Emirates Skywards Premium World Elite Mastercard – Full Review

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Emirates Skywards Premium World Elite Mastercard – Full Review

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"A premium card for Emirates flyers"

The Emirates Premium World Elite card is a premium card with premium perks and a premium price tag.

Learn More (at Barclay's secure site)

The information regarding the Emirates Skywards Premium World Elite Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.


Emirates is widely considered to be one of the most luxurious airlines in the world, so it is no wonder why the airline offers its own luxury credit card with an annual fee of $499, as well.

You might be wondering how an airline credit card alone could be worth such a high annual fee, especially one that is not a major U.S. airline. But for those who actually do fly with Emirates often, the Emirates Skywards Premium World Elite Mastercard® can be the perfect option thanks to all of the benefits that the card provides.

Pros

Cons

  • $499 annual fee
  • Does not earn transferable points

Emirates Skywards Premium World Elite - Snapshot

The Ideal Cardholder

Emirates Baggage
Frequent Emirates flyers will love the Emirates Premium World Elite card. Image Credit: Emirates

The ideal cardholder of the Emirates Premium World Elite card is someone who is going to get more value out of the card than what they are paying for in the $499 annual fee and is naturally going to be someone who flies with Emirates quite often.

You’ll certainly want to be flying with Emirates often enough to take advantage of all of the benefits that the card offers, like automatic Emirates Gold status, airport lounge access, and more.

Automatic Skywards Gold Status

This is easily the most valuable benefit of the card and helps make the annual fee well worth it for frequent Emirates flyers. After all, Skywards Gold is the second-highest tier in the Skywards program and usually requires you to earn 50,000 Tier Miles or fly 50 flight segments to achieve it.

With it, you’ll receive benefits like:

  • 50% bonus Skywards miles on Emirates flights
  • Priority check-in and boarding
  • Free economy class seat selection for you and your companions
  • Complimentary access to Emirates business-class lounges worldwide for the cardmember and a guest
  • Priority baggage delivery

Plus, instead of flying with Emirates often enough to extend your Gold status beyond the first year, you’ll have the option to retain your Gold status by spending $40,000 on your card each year.

Priority Pass Select Membership

Cardholders also receive a complimentary Priority Pass Select membership, giving them access to over 1,300 airport lounges and experiences worldwide. This is a welcome benefit for frequent travelers, as it gives you a space to relax and refuel before your flight.

Global Entry/TSA PreCheck Credit

With your card, you can pay the application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck and have it reimbursed. If you’re not familiar, TSA PreCheck provides you with an expedited security experience in U.S. airports, while Global Entry provides you with an expedited customs experience when returning to the U.S. from abroad.

Although, since you can pick either, we recommend you opt for Global Entry, as all Global Entry memberships also include TSA PreCheck, but TSA PreCheck memberships do not include Global Entry.

Bonus Anniversary Miles

For big spenders, you can earn 10,000 anniversary miles after spending $30,000 on your card in a card membership year. Hitting this threshold would also put you just $10,000 away from requalifying for Skywards Gold status.

Discount on Mile Purchases

When you use your Emirates Premium World Elite card to purchase Skywards miles for yourself or gift miles to another person, you’ll receive a 25% discount off the purchase price.

Great Card If

  • You frequently fly with Emirates
  • You want perks like Emirates Gold status and Priority Pass access

Don't Get If

  • You don’t fly often with Emirates
  • You prefer a card with a lower annual fee
  • You want a card that earns transferable rewards

Emirates Skywards Premium World Elite - Fees

  • Annual Fee
    • $499
  • Foreign Transaction Fees
    $0
  • Interest Rates
    • 15.99%, 19.99%, or 24.99% Variable
  • Late fees
    • Up to $40
  • Balance Transfers
    • 15.99%, 19.99%, or 24.99% Variable
    • Fee: Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Cash Advance APR
    • 25.24% Variable
    • Fee: Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater.

How To Earn More Emirates Miles

Emirates Purchases

The main bonus category of your card earns you 3x miles per $1 on all Emirates flights, so you’ll want to make this your designated card when booking those flights unless you have another card that offers a better rewards rate.

Travel Purchases

You’ll also earn 2x points per $1 on travel purchases made with the card, which includes airfare (with other airlines), hotel stays, and car rentals. This presents a great opportunity to earn extra Emirates miles on nearly all of your major travel expenses.

All Other Purchases

You’ll also earn 1x miles per $1 on all other purchases made with the card. But unless you are working towards the card’s spending thresholds that help you earn 10,000 bonus miles and requalify for Gold status, then you should probably use another card that offers a better return for these purchases.

Amex Membership Rewards Cards

Since Emirates is a transfer partner of the Amex Membership Rewards program, points earned from cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express and the American Express® Gold Card can be transferred to the Emirates Skywards program at a 1:1 rate to book award flights.

This is a compelling option because many Membership Rewards cards have bonus categories that aren’t offered on the Emirates Premium World Elite card. Take the Amex Gold card that earns 4x points per $1 on all dining and U.S. supermarket purchases — these are 2 categories where most people spend a lot of money, giving you a great opportunity to rack up more points.

Chase Ultimate Rewards Cards

Emirates is also a transfer partner of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, so those who have premium Ultimate Rewards cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card, or Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card can transfer points to your Emirates Skywards account whenever you’d like at a 1:1 rate.

Capital One Miles Cards

Those who have a Capital One Miles card like the Capital One® Venture® Rewards card can also transfer their miles to the Emirates Skywards program, although the transfer rate is a lot less favorable at a 2:1 rate.

