Emirates is a luxury United Arab Emirates carrier based in Dubai, known for its high-class service and product. Of course, purchasing a first-class seat is not reasonable or even accessible for most travelers. But if you join Skywards – Emirates frequent flyer program – you could earn enough miles for a chance to experience the high life aboard an impeccable Emirates aircraft.
For everything you need to know about Emirates Skywards, keep reading!
|U.S. Destinations||Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Los Angeles, Newark, New York City, Orlando, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington D.C.|
|Credit Cards||No co-branded US credit cards|
|Redemption Options||Emirates and partner award flights, upgrades on Emirates, hotel stays, car rentals, vacation packages, retail, event tickets, transfer & donate miles.|
|Average Mile Value||$0.012|
Emirates Skywards Membership Tiers
To take advantage of all Emirates has to offer, you’ll want to work your way up Skywards membership tiers: Blue, Silver, Gold and Platinum.
When you sign up for Skywards, you automatically start at Blue tier. Move up tiers by collecting Tier Miles or by completing a number of Emirates or flydubai flights.
Tier Miles are earned on Emirates-operated flights or codeshares on other airlines marketed by Emirates. Unfortunately, partner flights do not earn Tier Miles. To find out how many Tier Miles you earned for a particular flight, use the Miles Calculator.
|Silver||25,000 Tier Miles or 25 flights|
|Gold||50,000 Tier Miles or 50 flights|
|Platinum||150,000 Tier Miles|
Once you achieve a new tier, you’ll stay at that tier for 14 months before you have to re-qualify.
Each membership tier comes with additional Emirates-related perks. Notable benefits include:
|Complimentary seat selection||–||x||x||x|
|Excess baggage allowance||–||x||x||x|
|Priority check-in & boarding||–||x||x||x|
|One Gold tier nomination||–||–||–||x|
For a full list of benefits, click here.
Earning Skywards Miles
Emirates Skywards doesn’t have a lot of partnerships, if you compare it to other frequent flyer programs. Other than Emirates and partner flights, there are few ways to earn Skywards miles.
The amount of Skywards miles you earned for a particular flight depend on four factors:
- Route: according to Skywards Zones
- Fare type: Special, Saver, Flex, Flex Plus
- Class of travel: up to 175% for flying First or Business class
- Tier bonus: Silver (25%), Gold (50%), Platinum (75%)
The easiest way to figure out how many miles you earned on a flight is to plug your travel details into the Miles Calculator.
You’ll also earn Skywards miles for flights with partner airlines, so there are options to earn whether or not you live in or travel often to Dubai. Each Skywards airline partner has its own mileage earning rates.
Skywards partner airlines include (see their website for updated partners):
|Amex Membership Rewards||1,000 : 1,000|
|Capital One Rewards||2 : 1|
|Marriott Bonvoy||3 : 1*|
|Chase Ultimate Rewards||1 : 1|
|Citi ThankYou® Rewards||1 : 1|
|HSBC US||1 : 1|
*If you transfer 60,000 Marriott points in one transaction, you get a 5,000-mile bonus.
Earn miles when you travel, shop or use the services of Skywards’ many partners. Types of partners include car rental companies and hotels, as well as retail and lifestyle brands.
Earning rates vary from partner to partner, with occasional promotions. For more details, click here.
If you don’t have enough for a reward, you might choose to buy more Skywards miles. One-thousand miles cost $30, and you can purchase up to 100,000 Skywards miles a year.
At this rate, you’re paying $0.03 per mile, which is much more than what we value Skywards miles ($0.012 per mile) at redemption.
Spending Skywards Miles
Skywards miles expire after three years, even if you regularly earn or burn them. Keep this in mind as we go through all the ways you can spend your miles below.
To redeem your Skywards miles towards award flights, you’ll need to use the Miles Calculator to price out particular routes. Emirates does charge taxes and fees on award flights, so make sure to add that to your trip’s costs.
Classic award flights start at 15,000 miles roundtrip. Get even better pricing when you book Saver fares or one-way Flex Plus fares.
You can pay for your award ticket with a combination of cash and miles. Minimum mileage spend is 2,000, and every 5,000 miles is a $40 discount off the price of the ticket. In general, this method doesn’t yield the best value for your Skywards miles.
Partner awards are also an option for your Skywards miles. Each partner carrier has its own award pricing and eligible routes. Partners include (see their website for updated partners):
- Air Mauritius
- Alaska Airlines
- Bangkok Airways
- Copa Airlines
- Japan Airlines
- Korean Air
- Malaysia Airlines
- S7 Airlines
- South African Airways
- TAP Portugal
From the Emirates website, you can only book Qantas and EasyJet awards. For other partners, you’ll need to call Emirates Skywards or submit a form online.
Use your Skywards miles for upgrades, starting at 9,000 miles. The pricing depends on route and fare type. Most tickets can be upgraded in advance, except:
- Business Class Saver Fare. You can upgrade at least six hours before departure.
- Economy Class Saver Fare. You can upgrade at check-in online, or at the airport, or upon boarding.
Other uses for your Skywards miles include:
- Hotel stays
- Car rentals
- Event tickets
- Vacation packages
- Transfer or donate miles
For more details, click here.
Emirates Skywards Tips & Tricks
JetBlue domestic flights. One-way awards on JetBlue within the United States start at 7,500 miles. But be aware, connecting flights may be priced as two separate awards. So limit your award travel to non-stop tickets.
Fly from the East Coast. Skywards Zones put North America East and North America West in different regions, so award pricing for international flights can vary greatly.
For example, a roundtrip flight in Business from the East Coast to Europe might take only 90,000 miles, while a roundtrip flight in Business from the West Coast to Europe might cost 190,000 miles.
So if you live on the West Coast, we recommend you hop over to the East Coast using a different carrier, then switching to Emirates from there.
Stopover in Dubai. Emirates Skywards allows free stopovers in Dubai, so you can stay in Dubai for a few days before moving on to your final destination.
Fly First class. Emirates is a top-of-the-line carrier, and it’s first class flights are uber luxurious. For just 135,000 miles, you can fly First class, one-way, from the East Coast to western Europe. That’s a pretty sweet deal.
Keep in mind Emirates Skywards does charge award fees. Here are some examples of fees at the time of publishing:
|Close-in award booking fee||None|
Skywards My Family lets you pool miles that your family members earned from flying Emirates. Partner flights and other ways of earning Skywards miles do not count.
My Family allows for up to 8 members with a designated family head. Each member puts in a predetermined percent of their future earned miles into the pool. This percentage can be adjusted at any time.
Multiply Miles lets you double, triple or quadruple your Skywards miles and pay only $20 for every 1,000 miles you want to multiply, for up to 50,000 miles every year.
For more details, click here.
Emirates Business Rewards is a loyalty program for small businesses. After you register, you’ll earn one Business Rewards point for every $1 spent when your employees travel on Emirates.
One Business Rewards account can have up to 80 employees. All employees under your business account will also earn their own Skywards miles when they travel with Emirates.
Emirates is a top-of-the-line airline, but Skywards is a limiting frequent flyer program. Few partnerships, low earning potential and high costs for award seats, all make it harder for you to earn free flights.
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