Mixed cabin awards are a tricky proposition when it comes to Emirates Skywards bookings. As counterintuitive as it sounds, you may end up paying more for business class than first class.
Mixed Cabin Emirates Skywards Bookings Can Be Pricey
Emirates Skywards allows for mixed cabin awards, but not within a one-way journey. You can fly your outbound in first class and return in business class, but you cannot mix cabins on the outbound itself or inbound itself. Perhaps it is best to make this clear with an example.
Say you want to fly from New York to the Maldives via Dubai and want to travel in first class. If you can find first class award space on both segments (JFK-DXB-MLE), you are looking at 160,000 miles one-way.
That’s pricey, but with some of the other devaluations we’ve seen (even this week) and the recent reduction in carrier-imposed surcharges collected by Emirates, Skywards awards have become a better deal. That’s even truer when you consider that Skywards points transfer in from both American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards.
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Anyway, what happens if first class is not available on your connection from Dubai to Male but saver business is? You might think you just accept the voluntary downgrade and still pay the 160,000 points. After all, if two segments in first class cost 160,000, why not one segment in first and one segment in business class for the same price (or perhaps even a discount…)?
Emirates won’t book it. You’ll have to book that separately.
So let’s run the numbers.
You’d have to book New York to Dubai separately at 136,250 miles.
Then the one-way ticket from Dubai to Male in business class is 52,500 miles.
So let’s do the math. 136,250 + 52,500 = 188,750. That’s 28,750 points for the pleasure of downgrading a segment to business class. And more taxes too!
To avoid this, keep all segments in the same cabin on a directional basis.
And as a final general tip, always try to book Emirates awards on a round-trip basis so you can access saver pricing. You end up saving quite a bit.
It’s one thing to charge as if both segments were in first class. That’s reasonable. But to disallow what amounts to a voluntary downgrade on a mixed-cabin award seems like a stingy problem that should be remedied.