I always used to say that miles are like are a depreciating asset like used cars. With the price of used cars still surging, that’s not the case any longer. But points are still a depreciating asset and a string of recent actions by Emirates in raising surcharges demonstrates why it is always better to burn your miles sooner rather than later.
Emirates Raises “Fuel” Surcharges For Third Time This Year…Causing Great Regret For Those Who Waited To Book
One Mile At A Time notes that Emirates has raised surcharges on award redemptions for a third time this year. To help you understand how bad this is, in February taxes and fees totaled $181.20 for a one-way business class ticket from Los Angeles to Dubai. In March, that rose to $431.20. Two weeks later, prices rose again and the same ticket suddenly cost $611.20. Now, as of early June, the same ticket carries taxes and fees of $816.50.
Yes, fuel has certainly risen in price over the last year, but $181.20 to $816.50 is quite the greedy move from Emirates, if I may so opine.
As always, fees are quick to rise when fuel prices goes up and very slow to fall when fuel drops in price. It’s hardly a surprise, but it is a great wake-up call that points are to use, not to hoard.
I’m not saying to blow your miles and points foolishly, but I know several people who are hitting themselves on the head for not booking their Emirates awards earlier. You can book almost a year in advance and space, especially if you are just looking for economy or business class, is often widely available. Surcharges are still low on Emirates’ Fifth Freedom transatlantic routes (New York – Milan, Newark – Athens).
And don’t think Emirates is alone. We saw unannounced devaluations during the pandemic from Delta and United and it can happen anytime. Singapore Airlines is about to raise pricing on KrisFlyer redemptions and we are still long overdue for an Alaska Airlines devaluation.
So start thinking about winter and spring 2023 travel now. If you can plan this far in advance, book now…you’ll really be glad you did if prices (whether miles required or surcharges) rise without notice.
Consider this a gentle nudge to start thinking about future award bookings. We never know what airlines will do, but the long-term trend is clear: devaluation, devaluation, and more devaluation. During this period of inflation, it should come as no surprise when airlines take advantage of the opportunity to raise price. You’ve been warned.