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14 Best Ways To Redeem Emirates Skywards Miles for Max Value

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Ehsan Haque
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Ehsan Haque

Content Contributor

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Countries Visited: 100U.S. States Visited: 24

Ehsan is an avid traveler who has traveled to 100 countries, diligently using points and miles to fund his journeys. Currently, he holds 32 active credit cards and earns over a million points and mile...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

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With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now editor-in-chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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Dubai-based Emirates offers some of the most highly regarded airline experiences in the world. Whether you’re flying in economy or its ultra-luxurious first class, Emirates offers a distinctive experience and has established itself as arguably the preeminent brand in all of commercial aviation.

In the 35+ years since its first flight, Emirates has expanded its route network across the globe from its hub in Dubai (DXB). With its central location and over-the-top destination airport for duty-free shopping, Emirates is the airline of choice for many world travelers.

However, the Emirates Skywards loyalty program has some major drawbacks, especially compared to many other airline programs. The program has undergone some significant devaluations over the years. However, its miles can provide great value when redeemed correctly. Emirates Skywards are also relatively easy to earn thanks to the program’s transfer partners.

This guide will provide an overview of the Emirates Skywards program, explain how to book awards with Skywards miles and discuss some of the best ways to redeem miles.

Booking Awards With Emirates Skywards

While it’s fairly easy to earn Emirates Skywards, the booking process for award flights can be challenging to understand, which is why we made some how-to booking guides! See one of the following guides for help booking Emirates flights with miles:

The Pros and Cons of Emirates Skywards (Quick Overview)

Emirates Skywards Award Ticket Costs

First and foremost, Emirates is not a member of one of the 3 major airline alliances. However, Emirates does have partnerships with individual airlines.

Some of these partner airlines include Air Canada, Bangkok Airways, Copa Airlines, Japan Airlines, Korean Air, and Qantas, among others. This means you can redeem Emirates Skywards miles for partner awards.

However, Emirates Skywards miles can also be used by flights operated by Emirates, of course. Unfortunately, Emirates does not publish an award chart for its flights. Instead, you’ll need to use the Miles Calculator on the Emirates website to price specific routes.

The calculator does not show taxes and fees, which are quite high with Emirates. These fees can be upwards of $2,000 on some routes, in addition to the mileage requirement.

Emirates has 4 types of awards: Special, Saver, Flex, and Flex Plus. Special and Saver fares typically cost fewer miles. However, Flex and Flex Plus fares have more award availability.

When booking award flights with Emirates, you can pay with a combination of cash and miles. This can be a great way to save money on a cash fare or an alternative way to book an award if you do not have enough miles.

Hot Tip:

Although Emirates is not a member of one of the 3 major airline alliances, it does have partnerships with individual airlines.

Cash+Miles

As mentioned above, paying with a combination of cash and miles is possible. With Cash+Miles, you have the flexibility to access any Emirates seat. Although you can book any seat with this method, these typically do not bring value to your points. However, if you do not have the miles needed for an award ticket, this provides a different way to book an Emirates ticket.

Upgrades

You can also use Emirates Skywards miles to upgrade paid tickets. Prices are determined by route and ticket type. Upgrades begin at just 7,020 Skyward miles. You can use the Emirates Miles Calculator to find out exactly how many miles are needed.

Most tickets can be upgraded in advance, and you may also have the opportunity at check-in or even upon boarding. There are some exceptions to upgrades. You can find more information about Emirates upgrades here.

Exceptions are:

  • Business Class Saver Fare tickets: must upgrade at least 6 hours before 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, however, they vary depending on the type of award you booked:

  • 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

Emirates Skywards Partner Award Ticket Costs

You can redeem Skywards miles on Emirates’ partner airlines. Emirates partners include:

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Emirates Partner Airlines  
Air MauritiusGOL Linhas AéreasQantas
Air CanadaJapan AirlinesS7 Airlines
AzulJetstar South African Airways
Bangkok AirwaysKorean AirTAP Air Portugal
Copa AirlinesMalaysian AirlinesUnited Airlines
Condor  

Unlike flights operated by Emirates, the Emirates Skywards program has a published distance-based award chart for partner airline redemptions

Taxes and fees on partner airline redemptions are generally much lower than on Emirates flights as you are not subject to Emirates’ high carrier-imposed surcharges.

Hot Tip:

Using a different airline’s search program can save you time when searching for partner award space. Check out our Ultimate Guide to Searching for Flight Award Space.

