Update January 26, 2023: The test that Air Canada did earlier in the week of new Emirates pricing was simply a bit premature. The new pricing is live. And so are redemptions for first class awards.
As expected, they’re expensive. Here’s Boston – Dubai tonight – 297,500 miles against a $15,000 paid one-way fare.
Now, I don’t expect anyone considering buying walkup first class is using Aeroplan miles instead. But it would be a good (5 cent per point) value if they did.
In general you’ll find that business class awards are still a better deal through Air Canada Aeroplan than through Emirates (with their recent devaluation) but that first class awards may price lower through Emirates. And of course Emirates is a partner of all major U.S. transfer currencies.
Update January 25, 2023: On Tuesday I wrote that Aeroplan had started pricing Emirates awards on their new, separate and more expensive award chart. That turned out to be an error. Aeroplan had changed Emirates pricing for a few hours, but it has reverted to the regular award chart.
Redeeming Emirates business class awards at regular Aeroplan award chart pricing is an incredible value, especially since there are no fuel surcharges, and especially since you can transfer Chase, American Express, Capital One and Bilt points to Aeroplan.
We don’t yet know when the higher prices will go into effect – just that it’ll happen at the same time that Emirates first class awards become available. Book those Emirates business itineraries now!
Original December 7, 2022 post follows:
For years Emirates and Air Canada have had a frosty relationship, the upshot being that Emirates has limited access to the Canadian market. After trading barbs years ago, and Emirates going from being allowed just 3 flights a week to 5 in 2018, the two airlines are now partners. They had already announced they would do some codesharing and introduce a frequent flyer partnership. The partnership is here.
And with both mileage-earning and redemption across each others’ flights, as well as a lounge access agreement for Toronto and Dubai, the new Aeroplan-Emirates tie-up is far better than what we’ve seen so far from Emirates and United.
Emirates A380 First Class Shower Spa
Redeeming Aeroplan Miles For Emirates Travel
Aeroplan now allows redemption for travel on Emirates (and Emirates Skywards miles will be able to be used for travel on Air Canada). This is the only airline for which Aeroplan has a separate award chart, but that separate chart hasn’t been implemented yet. So for now you can book Emirates flights at current Aeroplan redemption rates for other airlines (and, indeed, you can include Emirates as part of larger itineraries with other partners).
What’s more, unlike when you book travel on Emirates through the Skywards program or with most other partners, there are no fuel surcharges. (Aeroplan does charge a CA$39 booking fee on partner awards.) Emirates redemptions can be booked on the Aeroplan website.
Here’s the chart, though first class awards – which will be possible – aren’t online yet.
|Up to 2,000
|15,000 to 35,000 pts
|30,000 to 77,500 pts
|65,000 to 175,000 pts
|21,000 to 65,000 pts
|45,000 to 14,000 pts
|110,000 to 325,000 pts
|40,000 to 85,000 pts
|80,000 to 185,000 pts
|225,000 to 475,000 pts
|60,000 to 110,000 pts
|120,000 to 225,000 pts
|300,000 to 600,000 pts
|85,000 to 150,000 pts
|180,000 to 300,000 pts
|400,000 to 750,000 pts
Consider that North America – Dubai is going to fall into the 5,001 – 9,000 mile band regardless of flight. You can get from New York JFK as far beyond Dubai as India, Sri Lanka or the Maldives and stay under 9,000 miles one way. You’ll still likely pay a princely sum, but potentially a non-crazy redemption amount in business (but perhaps not first) class.
Scott O’Leary, Air Canada’s Vice President of Loyalty and Product, tells me that there will actually be three phases for the rollout in Emirates redemption pricing.
- For “a few weeks” you’ll be able to redeem Emirates economy and business class awards at current Aeroplan award chart rates
- Then we’ll see prices fairly stable within the range of this new Emirates-specific chart (“pricing… won’t vary too much”). That’s when first class awards will be added.
- Eventually pricing within the Emirates award chart bands “will vary a bit more.”
Emirates A380 Business Class Bar
It seems to me that Emirates redemption flights must be more expensive for Aeroplan to buy than those of other partners. I have to think that Emirates is requiring payment of the fuel surcharge amount, for instance. So to make these flights available Air Canada has to charge more miles – but for the next few weeks at least there are some real bargains to be had (Air Canada choosing to lose money on your redemptions!).
Earning Aeroplan Miles On Emirates Flights
If you’re doing paid travel on Emirates you can now credit the miles to Air Canada Aeroplan. That’s going to be better than crediting to the Emirates Skywards program itself, Korean Air Skypass, or Qantas Frequent Flyer for most readers, much of the time. So this is a new great option to consider.
|Class of service
|Eligible booking classes
|Business Flex & Business Saver
|J, C, I, O
|Economy Flex +
|R, Y, P
|U, B, M, K
|G, T, L, Q
|Economy Special/Ineligible classes
|V, X, S, N, D, Z
Reciprocal Lounge Access
Aeroplan 50K Elites and above will have access to Emirates business class lounges in Dubai (including one guest) when flying Emirates economy, and when Air Canada relocates its own flight to terminal 3 next year the benefit will extend to economy passengers on those flights as well.
Emirates Skywards Gold members and above will have access to Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounges and Air Canada Café (including one guest) in Toronto when traveling coach on either Air Canada or Emirates.
Business class passengers on Emirates will also have access to those lounges regardless of status. And there’s one special element here for Emirates first class: access to the Air Canada Signature Suite (and Emirates first class award passengers are eligible for this).
Air Canada Signature Suite Toronto
If you’re connecting to pick up an Emirates first class flight, I’d consider Signature Suite access a reason to consider their Toronto flight over other Airbus A380 gateways.