16 Best Ways To Redeem Emirates Skywards Miles for Max Value

Emirates First Class Champagne

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Emirates is among the highest regarded airline experiences in the world. From economy to first class, Emirates is a distinctive experience.

In the 30 years since its first flight, Emirates has stretched across the globe from its Dubai hub. With its central location in the world and destination airport for duty-free shopping, Emirates is the airline of choice for many world travelers.

However, Emirates Skywards award flights are not generally great value compared to many other airline programs. Indeed, to redeem for Emirates flights, you may find a better value if you have miles with partners such as Alaska, JAL, and Korean.

Most of Emirates’ one-way flights are significantly more expensive than half of a round-trip flight, so it’s always better to book round-trip flights if you have the balance necessary for it.

If you are a regular Emirates flyer with lots of miles, let’s hunt around for some great Emirates Skywards values!

The Best Ways To Boost Your Emirates Skywards Miles

Emirates Skywards miles can be transferred from American Express Membership Rewards and Citi ThankYou Rewards at a 1:1 rate, from Capital One at a 2:1 rate, or from Marriott at a transfer rate of 3:1.

Recommended Amex Cards (Personal)

The Platinum Card® from American Express - There's currently a welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $5,000 in your first 3 months. This is our favorite card for getting into 1,200+ airport lounges worldwide (including Priority Pass) and we get about $1,500+ in value from the card every year.

Plus, get up to $200 in Uber credits annually ($15 per month and a $20 bonus in December) — and up to $200 in annual credit for airline incidental charges (e.g. baggage fees). For rates and fees of the Platinum Card, click here.
American Express® Gold Card - We love using this card as it earns 4x points at restaurants worldwide and 4x points at US supermarkets (up to $25,000; then 1x).

With a welcome bonus of 35,000 points after you spend $2,000 in your first 3 months and a $100 airfare credit per year, for many this is an easy addition to your wallet. For rates and fees of the Gold Card, click here.

Recommended Amex Cards (Business)

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express - Even though this card carries a hefty annual fee, we get ~$1,250+ in value per year by leveraging as many of the benefits/perks card.

Get access to 1,200+ airport lounges worldwide, $200 in airline fee credits for incidentals (e.g. baggage fees) and a lot more. Also, earn a welcome bonus of up to 75,000 points (terms apply). For rates and 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. The 4x points applies to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year. This means you'll max out at a (whopping) 600,000 points per year. After that, you earn 1x. For rates and fees of the Business Gold Card, click here.
The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express - This is a real simple card that earns you 2x points on business purchases up to $50,000 annually (then 1x). There's no annual fee. For rates and fees of The Blue Business Plus, click here.

Recommended Capital One Cards That Earn Miles (Personal)

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card - This is an excellent card for those looking to earn 10x miles per $1 across thousands of hotels. With a 20,000 mile sign up bonus (worth $200) after spending $1,000 within the first 3 months and no annual fee, it's a strong choice.
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card - A card for the more serious traveler. Earn a 50,000 mile sign up bonus (worth $500) once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening — and 10X miles per $1 spent across thousands of hotels. The annual fee is $0 intro for the first year, then $95 after that.

Recommended Capital One Cards That Earn Miles (Business)

Capital One® Spark Miles Select For Business - This no annual fee card has a 20,000 mile sign up bonus after meeting the minimum spend of $3,000 within the first 3 months. Save on interest with 0% intro APR on purchases for 9 months; 15.24% - 23.24% variable APR after that.
Capital One® Spark Miles For Business - Earn 50,000 miles once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening. Annual fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that.

Marriott Transfers

You can earn Marriott points and transfer those to Emirates Skywards at a transfer rate of 3:1. Plus, for every 60,000 Marriott points that you transfer, you’ll receive an extra 5,000 Emirates Skywards miles bonus.

Hot Tip: Marriott re-opened the Your World Rewards partnership with Emirates, which is a great opportunity to double-dip on Marriott stays and Emirates flights! 

