Emirates Skywards Loyalty Program Review

Emirates Skywards Loyalty Program Review

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Branded and Partnered Credit Cards

Instead of a U.S.-issued Emirates credit card, you can use point transfers from American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points, Capital One Miles, and Marriott Bonvoy to build up your Emirates Skywards Miles balance.

American Express Membership Rewards Credit Cards

American Express Membership Rewards points convert to Skywards miles at a rate of 1,000 points to 1,000 Skywards miles.

Recommended Amex Cards (Personal)

The Platinum Card® from American Express - There's currently a new welcome bonus offer of 75,000 Membership Rewards Points after spending $5,000 on purchases in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Plus, earn 10x points in the first 6 months on eligible purchases at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets (on up to $15,000 in combined purchases).

This is our #1 card for accessing 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide (including Priority Pass). We leverage ~$3,000+ in benefits and perks from the card every year. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum Card, click here.
American Express® Gold Card - We love using this card as it earns 4x points at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery, and 4x points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per calendar year; then 1x. Terms Apply). There's no better card in our opinion if you eat out and/or shop at supermarkets regularly; and you'll have access to many benefits and perks.

With a welcome bonus of 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 in your first 6 months, it's a strong choice. For rates and fees of the Amex Gold Card, click here.

Recommended Amex Cards (Business)

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express - Right now, there's a welcome bonus of up to 75,000 points after you spend $15,000 within the first 3 months. Terms Apply.

See how we get ~$5,525+ in value per year by leveraging many of the benefits & perks, including access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide. For rates & fees of the Business Platinum, click here.
American Express® Business Gold Card - probably our favorite Amex business card because we earn 4x points across the top 2 select categories that we spend the most money in each month, such as Facebook or Google ads. The 4x points applies to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year. After that, you earn 1x. Terms Apply. For rates & fees of the Business Gold Card, click here.
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express - A super simple, no annual fee card that earns you 2x points on everyday business purchase, up to $50,000 annually. After that, then 1x. That makes for an easy 100,000 points per year. For rates and fees of the Blue Business Plus, click here.

Marriott Bonvoy Credit Cards

Emirates partners with Marriott Bonvoy as well and Marriott Bonvoy points convert to Skywards Miles at a 3:1 ratio. For converting 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points in a single transaction, you get a 5,000-mile bonus!

Emirates Skywards Program Overview

Skywards is Emirates’ loyalty program. It is popular with frequent Emirates flyers for travel benefits and upgrade options.

Instead of joining an airline alliance, Emirates has several partner airlines around the world where you can earn and redeem Skywards miles.

Joining Emirates Skywards

Join Emirates Skywards
Emirates Skywards registration form. Image Credit: Emirates

Joining Skywards is free and easy — just register here.

How to Sign in to Your Emirates Skywards Account

Emirates Skywards Log In
Emirates Skywards log in. Image Credit: Emirates

Log in to your Skywards account here.

You’ll need your email address or Skywards account number and your password.

Viewing Your Account Activity

The Skywards My Account page is a hub for all your Skywards activity.

My Statement shows your activity.

You can also manage your account profile and settings and learn about earning and redeeming miles.

Mileage Expiration

Skywards miles expire after 3 years, even if you have continuing account activity.

You can get a few more months in some cases as miles don’t expire exactly 3 years from the date earned. Instead, they expire at the end of your birthday month in the calendar year 3 years from when they were earned. Every mile is good for at least 3 calendar years.

Emirates Skywards Program Benefits

New Skywards members start at Blue Tier. They can then earn Silver, Gold, or Platinum elite status through qualifying activity.

Skywards Elite Status Requirements:

  • Silver: earn 25,000 Tier Miles or take 25 flights
  • Gold: earn 50,000 Tier Miles or take 50 flights
  • Platinum: earn 150,000 Tier Miles (no way to earn solely by flights)

Tier Miles are only earned on Emirates-operated flights or codeshares on other airlines that are marketed by Emirates (meaning the flight number on your tickets is an Emirates EK). Other flights operated by partners can earn redeemable miles only.

The Miles Calculator shows how many Tier Miles you will earn for each trip.

Emirates Skywards Miles Calculator
Image Credit: Emirates

Rolling Tier means that instead of a calendar year, you have 12 to 13 months from the date you start earning Skywards miles through flights in which to meet the requirements for elite status.

When you reach an elite status tier, you then get a new 12 to 13-month clock to take enough flights that you requalify for another year (or advance to the next status tier).

