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Emirates Cuts First Class Awards With Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Miles

Emirates Cuts First Class Awards With Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Miles
Joe Cortez

Flyers will soon no longer have access to Emirates’ first class cabin using Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles. Starting April 1, 2021, the Middle East carrier is cutting off access to their top in-flight product for Mileage Plan awards, one of many cuts to partner programs Emirates is making.

Emirates is well known for their incredible first class cabin, which includes a shower stall at 30,000 feet. However, collectors of Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles will soon be unable to book the cabin using their miles. In a statement on Alaska Airlines’ website, the Seattle-based carrier announced Emirates First Class awards will end on April 1, 2021.

First Class Awards with Mileage Plan Must Be Booked by March 30, 2021

The news was first broken by Executive Traveller, and ultimately confirmed in the update on Alaska’s website.

“Beginning April 1, 2021, Emirates will no longer allow partner access to First Class award bookings,” the statement reads. “Mileage Plan members can continue to redeem on the Emirates’ award-winning Economy Class and Business Class. Business Class redemptions include complimentary lounge access and regionally inspired gourmet dishes.”

The awards were once considered a major sweet spot on the Mileage Plan award chart. However, Alaska won’t be the only ones to lose access to the first class awards. In a statement, Emirates confirmed that several of their partner carriers would also be cut from allowing their frequent flyers to use miles to book first class awards.

“After a careful review of operational considerations, Emirates can confirm that starting from April 1, 2021, First Class Rewards will be exclusively available to Emirates Skywards members,” the airline told Executive Traveller. “As well as members of select strategic airline partners that offer mutual benefits to our customers.”

While the airline did not comment which “select strategic airline partners” would continue to get access to first class awards, Executive Traveller reports Qantas will remain as one of the few to maintain within the elite circle. Emirates maintains partnerships with 21 airlines, including Japan Airlines, JetBlue, Korean Air and WestJet.

Date Coincides with Alaska’s Entry into Oneworld

The date which Alaska Mileage Plan is getting cut off from first class awards may not necessarily have been picked at random by Emirates. Alaska previously announced their full membership into the Oneworld alliance will begin on March 31, 2021, after delaying it from the end of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although Emirates is not a member of any airline alliance, fellow Middle East airline Qatar Airways is a member of Oneworld.

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1 Comment

  1. edgewood49

    November 10, 2020 at 9:09 am

    One more thing that makes me worry about the decision to snuggle up to AA and OW. Parker is not a partner to trust never has never will be. I have enjoyed six FC flights on EK and its fantastic however that appears to be gone so will the huge point burn thankfully I got mine when they were cheap and Amex was offering two for one.

    Back to point, all AS flyers need to be concerned as this is just the beginning with AA/OW

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