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)