I'm posting this question for a friend who has tickets in Economy on Emirates LHR - DXB - DEL then back DEL - DXB - JFK. He plans to earn UA Mileage Plus miles for this trip. But when trying to get advance seat assignments, EK denied the request saying he must be a member of their mileage program to do so.
Here's my question: What if he signs up for the Emirates "Skywards" program, gets his seats assigned, then when checking in, he asks to have is frequent flyer number changed to the UA Mileage Plus account? In my experience, this wouldn't be a problem on most carriers, but I have no experience with EK.
Of course the concern is that they'll refuse and force him to get the Emirates miles which he'll never use...
What do you all think?