UPDATE | Australian Business Traveller spoke with Emirates' man in charge of Skywards, Senior Vice President Brian LaBelle, to get more details about what you can expect. Read our exclusive report covering who qualifies for a Partner Gold card, when your annual requalification starts, how the "Guaranteed Seat" and "Last Seat reward" benefits work and much more!
PREVIOUSLY | Emirates will introduce its new Skywards Platinum top status tier on April 1, with a relatively steep entry requirement of 150,000 tier miles compared to the 50,000 of Skywards Gold status.
Skywards Platinum will match up to Platinum status in the Qantas Frequent Flyer scheme, in readiness for a planned April 1 launch of the Qantas-Emirates alliance (pending approval by Australia's competition watchdog).
Core perks for Skywards Platinums will include
- access for the cardholder and one guest to the Emirates First Class lounge in Dubai and Emirates Lounges across the network
- complimentary Emirates Skywards Gold card for each member's partner
- additional 20kg luggage allowance
- 'guaranteed business class' revenue seat
- 75% bonus Skywards Miles
- ‘Last Seat’ Flex reward, enabling Skywards Miles to be utilised on any flight
Opening the doors to Emirates' First Class Lounge
The first item on the list is the most significant sweetener - to date, entry into Emirates' First Class Lounge in Dubai is restricted to travellers holding a first class ticket.
If Emirates is set to loosen this condition and allow members of the newly-minted Skywards tier to use this exclusive lounge even if they're holding an economy ticket, this will put Skywards on par with Qantas, which permits its Platinum frequent flyers (and one guest) to use the Red Roo's Qantas First Lounges regardless of what class you're flying on.
The move also indicates that Qantas Platinums should have access to to Emirates' First Class Lounge at Dubai.
Qantas International CEO David Hickey hinted at this in a recent interview with Australian Business Traveller, when in response to our questions regarding the airlines' different policies for frequent flyer access to first class lounges, he replied "We're aligning everything."
"We’re working through all of that and we’ll be making lots of announcements over the next couple of weeks and months as we bring it all to fruition."
Emirates president Tim Clark first revealed the airline's plans for a new Skywards level to Australian Business Traveller at the press conference announcing the Qantas-Emirates alliance, saying Emirates would "introduce a fourth (Skywards) tier", sitting above its current top Gold level, to align with Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum.
A high degree of reciprocity between the airlines' frequent flyer schemes is a cornerstone of the partnership, and in instances where Qantas Frequent Flyer and Emirates Skywards status privileges aren't in sync, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said "we’ve agreed to make the higher benefit our standard."
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About David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.