After teasing their strategic partnership back in July 2022, Emirates and Air Canada finalized the deal on Dec. 7, 2022. Their two frequent flyer programs, Air Canada Aeroplan and Emirates Skywards, will now enjoy reciprocal earnings, redemptions and lounge access at Dubai International Airport (DXB) and Toronto Pearson Airport (YYZ). But airlines form new strategic partnerships all the time, so what’s the big deal?

Well, Air Canada Aeroplan is known for having some amazingly flexible rules, including the ability to add stopovers for 5,000 points, which applies to Emirates award redemptions as well. Plus, since Emirates bumped up their fuel surcharges several times earlier this year, booking Emirates award flights through Air Canada Aeroplan may actually be considerably cheaper than purchasing them directly through Emirates Skywards.

On top of all that, because Air Canada is currently (and temporarily) using their standard fixed partner award chart to price Emirates award flights, you can find some seriously amazing deals on Emirates flights (particularly in business class) until Air Canada releases their Emirates-specific award chart sometime in 2023.

Let’s take a look at this new partnership between Air Canada and Emirates, the advantages of this partnership and the sweet spot that you can take advantage of before Air Canada releases its Emirates-specific award chart.



Emirates Flights at Standard Prices

At the current moment, booking with Air Canada Aeroplan points is the best way to purchase Emirates business class and economy class flights. However, this is probably only temporary.

In a statement, Air Canada vice president of loyalty and product Scott O’Leary said, “As you might suspect, our arrangement with Emirates is very unique, and as a result, our Emirates redemptions will have their own dedicated chart.” But this dedicated award chart has not been rolled out yet and will not be rolled out until sometime in 2023.

In the meantime, Air Canada has already begun offering Emirates award flight redemptions in business class and economy class using their standard award chart for partner redemptions. That means that you can book Emirates business and economy flights for the same price as other partner carriers such as Lufthansa or Turkish Airlines.

For most of their airline partners, Air Canada has dedicated fixed award charts based on distance, zone of origin and zone of destination. However, for partner airlines for which Air Canada doesn’t have a dedicated award chart, they use a standard fixed partner award chart. And, since Air Canada has yet to implement their dedicated Emirates award chart, Emirates flights are currently priced using this standard partner award chart.

This presents a limited-time opportunity to find Emirates business class and economy class awards at great rates, particularly when it comes to flying to Dubai from North America. Dubai would fall into Air Canada’s Atlantic zone, so the following chart would currently apply to Emirates flights between North America and Dubai:

New Air Canada and Emirates partnership - Between North America and Atlantic Zones

All flights between North America and Dubai will clock in between 5,000 and 9,000 miles. So, all flights from North America to Dubai should be within the following price ranges:

  • Economy class: 40,000 to 70,000 points
  • Business class: 70,000 to 110,000 points

According to the chart above, an economy flight would from Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) to Dubai International Airport (DXB) should cost 55,000 Aeroplan points. And, after searching for that flight on Air Canada’s website, we found that it did indeed cost 55,000 Aeroplan points plus CA $103 in fees.

economy flight would from Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) to Dubai International Airport (DXB)

That very same flight would cost you 62,500 Skyward miles plus USD $205 fees if you were to book it through Emirates.

Skyward miles plus from IAD to DXB

If you wanted to purchase the same flight with cash, you’d be looking at paying $1,104.20.

flight ticket cash price from Washington to Dubai

Obviously, booking this flight with Air Canada Aeroplan points is the best option here. And, when it comes to business class flights, redemption prices can differ even more between Air Canada and Emirates. Until Air Canada begins using their dedicated Emirates fixed award chart, there will be plenty of opportunities to find Emirates economy and business class flights at amazing rates. However, as the year 2022 is coming to a close, it’s important to take advantage of these deals now. Once the dedicated Emirates award chart kicks in, award flight prices through Air Canada will probably mirror Emirates’s rates more closely.

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to book Emirates first class flights through Air Canada until sometime in 2023, probably the same time when the dedicated Emirates award chart is implemented. So, you won’t be able to find any great deals on Emirates first class through Air Canada right now.

Also, as was previously mentioned, you can also use Air Canada’s 5,000-point stopover perk with Emirates flights. Air Canada allows you to add one stopover per one-way flight and two stopovers per round-trip flight. Each stopover will cost 5,000 points and can last up to 45 days.

Emirates first class

Routes to Consider

If you’re looking for some routes to consider, here’s a few that may be of interest.

New York (JFK) to Milan (MXP)

Emirates flies a fifth-freedom route from New York (JFK) to Milan (MXP). Using Great Circle Mapper, this route comes in at 3,995. This means that it should cost 60,000 miles each way in business class, or 35,000 miles in economy.

Most U.S. Airports to Singapore (SIN)

While this is quite a long way to get to Singapore, most U.S. airports routing through Dubai will fall into the 7,501 to 11,000 mile range. These flights will should price at 87,500 miles in business class, and 60,000 miles in economy.

Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO), Seattle (SEA), Houston (IAH), Dallas (DFW), Miami (MIA) and Ft Lauderdale (FLL) are all over 11,000 miles. But Chicago, New York, DC, and other North and Northeastern airports are just shy of 11,000 miles. Plus, you can book a stopover in Dubai for only 5,000 additional miles.

