates has instituted a ~ 20% increase in miles required for premium cabin awards on many non-stop itineraries to and from Dubai, while so far leaving connecting itineraries and fifth freedom routes unchanged, though that could change. This was done with no notice, and after already raising business class award pricing earlier this year.

The Skywards mileage calculator showing what awards should cost hasn’t yet been updated, so they tell you awards will cost one price and charge a different price.

Right now the best way to redeem for Emirates awards in business class is through Aeroplan. There’s a brief window to use the standard Aeroplan redemption chart for Emirates travel, and Aeroplan doesn’t add fuel surcharges.

Otherwise you’re usually transferring bank points to Emirates, and they’re a transfer partner of all of them. And the Skywards program was already expensive for long haul premium cabin travel, even before this year’s increases.

The change, which was first noted by Monkey Miles, is really dirty pool. A relatively low value program to begin with, Skywards is also untrustworthy, consistently making their program even lower value – by surprise though it should not come as a surprise by now.

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 — I’m not sure why anyone seems surprised. I saw this coming from a mile away. The ironic thing is that Emirates’ J product isn’t even desirable. I would book DL 767-300 J over EK 777 J any day.

  2. @gene. To be fair.. the A380 new and old business class is miles ahead of DL 767. It’s not even in the same convo . The A380 Business class is for sure desirable. Not many airlines offer the A380 experience and an onboard bar..

  3. @ Tee Ayo — My comment referred specifically to EK 777 J. I still find EK to generally be style over substance. The old EK F is among the worst in the sky. CX, JL, NH, SQ, LH, LX, AF, QF and EY are all better. Perhaps only BA and TG F are worse then EK F. Even QR Qsuites are better than old EK F unless you are an alcoholic or don’t have a shower in your house.

  4. @Gene – while your general point about the EK A380 F seat is correct, suggesting that QSuites is superior is quite the exaggeration. And EK F does offer quite a nice soft product as you infer, food and beverage, amenities, and of course the on board shower. I’d unquestionably take EK’s ‘old’ A380 F over any business class product in the world.

    As I think on it, I’d actually that EK F over Qantas F. And certainly over Korean, Air China, British Airways, China Southern… not to mention American! And for that matter the Qatar A380 first seat is more spacious, but I would still take Emirates.

  5. @ Gary — Fair enough. Plus, it HAS been many years since I last flew EK F. I happen to love JL, SQ, CX, LH and LX F, so I don’t ever seem to get back onboard Emirates. With these insane award prices,, it looks like it will be with cash when I do!

    Oh, and thanks for completing my list of remaining F products. I would never fly on the mainland Chinese airlines and American F is so not memorable. I need to hurry and try KE F before it vanishes like OZ F.

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