The 16 Best Ways To Use Your Emirates Skywards Miles

We searched far and wide to find some great redemptions on Emirates. Following are some of the best ways to use Emirates miles, but they’re not the only ways!

Use these to come up with some creative ideas of your own for your next trip. Remember that Emirates restricts the type of award tickets you can book one-way. If you’re looking to book one-way flights, expect it to be more expensive. On the other hand, round-trip flights are always a better deal.

1. Book a Last Minute Flight on Emirates’ New First Class Suites

Emirates New 777-300ER First Class Suites
Emirates New 777-300ER First Class Suites. Image Credit: Cherag Dubash

Emirates rolled out their game-changing brand-new first class suites on some 777-300ER aircraft. The routes are primarily to European destinations, but there are a handful of opportunities to redeem points for these suites.

These suites are the first ever to be fully-enclosed, meaning utter privacy and peace. Also, there are a bunch of cool aspects such as the virtual windows, motorized shades, gigantic in-flight monitor, and much more.

These new suites rank at the top of our best international first class airlines, so it’s an absolute must-try. Your best chances are to book shortly before departure. Specifically, you should have a solid shot at booking around ~1 week before departure.

Here are some great example routes you can take along with the prices:

  • Geneva (GVA) – Dubai (DXB) round-trip for 135,000 Emirates miles
  • Brussels (BRU) – Dubai (DXB) round-trip for 135,000 Emirates miles
  • Frankfurt (FRA) – Dubai (DXB) round-trip for 135,000 Emirates miles
  • Tokyo-Haneda (HND) – Dubai (DXB) round-trip for 187,500 Emirates miles
  • Male (MLE) – Dubai (DXB) round-trip for 112,500 miles

If you just wanted to try the Emirates New First Class Suites on short-haul flights, you’re in luck! Check out these short-haul routes that offer the amazing product:

  • Kuwait City (KWI) – Dubai (DXB) round-trip for 45,000 Emirates miles
  • Riyadh (RUH) – Dubai (DXB) round-trip for 45,000 Emirates miles

2. Fly New York to Milan Nonstop on Emirates Round-Trip

Emirates First Class A380 Seat
Enjoy a luxurious Emirates first class suite when flying between New York City (JFK) and Milan.

Emirates flies nonstop New York to Milan. Why fly a traditional U.S. or European carrier when you can experience Emirates!

For only 45,000/90,000/135,000 miles in economy/business/first, you can experience Emirates service at miles prices much lower than many airlines charge to Europe. One-way costs are

Note that you cannot redeem for any other Emirates U.S. to Europe award that would require a transit of Dubai. The Miles Calculator will show prices, but Emirates will not book them.

Need help booking? Read our booking guide for Emirates First Class or Business Class using points

3. U.S. Domestic Flights on JetBlue (One-Ways Allowed)

Emirate Skywards is not just for exotic international travel.

Emirates partners with JetBlue and one-way awards on JetBlue are as little as 7,500 miles. The catch is that connecting flights may price as 2 separate awards, so the best values are for non-stops. You’ll want to search for availability on another website, such as JetBlue’s own website.

4. Portugal to Morocco, Madeira, or Azores on TAP Portugal

Emirates partners with Star Alliance member TAP Portugal.

The award chart quickly gets exorbitant for long flights, but mainland Portugal to Northern Africa (Morocco), Madeira, and Azores is only 15,000/30,000 round-trip in economy/business.

Europe to Africa awards on many airline program award charts can be expensive, so this shortcut from Portugal to Morocco is a great deal.

If you haven’t heard about the Portuguese islands of Madeira and Azores, look them up and start dreaming of fantastic trips!

5. Fly in Style to the Seychelles on Emirates Round-Trip

The Seychelles are an island paradise far in the Indian Ocean. Only a handful of airlines fly to the Seychelles, and Emirates is one of the best.

From eastern North America, round-trip flights are 85,000/170,000/255,000 in economy/business/first.

