Redeem Aeroplan Points On Emirates (Even First Class!)

Redeem Aeroplan Points On Emirates (Even First Class!)

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Air Canada and Emirates have a partnership, and in December 2022, the airlines introduced reciprocal points redemptions. This had a bit of a soft launch, as first class awards on Emirates weren’t initially available through Aeroplan. That has finally changed, and the full reciprocal redemption opportunities have now been rolled out.

Aeroplan redemption rates on Emirates

It’s now possible for Air Canada Aeroplan members to redeem points on all Emirates flights worldwide. However, award pricing is different than with other partners. To start, below is the Aeroplan award chart for travel on Emirates.

Aeroplan’s award redemption chart for Emirates

There are several things to understand:

  • There are no carrier imposed surcharges on these award tickets, making Aeroplan the only program without surcharges on Emirates
  • Emirates redemptions can be fully combined with Air Canada and 45+ airline partners, and the same routing rules, change fees, stopover policies, etc., apply; if you include other partners, everything prices per the above award chart
  • Emirates awards can be booked through aircanada.com, or through the Air Canada contact center
  • The distance bands above apply worldwide, and not to a specific geography (unlike Aeroplan’s regular award charts)
  • Despite the pricing ranges, Aeroplan award availability comes out of the same award buckets that Emirates uses, which includes “Z” for first class and “O” for business class
  • Aeroplan may only have access to a subset of Emirates’ own award seats; that means if Skywards doesn’t have availability, you also won’t find any through Aeroplan, though you may find availability through Skywards but not through Aeroplan
Redeem Aeroplan points for Emirates business class

My take on Emirates awards with Aeroplan points

Aeroplan is an incredible frequent flyer program, especially given the number of airline partners Aeroplan has, as well as the ability to have stopovers on one-way awards for just 5,000 points. There are some amazing award values if you know what you’re doing. Seeing the program now add Emirates as a partner is awesome, especially as it complements so many other great airlines.

It goes without saying that the Aeroplan award chart for travel on Emirates isn’t some kind of slam dunk sweet spot across the board. That being said, I think context is important.

In recent years, Emirates has cut many of its most lucrative partnerships (like with Alaska Mileage Plan), leaving relatively few ways to redeem for travel on Emirates, outside of Emirates’ own Skywards program. Furthermore, Emirates has cut first class awards for nearly all partners.

So it’s pretty remarkable that Aeroplan has access to Emirates first class awards (I’m sure that took quite some negotiating), and that Aeroplan is Emirates’ only partner without fuel surcharges.

The way airlines reimburse one another for award tickets varies greatly throughout the industry. There’s not one set arrangement, but rather airlines take very different approaches. I think over the past few years we’ve learned a few things about Emirates Skywards:

  • The program doesn’t want much award space booked through partners
  • The program wants to restrict first class awards as much as possible
  • If redeeming for travel on Emirates, the program wants members to primarily use the Skywards program

So it’s great that Aeroplan has access to all these Emirates awards, but the pricing also reflects the above reality. I’d imagine this is the case in two different ways:

  • There are lots of ways to earn Aeroplan points, and obviously award pricing needs to reflect the costs Aeroplan incurs for these redemptions
  • Similarly, I wouldn’t be surprised if Emirates added its own restrictions on how Aeroplan could price awards (or just did that indirectly by making reimbursement rates really high), to avoid a sweet spot through another program that would cannibalize Skywards’ own business

So it very much seems like Aeroplan did everything it could with these partner redemptions, while still keeping it sustainable for the program. The way I view it, the big benefit of booking Emirates awards through Aeroplan is the ability to have free stopovers, the lack of fuel surcharges, and the ability to combine these awards with travel on other airlines.

In some cases booking through Emirates Skywards will still be a better value, even with the program’s recent devaluation.

Redeem Aeroplan points for Emirates first class

Comparing Aeroplan & Skywards award pricing

Now that we have the final product when it comes to award pricing, are there situations where booking through Aeroplan represents a better deal than booking through Skywards, all else being equal (meaning you have transferable points that you could transfer to either program)?

