Emirates Skywards Rewards World Elite Mastercard – Full Review

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Emirates Skywards Rewards World Elite Mastercard – Full Review

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"Great choice for Emirates flyers!"

A great option for occasional Emirates flyers!

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


The Emirates Skywards Rewards World Elite Mastercard® might seem a bit unconventional, especially to U.S.-based flyers. But for those who fly often with the flag carrier of the United Arab Emirates, or who are trying to earn as many points as possible towards an Emirates first class redemption, the Emirates World Elite card might make sense for you.

Pros

Cons

  • $99 annual fee
  • Does not earn transferable points

Emirates World Elite Card - Snapshot

The Ideal Cardholder

The Emirates World Elite card is best suited for travelers who fly often with Emirates, especially those who travel with the airline often enough to get value out of Emirates’ elite status and the card’s other benefits.

Automatic Skywards Silver Status

For your first year of card membership, you’ll automatically receive Emirates Skywards Silver status, the low-level status in the Skywards program. But despite there being 2 higher loyalty levels in the Skywards program, Silver status still provides solid benefits like:

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

Skywards Silver status usually requires you to earn 25,000 Tier Miles or take 25 flights with Emirates in a calendar year, so receiving complimentary status is definitely a great benefit. If you want to extend this status beyond the first year, you’ll have to meet those requirements or spend $20,000 on the card each year.

Discount on Mile Purchases

If you’re planning to purchase some Skywards Miles for yourself to put towards your next award ticket, you’ll receive a 25% discount off the purchase price when you pay using your card.

Keep Your Skywards Miles From Expiring

Usually, your Skywards Miles are valid for 3 years from the date you earned them. But by holding the Emirates World Elite card, your Skywards Miles will never expire.

Great Card If

  • You are a regular Emirates flyer
  • You want a card that will help you earn Emirates elite status

Don't Get If

  • You want a card that earns transferable points or miles
  • You seldom fly with Emirates

Emirates World Elite Card - Fees

  • Foreign Transaction Fees
    $0
  • Interest Rates
    • 15.99%, 19.99% or 24.99% variable
  • 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

How To Earn More Skywards Miles

Emirates customer check in
The best way to earn extra miles is to use your card to pay for flights with Emirates. Image Credit: Emirates

Emirates Purchases

The top bonus category for the Emirates World Elite card is naturally Emirates purchases, allowing you to earn 3x miles per $1 spent, so you’ll want to make this card your top choice when purchasing Emirates tickets.

Travel Purchases

You’ll also earn 2x miles per $1 on all other eligible travel purchases made with the card. This includes hotel stays, rental cars, cruises, and even airfare from another airline.

All Other Purchases

Your Emirates World Elite card earns 1x mile per $1 on all purchases outside of the above categories. These non-bonused purchases are an okay option if you’re trying to work towards qualifying for Emirates status, but otherwise, you’re better off opting for a card that offers a better rewards rate for non-bonused purchases like the Chase Freedom Unlimited®.

Amex Membership Rewards Cards

Emirates is a transfer partner of the Amex Membership Rewards program, so using Membership Rewards-earning cards is a great way to be able to boost your Skywards Miles balance if need be — especially since American Express has some great credit cards.

Take the American Express® Gold Card, for instance, which offers 4x points per $1 at restaurants and at U.S. supermarket purchases (up to $25,000 per calendar year). Since Membership Rewards points transfer to Emirates at a 1:1 rate, this is effectively like earning 4x Skywards Miles per $1 on these purchases!

Chase Ultimate Rewards Cards

The Chase Ultimate Rewards program also offers Emirates as a 1:1 transfer partner. But while many Chase credit cards earn Ultimate Rewards points, not all of them have access to travel transfer partners. In fact, the only 3 that do are the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, and the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card.

Hot Tip: The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is our top pick for those getting started with points and miles thanks to its low annual fee, high-value points, and great bonus categories like travel, dining, supermarket, and select streaming service purchases.

Capital One Miles Cards

Emirates also partners with the Capital One Miles program, and points transfer at a 1:1 rate almost instantly.

Eligible credit cards include the Capital One Venture Rewards card and the Capital One Spark Miles for Business.

Marriott Bonvoy Your World Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy Cards

Emirates and Marriott have partnered to offer travelers the Your World Rewards program that allows you to earn Skywards Miles on all of your Marriott hotel stays, and Marriott Bonvoy points when you fly with Emirates.

Those with Emirates Skywards Silver, Gold, and Platinum status will earn 1x Skywards Mile per $1 spent on all eligible stays at Marriott hotels. Those with Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite, Platinum Elite, Titanium Elite, and Ambassador Elite status will earn 3x points per $1 on all eligible Emirates flights. Keep in mind that these points are in addition to Skywards Miles you’d earn on a flight and Marriott Bonvoy points you’d earn on a hotel stay.

