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Emirates reward program "Skywards" almost impossible to use

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Emirates reward program "Skywards" almost impossible to use

I've am/have been a member of half-a dozen airline "reward programs" over the last 10 years. Like many people, I only seek to collect points so that one sunny day I may be able to secure a free flight or upgrade.

Putting the advertising & "theory" aside, In practice these progams are generally easy to use, if a little difficult to find a reward flight going where you want to go at a time or date anywhere near when you want to go.

Now to Emirates "Skwards" program. I've been a member for a couple of years, and still haven't been able to reedeem points for a flight.

The website is difficult to use and full of ambiguity, the choice of destinations with Emirates is restrictive, and although you can redeem the points on a handful of associated airlines, finding a flight has been near impossible to date. And all bookings must be return - you can't fly one way or build a multi-city itinerary.

And now this.

My family and I flew on a partner airline, United Air, from Melbourne to SFO return. In the online booking process on the United website, I was able to enter all of our Emirates Skyward customer numbers into their system, and viewed them throughout the booking process, and when checking in for the flights. Simple and effective.

So a reasonable person would expect that there was some kind of connection between United and Emirates whereby my partner-earned points were electronically added to my Skywards account?

Wrong! On enquiring, I was told by United that Emirates do not have this facility in place. When I called Emirates, they gave me an address in Dubai where I had to POST all of our boarding passes (6 each!) in order to have the points manually calculated and (possibly) added to our account. But who keeps old boarding passes 2 months later? And what year is this?

Obviously the system is deliberately inefficient in order to reduce Emirates liability to its reward program.

So take this into account if you plan to factor in the earning of points when flying on an Emirates partner - even though it looks like the points will just be added automatically, it's a mirage.

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11. Re: Emirates reward program "Skywards" almost impossible to use


Whilst my wait for my free flight from Man to DXB will take a wee while yet ( am thinking of opening a begging for points site ) , I must defend the Dubai airport experience , although I fully understand what you mean,

The new T3 is a million miles from the awful experience in the old terminals, I have used T3 now twice, once in August and returned just yesterday the second time. Whilst I cannot comment on transfer passengers , I can give the new T3 10/10 as airport experiences go, the only current downside is that some flights are still disembarked way out from the Terminal , but to be fair it turned out to be an advantage as once through Immigration ( a 2 min experience compared to 2 hrs in the old terminal ), my luggage was there waiting.

With regard to Emirates prices, I cannot understand their price hikes , they are in direct competition with Etihad ( who are excellent in my experience), whose prices are far cheaper , although maybe we are paying through the nose for the new Terminal.


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12. Re: Emirates reward program "Skywards" almost impossible to use

Just to say - I fly with Emirates twice a month in Y. Emirates service is excellent, the skywards FF programme extremely generous and the websites, in comparison with other airlines, easy to use. I also find EK relatively competitive on the routes I use however quite honestly I am happy to pay an extra £100 for a flight with an airline that I know will take care of me - you might think I am a sucker for this but when you travel frequently it makes a difference.

At the moment I am very worried about the changes to Skywards and I wish they would just leave it alone as its working well. Expecting the worse I am trying to spend as many miles before Jan as possible - however that is easier said than done as the business class upgrades are unavailable - especially between LHR-DXB. It is always a pain using the miles at the airport as you then do not get the option of the chauffeur driven service as the booking is too late. Skywards staff tell me they are changing the system to specifically reward people whose tickets are bought on higher Y fare classes. ie. an economy ticket LHR-BOM costing £350 purchased 4 months in advance will be worth less in the skywards system than a ticket bought the week before at £600. This makes a lot of sense for skywards and for those customers who pay high Y fares - for which I pay 50% of the time.

Let's hope the changes are not too harsh!

13. Re: Emirates reward program "Skywards" almost impossible to use

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Removed on: 12:19 am, May 07, 2010