This week saw some great news coming from two of the three big Middle East airlines. The three big ones are: Etihad Airways, Emirates , and Qatar Airlines. I have flown both Emirates and Qatar and am looking forward to flying Etihad in January. One thing I have experienced from these airlines so far – they know how to make an impression! Emirates is just stunning with their first class lounge (or is it a terminal?) in Dubai and their first class suites while Qatar is royally elegant with their aircraft, colors, and Premium Terminal. I am just Etihad will be just as upscale.
Back to the great news, Qatar Airlines has officially joined the Oneworld Alliance! They have been bookable with AA miles and British Airways Avios for a little while but now that they are in the alliance, there will be some added benefits and changes for flyers. To read more about the details of the story, check out the post from Ben at One Mile at a Time here.
The other great news involves Emirates and American Express. For a while, you could transfer your SPG points to Emirates to book award tickets but that was not optimal considering the large amount necessary for some great bookings and the preciousness of SPG points. In addition, you could also book awards on Emirates with Alaska Airlines award program. As of now, however, you can transfer your American Express Membership Reward points to Emirates for bookings! This should be a great advantage for those who’s travel patterns will take them in the vicinity of the Middle East, in particular for the Dubai Marathon! It is definitely a very nice way to end a race – get picked up by a chauffer and be driven to the unbelievable First Class lounge (or is it a terminal?:) before boarding the very glitzy first class for the trip home. Very nice! To read more about this new addition to the transfer partner list of American Express, read what Gary wrote about it at View from the Wing here.