Western North America is only slightly more at 90,000/180,000/270,000.

Seychelles Beach
Magical Seychelles beaches found in the Indian Ocean northeast of Madagascar. Image courtesy of shutterstock.com

6. Fly in Style to the Maldives on Emirates Round-Trip

On Emirates Skywards, getting to the Maldives is the same price from North America as the Seychelles. Have a trip of your dreams start with a luxury flight en route!

Round-trip flights from eastern North America are 85,000/170,000/255,000 in economy/business/first.

Again, western North America is only slightly more: 90,000/180,000/270,000.

Need help booking? Read our booking guide for Emirates First Class or Business Class using points.

7. Cape Town Foodie Tour on Emirates

Cape Town, South Africa is one of the hottest foodie destinations in the world. The innovative, great value food and nearby wine country is drawing connoisseurs the world over. You can continue up to Namibia for a fantastic safari and towering sand dunes.

From eastern North America, round-trip flights are 95,000/190,000/285,000 in economy/business/first.

Western North America is only slightly more: 100,000/200,000/300,000.

Cape Town Waterfront
Enjoy this Cape Town waterfront when you fly to South Africa with Emirates. Image courtesy of shutterstock.com

8. Safari in Kenya or Tanzania on Emirates

Kenya and Tanzania are justifiably the most famous safari destinations in the world. Seek out the annual Great Migration in person by flying on Emirates to Nairobi or Dar Es Salaam.

Round-trip flights from eastern North America are 85,000/170,000/255,000 in economy/business/first.

From western North America, flights are only slightly more: 90,000/180,000/270,000.

Need help booking? Read our booking guide for Emirates First Class or Business Class using points.

9. Dubai to Perth on Emirates

Perth is the gate to Western Australia’s towering forest and spectacular diving. Flying North America to Australia the traditional way across the Pacific often involves multiple connections to Perth. If you live in the U.S., you can reach Perth on Emirates with only 1 convenient stop in Dubai.

Round-trip flights from North America (east or west) cost 120,000/240,000/360,000 in economy/business/first.

Burn Beach Western Australia
Burn Beach, Western Australia is a beautiful destination to visit. Image courtesy of shutterstock.com

10. Brisbane or Melbourne to Singapore on Emirates

If Singapore is more your thing, Brisbane and Melbourne fly nonstop up to Singapore. Melbourne also flies to Kuala Lumpur.

Round-trip flights cost 50,400/120,000/180,000 in economy/business/first.

Need help booking? Read our booking guide for Emirates First Class or Business Class using points.

11. Indian Ocean Island Hopping on Air Mauritius

The lemurs of Madagascar are one of the great wildlife encounters in the world, but getting there is not easy! One creative option is to stop in Mauritius, then continue on Emirates partner Air Mauritius.

From Mauritius, you can fly to Rodrigues, Reunion, or Madagascar for just 25,000 miles round-trip to see the lemurs!

Going further to South Africa or India is not much more expensive.

lemurs
Go see the lemurs of Madagascar by booking on Air Mauritius. Image courtesy of shutterstock.com

12. Sri Lanka to Singapore on Emirates

This quirky route from Sri Lanka to Singapore is a nice way to connect South Asia and Southeast Asia on a round-the-world trip. Sri Lanka has much of the appeal of India in a much more compact and logistics-friendly package.

Round-trip, this flight will cost you 55,000/110,000/165,000 in economy/business/first.

13. Hong Kong to Bangkok on Emirates

Looking to sample Emirates service on a quick flight? Emirates runs the 3-hour flight between Hong Kong and Bangkok.

This round-trip flight is only 20,000/40,000/60,000 in economy/business/first.

Need help booking? Read our booking guide for Emirates First Class or Business Class using points.

14. Hop Around Brazil With Gol (One-way Tickets Allowed)

Unlike most other partner airlines, Emirates allows you to redeem on Brazil’s Gol for one-way tickets. Many flights are only 4,500 miles in economy! See the full city chart here.