All U.S. Airports and Maldives

You should be able to book every U.S. airport to the Maldives in Emirates business class for 87,500 miles one-way per person.

Avoid Fuel Surcharges

Another huge advantage of booking Emirates flights through Air Canada is that you can avoid the massive fuel surcharges that Emirates often levies on some of its flights. And, unlike the aforementioned temporary sweet spot in Emirates award flight pricing, this lack of fuel charges is expected to be permanent.

In late February 2022, Emirates increased their fuel surcharges (sometimes known as carrier-imposed surcharges”) by up to 140%, a price increase of about $250 per person. Only a month before that, they had also increased their fuel surcharges by $180. All of this has resulted in Emirates levying sky-high fuel surcharges on many of its flights. For some flights, these surcharges can be over $1,000 for a one-way flight.

Luckily, Air Canada Aeroplan has a program-wide commitment to not pass on carrier-imposed fuel surcharges to Aeroplan members. You will have to pay Air Canada’s partner award fee of CA $39 and certain government-imposed taxes; however, you will avoid paying those massive fuel surcharges that Emirates tacks onto their award flight redemptions.

While most people don’t think much about fuel surcharges, this is actually a really big deal. When fuel surcharges from Emirates can be almost as expensive as the flight ticket itself, the option to avoid these surcharges by booking through Air Canada Aeroplan can save you a ton of money.

Toronto and Dubai Lounge Access

In addition to the ability to find Emirates award flights for cheaper through Air Canada Aeroplan, this new partnership also has other benefits, including reciprocal lounge access. Elite status members within the Aeroplan and Skywards programs will now have access to lounges in Dubai and Toronto with all tickets in economy class.

Aeroplan elite status members with 50K, 75K or Super Elite status who are traveling with Emirates economy class will have complimentary access to the Emirates Business Class lounge in Dubai International Airport for themself and up to one guest. Once Air Canada relocates to Terminal 3 in Dubai International Airport in 2023, Aeroplan 50K, 75K and Super Elite members flying with Air Canada will be able to access the lounge as well.

Emirates Skywards Gold and Platinum members flying with either Emirates or Air Canada in economy class out of Toronto Pearson International Airport will receive complimentary access to Air Canada’s Maple Leaf Lounges and Air Canada Cafe. Anyone (regardless of elite status) flying Emirates business class out of Toronto will receive complimentary access to Maple Leaf Lounges and Air Canada Cafe. And, all first class passengers with Emirates flying out of Toronto will receive access to the Air Canada Signature Suite, one of the nicer airport lounges in all of North America.

Emirates F Lounge

Reciprocal Mileage Earning

Another interesting part of this new partnership is the opportunity to earn Aeroplan points on all paid Emirates flights and vice-versa. When it comes to earning Skywards miles of Air Canada flights, you can simply enter your Skywards membership number when booking through Air Canada. Here are the different earnings rates for each fare class:

  • Economy class: 1 Skywards mile per mile flown
  • Economy premium class: 1.1 Skywards miles per mile flown
  • Business class: 1.5 Skywards miles per mile flown

However, if you want to earn Aeroplan points on your flights with Emirates, you can enter your Aeroplan membership number when booking your flight through Emirates. Then, you’ll earn Aeroplan points based on your fare class and mileage flown. Here are the earnings percentages for each fare class:

Reciprocal Mileage Earning

It’s worth noting that flying with Emirates will not help you get any closer to elite status with Air Canada as Emirates flights don’t earn Status Qualifying Miles (SQMs), Status Qualifying Dollars (SQDs) or Status Qualifying Segments (SQSs).

Air Canada Emirates Award Chart

Once Air Canada does roll out the Emirates award chart, it will be challenging to gauge how much flights will cost. Air Canada has published the Emirates award chart, and there’s large point bands for each distance.

travel on emirates

The Bottom Line

If you’re an Air Canada Aeroplan member with a bunch of Aeroplan points sitting in your account and you don’t have any specific redemption in mind for those points, you may want to look into purchasing an Emirates flight through Aeroplan in the near future. As part of a new partnership between the two airlines, Air Canada is now offering Emirates award flight redemptions. However, until some time in 2023, these award flights are heavily discounted.

Until Air Canada implements its Emirates-specific award chart (which is set to occur sometime in 2023), Emirates flights are being priced using Air Canada’s standard partner award chart, which is also used to price award flights from carriers like Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines. This means that you can find Emirates award flights at fantastic rates for a limited time.

On top of that, Air Canada doesn’t pass on carrier-imposed surcharges to Aeroplan members on award flights, meaning that you can avoid the massive fuel surcharges imposed by Emirates when you book their flights through Air Canada. Since Emirates has been known to charge over $1,000 in fuel surcharges on some flights, booking through Air Canada Aeroplan could save you a ton of money.

This new partnership between Air Canada and Emirates also means that certain Aeroplan elite status members will have access to the Emirates Business Class Lounge in Dubai and, likewise, certain Emirates elite status members will have access to the Maple Leaf Lounges and Air Canada Cafe in Toronto.

Finally, the two airlines offer reciprocal mileage earning on their flights, meaning that Air Canada Aeroplan members can now earn Aeroplan points on Emirates flights and Emirates Skywards members can now earn Skywards points on Air Canada flights.