Based on my initial searches, it seems to me like business class redemptions through Aeroplan typically represent a better value, while first class redemptions through Skywards typically represent a better value.

Let me show some examples, starting with first class. For example, New York to Dubai one-way in first class costs 163,500 Skywards miles plus $837.60, or 300,500 Aeroplan points plus $77.17.

Emirates redemption rates through Skywards
Emirates redemption rates through Aeroplan

Frankfurt to Dubai one-way in first class costs 102,000 Skywards miles plus $492.71, or 153,000 Aeroplan points plus $117.64.

Emirates redemption rates through Skywards
Emirates redemption rates through Aeroplan

Newark to Athens one-way in first class costs 102,000 Skywards miles plus $104.20, or 222,000 Aeroplan points plus $75.69.

Emirates redemption rates through Skywards
Emirates redemption rates through Aeroplan

Now let’s take a look at some business class examples. Orlando to Dubai one-way in business class costs 138,000 Skywards miles plus $837.60, or 106,000 Aeroplan points plus $77.14

Emirates redemption rates through Skywards
Emirates redemption rates through Aeroplan

Munich to Dubai one-way in business class costs 87,000 Skywards miles plus $477.68, or 55,000 Aeroplan points plus $102.60.

Emirates redemption rates through Skywards
Emirates redemption rates through Aeroplan

Dubai to Cairo one-way in business class costs 54,000 Skywards miles plus $264.08, or 36,000 Aeroplan points plus $64.42.

Emirates redemption rates through Skywards
Emirates redemption rates through Aeroplan

So the redemption values in business class are amazing, with Aeroplan consistently having better pricing than Skywards. Meanwhile in first class it’s a different story. It’s pretty clear that Emirates is looking to protect its first class product, and is charging Aeroplan a lot of money for these awards.

Bottom line

It’s now possible to redeem Aeroplan points for travel on Emirates in first class, business class, and economy class. It’s awesome that Aeroplan has access to Emirates first class awards, unlike most of Emirates’ other partners.

The catch is that Emirates redemptions follow a new award chart, which largely has higher pricing. This presumably reflects the economics of Emirates redemptions in terms of the cost for Aeroplan. Based on my initial searches, it would appear that pricing in business class is attractive, better than through Skywards, while pricing in first class is largely steeper than through Skywards.

What do you make of the new Aeroplan redemptions on Emirates?

Conversations (14)
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  1. Marco Guest

    While it used to be easy to find a 90K one way redemption in J from Toronto to the Indian subcontinent on various carriers and you still may see one (MS, GF, WY) now all that shows up is First Class (Mixed cabin) with Emirates with just the 90 min sector in F from Dubai to the Indian Subcontinent while the rest is all in Economy and all for a whopping 300-445K lol. Absolutely insane....

    While it used to be easy to find a 90K one way redemption in J from Toronto to the Indian subcontinent on various carriers and you still may see one (MS, GF, WY) now all that shows up is First Class (Mixed cabin) with Emirates with just the 90 min sector in F from Dubai to the Indian Subcontinent while the rest is all in Economy and all for a whopping 300-445K lol. Absolutely insane. Even the YYZ-DXB sector which is in J and the other short sector in F is shown as "First Class" and not Mixed cabin. Some poor soul nay think they are flying First Class on Air Canada lol.

    Aeroplan used to be great. I'm glad I didn't fall for the buy miles for a 100% which ended on Jan 25. It would have been a disaster to find even with the 100% bonus you still didn't have enough to fly with Emirates.

    1. Marco Guest

      This was AC 56 YYZ-DXB and EK 606 DXB-KHI

      "Even the YYZ-DXB sector which is in J and the other short sector in F is shown as "First Class" and not Mixed cabin. Some poor soul may think they are flying First Class on Air Canada lol"

  2. John G Guest

    The big question is if you can later use Sky Rewards on day of travel to upgrade an Aeroplan Business to First as those rates are still attractive.