Mileage Expiration

Emirates Skywards miles are valid for at least 3 years from the date earned. This is not exactly 3 years — in the third year, the miles expire at the end of your birth month.

Unlike many airlines, regular mileage earnings do not extend mileage validity. As a last-ditch effort, you can pay to extend Skywards miles for another 12 months at a rate of $20 per 1,000 miles.

How To Boost Your Emirates Skywards Balance

Emirates Skywards is a transfer partner of several credit card points programs. These include Bilt Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards,  Citi ThankYou Rewards, and Capital One Miles at a 1:1 ratio, or from Marriott Bonvoy at a transfer rate of 3:1. Plus, for every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points that you transfer, you’ll receive an extra 5,000 Emirates Skywards miles.

BEST LOUNGE ACCESS
The Platinum Card® from American ExpressTerms Apply / Rates & Fees
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The Amex Platinum reigns supreme for luxury travel, offering the best airport lounge access plus generous statement credits, and complimentary elite status.

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The Amex Platinum reigns supreme for luxury travel, offering the best airport lounge access plus generous statement credits, and complimentary elite status.
Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on eligible purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
80,000 points
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$695
See Pay Over Time APR
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

When it comes to cards that offer top-notch benefits, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better card out there than The Platinum Card® from American Express.

Make no mistake — the Amex Platinum card is a premium card with a premium price tag. With amazing benefits like best-in-class airport lounge access, hotel elite status, and tremendous value in annual statement credits, it can easily prove to be one of the most lucrative cards in your wallet year after year.

Pros
  • The best airport lounge access out of any card (by far) — enjoy access to over 1,400 worldwide lounges, including the luxurious Amex Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass lounges, Plaza Premium Lounges, and many more!
  • 5x points per dollar spent on flights purchased directly with the airline or with AmexTravel.com (up to $500,000 per year)
  • 5x points per dollar spent on prepaid hotels booked with AmexTravel.com
Cons
  • $695 annual fee (rates and fees)
  • Airline credit does not cover airfare (only incidentals like checked bags)
  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on eligible purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • $200 Hotel Credit: Get up to $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®. The Hotel Collection requires a minimum two-night stay.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back in statement credits each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Disney+, a Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, The New York Times, Peacock, and The Wall Street Journal. Enrollment required.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With complimentary access to more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more airport lounge options than any other credit card issuer on the market. As of 03/2023.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Save on eligible delivery fees, shipping, and more with a Walmart+ membership. Use your Platinum Card® to pay for a monthly Walmart+ membership and get up to $12.95 plus applicable taxes back on one membership (excluding Plus Ups) each month.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year when incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card®.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only. Terms Apply.
  • $189 CLEAR® Plus Credit: CLEAR® Plus helps to get you to your gate faster at 50+ airports nationwide and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your Membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Card. CLEARLanes are available at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues.
  • Receive either a $100 statement credit every 4 years for a Global Entry application fee or a statement credit up to $85 every 4.5 year period for TSA PreCheck® application fee for a 5-year plan only (through a TSA PreCheck® official enrollment provider), when charged to your Platinum Card®. Card Members approved for Global Entry will also receive access to TSA PreCheck at no additional cost.
  • Shop Saks with Platinum: Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases in Saks Fifth Avenue stores or at saks.com on your Platinum Card®. That's up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • Unlock access to exclusive reservations and special dining experiences with Global Dining Access by Resy when you add your Platinum Card® to your Resy profile.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
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American Express Membership Rewards

Hot Tip: Check to see if you’re eligible for a welcome bonus offer of up to 125k (or 150k) points with the Amex Platinum. The current public offer is 80,000 points. (This targeted offer was independently researched and may not be available to all applicants.)

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American Express® Gold CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees
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This is the best card for food lovers who dine out at restaurants (worldwide), order take-out and want big rewards at U.S. supermarkets!

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Apply With Confidence

Know if you're approved with no credit score impact

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This is the best card for food lovers who dine out at restaurants (worldwide), order take-out and want big rewards at U.S. supermarkets!
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.
60,000 points
$1,320
$250
See Pay Over Time APR
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The American Express® Gold Card is a game-changer.

With this card, you can earn 4x Membership Rewards points at restaurants and you’ll also earn 4x Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1x.

There isn’t another card on the market that offers a 1-2 punch like this. Of course, there are several other benefits of the Gold Card as well, including extra monthly dining rewards and more.

