Emirates Fare Classes and Fare Types Explained

A Guide to Emirates Booking Classes and Fare Types:
Change fees, refunds, mileage earning rates, and more.

Please be aware that, although we make every effort to keep the information on this page as up to date as possible, changes in airline policies can and do occur without notice.

Like most commercial airlines, Emirates uses fare classes, also known as booking classes, to determine the number of frequent flyer miles earned on a particular flight and also for things like standby priority in the event of a cancelled flight.  Each booking class is designated by a letter of the alphabet (A, Q, H, etc.).

When you actually book a flight on Emirates.com, however, those letters and booking classes are nowhere to be seen.  What you are presented with instead is something similar to the image below, which shows some of the different fare types the airline offers: Saver (available in economy and business classes), Flex (economy, business, and first class), and Flex Plus (economy, business, and first class).

Emirates Fare Classes - Fare Types

You can click on the name of the fare type to view details of each and compare them.  Generally, the cheaper the fare, the less flexible it is – meaning that refunds may be limited and you’ll pay more for changes or cancellations.

Emirates Fare Types and Corresponding Fare Classes

While many airlines publish a fare class chart showing the different classes in order by priority, Emirates does not.  Here’s how the fare types correspond to Emirates’ fare classes, at least to the best of our knowledge:

Economy Saver –  fare classes M, B, U, K, Q, L, T, V, X, H

Economy Flex – fare classes E, R, W

Economy Flex Plus – fare class Y

Business Saver – fare classes O, I

Business Flex – fare class C

Business Flex Plus – fare class J

First Class Flex – fare class A, P

First Class Flex Plus – fare class F

Other Emirates booking classes:

S – non-rev travel (airline employees, family, and friends)

G – discounted economy group fares

N – economy award (ticket purchased using miles)

D – business award (ticket purchased using miles or upgrade using miles)

Z – first class award (ticket purchased using miles or upgrade using miles)

How Many Miles Do Emirates Flights Earn?

In terms of the number of miles earned on Emirates flights, fare classes are immaterial, since the airline awards miles based on the fare type purchased, not on the fare class.

Since Emirates doesn't publish the earning rate for each fare type, the only way to know for sure how many miles a particular flight will earn is to use the Emirates mileage calculator, which shows the number of miles earned by fare type for any given route.x

Emirates Fare Types

Economy Special / Business Special – cheapest, least flexible

In addition to the more common fare types below, in your flight search on Emirates.com you may occasionally come across a fare type labeled “Special”.  As indicated by the name, these are special fares occasionally offered by Emirates – they will always be the lowest fares shown on the page.

Special fares may be cheap but they are not at all flexible: they’re non-refundable and can’t be upgraded using either miles or cash.  Special fares also cannot be purchased using Emirates Skywards frequent flyer miles.

Economy Special fares earn Skywards frequent flyer miles at a rate of about 20-25% of the actual miles flown*.

Business Special fares earn Skywards frequent flyer miles at a rate of about 85-90% of the actual miles flown*.

Emirates mileage calculator – compute and compare frequent flyer miles earned for different fare types

Economy Saver / Business Saver – cheaper, less flexible

Saver fares incur fees for changes to the flights or in order to receive a refund if you need to cancel.  For international flights departing from the USA, refunds will set you back $300 for Economy Saver fares and $400 for Business Saver fares, and are only allowed prior to departure.  Changes cost $200 each for Economy Saver fares and $400 each for Business Saver fares.

The number of Skywards miles earned with an Economy Saver fare varies depending on the route you wish to travel, but should end up being about 30-35% of the actual miles flown*.  With Business Saver fares, the mileage earning rate increases to 105-115%*.

You can upgrade Emirates Saver fares, but it’s usually expensive to do so, which really defeats the purpose of buying a Saver fare in the first place, which is to get a relatively cheap flight on Emirates.

Upgrade Saver fares at check-in (visit Emirates.com, then locate Plan and Book >> Manage a Booking) or once on board the aircraft.

Emirates mileage calculator – compute and compare frequent flyer miles earned for different fare types

Economy Flex / Business Flex / First Flex – not as cheap, more flexible

Emirates Economy Flex fares allow refunds or flight changes for $200 each.  Business Flex fare refunds are $400 before departure and $1,000 after departure.  Changes to Business Flex and First Flex flights are $400 each.  First Flex refunds are $400.

Economy Flex flights earn about 60-65% of actual miles flown* depending on the origin and destination, while Business Flex flights earn 140-160%*.  You cannot purchase Economy or Business Flex fares using Emirates Skywards frequent flyer miles, but they can be upgraded after purchase.

First Flex fares usually earn over 200% of actual miles flown*.  You can use miles to purchase First Flex fares.

Upgrade via Emirates.com Plan and Book >> Manage a Booking.  If an online upgrade is not available for your flight, you can also request an upgrade at check-in or once on board the aircraft.

Emirates mileage calculator – compute and compare frequent flyer miles earned for different fare types

Economy Flex Plus / Business Flex Plus / First Flex Plus – relatively expensive, most flexible

Refunds and flight changes are free with Emirates Flex Plus fares.  Economy Flex Plus flights earn 85-90% of actual miles flown* depending on the route, while Business Flex Plus flights earn in the range of 165-175%*.  First Flex Plus fares usually earn the same number of miles as First Flex fares – over 200% of actual miles flown*.

Upgrade Economy and Business Flex Plus fares via Emirates.com Plan and Book >> Manage a Booking.  If an online upgrade is not available for your flight, you can also request an upgrade at check-in or once on board the aircraft.

* Note that we have not checked all routes flown by Emirates, so your results may differ from those shown here.

Emirates mileage calculator – compute and compare frequent flyer miles earned for different fare types

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