The Emirates and Alaska frequent flyer partnership will start on March 1st. As I have written couple of times earlier, I am not sure where I could credit my Emirates flights in F that I have coming up in next month.
There are no benefits for crediting flights where I am ticketed in the first class to Skywards besides mileage accelerator and getting the status bonus. Also, there are no EK Gold benefits for flying in business class so the only possible benefit is an upgrade to first class if business class cabin is oversold.
When flying in economy, however, it is very important to have a Skywards status. You can use business class check in desks, have higher luggage allowance, have lounge access, and most importantly have a good chance of getting an operational upgrade. Emirates often heavily oversell the economy cabin that then requires them to upgrade passengers. These upgrades are normally done in the order of Emirates Skywards status the passengers has
If someone flies a lot using Emirates, I would encourage crediting strategically to both Alaska’s Mileage Plan & Emirates’ Skywards.
Here’s my plan:
1. Credit enough flights to Skywards to qualify for the Gold status
2. Look for the mileage accelerator. Credit the flights where this makes a difference to EK’s Skywards
3. Even for the flights that you are planning to credit to Alaska’s Mileage Plan change the frequent flyer number only at the gate and then just for that specific segment. This way you ensure that if there are any op ups your EK status will come to play.
4. Try to credit to Alaska enough to make at least Mileage Plan MVP Gold status. At Gold level you will get 100% mileage bonus even for your Emirates flights. This would ensure that you would get 100% redeemable miles even when ticketed in the lowest coach fare buckets.
5. If you reach 90K EQM on Alaska from partner flights, you will receive 50000 bonus Mileage Plan redeemable miles.
Here’s an example from Johannesburg to Auckland via Dubai. The actual flown miles are 25588.
Crediting to Emirates you would earn both 11000 elite and redeemable miles. Silver member would earn total of 13750 (25% bonus) and Gold members 16500 miles (50% bonus)
By crediting to Alaska at the base level this would yield 12794. Alaska is offering double miles on all Emirate routes from March 1st to May 31st. If your travel would be in that time frame, you would earn total of 25588 miles. As an Alaska Mileage Plan Gold you would earn the 100% bonus on the base miles. You would earn an additional 12794 miles for a total of 38372 miles for the roundtrip. At the Alaska Airlines MVP level you would earn 50% bonus in top of the flown miles.
Good news is that Alaska does status match. If you have status, let’s say with United, they can match you to a similar level with Alaska with all the status benefits. I am contemplating doing exactly this.
Alaska Airlines has number of partner airlines where one can earn both elite and redeemable miles across SkyTeam and Oneworld alliances. You can redeem your miles earned from Emirates flights on other partners like Air France. Also, getting an elite bonus on partner airlines is a huge positive. Some of these benefits vary by the partner so you should always check.
Emirates has a great network, but I am not a huge fan of the Skywards frequent flyer program, however. It is just not rewarding enough. Also the fact that you don’t get miles based on the actual flown miles but rather zones makes the program less rewarding. Alaska awards their frequent flyer miles based on the flown miles like most of the other airlines.
You can read more about the Alaska’s different status levels here and more about there partners here.