Pros
  • 4x points per dollar at restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
  • 4x points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets, up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases; and 1x thereafter
  • 3x points per dollar on flights purchased directly from airlines or at AmexTravel.com
Cons
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Get a $100 experience credit with a minimum two-night stay when you book The Hotel Collection through American Express Travel. Experience credit varies by property.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
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American Express Membership Rewards

Hot Tip: Check to see if you’re eligible for a welcome bonus offer of up to 90,000 points with the Amex Gold card. The current public offer is 60,000 points. (This targeted offer was independently researched and may not be available to all applicants.)

Business owners have a choice of several of Amex’s business credit cards that we recommend.

TOP PICK
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees
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The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

The Capital One Venture X card is an excellent option for travelers looking for an all-in-one premium credit card.

Learn More(at Capital One's secure site)
The Capital One Venture X card is an excellent option for travelers looking for an all-in-one premium credit card.
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.
75,000 miles
$1,350
$395
19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Excellent (740-840)

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is the premium Capital One travel rewards card on the block.

Points and miles fans will be surprised to see that the Capital One Venture X card packs quite the punch when it comes to bookings made through Capital One, all while offering the lowest annual fee among premium credit cards.

Depending on your travel goals and preferences, the Capital One Venture X card could very well end up being your go-to card in your wallet.

 

Pros
  • 10x miles per $1 on hotels and rental cars purchased through Capital One Travel
  • 5x miles per $1 on flights purchased through Capital One Travel
  • 2x miles per $1 on all other purchases
Cons
  • $395 annual fee (rates & fees)
  • Does not offer bonus categories for flights or hotel purchases made directly with the airline or hotel group, the preferred booking method for those looking to earn elite status
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive a $300 annual credit for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Elevate every hotel stay from the Premier or Lifestyle Collections with a suite of cardholder benefits, like an experience credit, room upgrades, and more
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
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Capital One Miles

 

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees
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The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

Get 2x miles plus some of the most flexible redemptions offered by a travel credit card!

Learn More(at Capital One's secure site)
Get 2x miles plus some of the most flexible redemptions offered by a travel credit card!
Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.
75,000 miles
$1,350
$95
19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent Credit (670-850)

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is one of the most popular rewards cards on the market. It’s perfect for anyone in search of a great welcome offer, high rewards rates, and flexible redemption options.

Frequent travelers with excellent credit may benefit from this credit card that offers a lot of bells and whistles. And it offers easy-to-understand rewards earning and redemption.

Pros
  • 5x miles per $1 on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • 2x miles per $1 on all other purchases
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit
Cons
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your miles to get reimbursed for any travel purchase—or redeem by booking a trip through Capital One Travel
  • Enrich every hotel stay from the Lifestyle Collection with a suite of cardholder benefits, like a $50 experience credit, room upgrades, and more
  • Transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

Capital One Miles

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

The card offers unlimited miles at 1.25x per $1 and no annual fee. When you consider the flexible rewards, frequent travelers come out on top.

Learn More(at Capital One's secure site)
The card offers unlimited miles at 1.25x per $1 and no annual fee. When you consider the flexible rewards, frequent travelers come out on top.
Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel.
20,000 miles
$360
$0
19.99% - 29.99% (Variable),0% intro on purchases for 15 months
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

Interested in a travel rewards credit card without one of those pesky annual fees? Then say hello to the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card.

In addition to no annual fee, the Capital One VentureOne card offers no foreign transaction fees.

But is this card worth its salt, or is it merely a shell of the more popular Capital One Venture card?

Pros
Cons
  • Weak earn rate at 1.25x miles per $1 spent on all purchases
  • No luxury travel or elite benefits
  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Use your miles to get reimbursed for any travel purchase—or redeem by booking a trip through Capital One Travel
  • Transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months; 19.99% - 29.99% variable APR after that; balance transfer fee applies
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 19.99% - 29.99% (Variable),0% intro on purchases for 15 months
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

Capital One Miles

The 14 Best Ways To Use Your Emirates Skywards Miles

We’ve searched far and wide to find some great redemptions with Emirates Skywards. The following are some of the best ways to use Emirates miles.

Emirates does have some restrictions on one-way bookings with certain fares. Generally, most 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 necessary balance.

When booking one-way flights, you’ll only be able to book the Flex Plus awards, which will be the highest in cost. The silver lining with Flex Plus bookings is that they are the most flexible types of tickets, meaning you can cancel and change your tickets without any fees.

On the other hand, round-trip flights are always a better deal cost-wise, though you may have to pay a cancellation or change fee.

