Late last year Continental announced that their partnership with Emirates was ending on March 25, 2011. That was pretty unfortunate since Continental prices awards on Emirates the same as they do on any of their other partners, and they also let you mix and match partners. In other words, you could theoretically fly New York to Frankfurt to Dubai in Lufthansa business class, and then Dubai to New York in Emirates business class, all for 115,000 miles per person. Unfortunately they did not allow for first class redemptions on Emirates.
United, on the other hand, has always had a separate award chart for travel on Emirates, typically much more expensive than a normal saver award on one of their Star Alliance partner partners. However, they allowed mileage redemptions for Emirates first class. While not cheap at 210,000 miles roundtrip in first class between North American and the Middle East, you could fly Airbus 380 first class on Emirates, which is a bargain at that price, in my opinion. Well, unfortunately that partnership is coming to an end on May 28, 2011 (and that’s both the “book by” and “travel by” date).