One of the great Gol options (and one of the most expensive if you pay cash) is the pristine beaches of Altantic islands Fernando De Noronha. This is where Brazilians dream of having a beach holiday!

Fernando De Noronha
Brazil’s most pristine beaches in Fernando De Noronha are a dream for most. Image courtesy of shutterstock.com

15. Japan to Australia or Hawaii on Japan Airlines

The Emirates award chart for partner Japan Airlines is not the best. However, one sweet spot is Japan Airlines flights to Australia or Hawaii for 40,000/85,000/125,000 in economy/business/first.

16. South Korean Domestic Flights Including Jeju Island on Korean Air

The Korean Air award chart is quite expensive with the exception of domestic Korean flights: only 10,000/12,000 for round-trip flights in economy/business.

You can use that bargain award to visit Jeju’s honeymoon retreat, Jeju Island, to see 4 seasons of spectacular nature.

Jeju Island
Korea’s honeymoon destination is Jeju Island, the beautiful paradise pictured above. Image courtesy of shutterstock.com

Booking Awards With Emirates Skywards

The booking process for award flights can be difficult to understand, which is why we made some how-to booking guides! See one of the following guides for help booking Emirates:

Hotel Transfer Partners

Emirates partners with several other hotel loyalty programs for transfers. While these aren’t always the most favorable rates compared to other options for your hotel points, they can be really helpful for using up “orphan” hotel points if you don’t have enough for a hotel award. You could also top up your Emirates balance if you are just short of an award there.

Keep in mind that not all of Emirates’ hotel transfer partners are listed on their partner page. There are some that are “hidden” from plain sight.

Here are the Emirates transfer partner options:

HotelTransfer Ratio
AccorHotels4,000:2,000
Hyatt2.5:1 (5,000-mile bonus if 50,000 miles transferred at once)
Hilton10,000:1,000
IHG10,000:2,000
Jumeirah2:1
Marriott Bonvoy3,000:1,000
Radisson Blu10:1

You can earn hotel points by using hotel credit cards:

See our article on the best ways to earn lots of Emirates Skyward Miles for more!

Emirates Skywards Program

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, which are not easily viewable anymore.

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 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!

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.

Emirates Partner Airlines
Air MauritiusJetBlueS7 Airlines
Alaska AirlinesJetstar South African Airways
GOL Linhas AéreasKorean AirTAP Portugal
Japan AirlinesMalaysian AirlinesVirgin America
Jet AirwaysQantaseasyJet*

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.

Mileage Expiration

Emirates Skywards Miles are valid for 3 years from date earned. This is not exactly 3 years: in the 3rd year, the miles expire at the end of your birthday month.

Unlike many airlines, regular earning of miles does not extend mileage validity. Use them or lose them!

The Alaska Airlines Partnership

Using Alaska Airlines miles is the only way to avoid fuel surcharges unless you’re flying from a city that restricts/bans them, such as Hong Kong or New Zealand. The mileage prices are extremely expensive, but it can save you hundreds to even thousands of dollars in taxes and fees aboard Emirates.

Emirates and Alaska are still partners, though, so if you only have occasional Emirates flights, choosing to earn Alaska miles may be a smart play.

The Japan Airlines Partnership

Japan Airlines Mileage Bank is another program you can use to hunt for award values on Emirates.

Unfortunately Japan Airlines assesses fuel surcharges on awards as high as $1,600 for a US to Dubai roundtrip. The amount varies by market, and travel originating outside the US in many cases attracts much lower surcharges. One-way awards are possible to beat some of the surcharges. However, with the distance-based Mileage Bank program, a one-way flight may cost much more than half the miles of a round trip flight.

The Korean Air Partnership

Korean Air is a partner of Marriott Bonvoy as well, so Korean Air SKYPASS is another option to redeem for Emirates award flights. Note, however, that for first class awards, you’ll generally need to pay miles plus a large cash component (sometimes topping $1,000!).