1. Book a Flight in Emirates First Class

Emirates New 777-300ER First Class Suites
Emirates 777-300ER First Class Suites are the pinnacle of luxury in commercial aviation. Image Credit: Cherag Dubash

Let’s start with the aspirational bucket-list experience for many points and miles travelers: Emirates First Class. Whether you’re flying on the Boeing 777-300ER or the Airbus A380, you are bound to have an excellent experience. Emirates routinely makes the list of the best international first class airlines.

Emirates has much to offer in first class, from inflight showers to fully enclosed suites.

Award space tends to be quite random. However, some routes have decent availability when booked further out. Meanwhile, some routes can be booked a few days before departure.

Here are some great example routes that you can fly with Emirates in first class (beware — routes may change without advance notice):

  • Brussels (BRU) – Dubai (DXB) one-way for 102,000 Emirates miles
  • New York (JFK) – Dubai (DXB) one-way for 163,500 Emirates miles
  • Geneva (GVA) – Dubai (DXB) one-way for 102,000 Emirates miles
  • Tokyo (NRT) – Dubai (DXB) one-way for 141,000 Emirates miles

However, if this is too many miles for a single redemption, you can fly Emirates first class on short-haul flights, including:

  • Kuwait City (KWI) – Dubai (DXB) one-way for 34,500 Emirates miles
  • Riyadh (RUH) – Dubai (DXB) one-way for 34,500 Emirates miles

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

Emirates First Class A380 Seat
Enjoy a luxurious Emirates first class suite when flying between New York and Milan. Image Credit: Alex Miller

Emirates flies an incredible-value nonstop fifth-freedom route between New York (JFK) and Milan (MXP). This is an easily accessible redemption opportunity for those in North America.

For only 45,000/108,000/204,000 miles in economy/business/first round-trip, you can experience Emirates service between the U.S. and Europe. One-way costs are 38,750/87,000/102,000 miles in economy/business/first.

This award pricing clearly shows how booking round-trip awards with Emirates can provide more value. In addition, the taxes and fees are significantly less than those for flying between the U.S. and Dubai.

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

Emirates also offers another fifth-freedom route between Newark (EWR) and Athens (ATH). However, this route is operated by a Boeing 777-300ER. The distinction must be made as the 777-300ER has a vastly inferior business class cabin.

Need help booking? Read our booking guide for Emirates first class or business class using points.

3. Portugal to Morocco, Madeira, or the Azores on TAP Air Portugal

TAP Air Portugal economy
TAP Air Portugal has clean economy seats. Image Credit: Matheus Obst via Shutterstock

One Emirates partner is Star Alliance member TAP Air Portugal. Although the distance-based partner award chart is expensive for long-haul flights, it also provides some excellent redemptions on shorter flights.

For example, you can book one-way flights under 250 miles in distance for 8,000 Skywards miles in economy or 16,000 miles in business. One-way flights under 500 miles on TAP Air Portugal are bookable for 10,000 Emirates miles in economy or 20,000 miles in business. This means you can get from mainland Portugal to Northern Africa (Morocco) and Spain for a reasonable amount of miles. 

If you want to shell out a bit more, you can fly one-way from Portugal to Madeira or the Azores for only 14,000 miles in economy or 28,000 miles in business. These can be expensive flights, so using miles can provide excellent value.

4. Fly to Seychelles Round-Trip on Emirates

Seychelles Beach
Magical Seychelles beaches can be found in the Indian Ocean northeast of Madagascar. Image Credit: Matej Kastelic via Shutterstock

Seychelles is an island paradise far in the Indian Ocean. Only a handful of airlines fly to Seychelles (SEZ), and Emirates is one of them and arguably the best.

From eastern North America, round-trip flights are 85,000/174,000/327,000 in economy/business/first. One-way flights are 73,750/138,000/163,500 miles in economy/business/first.

Award pricing from Western North America is slightly more at 90,000/198,000/372,000 round-trip. If you’re looking for one-way bookings between western North America and Seychelles, you’ll pay 78,750/157,500/186,000 miles in economy/business/first.

5. Fly in the Utmost Luxury to the Maldives Round-Trip on Emirates

Beach in the Maldives
The Maldives is an incredible white-sand, blue-water beach destination. Image Credit: Asad Photo Maldives via Pexels

With the Emirates Skywards program, award pricing for getting to the Maldives (MLE) from North America is similar to flying to the Seychelles.

