Emirates adding fuel surcharges to award redemptions beginning March 31, 2013

Buried in the bottom of an email about Skywards program updates, Emirates revealed they’ll begin imposing fuel surcharges on award redemptions on March 31, 2013:

Introduction of Fuel Surcharge
From 31 March 2013, fuel surcharges will be introduced to all Emirates Skywards reward tickets. You will have the flexibility to pay this surcharge with cash or Skywards Miles. The surcharge will be displayed as part of the taxes payable on your reward ticket and will be aligned to the surcharge applicable on commercial tickets.

Until now, the surcharges have been excluded from Emirates Skywards reward tickets. Given the volatility of the fuel price, it is no longer possible for Emirates to absorb this cost on Skywards Reward tickets.

We remain committed to delivering excellent service and value for money to all our Skywards members.

It’s a real shame given how high their redemption rates are to begin with, and giving less than a week advance notice doesn’t seem especially generous either…

I’m curious to see what impact this has on partner airline redemptions. I’d be willing to guess Japan Airlines will begin imposing fuel surcharges for Emirates redemptions as well (since they seem to follow the lead of the operating airline), while I doubt Alaska will impose any fuel surcharges.

(Tip of the hat to Ahmad)

Filed Under: Emirates
  1. My plans to fly EK JFK-BKK in suites to burn my Hilton Points @ the Conrad Koh Samui have all gone up in smoke! Boo! @ least I have 250k SPG points to burn now… Ratz! Back to the drawing boards, I booked the hotel but no flights. We did SQ suites in Jan what would be your next best choice for 2 to fly JAX-USM??

  2. That is what I was thinking too. I really wanted to stop over in Dubai for the day, but oh well…

  3. That really sucks! Wow! Good thing I redeemed all my EK skywards points middle of last year (yes their redemptions were quite high!) Now I’m saving AMEX points to try SQ suites thanks to your glowing reports a few weeks ago.

  4. I was planning to transfer SPG Starpoints to EK (now) to redeem F BKK-HKG (in Sept). The website shows 37,500 + about US$25 in taxes. I assume that’s solid until March 31st?

  5. I’m not so sure AS wont pass on a EK imposed fuel surcharge. We already pay the BA surcharge when using AS miles

  6. Correct me if im wrong but I dont think Emirates fares currently include a YQ component in the fare construction. So unless they plan to change their fare structure there should not be any YQ to charge on redemptions. Maybe this is just them reserving the right to charge should that change down the road. At present I know they do charge YQ ex-Australia due to the QF deal.

  7. @ CDKing — That’s because BA requires them to. Alaska also partners with Air France, Cathay Pacific, Qantas, etc. They also all impose fuel surcharges for their own members, but not if you book through Alaska.

  8. @ Del — I believe they have embedded fuel surcharges. So they appear differently, but they’re still there.

  9. Thank you QANTAS all new Emirates charges now seem to be in line with QANTAS now. Though we now get chauffer pick up and drop off.

  10. @Lucky. I was advised by AS that they have not been approached by Emirates to incorporate their impending fuel surcharge and doesnt have any plans of adding them for new partners.

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