Final Thoughts

Emirates Skywards has some hidden gems if you look deep into the program and its partners. Hopefully, these give you ideas for some great trips to take on one of the world’s finest airlines!

While these are what we think are the best ways to use Emirates miles, there are certainly other options available. Happy redeeming!

Photo Credits
emirates.com/Shutterstock.com

FAQ

How do I create an Emirates Skywards account?

Sign up 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?

With Emirates Business Rewards, your business can earn miles and manage travel. Register here. Your employees continue to earn miles for their own flying, so this arrangement is win-win!

What is an Emirates Skywards Saver fare?

On cash tickets, the fare types are Special, Saver, Flex, and Flex Plus. Each has different benefits, miles-earning, and fees.

On Emirates Skywards award tickets (Classic Awards), Special fares are lower-priced awards that are only available for round-trip tickets. Flex Plus are more expensive, more available, and allow one-way awards.

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.

How many Emirates Skywards miles do you need for an upgrade?

Upgrade prices are determined by your route and ticket type. You’ll need to access your reservation on the Emirates website to check your upgrade offer. You may also be offered an upgrade at check-in, at the airport, or even once on board.

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.

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.

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15 comments

  1. Mirna Cicioni · September 21, 2018 · Reply

    I have 14,000 Emirates points expiring on 30 September. Could I use them towards an overnight stopover in Dubai in early May? Many thanks for your assistance.

  2. I have miles expiring in late January. I’m a little confused with for example the partnership with Alaska. How can I use Skywards miles to book an in country USA flight on Alaska?

    • Stephen Au · December 7, 2018 · Reply

      Hey Dan,

      You would have to find availability on Alaska Airlines using their website. Then, call Emirates and tell them which flights, dates, and times you want to book your reward flight for. You cannot perform this process online.

  3. Zahra Shaghaghi · December 7, 2018 · Reply

    I would like to know why I have to pay $19.00 US for redeeming my Skywards miles? My purchase price is less than my points. Please let me know.

  4. How can I transfer emirates Skywards points to Marriott? Can I do it online?

    • Hi Brad,

      Unfortunately you can’t transfer your Emirates Skywards points to Marriott. You can transfer Marriott > Emirates, but not the other way around.

  5. CPSinghal · March 2, 2019 · Reply

    Can I use Skyward miles for online merchandise purchase and/ or vouchers of Amazon India? Or for other establishments in India?

  6. Samiya · May 28, 2019 · Reply

    Hello, How many points do I need to upgrade economy class to business class?
    Travelling from Lahore to Chicago.

    Secondly, can I use my family members’ Skyward miles?

    Where else can I use these points especially in shopping?

    Thank you

    • Christine Krzyszton · June 12, 2019 · Reply

      Hello Samiya. It is possible to upgrade from economy to business class using Skywards miles but some classes are not eligible for upgrades. And yes, your family members’ Skywards miles can be used to upgrade. Here are the details of how to upgrade and some frequently asked questions: https://www.emirates.com/english/help/faq/1119688/can-i-combine-miles-from-two-accounts-to-claim-a-reward There are a few others ways to use your miles including hotels, tickets to events, and experiences but beware and look for good value. Here is the information on spending your miles: https://www.emirates.com/english/skywards/about/spending-miles.aspx

    • Are there any credit cards in Canada that can earn skywards points or maybe convertable points to skywards?

      • Hi Ali,

        The Canadian American Express cards that earn Membership Rewards points can be transferred to the Emirates Skyward program at a rate of 3 Membership Rewards Points = 2 Skywards Miles.

        • Hi Jarrod.
          I don’t see Emirates as a partner on Canadian American Express website. Do you have a link where it shows Emirates as a partner.

          • Hi Ali,

            I just reviewed the Canadian Membership Rewards partners page and it seems that Emirates is no longer mentioned. My apologies for the mix-up. In which case, I do not believe there are any Canadian card offers with points that can transfer to Emirates.

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