Round-trip flights from eastern North America are priced at 85,000/180,000/327,000 in economy/business/first. One-way flights from eastern North America to the Maldives are 73,750/138,000/163,500 miles in economy/business/first.

Western North America is priced slightly higher at 90,000/198,000/372,000. If you want to book one-way flights between western North America and the Maldives, expect to pay 78,750/157,500/186,000 miles in economy/business/first.

6. Down to South Africa on Emirates

Cape Town Waterfront
Enjoy this Cape Town waterfront when you fly to South Africa with Emirates. Image Credit: Madele via Shutterstock

Cape Town, South Africa, is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world. However, it is also quite far from the U.S. A few airlines operate nonstop flights between the U.S. and South Africa — best of all, you can use Emirates Skywards miles to get there.

From eastern North America, round-trip flights are priced at 95,000/190,000/357,500 miles in economy/business/first. If you prefer one-way flights, expect to redeem 82,500/151,250/178,750 miles in economy/business/first.

Western North America is only slightly more expensive; you’ll pay 100,000/200,000/375,000 miles for round-trip flights in economy/business/first class. One-way flights will be more expensive than half a round-trip: 87,500/158,750/187,500 miles in economy/business/first class.

7. Safari in Kenya or Tanzania on Emirates

South Africa Safari
Enjoy the safari in South Africa using your Emirates miles. Image Credit: PACO COMO via Shutterstock

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 (NBO) or Dar Es Salaam (DAR).

Round-trip flights from eastern North America are priced at 85,000/174,000/327,000 in economy/business/first. One-way awards are priced at 73,750/138,000/163,500 miles in economy/business/first.

Flights from western North America are slightly higher at 90,000/198,000/372,000 miles. You’ll redeem 78,750/157,500/186,000 miles in economy/business/first with one-way tickets.

8. Dubai to Perth on Emirates

Burn Beach Western Australia
Burn Beach, Western Australia, is a beautiful destination to visit. Image Credit: Casa nayafana via Shutterstock

Perth (PER) is the gateway to Western Australia’s towering forests and spectacular diving. When flying between North America and Australia, you typically cross the Pacific Ocean. However, you can also fly on Emirates with a stop in Dubai.

Round-trip flights from eastern North America cost 115,000/260,000/489,000 in economy/business/first class. If you paid for one-way tickets, expect to shell out 100,000/207,500/244,500 miles in economy/business/first class.

Round-trip flights from western North America are slightly more expensive: 120,000/280,000/525,000 in economy/business/first. Meanwhile, one-way tickets are 105,000/222,500/262,500 miles in economy/business/first.

9. Indian Ocean Island Hopping on Air Mauritius

lemurs
Go see the lemurs of Madagascar by booking an Air Mauritius flight. Image Credit: JuliaLerma via Shutterstock

Air Mauritius, an Emirates partner, offers excellent value when redeeming Emirates Skywards miles.

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

From the island nation of Mauritius, you can fly in economy to Réunion (RUN) for 16,000 miles round-trip, to Rodrigues (RRG) for 20,000 miles round-trip, or to Antananarivo, Madagascar (TNR) for just 28,000 miles round-trip!

This is an excellent redemption as cash fares between the islands can be expensive.

10. Hong Kong to Bangkok on Emirates

Emirates Inaugural World's Shortest A380 First Class Window Suite Cherag Dubash
Emirates first class suite. Image Credit: Cherag Dubash

If you want to try first class on the A380, you can do so without paying a mileage premium. Emirates operates a fifth-freedom route between Bangkok (BKK) and Hong Kong (HKG) that can be booked using Skywards miles.

Although the 3-hour flight is relatively short, it still provides an opportunity to fly one of the best products in the sky. This round-trip flight is only 20,000/48,000/90,000 in economy/business/first. One-way tickets are 17,500/39,000/45,000 miles in economy/business/first.

11. Japan to Australia or Hawaii on Japan Airlines

Japan Airlines Boeing 777 300ER First Class Bed
Japan Airlines 777-300ER first class bed. Image Credit: Cherag Dubash

The Emirates distance-based partner award chart is typically not the best for long-haul flights. However, a sweet spot is Japan Airlines flights between Tokyo and Australia or Hawaii.

Partner award pricing depends on the total distance flown. According to the award chart, flights between Hawaii and Tokyo fall in Zone 6, priced at 32,000 miles one-way in economy or 77,500 miles one-way in business.

Meanwhile, flights between Sydney and Tokyo cost 38,000 miles one-way in economy or 92,500 miles one-way in business.

