Alaska Once Again Has Access To Emirates First & Business Class Awards

Filed Under: Alaska, Awards

In mid-June I wrote about how Alaska Mileage Plan was having issues accessing Emirates premium cabin award availability. This problem persisted regardless of whether you booked by phone or online. While not all premium cabin space was blocked, a good percentage of it was. The most frustrating part is that Alaska’s website showed availability, and it didn’t state there was an error until you got to the booking page. So people would buy miles based on availability they saw online, only to later be told it wasn’t available.

It actually looks like Alaska even added a disclaimer onto the award booking page, which wasn’t there at first.

We don’t exactly know whether this glitch was on Alaska’s end or Emirates’ end, though this wasn’t the first time that Alaska has had issues with accessing availability.

Well, the good news is that it looks like this issue has now been resolved — Alaska once again has access to their standard allotment of Emirates first & business class award tickets. It looks like Emirates Mileage Plan awards that show availability online are actually ticketing once again. It’s about time, given that this glitch persisted for over a month. There might still be a few glitches out there, but it seems like a majority of the problems have been resolved.

Do keep in mind that Mileage Plan awards on Emirates aren’t the value that they once were, given their award chart devaluation early last year. Their one-way award pricing for travel originating in the US is now as follows:

  • Africa — 120,000 miles in business class, 200,000 miles in first class
  • Asia — 105,000 miles in business class, 180,000 miles in first class
  • Australia — 120,000 miles in business class, 205,000 miles in first class
  • Europe — 105,000 miles in business class, 180,000 miles in first class
  • Middle East/India — 82,500 miles in business class, 150,000 miles in first class

In many cases redeeming Japan Airlines Mileage Bank miles on Emirates is a better value. The catch is that Japan Airlines miles are tougher to come by — they’re transfer partners with Starwood, but there are no other easy ways to accrue them.

Was anyone waiting to make a Mileage Plan booking on Emirates, and if so, was it successful?

(Tip of the hat to Anthony & Jung)

  1. Tried, but the inventory that was previously available (EK from DBX to CPT) is now gone. I’ve redeemed 120K to fly SEA to DBX to CPT, and I’m in coach from DBX to CPT… Previous attempts to bump from Coach to Business for DBX to CPT systems failed and now the inventory is gone.

  2. Hi Ben,

    Just want to point out a typo on the award chart section. You have it as: Asia — 105,000 miles in business class, 180,000 miles in business class. You meant 180,000 in first class 😉

  3. didnt work for me. tried booking BKK-DXB-SFO (first class)… error message still came up for res agent. (fyi, I called the intl partner reservation desk to try to book)

  4. @ Justin — Keep in mind there was previously some married segment availability issue. Did you check the segments independently first?

  5. Mileage redemption with Alaska is not the bargain it used to be, it still is a bargain compared to paying full boat for first class. It is definitely a bucket list item or a special occasion item. It is expensive, but it is within reach using Alaska miles.

  6. I have been trying to book First Class LAX to DXB for over a week now and got the error messages. Talked to both Alaska and Emirates no one could assist. Alaska confirmed there were 2 seats showing available but when request was sent to Emirates it didn’t confirm. Just kept trying and finally got the flights today. 300K miles for 2 passengers + $39.

  7. ha you welcome ban :p

    i successful booked mine iah dxb male one way…im surprised they have 3 seats for this..especially outbound of houston

  8. While we are on the topic of corrrecting mistakes, Ben I think you meant Alaska MileagePlan right after your bolder sentence and not emirates mileage plan . Thanks for the update can’t wait to use my Alaska miles for ek premium awards again.

  9. I’ve been trying to book this emirates flight in August for a week and it’s still failing. Alaska keeps telling me there’s no space when I call and their online system is just wrong. Are you sure it’s fixed?

  10. I’m still getting an error for my SFO-CPT booking in Emirates First for next year. Fingers crossed that this is fully fixed over the next couple of days.

  11. Is anyone having trouble booking Cathay Pacific flights with Alaska miles? I see availability on the British Airways and Japan Airlines websites but for some reason Alaska can’t book it. Seems to be an issue for the last 3 weeks at least.

  12. @JH
    You can’t book CX flights online. If you see availability on BA and JL, call Alaska to book.

  13. @Pete
    Yes, I know you can’t book Cathay Pacific awards online with Alaska miles. I find Cathay Pacific availability via the BA and Japan Airlines website, then I call Alaska, then Alaska tells me that it isn’t available. Very strange.

  14. Have been trying to book for over a month. Business class BKK DXB LAX or JFK. JFK would not ticket for me however LAX booked within seconds last night. Called into Alaska mileage plan multiple times and analysts had no idea and just said seats were probably “Phantom Inventory”. Good luck everybody!

  15. The other issue I’ve seen is booking F all the way through to Europe. Independent of the ability to actually book the tickets, my partner and I are having a helluva time booking F LAX-DXB-CDG. LAX-DXB is in F, but there’s absolutely nothing in F for the DXB-CDG leg; it’s all for J or Y. Everything is a mixed ticket award. But if you look *just* for DXB-CDG, there’s F availability some of the time, to include dates that we’ve been looking. I wonder if this is part of the overall problem.

  16. Cathay generally has 1 less seat on Alaska versus the other partners. (Flyertalk, viewfromthewing posts etc have mentioned this. In booking my fight to Delhi through Cathay I noticed that BA would not let me connect jfk -hkg and hkg – del flights even though seats are available and Alaska didn’t see any availability at all. I have it on hold on AA for now while hopefully I can grab this emirates seat instead. Just annoying that I moved some amex and virgin america points into alaska to book this and it continues to fail.

  17. You still cannot book EK F/J awards. I almost think you should take down the post…. i’ve tried to book 4 different awards in the last few days. Same error message. Customer service says still broken as well. Additionally, AS does not seem to have access to entire EK F/J inventory (even to display on the website). EK and QF sites show more availability than EK

  18. Oh, nice. Now Emirates just needs to make award flights available for Emirates FF members. I mean besides upgrades which always seem to be available after a FlexPlus purchase lol.

  19. @JH

    BA and AS must have different inventory access to CX F.
    I had the same issue earlier this year when searching for flights in November in CX F.
    BA showed almost a full week F-seats available when calling AS they only had two days out of that seven-day-period available.
    Better always double-check by calling AS before buying miles for awards showing up on BA site.

  20. One more data point that this error isn’t fixed. Tried to book, booked a full value ticket on Emirates, but Alaska despite claiming award availability couldn’t be booked online or by calling them.

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