Travel News

The Worst Kind Of Devaluation As Alaska Guts Emirates Awards

emirates awards
Written by Charlie

The worst kind of devaluation landed today as Alaska Airlines gutted premium Emirates awards with no notice at all – and sent new rates sky-high.

The last couple of years has seen a string of devaluations across Delta, United, and most recently, American Airlines. While economy awards have been left relatively untouched, the premium cabin awards have been gutted on the best value routes. Now, that touch of devaluation has hit Alaska Airlines – and it is worse than in the cases of the other airlines.

The Worst Kind Of Devaluation As Alaska Guts Emirates Awards


Courtesy Shutterstock / Chris Parypa Photography

Devaluations are a part of the miles and points game – airlines and hotels “print” miles and points to such an extent that it eventually, they need to require a larger amount of those miles and points for the expensive redemptions. We accept it (but do not like it) as part of the system we are operating with. What we do not accept (but have no choice!) is to have those devaluations occur with no notice whatsoever. That type of disloyalty is exactly what airline loyalty programs need to avoid spreading but, this time, Alaska Airlines failed in that.

The Brutal Alaska Airlines Devaluation Of Emirates Premium Awards

That is because overnight, Alaska Airlines devalued one of their best redemptions for aspirational travel – premium awards on Emirates. Now, they hiked them up very high and destroyed what was once a really great redemption for award travel. The jump is bad for business and first class alike (though first class is what many attempt to book).

Here is what the chart used to show for first class travel (all miles for one way travel):

  • North America – India/Middle East — 90,000 miles
  • North America – Africa — 100,000 miles
  • North America – Asia — 100,000 miles
  • North America – Europe — 100,000 miles

One of the great things about that is that for a mere 10,000 more miles, you could continue to fly Emirates from Dubai to Africa, Asia, or Europe (as part of a North America – Dubai award). That is no longer the case!

Here is the new redemption chart:


The new first class chart for Emirates awards to India, Middle East, and Africa

That’s right – they increased the route of North America – India/Middle East from 90,000 miles one way to 150,000 miles. And if that wasn’t enough, they took the redemption for Africa and shoved it up to 200,000 miles (one way). Asia was bumped from 100,000 miles to 185,000 miles.

Emirates awards

A glimpse at the new cost for first class travel on Emirates to Dubai

So, here are the new numbers:

  • North America – India/Middle East – 150,000 miles (up from 90,000)
  • North America – Africa – 200,000 miles (up from 100,000 miles)
  • North America – Asia – 185,000 miles (up from 100,000 miles)
  • North America – Europe – 100,000 miles (no change – yet)

What Loyalty?

That is absolutely brutal, especially since it came with no notice whatsoever. That is what really hurts about this. I know many people who have been collecting miles for a while for this redemption and now it has been sent sky high. Even worse than that is the people that just bought Alaska miles, again, intending to use them for this kind of award.

I understand devaluations will occur, but Alaska Airlines really gave a loyal customer base a big punch in the gut today by making their devaluation without notice.

HT: One Mile At A Time

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.