Emirates Skywards is a frequent flyer program has grown quite a bit throughout the years, and it is not part of any of the major airline alliances, so it is in a position to partner only with those brands that it finds align best with its own. Emirates currently offers flights from 10 different destinations, including Los Angeles, Boston, Seattle, Toronto, and Washington D.C, to its hub in Dubai, as well as flights to Europe via its New York-Milan route. While it can be a bit frustrating to figure out how many miles you need for any given trip due to the lack of a published award chat, there are still lots of benefits associated with this program that you will want to look into. The more time you take to research this program, the more convinced you will be that it’s right for you. Those who are members of this rewards program will be able to accrue points that can be used for a number of things, including free award flights, hotel bookings, car rentals, and much more. Earning miles is fairly easy with this program, so you shouldn’t have any trouble with that at all as a member.

General Information

No Alliance
+1 (800) 777-3999

Pros

  • Two stopovers allowed ❸
  • Competitive economy award prices

Cons

  • Travel period restriction ❺
  • One-way awards restriction ❹
  • Booking through request form ❷
  • Small number of partner airlines
  • Most airlines impose fuel surcharge
  • Only 2 airlines can be booked online

Fees & Charges

  • Change award fee ❶
    $25
  • Cancellation fee ❶
    $50

Additional Information

Expiration: Miles expire 36 months since last activity.
For some programs, an activity is any accrual of miles, crediting a flight, transfering or purchasing miles. For others, spending activities such as redeeming or donating points counts as an activity.
❶ Cancellation fees on flex awards $50 ; Cancellation fees on saver awards $75
❷ You need to fill the online request form to book other airlines
❸ Saver awards include one stopover; flex awards include two stopovers
❹ One-way fligths available only at the flex level
❺ Saver awards allow three months of travel period maximum

Transfer Partners

1,000
Amex points
1 : 1
1,000
miles
Instant
1,000
Amex points
1 : 1
1,000
miles
Instant
1,000
Starwood points
1 : 1
+5,000 BONUS
1,000
miles
5 days
1,000
Starwood points
1 : 1
+5,000 BONUS
1,000
miles
5 days
1,000
Hyatt points
2.5 : 1
400
miles
56 days
1,000
Hyatt points
2.5 : 1
400
miles
56 days
1,000
Marriott points
4 : 1
250
miles
42 days
1,000
Marriott points
4 : 1
250
miles
42 days
1,000
IHG points
5 : 1
200
miles
42 days
1,000
IHG points
5 : 1
200
miles
42 days
1,000
Carlson points
10 : 1
100
miles
42 days
1,000
Carlson points
10 : 1
100
miles
42 days

The ratio is the number of flexible reward points it would take to transfer to Emirates Skywards®.

Transfer time is what is reported by the transfer programs, supplemented by our own research. However, actual time to transfer is often highly variable.

Airlines And Fuel Surcharge

This table will show you the partner airlines can be booked online and those which impose fuel surcharge.

Airline
Online
Booking
Fuel
Surcharge
Alliance
Emirates Emirates
No alliance
Qantas Qantas
oneworld®
Air Mauritius Air Mauritius
No alliance
Alaska Airlines Alaska Airlines
No alliance
EasyJet EasyJet
No alliance
GOL GOL
No alliance
Japan Airlines Japan Airlines
oneworld®
Jet Airways Jet Airways
No alliance
Airline
Online
Booking
Fuel
Surcharge
Alliance
JetBlue Airways JetBlue Airways
No alliance
Jetstar Airways Jetstar Airways
No alliance
Korean Air Korean Air
SkyTeam
Malaysia Airlines Malaysia Airlines
oneworld®
S7 Airlines S7 Airlines
oneworld®
South African Airways South African Airways
Star Alliance™
TAP Portugal TAP Portugal
Star Alliance™
Virgin America Virgin America
No alliance

Program Review

Emirates is an airline that is based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The airline is a subsidiary of The Emirates Group, which is wholly owned by the government of Dubai’s Investment Corporation of Dubai. It is currently the largest airline in the Middle East, operating over 3,600 flights per week from its hub at Dubai International Airport to more than 154 cities in 81 countries across six continents. Cargo activities are undertaken by Emirates SkyCargo. The Emirates Skywards program exists to provide those who fly with this airline regularly with a variety of perks and benefits. Those who are members of this program will be able to accrue points/miles that can be used for a number of different things, including award flights, cabin upgrades, care hire, and hotel bookings. You will definitely want to take the time to find out more about what this program has to offer you.

 

Emirates Skywards Program

The Emirates Skywards program rewards those who fly with Emirates airline with Skywards Miles and Tier Miles. Skywards miles are mainly earned through flights which are calculated on the basis of route, class, fare type and membership tier. You can also earn points from partner offers, and promotions. Emirates Skywards lets you accumulate points even on discounted/special fares. This rewards program also features the Miles Accelerator, which helps you find flights that offer bonus points if you are flexible with your travel date and travel time. Tier Miles are accumulated only when you fly with Emirates and count towards your membership level. The more Tier Miles you earn, the higher you can progress in your Skywards membership status to unlock more premium benefits.

