Emirates confirms partner airlines to lose first class reward bookings

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Emirates will scrap the ability of some partner airlines to book the airline’s first class suites using their frequent flyer points from April 1, 2021.

Emirates has confirmed the change to Executive Traveller, although it frustratingly refused to identify which partner airlines would lose this benefit and which would retain it.

Alaska Airlines is known to be on the cut-list, having last week advised members of its Mileage Plan loyalty program that after March 31, 2021, their frequent flyer miles could no longer be used to book trips in Emirates’ first class.

“Beginning April 1, 2021, Emirates will no longer allow partner access to First Class award bookings,” the airline noted on its website.

Other other cabins – including business class and soon premium economy – remain available under the revised rules.

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

However, the spokesperson declined to reveal which airlines would be impacted.

A Qantas spokesperson has told Executive Traveller that Emirates’ revised arrangement doesn’t apply to Qantas Frequent Flyers, who “will still have access to first class reward seats.”

Qantas and Emirates entered into a close-knit partnership in April 2013 with codeshare flights, reciprocal earning of loyalty points and status credits, lounge access and, for the first five years, the use of Dubai rather than Singapore as Qantas’ Kangaroo Route stop-over for flights between Australia and London.

Emirates offers first class on most of its Airbus A380s, although most of those remain grounded, and also on its Boeing 777-300ER jets, some of which have feature the airline’s latest fully private suite design.