Emirates Skywards Loyalty Program Review

Emirates Skywards Loyalty Program

Emirates Summary Table

Branded and Partnered Credit Cards

Instead of a U.S.-issued Emirates credit card, you can use point transfers from American Express Membership Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest 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.

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The Platinum Card® from American Express

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The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express
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Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Cards

Emirates partners with Starwood Preferred Guest as well, and SPG points convert to Skywards Miles at a 1:1 ratio. For converting 20,000 SPG points in a single transaction, you get a 5,000-mile bonus!

The minimum allowed SPG points transfer depends on your SPG status: Preferred Guest (2,500 miles), Gold (1,500 miles), or Platinum (no minimum). Transfers can take as long as a week.

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Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

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Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express
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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 a number of partner airlines around the world where you can earn and redeem Skywards miles.

Joining Emirates Skywards

Emirates Skywards Join

Joining Skywards is free and easy. Register here.

You can earn up to 5,000 bonus miles on your first Emirates flight!

How to Sign in to Your Emirates Skywards Account

Emirates Skywards Login

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, because 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

Rolling Tier means that instead of a calendar year, you have 12-13 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 12-13 month clock to take enough flights that you requalify for another year (or advance to the next status tier).

Skywards Tier Benefits:

Emirates Skywards Membership Tiers

Emirates Skywards Blue:

  • Instant upgrades with miles at check-in
  • Waitlist priority
  • Discount on paid lounge access

Emirates Skywards Silver:

All Blue benefits, plus:

  • Free seat selection
  • Excess baggage allowance
  • Dubai Business Class Lounge Access
  • Priority boarding
  • 25% bonus miles on Emirates flights

Emirates Skywards Gold:

All Silver benefits, plus:

  • Worldwide Emirates lounge access + guests
  • Priority baggage
  • 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 + guests
  • Gold status for spouse or partner
  • 75% bonus miles on Emirates flights

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 our 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 like 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

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. Up to 80 employees can be on 1 account.

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:

Earn Skywards Miles

  • Route according to Skywards Zones
  • Fares 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 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. Trying calling the airline.

Here’s an example for Air Mauritius:

Skywards Earn Air Mauritius

Earn Miles With Credit Cards

You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points and Starwood Preferred Guest 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.

Routes are priced according to zone; see the full zone definitions here.

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.

Also 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 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

Emirates launched Cash+Miles in September 2016. 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 check-in (online or at the airport) or upon boarding.

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: $25
  • Destination change: $75
  • Refund: $75

How Much Do Emirates Skywards Awards on Partner Airlines Cost?

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

Only Qantas and EasyJet partner awards are available on the Emirates website. For other partners, you can call Emirates Skywards or submit the online partner award form and be contacted by Emirates within 24 hours.

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.

Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express

FAQ

How do I create an Emirates Skywards account?
Register here for a free Emirates Skywards account.

Where can I find my Emirates Skywards number?
Log in to your Emirates Skywards account here to see your account number.

Can my business have an Emirates account?
Emirates Business Rewards is for small businesses, and the program lets up to 80 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.

What are Tier Miles?
Tier Miles are needed to earn elite status: Blue, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. 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 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.

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: