Emirates is introducing a fuel surcharge to all Skywards reward ticket redemptions from March 31.

The charge, which can be paid for either by cash or with Skywards miles, will be “displayed as part of the taxes payable on your reward ticket and aligned to the surcharge applicable on commercial tickets”.

In an email to Skywards members the carrier said:

“Until now, the surcharges have been excluded from Emirates Skywards reward tickets.

“Given the volatility of the fuel price, it is no longer possible for Emirates to absorb this cost on Skywards Reward tickets.”

Business Traveller has obtained details from Emirates on the levels of fuel surcharge which will be payable on reward tickets between London and Dubai, which are as follows:

  • Economy class US$40 (one-way)
  • Business and first class US$190 (one-way)

This equates to 3,630 miles in economy and 17,270 in business and first.

Rival Gulf carrier Etihad Airways also applies fuel surcharges to award tickets, with members able to pay for the whole ticket (including the surcharge) by either miles or a mixture of cash and miles. Business Traveller is checking whether Qatar Airways also applies a fuel surcharge on award tickets.

The move is part of a series of programme updates to Emirates’ Skywards programme. The carrier recently added a platinum tier to the programme (see online news February 11), and has added the option to redeem miles against “a wide range of rewards such as tickets to sporting and cultural events across the globe”.

Members can now also redeem miles to upgrade using the carrier’s online check-in facility up to 24 hours prior to departure.

Finally, from April 1 Emirates is reintroducing “journey qualification”, meaning that the number of qualifying flights taken throughout the year will count towards maintaining and elevating tier status. As the carrier explains:

“So if you fly regularly but mostly on short journeys, you will now have a higher chance to qualify for the next tier. Collect 25,000 tier miles or take 25 qualifying flights to achieve Silver status or earn 50,000 tier miles or fly 50 qualifying flights to reach Gold.”

For more information visit emirates.com.