Emirates has announced changes to its fare types and to the amount of miles earned in its Emirates Skywards loyalty programme.
The email sent out to members this week reveals that from February 1 there will be an “increase in the number of fare types” offered.
Emirates says this will give passengers, and Skywards members, “even more control over the type of ticket you buy and more ways to earn extra miles”.
The new fares are:
- Economy class — Special, Saver, Flex and Flex Plus
- Business class — Special, Saver, Flex and Flex Plus
- First class — Flex and Flex Plus
For economy and business class, the new Special fare is described by Emirates as its “most affordable fare” but one which comes “with some limitations on refunds and changes”.
The ratio of the number of Tier Miles to Skywards Miles members will earn remains unchanged, and the tier bonuses of 25 per cent for Silver, 50 per cent for Gold and 75 per cent for Platinum members also remain the same.
Flex flight rewards will be renamed Flex Plus and the rules on redemption “will reflect those of the particular fare type”. For flyers on Flex Plus flights, that’s good news since Emirates is removing charges for refunds or date changes on Flex Plus flight rewards.
Nevertheless, the changes are consistent with airlines moving their programmes over to a business model more dependent on the total spend of the passenger rather than how often he or she flies.
Above, the existing mileage calculator
The existing fare calculator is here (readers will have to log into their Emirates Skywards account to see this).
And the new one is here. A comparison of a one-way flight in business class from London Heathrow to Hong Kong via Dubai for a Blue Tier member of Emirates Skywards shows the new miles earned.
At present, the existing fare options (Saver Fare and Flex Fare) currently earn 7,500 and 10,500 Skywards Miles and Tier Miles respectively.
Above, the new mileage calculator with new fares
Under the new rules, this changes with the new fare options (Special, Saver, Flex and Flex Plus) to 6,000, 7,500, 10,500 and 11,400.
In this example, Saver Fare equates with the new Saver fare, and Flex Fare equates with the new Flex. Flex Plus would earn more than is currently possible, although of course at present the new ticket fare prices are not available online.
Special Fares will no longer be eligible for upgrades, while Economy Saver Fare upgrades will still be available 24 hours before departure via the Manage a Booking section on emirates.com, at check-in or on board.
Members can upgrade a Flex or Flex Plus fare at any time before departure from Economy Class to Business Class or Business Class to First Class. Use our Miles Calculator to view the Miles you’ll need for a reward upgrade.
As noted, the new fares will only be available for booking from February 2015. Until then, Emirates says that the current Skywards Saver and Skywards Flex fares still apply. Current fare rules will apply for any tickets between now and 31st January 2015, even if those tickets are for travel after the introduction of the new fare types in February 2015.
This isn’t the first time Emirates has revamped its Skywards programme. Previous changes occured in 2009 (see news, October 2009).
The current move by Emirates is part of a general alignment by airlines to change their reward programmes. For details of the proposed new Cathay Pacific programme, click here.
Forum discussion can be found here.