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.