Marriott Bonvoy Your World Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy Cards

Through the Emirates Skywards and Marriott Bonvoy Your World Rewards partnership, you can earn extra Skywards miles on your Marriott stays. Those with Skywards elite status, which you have automatically thanks to your card, earn 1 Skywards mile for every $1 spent at Marriott hotels. Emirates Skywards Gold and Platinum members also get benefits like complimentary in-room Wi-Fi, priority check-in, and 4 p.m. late checkout.

Better yet, you can also transfer Marriott Bonvoy points earned from your Marriott stays or Marriott Bonvoy credit cards over to Emirates at a rate of 3 Marriott points to 1 Skyward Mile. But if you transfer at least 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points, you’ll receive an additional 5,000 miles — getting you 25,000 miles for the transfer instead of the expected 20,000.

How To Use Emirates Miles for Max Value

Emirates A380 First Class Window Suite
Emirates A380 first class window suite. Image Credit: Cherag Dubash

Award Tickets

For the most part, your best option when it comes to redeeming your Skywards Miles will be towards award tickets with Emirates and its partners. Unfortunately, Emirates no longer publishes an award chart for its flights, but the airline does offer the Miles Calculator on its website to help give you an expected price for the route you are looking to book.

That said, award prices with Emirates will start at 15,000 miles round-trip, and will increase from there based on the distance you are flying and the cabin class you are flying in.

Cash + Miles

For those that don’t have a large enough Skywards balance for a full award ticket, Emirates offers the option to book a Cash + Miles ticket. However, you have to use at least 2,000 miles on the booking, and every 5,000 miles translates to a $40 discount, which gives you a value of 0.8 cents per mile — much lower than our 1.1 cent valuation of Skywards miles.

Flight Upgrades

Emirates also gives you the option to upgrade your cabin class using your miles. Upgrade prices start at 9,000 miles per direction and go up from there based on your route and ticket type. You should know, though, that you can only use your miles to upgrade to the next cabin class, i.e. economy to business or business to first.

From a value perspective, this is usually less valuable than just booking an award ticket in the cabin you want outright. But it could make sense in certain situations if you don’t have quite enough miles for a full award ticket.

Skywards Exclusives

You can also use your Emirates miles to purchase incredible experiences like tickets for your favorite sports team, band, or purchase world-class dining experiences. While this may seem like a neat option, you’re usually better off just paying cash as the value you receive from your miles when redeeming this way is pretty poor.

Bottom Line: From a value perspective, you’re almost always going to get the best bang for your buck by redeeming your miles for award tickets with Emirates — especially if you’re redeeming for first or business class tickets! 

Alternative Cards to the Emirates Premium World Elite Card

Amex Platinum Card

If you’re looking for a premium credit card loaded with perks, then it doesn’t get more premium than the Amex Platinum card. While it does charge a very steep $695 annual fee, it comes absolutely loaded with benefits like a $200 Uber credit, $200 prepaid hotel credit, $100 Saks Fifth Avenue credit, $240 digital entertainment credit, $200 airline fee credit, Gold elite status with Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy, access to 6 different airport lounge networks, and much more (see rates and fees)!

Plus the Membership Rewards points you earn are transferable and can be redeemed with 21 different travel partners — including Emirates!

Emirates Skywards Rewards World Elite Mastercard®

If you’re an Emirates loyalist but are looking for something a little more reasonable from an annual fee perspective, the Emirates World Elite card only charges a $99 annual fee and still earns 3x points per $1 on Emirates purchases and 2x points per $1 on travel purchases. Plus, it comes with perks like Skywards Silver status and free economy class seat selection.


The information regarding the Emirates Skywards Rewards World Elite Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.


Frequently asked questions

Is the Emirates Premium World Elite card worth it?

That depends on if you fly with Emirates enough to get enough value from the card benefits to offset the annual fee. If you fly with Emirates often enough to make good use of Skywards Gold status, want airport elite status via Priority Pass, and are trying to earn as many Emirates miles as possible, then the Emirates Premium World Elite card might very well be worth it for you.

What are the benefits of the Emirates Premium World Elite card?

The Emirates Premium World Elite card comes with a handful of great benefits like automatic Emirates Skywards Gold status for your first year, a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit, a complimentary Priority Pass Select membership, and a 25% discount when buying Emirates miles.

What is the annual fee of the Emirates Premium World Elite card?

The Emirates Premium World Elite card charges a $499 annual fee.

Which Emirates credit card is best?

That really comes down to how much you fly with Emirates to offset the annual fees of each card. If you just fly with Emirates occasionally, then you would probably be best suited for the $99 annual fee Emirates World Elite card. If you are an Emirates frequent flyer and would get plenty of value from perks like Skywards Gold status, then the Emirates Premium World Elite card might be perfect for you.

Does the Emirates Premium World Elite card have lounge access?

Yes, cardholders receive a Priority Pass Select membership, giving them access to over 1,300 lounges worldwide. You’ll also receive complimentary access to Emirates business class lounges worldwide for the cardmember and a guest thanks to your Skywards Gold status.

Jarrod West

About Jarrod West

Jarrod first became fascinated with the world of points and miles as the perfect way to visit dream destinations without breaking the bank. On his first major award trip, he spent 3 months traveling through Europe, financed nearly entirely with points; while flying in premium cabins and staying in 5-star hotels along the way. Now, he is on a mission to help others realize their travel goals and upgrade their travel experiences. Jarrod has been writing about credit cards and travel loyalty programs for 4 years, and his work has been featured by Travel and Leisure, Matador Network, Yahoo Finance, and U.S. News.

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