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

Jeju Island
Korea’s honeymoon destination is Jeju Island, the beautiful paradise pictured above. Image Credit: Future Hope via Shutterstock

The Emirates partner award chart for Korean Air also has some sweet spots. You can book domestic Korean Air award flights for as few as 8,000 miles for a one-way flight in economy if the distance flown is less than 250 miles. One-way flights between 251 and 500 miles in length cost 10,000/20,000 in economy/business.

You can use that bargain award to visit Korea’s honeymoon retreat, Jeju Island (CJU), to see 4 seasons of spectacular nature. For just 10,000 miles one-way, this is a great redemption.

13. Book Korean Air Business Class from the U.S. to Korea

Korean Air business class
Direct aisle access and a lie-flat bed allow you to rest peacefully when flying business class on Korean Air. Image Credit: Korean Air

Another solid redemption using Emirates miles for Korean Air is on business class flights between the U.S. and Korea. You can book a one-way business class flight between Seoul and Hawaii for 92,500 miles!

If you’re traveling between Korea and West Coast destinations like San Francisco (SFO) or Seattle (SEA), a one-way business class flight costs 105,000 miles. This is still an excellent deal, considering it’s one of the cheapest options for booking Korean Air awards between the U.S. and Korea.

It is worth noting that there is inconsistent award availability. However, this is a redemption worth considering if you can find the award space. Here are some great example routes you can take:

  • Honolulu (HNL) – Seoul (ICN) round-trip in Korean Air business class for 185,000 Emirates miles
  • San Francisco (SFO) – Seoul (ICN) round-trip in Korean Air business class for 210,000 Emirates miles

14. Fly TAP Air Portugal Business Class Round-Trip Between the U.S. and Portugal

TAP Air Portugal A330-900neo Business Class
TAP Air Portugal A330-900neo business class. Image Credit: TAP Air Portugal

Another solid redemption is for long-haul award flights on Emirates’ partner TAP Air Portugal. With a robust network connecting Portugal to popular destinations throughout Europe and the rest of the world, it’s worth looking at optimizing flight awards so you get the best value for your Emirates miles.

TAP Air Portugal operates a decent long-haul flight network. Importantly, it operates many nonstop flights between Portugal and the U.S. through its 2 largest airports: Lisbon (LIS) and Porto (OPO).

If you want to fly nonstop from the East Coast to Portugal, you can expect to pay 64,000 miles round-trip in economy and 155,000 miles round-trip in business class. Flights between other U.S. destinations will be a bit pricier due to the distance-based award chart for Emirates partner airlines.

This could be of great value, particularly for TAP Air Portugal’s longer flights to the U.S. Here are some great example routes you can book:

  • Newark (EWR) – Porto (OPO) round-trip in TAP Air Portugal business class for 155,000 miles + taxes and fees
  • Chicago (ORD) – Lisbon (LIS) round-trip in TAP Air Portugal business class for 185,000 miles + taxes and fees
  • Miami (MIA) – Lisbon (LIS) round-trip in TAP Air Portugal business class for 185,000 miles + taxes and fees
  • San Francisco (SFO) – Lisbon (LIS) round-trip in TAP Air Portugal business class for 210,000 miles + taxes and fees

Final Thoughts

Although the Emirates Skywards loyalty program has been devalued several times over the years, its miles are still useful on certain routes with Emirates and its partners.

Emirates Skywards miles do not provide nearly as much value compared to other programs. Still, Emirates offers one of the best business and first class products of any airline and Skywards miles can allow you to book these once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

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

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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.

Special fares are lower-priced awards on Emirates Skywards award tickets (Classic Awards). Flex Plus fares are more expensive but have better award availability.

What are Emirates Skywards miles worth?

Our valuations show Emirates Skywards miles are worth 1.1 cents per point. However, depending on how they are redeemed, they can be worth a lot more. 

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

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

Your route and ticket type determine upgrade prices. To check your upgrade offer, access your reservation on the Emirates website. 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 is not part of any of the 3 major airline alliances. However, Emirates does have non-alliance partnerships with some airlines.

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 at the end of your birth month, and you can only extend the life of miles by another 12 months by paying a rate of $20/1,000 miles.

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About Ehsan Haque

Ehsan is an avid traveler who has traveled to 100 countries, diligently using points and miles to fund his journeys. Currently, he holds 32 active credit cards and earns over a million points and miles annually, primarily using them for luxury hotels and long-haul premium cabins.

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