MAJOR: Alaska & Emirates Ending Partnership

MAJOR: Alaska & Emirates Ending Partnership

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Here’s some news that a lot of loyalty program enthusiasts will be sad to hear…

Alaska & Emirates cut ties as of July 31, 2021

Alaska Airlines and Emirates Airline have revealed that they’ll be ending their partnership as of July 31, 2021. The Seattle-based and Dubai-based airlines have cooperated with both a frequent flyer partnership and a codeshare agreement. Essentially Alaska has provided a lot of feed for Emirates flights in the United States (especially on the West Coast).

The two airlines first launched their partnership back in 2012, coinciding with Emirates adding a route between Dubai and Seattle.

At first the partnership was amazing, given that you could redeem Alaska Mileage Plan miles for travel in Emirates first class. Unfortunately over the years the partnership became less and less useful — first we saw a massive devaluation of Emirates first class awards (with no notice), and then we even recently saw first class awards cut altogether.

Say goodbye to redeeming Alaska miles on Emirates

Why would Alaska & Emirates end their partnership?

While no official reason has been given for ties being cut, I think it’s not too hard to figure out what happened here (I even recently predicted this partnership would end):

Alaska Airlines recently joined the oneworld alliance

While airlines can have partnerships outside of alliances, I imagine at this point there just wasn’t much value to the partnership anymore:

  • I imagine there was at least some soft pressure applied on the oneworld side for this partnership with Emirates to end
  • At the end of the day Emirates and Qatar Airways have similar global networks, so if Alaska was going to prioritize booking connecting passengers on Qatar Airways over Emirates, there wasn’t all that much value left
This partnership ending is great news for Qatar Airways

Is this partnership ending a huge loss?

If you asked me years ago I would have said yes across the board. However, I don’t quite feel that way anymore. I think the biggest loss here is on the mileage earning side. It was absolutely awesome to earn Alaska Mileage Plan miles for travel on Emirates, given what a valuable mileage currency it is.

Meanwhile on the redemption side, I don’t view it as much of a loss anymore, frankly:

Emirates Skywards’ program has become decent

Bottom line

Unfortunately Alaska Airlines and Emirates Airline are cutting their partnership as of July 31, 2021. This means the airlines will no longer codeshare, and will also no longer offer reciprocal mileage earning and redemption opportunities.

I’m sad to see this change, though I also don’t think it’s surprising. With Alaska joining oneworld and partnering more closely with American and Qatar Airways, this seemed inevitable.

Are you surprised to see the Alaska & Emirates partnership end? Will you miss it?

Conversations (33)
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  1. Another Lump

    Not exactly "Major", more like completely expected and inconsequential.

  2. flyingrohit

    Wow! End of an era for sure was a great time while it lasted and some of the best redemptions of AS miles back in the day. All good things come to an end.

    Hey Ben maybe now maybe a good time for an updated post on the best use of AS miles, a program that in my opinion used to be the most lucrative FFP for a while?

    1. BlueMountain

      Im guessing Korean Air is next

  3. Ed

    Thanks for the update! I will immediately stop booking Emirates.

  4. Daniel

    Yikes. I have four J class round trips on EK using Alaska miles for September. I fear I’m SOL as Emirates is frequently changing its flights based on schedule changes. Any word on when Qatar redemption will begin?

  5. Mike Smith

    Can you book a redemption before July 31 for travel after July 31? If you cancel, miles re-deposited but have to book an another partner airline?

  6. David

    Thanks for the update, think we all saw this coming, and now it's firm.

  7. tim

    What about if I already have MP award tickets issued on Emirates? Will Emirates honor them?

    1. Tim

      When AS has issued award reservations for previous partnerships that ended, the operating airline honored the booking. Where it gets tricky is if there are flight reschedules or delays. Technically, EK should still honor them but I think its less likely they will go out of their way to help.

    2. Giri

      Yes, the Alaska website says any bookings already completed will be fine. However, if you want to make changes to the booking after July 31st, you'll have to change to another Alaska partner.

  8. erik

    Thanks for the info. Agreed, a few years back, it would have been a huge change...right now...not so much.

  9. Marshall

    This is a huge win for ONEWORLD. When they had Air Berlin all AB would do is cooperate with Etihad and do nothing for the alliance. AB would sell status and then those customers could access ONEWORLD lounges. Now ONEWORLD has Alaska cooperating with them rather than Emirates.
    This also helps AA with their SEA base building. Good news for AA and QR.

  10. DCH

    Disappointing as Emirates probably had the best EQM earning deals in economy. On their flex fare you'd earn 75% of miles traveled as MP EQMs, and those fares were on par with main cabin fares in other airlines.

    My oneworld options from getting from USA to Bangalore are now down to BA, QR, JL, and CX whenever they reinstate HKG-BLR. All those airlines only earn 50% EQM on economy main cabin fares.

    In theory I...

