Flightglobal is reporting that AA has been in talks with Emirates since late 2012 regarding a potential partnership covering both code-sharing and reciprocal frequent flier beenfits. This would be great news for AA members, opening up Emirates’ extensive network of destinations for awards and providing another A380 redemption opportunity. Better yet, several destinations currently only served by BA could potentially become available via Emirates, likely no longer incurring any of those ridiculous fuel surcharges. It would also mark the return of Emirates redemptions to a major US based program, previous partners included CO, DL, and UA (Alaska Airlines has a relatively new partnership with Emirates with award travel on Emirates becoming available in late 2012.).
What’s interesting is that AA already has partnerships with four Middle East carriers -EY (Etihad), LY (El Al), GF (Gulf Air), and RJ (Royal Jordanian). One might expect that this would result in a termination of the EY agreement, though Emirates president Tim Clark notes that whether American chooses to retain its partnership with Etihad is up to them, and adds that Emirates has not placed any condition on American to drop its links with Etihad in order to work with the Dubai-based airline. While Emirates may be comfortable with AA’s promiscuity, I would imagine that regulators may have different take.
In any case, it’s an exciting proposition, but certainly nothing that we’ll see in the near-term. In the meantime, there are a few Emirates redemption opportunities available that allow for business and first class awards, with one option becoming even more generous on October 1st. Check out my previous Emirates JFK-DXB Business Class trip report here, redeemed just prior to the UA partnership termination.