Zero reward flights available

Old Jan 22, 23, 5:11 am
  #1  
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Zero reward flights available

Is there any way to find out what reward flights are available for a route? I'm looking for ex-SYD flights and I can find nothing. I have a bunch of miles about to expire and as far as I can tell Emirates are not prepared to offer me any way of redeeming them. Every search I do gives "We were unable to get a price for your selected itinerary. Please try a different search or get in touch with us(the link opens in a new window) for help." It's a bit of a scattergun approach (hence the question), but after 20 searches throughout 2023 it would appear I have no way to spend the miles. Surely there must be something in consumer rights that demands a company give you the ability to redeem miles collected? This feels deceptive, like a fairground attraction that gives you tickets for winning then tells you they're not exchangeable for prizes.
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Old Jan 22, 23, 6:19 am
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They're not required to offer you flights from your home city. Flights to and from Australia are very busy right now so availability will be very limited.
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Old Jan 22, 23, 6:22 am
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Why would a business give up seats for free when they can sell them?
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Old Jan 22, 23, 4:00 pm
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Originally Posted by DLATL777 View Post
Why would a business give up seats for free when they can sell them?
To generate brand loyalty, repeat sales and word of mouth advertising? To give a perception of value for money? To boost income during leaner periods and periods of higher competition through Skywards members' investment in the brand?

More simply, a rewards program is a long term branding exercise and an investment. One that is perceived as unfair still has costs involved (accrual of all miles currently being earned) but with much reduced benefit for the company. They should be giving up seats for free regularly, even if they could sell them, because it increases the value of the program, which increases the perceived value of the product and the standing of the brand. The point I'm at right now is I am looking for flights with other airlines because my perception of Emirates has lowered on the basis of this. The cost of one reward flight has likely lost them 2 or 3 returns this year. Once I have points with another airline I am likely to stick with them as I have an investment there. You don't get much more prized customers than those who stick around and pay a premium because they are invested in a brand.

IMO the mistake airlines make is the "coupons" approach where everything and anything earns you points. That makes the reward flights feel like a liability that has no future value for the airline. Nothing could be further from the truth. There's a big chunk of semi-regular business travelers who will stick to one airline for status and miles who are right now at the point of aligning to a brand for the next half decade. You'd be a fool to reduce the value of the product you offer to them at this point.
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Old Jan 22, 23, 4:56 pm
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Originally Posted by Dirty_Idea View Post
To generate brand loyalty, repeat sales and word of mouth advertising? To give a perception of value for money? To boost income during leaner periods and periods of higher competition through Skywards members' investment in the brand?
This isn't a leaner period.
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Old Jan 22, 23, 5:19 pm
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Originally Posted by steveholt View Post
This isn't a leaner period.
You don't need a technicoloured coat to know what to do during the years of plenty, right?
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Old Jan 22, 23, 9:39 pm
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Originally Posted by Dirty_Idea View Post
You don't need a technicoloured coat to know what to do during the years of plenty, right?
It seems like EK has a very clear idea of what they want to do at the moment. You seem upset by that decision-making and want it to be a different way because it suits your desired travel plans. I'm not sure what to tell you.
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Old Jan 23, 23, 1:02 am
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Originally Posted by steveholt View Post
It seems like EK has a very clear idea of what they want to do at the moment. You seem upset by that decision-making and want it to be a different way because it suits your desired travel plans. I'm not sure what to tell you.
What can I say? It's a discussion board.
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Old Jan 23, 23, 3:32 am
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Originally Posted by Dirty_Idea View Post
Surely there must be something in consumer rights that demands a company give you the ability to redeem miles collected? This feels deceptive, like a fairground attraction that gives you tickets for winning then tells you they're not exchangeable for prizes.
There are a fair few rewards available with EK, but award tickets ex and to AU are essentially not being offered, although you may find some in 11 months time in Y. This is part of the reason why you cant apply for EK branded cards anymore - low uptake as many didnt see it as a good value proposition for the average AU traveller.

That said, you do make a point. Airlines don't disclose how they incorporate FF miles in their annual return. Some register them as a liability, others do not. EK have just devalued their miles by increasing the amount required for redemption which is a sign that they are trying to offload the liability in their accounts. It's a tricky time for airlines in and out of AU because loads are exceptionally high but profitability has taken a hit with the increase in costs.
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Old Jan 23, 23, 4:38 am
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Originally Posted by Dirty_Idea View Post
Is there any way to find out what reward flights are available for a route? I'm looking for ex-SYD flights and I can find nothing. I have a bunch of miles about to expire and as far as I can tell Emirates are not prepared to offer me any way of redeeming them. Every search I do gives "We were unable to get a price for your selected itinerary. Please try a different search or get in touch with us(the link opens in a new window) for help." It's a bit of a scattergun approach (hence the question), but after 20 searches throughout 2023 it would appear I have no way to spend the miles. Surely there must be something in consumer rights that demands a company give you the ability to redeem miles collected? This feels deceptive, like a fairground attraction that gives you tickets for winning then tells you they're not exchangeable for prizes.
There are several new routes and some have award availability.