    Disappointing as Emirates probably had the best EQM earning deals in economy. On their flex fare you'd earn 75% of miles traveled as MP EQMs, and those fares were on par with main cabin fares in other airlines.

    My oneworld options from getting from USA to Bangalore are now down to BA, QR, JL, and CX whenever they reinstate HKG-BLR. All those airlines only earn 50% EQM on economy main cabin fares.

    In theory I wouldn't mind paying the extra for World Traveller Plus on BA, but their timing is clearly the worst of all airlines flying to BLR - landing at 5am vs 11pm-2am that the other carriers do.

    1. Giri

      AA currently also has a flight to Bangalore, which may still continue. It's probably the most convenient option from the US right now from a Oneworld perspective.

      From an EQM perspective, booking an AA flight via Amex Travel seems to sometimes yield a better fare class, but at a cheaper or equivalent price. Not sure if that's by chance, or consistent, but maybe worth checking out.

    2. DCH

      AA's SEA-BLR flight only commences on November 1. I'm from Boston and go to college in the Bay Area, so a layover in SEA is extremely inconvenient if I'm flying out of BOS.

      Will check out the Amex Travel thing, though. Thanks for the suggestion

  11. haz

    Hardly unexpected, this wasn't a partnership. It was just another way for Alaskan Miles Plan members to use points :)

    I doubt anyone would have even bothered using their EK SkyMiles on AS flights.

    1. Tom

      Kind of a naive comment. At one point I remember reading that upward of 50% of passengers on EK’s flights out of Seattle connected from Alaska flights. I’m sure there was some as well out of SFO and LAX.

    2. haz

      I don't think the connecting traffic will come to a stop overnight.

      It seems like they're simply ending the codeshare flights and frequent flyer agreement at this stage. Emirates sells flights on Hawaiian airlines (search HNL-DXB on EK's site), Air Canada but that doesn't mean they have to be partners.

  12. Happy Flyer

    This should have been expected as soon as Alaska said it was joining OneWorld. The next question is whether or not Emirates will join an alliance or enter into a jv with one of the other two U.S. carriers.

    1. W

      I don't think Emirates needs that since they cooperate closely with Jetblue (who does their East Coast connections, while also having a hub at LAX). They could maybe codeshare with Delta or United for specific flights from the West Coast though.

    2. JW

      With JetBlue being in bed with AA and the strength of OW, I can see JetBlue changing their game plan given the breath OW offers through AA and AS stateside.

  13. Sarah

    Unfortunately, over this past weekend, we booked with Emirates for next February and wanted to earn Alaska miles. Bummer.

  14. Brick Bradford

    No surprise here. Alaska has always been a fair weather partner, though the One World membership would have required this.

    First, I'm wondering if Emirates will continue serving Seattle

    Second, I'm sure Sea-Tac is glad they never built the A380 compatible gates Emirates wanted.

  15. Alex Z

    Hopefully they will have good redemption rates for Oneworld airlines. I'll take QSuites over Emirates business class every time

  16. glenn t

    From my perspective, no loss at all since the massive no-notice devaluation. Who was responsible for this; Emirates or Alaska MP? Don't recall it ever being decided.

  17. Eskimo

    I agree the biggest issue will be what to do with miles earned from EK if you don't fly them often.
    AS used to be the simplest. Now I'm divided between B6 and JL.

    JL have some good redemptions but its quite hard to earn enough in 3 years.
    B6 is B6, not much usage unless you fly B6.

  18. Robert D

    I hope someone sees that who can help. I have been trying to “register” as a user on your new site since it came out. I get an error message every time. I have tried two different user names that I would find it odd that they would already be taken......BobRobert and RobertBob. What am I doing wrong.

    1. Tiffany

      @ Robert D -- You pre-registered for an account, and so have an account already under "Robert D".

      Try logging in above, and then hitting "forgot password?" and that should send a token to your email to get everything finalized.

      If you run into issues, shoot us an email at [email protected]

  19. Robert D

    And just to add, I can’t find any “contact us” information on the site, otherwise I would reach out directly to someone at OMAAT for help. You should have a way for people to contact you who are having issues with the new site.

  20. Ghadir

    Nah thanks ! I am not flying Qatar Airways to support their Qatari absolute monarchy royal family abusing human rights and kidnapping black workers

  21. A380

    Bucket List achieved By Flying First for 16 Hrs, shower, etc.

  22. JeffTX

    Thoughts on highest value use for a good sized pot of Alaska miles now?

Featured Comments Load all 33 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.

Giri

Yes, the Alaska website says any bookings already completed will be fine. However, if you want to make changes to the booking after July 31st, you'll have to change to another Alaska partner.

W

I don't think Emirates needs that since they cooperate closely with Jetblue (who does their East Coast connections, while also having a hub at LAX). They could maybe codeshare with Delta or United for specific flights from the West Coast though.

Happy Flyer

This should have been expected as soon as Alaska said it was joining OneWorld. The next question is whether or not Emirates will join an alliance or enter into a jv with one of the other two U.S. carriers.

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