Alaska Airlines Now Blocking Emirates Business Class Awards?

Filed Under: Alaska, Awards

Goodness, the situation between Alaska and Emirates keeps getting worse. Long story short, up until now we’ve known that Emirates first class awards aren’t bookable using Alaska miles for travel after March 28, 2015. Here are the previous posts on the subject:

Up until now that has been the extent of the problem, though. Alaska Mileage Plan members haven’t had access to Emirates first class award availability, though have had access to all other saver level business and economy class availability, best I can tell.

Is Alaska now blocking Emirates business class award space?

That seems to have changed recently, though. For the most part, it seems that Alaska Mileage Plan members no longer have access to Emirates business class awards for travel after March 28, 2015.


For example, let’s compare availability between ExpertFlyer (which shows the availability that Emirates’ own Skywards members have access to), and what Alaska Mileage Plan shows.

Chicago to Dubai

For travel from Chicago to Dubai in business class on March 28, 2015, ExpertFlyer shows availability:


Alaska’s website shows the same availability:


For travel just a couple of days later on the same flight, ExpertFlyer shows the same business class availability:


However, suddenly Alaska’s website doesn’t show business class availability anymore:


Boston to Dubai

For travel between Boston and Dubai in business class on March 26, 2015, ExpertFlyer shows availability:


Alaska’s website shows the same availability:


For travel just a few days later on the same flight, ExpertFlyer shows the same business class availability:


However, suddenly Alaska’s website doesn’t show business class availability anymore:


New York to Dubai

The New York to Dubai route is a bit trickier, it seems. For travel from New York to Dubai in business class on March 25, 2015, ExpertFlyer shows availability on three flights:


Alaska’s website shows the same availability:


If you check for travel a few days later, ExpertFlyer still shows business class availability on three flights:


Yet Alaska’s website only shows business class availability on two flights (which is interesting because at least there’s some space, which I haven’t been able to find on some other routes):


For travel later in the year all four Emirates flights between New York and Dubai show business class availability:


However Alaska’s website doesn’t show any availability in business class:


Bottom line

While it doesn’t seem to be a hard and fast rule, for the most part Alaska Mileage Plan doesn’t seem to have access to a vast majority of Emirates business class award availability for travel after March 28, 2015. Meanwhile, Alaska Mileage Plan doesn’t have access to any Emirates first class award availability for travel after March 28, 2015.

I’ll follow up with Alaska again now that the issue has spread to business class. This is a troubling trend.

  1. I don’t think that this is new, maybe you didn’t noticed before. I was searching last november for DXB-JFK on october and all that was available was Y. If you search the other direction (i.e.DXB-JFK), there are lots of J seats available until june. It seems that from july on, they stopped loading J and F, but this is happening for three months.

  2. I had noticed this over past few days as well. There is some availability in summer months, which is the worst possible time to visit Middle east and many parts of Asia! There is exactly one business class east from multiple airports (DFW, IAH, LAX, SFO) on Nov 19 and nothing else otherwise. There were up to 4 seats available on many routes from many airports specially DFW, when I searched a few weeks ago. It made sense with the huge Business class cabin on the A380. Wonder what is going on.

  3. Ben, oh I am hoping to make 2 award tkt with EK A380 BKK-DXB-US-Westcoast in Feb 2016
    a big celebrating for my partner and I and this is our first trip like this – so PLEASE pray for us so we can get the 2 businness – we have the alaska miles we just need the avalibilty to open up – Thanks for all your great trip reports and advice

  4. I wonder if trying to book an award ticket using Japan Airlines miles shows the same scarcity as Alaska?

  5. Was able to grab 2J seats in late May to Europe via DXB 3 hours ago through Alaska’s website. LAX-DXB showed wide availability for May a couple hours ago.

  6. I can confirm availability from Lax. Just searched right now from YVR via LAX to DXB and there’s availability in May in J.

  7. Show us how to collect lots of JAL miles and I’m in, Lucky šŸ™‚ Unfortunately, other than SPG transfers, there isn’t away without butt in seat travel.

  8. You do realise you are a root cause of this problem! Sensational headlines, creating a story for clicks! “Reaching out to a Alsaka contact for info” (over the first class issuse!!?) Stop being do selfish and causing these problems your helping nobody apart from yourself and for the wrong reasons.

  9. I’m glad I got to book at least one business class flight on EK before this change–and it was for my mom. šŸ™‚

  10. @JJ – I’m not sure how you can blame Ben. This issue is obviously bigger than what one blogger can accomplish.

  11. Hoping this gets resolved in the next few months. I was planning on booking a surprise trip for my dad from JFK-DXB to see the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the end of November.

  12. Time to move away from Alaska. The agents are just unwilling to help.if you are lucky, you will find someone who knows about the other tool and can do point to point….most of them are just not willing yo help.

  13. LUCKY… I GOT IT.. 10th Call and I GOT IT… Thanks You for the help and the advice..

    On 3/9/15 I Booked SFO-DXB-PEK for travel late April First all the way!!!!

    Keep on trying guys, Good Luck.. 2K Btw if anyone was wondering

  14. Hello Lucky,

    Just wondering if you have heard any more news about the lack of Business and First on Emirates with Alaska points?

  15. Hi Ben,

    it looks like the business class rewards are BACK!
    I’m still searching for first though :).

    Best regards,

  16. We successfully booked two business class seats on Emirates A-380 from BKK-DXB-SFO for early November. We found that the city pairs affected business class availability. For example, we couldn’t get any business class seats if the trip included a return to our hometown in Alaska. In order to get those seats, we had to terminate the trip in SFO and purchase seperate tickets from SFO to Alaska. Still worth it, as paying $220 for that last leg allowed us to get $10,000 worth of Emirates flights! It seems The availability of these award seats is somehow based on the distance/cost/city pair involved, not on some fixed chart. You may need to limit your search to main gateway cities to find availability (SFO, ORD, etc) and book your hometown flight seperately. Not ideal, but it is what it is.

  17. Hi Lucky – award nexus shows business award availability JNB-DXB on Dec 7th and onward from DXB-BOS. However, when I try and replicate this on Alaska, it places me in economy for the JNB to DXB portion of the flight and business for the flight to Boston. In general is award nexus a reliable indicator of Emirates award availability?

  18. One more thing, the JNB-DXB business award on EF is also available when searching on Qantas. So it would seem that AS is seeing less emirates partner award availability than Qantas. Has this always been the case?

  19. @ wanderingnubian — Yeah, sometimes they don’t have access to all space, unfortunately. Can’t hurt to call and ask, though.

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