You may need to fly ex MEL or BNE.

EK doesnt need to offer awards because cabins are flying full in J and F like most airlines in and out of Australia.
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Old Jan 23, 23, 4:56 am
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I've bagged an F redemption ticket to IAH while taking advantage of the 20% discount via Skywards+. Have to say I'm a happy camper.
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Old Jan 23, 23, 10:29 am
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Originally Posted by Dirty_Idea View Post
What can I say? It's a discussion board.
Of course, but there's a large gap between "It's really frustrating EK doesn't have more award seats available on points" and "EK is deceiving consumers because they don't have more award seats available on points and they should do something that will make them less money because I'm mad about it".
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Old Jan 23, 23, 11:30 pm
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Originally Posted by steveholt View Post
Of course, but there's a large gap between "It's really frustrating EK doesn't have more award seats available on points" and "EK is deceiving consumers because they don't have more award seats available on points and they should do something that will make them less money because I'm mad about it".
I hoped for, but really shouldn't have expected, better. Please point out the point where I'm getting "mad". I made a very straightforward request. I also pointed out my feeling that at some point we must surely have some protection. Not mad at any point. Developing a belief that I had a valid point - yes; letting that become emotional - no. Disagreement isn't always emotional, you need to work on that.

I'm always amazed at how quickly people will come in to bat for big business with "you're not entitled to jack buddy" as though they're the security. It was a simple question and observation. No one getting mad, or being unreasonable, or having a tantrum. I was clear on my reasoning on why it might feel or perhaps even be recognised as deceptive; I also made fair points on why it might actually disadvantage Emirates and NOT earn them money in the long run (short-termism). I also got some great responses (including the interesting point on Emirates cards, which I'm about to respond to). I'm unsure why you needed to do the "if you don't like it, there's the door" approach. Is that how you deal with disagreements generally? Whatever, I'm sure Emirates are grateful for your service informing people that they can like it or lump it. So, for the avoidance of doubt, I'm fully aware that they can do what they want, and that I can take it or leave it. That was not the request or the point of my observation.

Happy for you to post a reply, but I won't be answering it.
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Old Jan 23, 23, 11:53 pm
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Originally Posted by sydtogla View Post
There are a fair few rewards available with EK, but award tickets ex and to AU are essentially not being offered, although you may find some in 11 months time in Y. This is part of the reason why you cant apply for EK branded cards anymore - low uptake as many didnt see it as a good value proposition for the average AU traveller.
Interesting. As I mentioned earlier, loyalty programs are an investment. Extra capacity, lounge space, overheads, etc. I think few countries embrace the whole coupons on everything approach that the US does, so that might be why the points cards didn't work as well. But given we have flybuys and all, that might not be entirely the reason. Australia will also often prefer the local version of things. So while racking up Qantas points seems reasonable, doing so with Emirates might seem less so. But I can't help but feel that somehow the rewards availability also contributes. Perhaps the status aspects of the program appeal, but miles don't for that reason. But yeah, I noticed the Emirates Citi card had gone. I used to use that to book my Emirates flights. Having the card was a good reason to use Emirates and vice versa. Given that I now cannot actually use any miles I earned that would indeed seem like a poor value proposition.

That said, you do make a point. Airlines don't disclose how they incorporate FF miles in their annual return. Some register them as a liability, others do not. EK have just devalued their miles by increasing the amount required for redemption which is a sign that they are trying to offload the liability in their accounts. It's a tricky time for airlines in and out of AU because loads are exceptionally high but profitability has taken a hit with the increase in costs.
Does that apply in particular to Australia though? I fully understand the "make hay" idea, but surely they must recognise that they are doing so by selling the family silver. "Loyal" customers who have a financial or emotional investment in your brand are gold dust. And they worked hard for it too. For the price of one or two business class seats on each flight they're prepared to lose those customers and that future income with a recession on the horizon? I don't know, but it strikes me as a bold step to essentially let that two-way investment expire as the points hit their end date.

Last edited by Dirty_Idea; Jan 23, 23 at 11:59 pm
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Old Jan 24, 23, 1:56 am
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Originally Posted by Dirty_Idea View Post
Does that apply in particular to Australia though? I fully understand the "make hay" idea, but surely they must recognise that they are doing so by selling the family silver. "Loyal" customers who have a financial or emotional investment in your brand are gold dust. And they worked hard for it too. For the price of one or two business class seats on each flight they're prepared to lose those customers and that future income with a recession on the horizon? I don't know, but it strikes me as a bold step to essentially let that two-way investment expire as the points hit their end date.
I wish I could believe that about EK, but the fact is their volumes, markets and sheer scale of the organisation means that the most valuable customer base is likely to be SLF and aspirational J/F travellers who watch YouTube videos. The trend has not been to invest in loyal customers but to onboard as many infrequent flyers on to skywards. I wonder how many Skywards accounts of the recently announced 30 million have balances below 10k (i.e good for a cuddly toy in the EK shop in T3).
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