    1. Tom Guest

      No, you need to be travelling on a ticket issued by Emirates.

  3. Raj New Member

    Hi Ben,

    I purchased aeroplan points on 25th Jan under the 100% bonus promotion. I got an email saying your transaction is pending, then next day I got an email saying my purchase is cancelled without a reason mentioned in the mail. I called aeroplan and they are saying you have to contact points.com but I am not able to contact them (no phone# or email available).

    Can you please let me know how to...

    Hi Ben,

    I purchased aeroplan points on 25th Jan under the 100% bonus promotion. I got an email saying your transaction is pending, then next day I got an email saying my purchase is cancelled without a reason mentioned in the mail. I called aeroplan and they are saying you have to contact points.com but I am not able to contact them (no phone# or email available).

    Can you please let me know how to contact points.com?
    And now that promotion ended, can points.com can do anything about the purchase or it will be waste of time?
    My credit card shows transaction processing and the email says it may take 6 to 7 days to release the hold by my credit card.

    Any help would be highly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Raj

  4. glenn t Diamond

    Emirates Business class redemptions are 'reasonable' for a reason. That is, having done Business and First, it is a sh!tty product.

  5. DenB Diamond

    I don't see the value. Emirates is known for its extraordinary F but its J is ordinary from what I read. So while it's mildly interesting to see the price of Emirates Business Class compared between two programs, what's actually relevant IMHO is to compare the price of Emirates Business Class to that of other carriers serving the same destinations. For Africa to North America, do I redeem points for Emirates, or for Ethiopian or...

    I don't see the value. Emirates is known for its extraordinary F but its J is ordinary from what I read. So while it's mildly interesting to see the price of Emirates Business Class compared between two programs, what's actually relevant IMHO is to compare the price of Emirates Business Class to that of other carriers serving the same destinations. For Africa to North America, do I redeem points for Emirates, or for Ethiopian or Air France or KLM or Qatar? I can't imagine paying a massive premium to fly Emirates Business Class over all these others.

  6. Canadian Platinum Guest

    Do Business class tickets on Emirates booked through Aeroplan, allow access to Emirates lounges at JFK and DXB?

  7. g n Guest

    I can't find any F space from NYC on emirates using aeroplan close-in or otherwise. Any dates people are seeing thing?

    1. Mike Guest

      Found bos and Mia to dxb in F

  8. Diondi Guest

    Managed to snag a SFO-DXB-JNB J redemption during the soft launch for 110K Aeroplan so I’d call that a swell deal. This partnership has really opened up access to Africa and India for AP without having to go on ET or AI.

  9. NFSF Diamond

    In a lot of cases like

    "Frankfurt to Dubai one-way in first class costs 102,000 Skywards miles plus $492.71, or 153,000 Aeroplan points plus $117.64."

    I think I'd rather spend my miles and keep the cash

  10. Sam Guest

    @Ben- Do you think based on the devaluation that award availability increases earlier in the calender or do you think it is still close to close in dates? Thanks!

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Marco Guest

This was AC 56 YYZ-DXB and EK 606 DXB-KHI "Even the YYZ-DXB sector which is in J and the other short sector in F is shown as "First Class" and not Mixed cabin. Some poor soul may think they are flying First Class on Air Canada lol"

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Marco Guest

While it used to be easy to find a 90K one way redemption in J from Toronto to the Indian subcontinent on various carriers and you still may see one (MS, GF, WY) now all that shows up is First Class (Mixed cabin) with Emirates with just the 90 min sector in F from Dubai to the Indian Subcontinent while the rest is all in Economy and all for a whopping 300-445K lol. Absolutely insane. Even the YYZ-DXB sector which is in J and the other short sector in F is shown as "First Class" and not Mixed cabin. Some poor soul nay think they are flying First Class on Air Canada lol. Aeroplan used to be great. I'm glad I didn't fall for the buy miles for a 100% which ended on Jan 25. It would have been a disaster to find even with the 100% bonus you still didn't have enough to fly with Emirates.

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Diondi Guest

Yes they do

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