Skywards Tier Benefits:

Emirates Skywards Tiers
Emirates Skywards tiers. Image Credit: Emirates

Emirates Skywards Blue:

  • Member-only offers and travel packages
  • Instant upgrades with miles at check-in
  • Waitlist priority
  • Paid lounge access

Emirates Skywards Silver:

All Blue benefits, plus:

  • Priority service with the contact center
  • Free seat selection
  • Excess baggage allowance
  • Access to any Emirates Business Class Lounge in Dubai
  • Priority boarding
  • 25% bonus miles on Emirates flights

Emirates Skywards Gold:

All Silver benefits, plus:

  • Worldwide Emirates lounge access + 1 guest
  • Priority baggage
  • Free onboard Wi-Fi traveling in any cabin
  • 50% bonus miles on Emirates flights

Emirates Skywards Platinum:

All Gold benefits, plus:

  • First class check-in and baggage
  • Worldwide Emirates first class lounge access + 1 adult guest and 2 guests under 17 years old
  • Gold status for spouse or partner
  • 75% bonus miles on Emirates flights
  • No expiry of Skywards Miles

See the full chart of tier benefits for details and terms.

Value of Emirates Skywards Elite Status

Emirates Skywards status is almost entirely focused on frequent Emirates flyers. Since only Emirates-marketed codeshares on partners can earn Tier Points, to earn Skywards status you need to be primarily flying Emirates.

Naturally, then, status benefits are usually only applicable to Emirates flights. If you travel to many parts of the world on various airlines, Skywards status is probably not the right target for you.

On Emirates, Silver Tier status stands out compared to Blue — it’s required just to get free advance seat assignments.

Gold Tier status provides valuable business class lounge access through the Emirates network (not just in Dubai as with Silver Tier). This alone can be worth chasing Gold Tier status.

Few travelers will amass the Tier Points necessary for Platinum Tier. Those who do will receive coveted first class lounge access and priority travel benefits.

Emirates Business Rewards:

Emirates Business Rewards
Image Credit: Emirates

In addition to your personal Skywards account, you can register your small business in Emirates Business Rewards.

You’ll earn 1 Business Rewards point per $1 spent when your employees travel on Emirates. There is no limit to the number of employees permitted on 1 account and no minimum spend.

Employees still earn their own Skywards miles in addition to the Business Rewards points you earn.

How to Earn Skywards Miles

Skywards has many partners that expand your mileage-earning opportunities far beyond flying.

Earn Skywards Miles Through Flying Emirates

The Miles Calculator is the easiest way to determine how many miles you’ll earn on an Emirates flight.

Earning is calculated using 4 factors:

  • Route
  • Fare type: Special, Saver, Flex, Flex Plus
  • Class bonus: up to 175% bonus for flying first or business class
  • Tier level: bonus by status Silver (25%), Gold (50%), Platinum (75%)

Earn Skywards Miles When Your Family Flies Emirates

Emirates Skywards My Family
Emirates Skywards My Family. Image Credit: Emirates

Emirates Skywards My Family allows you to pool miles that your family members earn from flying Emirates. This excludes partner flights and other ways to earn Emirates miles.

Up to 7 travelers related to the designated family head may pool their miles: husband, wife, partner, father, mother, step-father, step-mother, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son, step-son, daughter or step-daughter.

Each member can designate what percent of future earned miles will go to the pool: 100%, 75%, 50%, 25%, 10%, or 0%. You can adjust this rate at any time for future mile earnings. Prior earned miles do not go to the pool (you can still pay for miles transfer).

Like individual miles, My Family miles expire 3 years after they are earned (the end of the month of the Family Head’s birthday).

Earn Skywards Miles Through Flying Partner Airlines

Each Emirates Skywards partner airline is subject to its own mileage earning and award prices.

You’ll need to know the fare class of your ticket, which is not always easy to obtain. Try calling the airline.

Here’s an example for Air Mauritius:

Earn Skywards with Air Mauritius
Image Credit: Emirates

Earn Miles With Credit Cards

You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points, Capital One Miles, and Marriott Bonvoy points to Emirates Skywards.

Earn Miles With Travel and Shopping Partners

Skywards has many travel and shopping partners where you can earn miles.

See our best ways to earn lots of Emirates Skywards miles for ideas!

How to Redeem Skywards Miles

Hot Tip: For a full list of ideas, read our article on how you can redeem Emirates Skywards miles for maximum value.

How Much Do Emirates Skywards Awards on Emirates Cost?

Emirates does not publish an award chart for its flights. Instead, use the Miles Calculator on the Emirates website to price specific routes.

For travel from the U.S., Emirates divides the country into North America East and North America West. Depending on the total distance of the trip, award prices from North America West may be significantly higher than North America East.

Look out for huge cash fuel surcharges and fees on awards. Unfortunately, you must call in with specific flight details to find out how much they will cost.

Emirates Skywards Classic Awards

Classic Awards on Emirates flights start at 15,000 miles for a round trip.

Classic Awards come in lower-price Saver and higher-priced Flex Plus levels. Only Flex Plus fares can be booked as a one-way ticket.

