Alaska has just announced that Emirates will be added as a Mileage Plan member as of March 1, 2012, the same day that Emirates starts daily service between Seattle and Dubai.
The earning rates are as follows:
Beginning March 1, 2012 Minimum 500 miles or; 50% of actual flight miles for Discount Economy (M, B, U, K, Q, L, T, V, X, H classes of service); 100% of actual flight miles for Full Fare Economy (Y, E, R, W classes of service) ; 125% of actual flight miles for Business Class (C, J, I classes of service) and 150% actual flight miles for First Class (F, A, P classes of service)
To qualify for mileage accrual, flights must must be marketed and operated by Emirates.
To ensure flight credit, the two letter airline code (EK) must precede the flight number (for example, EK XXXX) on your ticket receipt or boarding pass.
The earnings rates are actually pretty good, and you can even earn elite qualifying miles (which is rare for partner airlines). Just keep in mind that in order to earn miles you need to book an Emirates flight number and not a codeshare. I’ll actually be taking advantage of this, since Alaska is one of the few decent partners to which you can now credit Emirates flights. I’ll likely be flying Emirates first class soon from Colombo to Singapore to London, so I think I know where I’ll be crediting my miles.
But the really exciting news is at the bottom:
Redeeming Miles: Coming in late 2012
Up until last March, Continental was an Emirates partner, so it was possible to redeem miles for coach and business class on Emirates. United was also a partner until last May, and they even let you redeem for first class. Unfortunately both of those partnerships were discontinued. Now the only practical way to get an Emirates first class award is through JAL, which is a Starwood transfer partner. Their award chart for travel on Emirates can be found here.
Either way, Alaska being added as a partner is really exciting, given that it’s easier to accrue Alaska miles through credit cards promotions, etc., than it is to accrue JAL miles. Also, assuming the redemption rates are reasonable, this greatly increases the value of Alaska miles. I’m quite excited to see what the award chart looks like!