The middle ease carrier swap should come as no surprise given Alaska Airlines recent entry into the oneworld alliance, in which Qatar Airways is a member.
What does this mean for Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan members?
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan members will be able to continue redeeming their Mileage Plan miles on Emirates flights until 31 July 2021. After this date, Emirates award redemptions will not be available. Note though that award flights just need to be booked by 31 July 2021, not travelled by that date. This means that award flights can actually be booked for a departure date as far out as 26 June 2022, which represents the end of the Emirates booking schedule of 330 days in advance.
Our partnership with Emirates will end on July 31, 2021. Mileage Plan members can continue to earn and redeem* miles on oneworld® member airlines and our Global Partners to more than 1,000 destinations on 20+ airlines worldwide. For travel to India, the Middle East or Africa, guests can fly Qatar Airways in unparalleled comfort with their revolutionary Qsuite, the most private Business Class in the sky.Alaska Airlines website
You know the saying though, when a door closes, a window opens. While Mileage Plan can no redeem for Emirates seats from 1 August 2021, they will be able to redeem for Qatar Airways seats, and these are among some of the world’s best, if not the best Business Class at the moment with their QSuites offering.
And over recent times, the value proposition for using Mileage Plan miles on Emirates had diminished, with a large scale devaluation occurring in March 2016 and the elimination of First Class redemptions on 1 April 2021.
What does this mean for Qantas Frequent Flyer members?
Some of you may be wondering whether the exit of Emirates from the Mileage Plan program will affect the partnership between Qantas and Emirates. The answer to that is a clear no. The Qantas-Emirates partnership is a separate partnership that exists solely between Qantas and Emirates.
Qantas members will be able to continue redeeming their Qantas Points on all cabins on Emirates, including First Class, which, as state above, was an option removed from the Alaska Airlines-Emirates partnership earlier this year.
The addition of Qatar Airways as a redemption member for Mileage Plan members, along with their entry into the oneworld alliance, is definitely a welcome move. While this is somewhat offset by the removal of Emirates as a partner, the value proposition for the outgoing partnership had been diluted over recent years.
It remains to be seen what the value proposition for the new Alaska Airlines-Qatar Airways partnership will look like, but hopefully will prove to be a valuable one.