 

Earning Emirates Skywards Points

Like some other foreign carriers, Emirates has a somewhat different take on earning miles than you will find on domestic airlines here in the United States. For example, when traveling on paid Emirates flights, miles are earned based on the zones transited, not the actual distance flown. Think of it like applying a traditional zone-based award redemption chart to mileage earning. For example, you earn just 7,000 miles for an economy class saver fare for round trip travel to Dubai from cities in the North America West zone (DFW, IAH, LAX, SFO, and SEA), and 6,000 miles from North America East (BOS, JFK, EWR, IAD, YYZ). This represents a rough average of only half the number of miles traveled from these cities to Dubai. To earn the full 100% you’d need to buy a much more expensive Flex fare. Thankfully, there are some multipliers that can increase earnings. Unlike other carriers, there are simply two fare classes, Flex and Saver. More expensive Flex fares earn full miles (roughly equivalent to the miles flown), yet tend to cost 50-60% more for economy class seats. In many cases, business class seats cost the same in Saver and Flex classes.

 

Redeeming Mileage Points

Apparently, Emirates can operate the world’s largest fleet of Airbus A380 super-jumbos, and win numerous awards for their in-flight service, but they can’t (or don’t want to) create award redemption charts for their Skywards frequent flier program. So I took it upon myself to create one for them, based on the information returned from their mileage calculator tool. Below is the award chart for round trip Saver awards from North America on Emirates. Note that one-way awards are available for half price on Flex awards only. Below is the award chart from round trip Saver awards from the North America East zone, (BOS, JFK, EWR, IAD, YYZ). One-way awards are only available on Flex redemptions (not the saver awards listed below).

 

Routing Rules

Saver awards are subject to a three-month maximum stay, and one stopover is permitted. Flex awards have a 12-month maximum stay and permit two stopovers. Open jaws are permitted within zones. Date changes are $25 for Saver awards and free for Flex awards. Booking a one-way award would appear to nullify the length of stay restrictions. Earlier this year, Emirates began adding fuel surcharges to award flights with very little notice. These surcharges have been reported to be in line with those charged by partner, Qantas. Emirates customer service quoted me $317 for fuel surcharges alone on a one-way, economy class award from JFK to Dubai, and $645 for one-way flights in either business or first class.

 

Booking Fees & Charges

There are some fees that Emirates Skywards members will have to pay, including $25 per person for a flight change and $75 for refunds before travel.

 

Redeem on Upgrades

Beyond flight awards, Emirate offers upgrade awards to the next class of service, either economy to business, or business to first. Only a single class upgrade is available, unless it is on a flight operated without business class. As expected, there is no award chart. To Dubai from their North America East zone, a round trip Saver upgrade award is 72,500 miles and a Flex upgrade award is 90,000 miles, with fewer capacity restrictions for Flex awards. From North America West to Dubai, the round trip upgrade costs 105,000 for Flex and 135,000 for Saver.

 

Elite Levels

Blue: Emirates Skywards membership starts with the Blue Tier. You get access to special member-only travel offers, earn miles with global partners, and are placed on the waitlist priority if you are a Skywards Blue member. Your preferences will be retained to enable Emirates staff to provide you with better service. You can also book your Emirates flight using your Skywards Miles online.
Silver: This membership offers all the benefits of the Blue tier plus extra service at the airport such as priority check in and boarding, excess baggage allowance, and get access to the Emirates lounge in Dubai. You'll also earn 25% bonus Skywards Miles when flying.
Gold: Gold members gets you more world-class service from Emirates staff. This membership has all the benefits of silver members plus priority service through the contact centres, guaranteed seats (even on fully-booked flights), lounge access throughout the Emirates network, and lounge access for guests. You can also ask for priority baggage delivery when you need it. You'll also earn 50% bonus Skywards Miles when flying.
Platinum: The Platinum tier is the highest membership tier in Emirates Skywards. It gives you all the benefits of Gold membership plus 'last seat' Skywards flex reward tickets which allow you to redeem points for a business or economy class ticket even on flights with restricted availability or high demand. Under this membership you can also nominate someone to share the privileges with you, and they'll receive a Gold Skywards membership. You'll also earn 75% bonus Skywards Miles when flying.

 

Benefits of Emirates Skywards Program

Being an Emirates Skywards member brings some very unique benefits to the table, which cannot be found elsewhere. How would having your very own personal travel coordinator sound? This is someone that you can elect to check your flight itineraries; redeem your rewards for you; keep you informed regarding your mileage points; arrange seating upgrades; and look after any special meal or drinks preferences. This is the perfect solution for the business traveler and relieves a lot of the stress in relying on staff members or secretaries.
In addition to the travel coordinator there are many other benefits to being a Skywards member, such as:

  • Personal travel coordinator

  • Online upgrades

  • Online booking

  • Wait list priorities

  • Special offers

  • Self-service check-in

  • Pre-assigned seating

  • Personal preference recording