Plus, you can use Marriott Bonvoy credit cards to boost your Emirates balance, as the airline is a 3:1 transfer partner of the Marriott program.

Hot Tip: You get a 5,000-mile bonus when transferring at least 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points to an airline like Emirates, allowing you to receive a total of 25,000 Skywards Miles for these transfers. 

How To Use Skywards Miles for Max Value

Emirates Skywards
Image Credit: Emirates

Award Tickets

Unsurprisingly, one of the best ways to redeem your Skywards Miles is towards award flights with Emirates. Since Emirates doesn’t publish an award chart, it can be difficult to track down exactly how many miles you’ll need for a specific award.

Obviously, the number of miles an award ticket will cost is based on the route you’re flying and what cabin class you want to fly in, but you can use the Miles Calculator on the Emirates site to give you an idea of how many miles you’ll need.

Cash + Miles

When you find yourself short on the number of miles needed for an award ticket, Emirates offers a solution via Cash + Miles bookings. While this may seem convenient, it is not particularly great value, because every 2,000 miles you redeem results in a $16 discount off the cash price of the ticket.

This gives you a value of 0.8 cents per mile, which is over 27% lower than our 1.1 cent valuation of Skywards Miles.

Flight Upgrades

Already paid for your flight with cash but want to upgrade your ticket to the next cabin class? You can do that using your Skywards Miles! Prices for an upgrade start at 9,000 miles per direction, but the cost varies dramatically based on your route and ticket type.

However, it almost always makes more sense to book the actual ticket in the cabin you want with miles outright, but if you’re really trying to stretch out your mileage balance, then this could make sense.

Hot Tip: When upgrading with Skywards Miles, you can only jump up 1 cabin class, like from economy to business, or business to first. So make sure you’re aware of this before booking your original ticket. 

Skywards Exclusives

Emirates allows you to redeem your miles towards unique experiences and events, like concerts, or sporting events, or travel experiences. This certainly seems cool on paper, and it is nice to have the option, but you’ll usually get a pretty poor value when redeeming your miles this way. So you’re better off paying for the experience in cash, and using your miles for a free ticket there!

Bottom Line: In almost every case, your best bet when it comes to redeeming your Skywards Miles will be towards award tickets if you want to get the highest value possible.

Alternative Cards to the Emirates World Elite Card

Emirates Skywards Premium World Elite Mastercard®

If you’re an avid Emirates loyalist who flies with the airline all the time, then you’d likely get even more value out of the Emirates Premium World Elite card.

While both cards have the same bonus categories, the Emirates Premium World Elite card charges a whopping $499 annual fee, you’ll get enhanced perks like complimentary Skywards Gold Status (instead of Silver), a Priority Pass Select membership, a Global Entry credit, and 10,000 anniversary miles after spending $30,000 in a cardmember year.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

If you’re not totally committed to Emirates and want a card that charges a similar annual fee to the Emirates World Elite card but earns transferable points, then you should consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

With it, you’ll earn 5x points per $1 on travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3x points per $1 on dining, online grocery purchases, and select streaming services, plus 2x points per $1 on all other travel purchases.

The card also offers perks like trip delay protection, baggage insurance, rental car insurance, a DoorDash DashPass membership, and a $50 annual hotel credit. You’ll also get a 25% bonus when redeeming your points through Chase Ultimate Rewards, or you can transfer them to one of 14 airline and hotel transfer partners — including Emirates!


The information regarding the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, Capital One Venture Rewards card, Capital One Spark Miles for Business, and Emirates Skywards Premium World Elite Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 


Frequently asked questions

Which Emirates credit card is the best for me?

For most people who only fly with Emirates a handful of times a year, the Emirates World Elite card is probably the best option since it still provides plenty of great perks but at a low annual fee of  $99.

Those that fly with Emirates very frequently will be able to rationalize the $499 annual fee of the Emirates Premium World Elite card because, despite the higher annual fee, you receive more benefits and will be able to use those benefits more often.

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

The annual fee of the Emirates World Elite card is $99.

Is the Emirates World Elite card worth it?

That depends! If you’re someone who flies with Emirates often enough to get more value out of the benefits that the card provides than the $99 annual fee you pay to hold it, then it would certainly be worth it!

Consider how much you fly with Emirates in a given year and which perks that the card offers would provide the most value for you.

Does the Emirates World Elite card offer elite status with Emirates?

Yes, the Emirates World Elite card offers automatic Skywards Silver status for your first year of card membership. But after that, you’ll either need to earn 25,000 Tier points, fly 25 flights with Emirates, or spend $20,000 on the card in a calendar year.

What are the benefits of the Emirates World Elite card?

Some of the best benefits of the Emirates World Elite card are automatic Emirates Skywards Silver status for your first year, the ability to keep your Skywards Miles from expiring, and a 25% discount when buying Skywards Miles.

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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