Cash+Miles

Cash+Miles allows members to pay for a ticket using cash and Skywards Miles. You must use a minimum of 2,000 miles on a Cash+Miles ticket, and every 5,000 miles translates to a $40 discount. In most cases, this is a low-value use of miles, so tread carefully!

Flight Upgrades

You can use Emirates Skywards miles to upgrade paid tickets. Prices start at 9,000 miles and are determined by route and ticket type.

Most tickets can be upgraded in advance, and you may also have the opportunity at check-in or even upon boarding.

Exceptions are:

  • Business Class Saver Fare tickets: must upgrade at least 6 hours prior to departure.
  • Economy Class Saver Fare tickets: can only be upgraded at online check-in (between 48 and 6 hours before departure)

Emirates has some incredibly long flights…once you board and see your seat for the next 15 hours, you may be in the mood to splurge on an upgrade!

Changes and Cancellations

Emirates Skywards has reasonable award fees:

  • No close-in award booking fee
  • Date change: $0 for Flex Plus/Flex tickets and $25 elsewhere
  • Destination change: $0 for Flex Plus/Flex tickets, and up to $25 + any fare changes for Saver tickets
  • Refund: $0 for unused Flex Plus tickets, $50 for Flex tickets in first class, and $75 for Saver tickets

How Much Do Emirates Skywards Awards on Partner Airlines Cost?

Each Emirates Skywards partner airline is subject to its own award prices and permitted routes. Look for partners you can book one-way awards with, such as JetBlue.

It’s only possible to book easyJet partner awards via the Emirates website. For other partners, you can call Emirates Skywards or submit the online partner award form and be contacted by Emirates.

HOT TIP:Save time searching for partner awards by checking websites of Emirates partner airlines. Checking an airline for its own award flights may be misleading, though, because more flights may be available to its own program members than to partner airlines. Instead, use Air Canada Aeroplan to check South African Airways and TAP Portugal; or British Airways to check Japan Airlines, Malaysian Airlines, Qantas, and S7 Airlines.


Frequently asked questions

How do I create an Emirates Skywards account?

Register here for a free Emirates Skywards account that will allow you to start earning Skywards Miles. It’s free to join and is a short form requesting some basic personal details.

Where can I find my Emirates Skywards number?

Log in to your Emirates Skywards account here and you can view account number at the top of the page. Account numbers start with EK, and your tier level will also be included with this information.

Can my business have an Emirates account?

Emirates Business Rewards allows your organization to earns Skywards Miles on all your business travel. There is no limit to the number of employees on your account and no minimum spend. Employees earn miles for your business account in addition to the miles they earn in their own Skywards accounts. Enroll here.

How do you earn Skywards Miles?

You can earn Skywards Miles by traveling on Emirates or completing certain activities with Emirates’ travel partners, such as shopping or banking.

What are Emirates Skywards Tier Miles?

Tier Miles are needed to earn elite status: Blue, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Elite status members receive additional benefits, such as complimentary lounge access, seat selection, and increased baggage allowance. Members also receive bonus Skywards Miles when you reach Silver, Gold, and Platinum (25%, 50%, and 75%, respectively).

What are Emirates Skywards miles worth?

Use the Miles Calculator to find out how much awards on Emirates cost. For partner airlines, you’ll need to check out the award chart and rules for each partner individually.

Who are the Emirates Skywards partners?

Emirates Skywards travel partners range from airlines to hotels and banks to rental car agencies. See the complete list of Emirates Skywards partners here.

How long are Emirates Skywards Miles valid?

Emirates Skywards Miles are valid for 3 years, and you cannot extend the life of miles. If you reach Platinum Tier level, Skywards Miles have no expiration.

Can I earn Skywards Miles with a credit card?

You can transfer points to Skywards Miles from a wide variety of loyalty programs. For instance, earn points with credit cards such as:

Alex Miller

About Alex Miller

Alex has been traveling for over 25 years and from a young age was lucky enough to set out on numerous family trips all over the world, which gave him the travel bug. Alex has since earned millions of travel points and miles, mainly through maximizing credit card sign-up bonuses and taking every opportunity to earn the most points possible on each dollar spent.

Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.

2 comments

  1. I am travelling with my wife on business class and my partner is on economy. If am a Blue Skywards tier can i invite my wife (free) to the business lounge in Dubai while transiting about 8 hours? If no, how much do I have to pay? If my wife is also a Blue Skywards member, does she get a discount to enter the business lounge in Dubai if she needs to pay?

    Reply

    • Hey Syukri! Great question. According to the Emirates website, Emirates Skywards Blue members can purchase access to the lounges in Dubai for themselves and a guest. Access to the business class lounge costs $100 per person as a Blue tier member.

      Reply

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