The changes are complex but the main impact is to reduce the miles earned on cheaper Economy tickets and to make it harder to upgrade Economy tickets to Business Class.
There is NO CHANGE to the number of miles needed for a redemption flight although lower earning rates will mean you need to fly more to earn a free trip. This is not totally surprising as the Emirates reward chart is already expensive and comes with fuel surcharges that make British Airways look reasonable.
Economy and Business Class fares currently come in two categories – ‘Saver’ and ‘Flex’. There are different sorts of ticket within both categories but for earning purposes there are only two options.
Going forward, there will be four categories – ‘Special’, ‘Saver’, ‘Flex’ and ‘Flex Plus’. The cheaper economy tickets will now be ‘Special’ and the most expensive flexible tickets will become ‘Flex Plus’.
This is how a London to Dubai flight looks for a base level member at present:
- Economy – 1500 miles each-way for Saver and 3000 each-way for Flex
- Business – 3750 each-way for Saver and 5250 each-way for Flex
This is how it will look after February 1st:
- Economy – 750 each-way for Special, 1500 for Saver, 2100 for Flex and 3000 for Flex Plus
- Business – 3000 each-way for Special, 3750 for Saver, 5250 for Flex and 5700 for Flex Plus
This is an astonishing drop in earnings on cheap economy tickets. To put this into perspective, you would need to fly 30 round trips to Dubai in discount Economy to get ONE Business Class trip to Dubai!
With British Airways Executive Club, a base level member on the cheapest World Traveller ticket would only require TWELVE trips to Dubai to earn one Club World return trip. That is an astonishing difference.
Upgrade prices have also jumped sharply.
It currently costs 32,500 miles to upgrade a ‘Saver’ Economy ticket to Business Class one-way from Heathrow to Dubai. From February 1st, it will cost 39,000 miles. ‘Special’ tickets will not be upgradable at all but this is not necessarily a retrograde step as the cheapest ‘Saver’ tickets are already blocked from upgrading.
If you want to check out how these changes will impact your particular Emirates routes, you can find the old mileage calculator here and the new post-February 1st mileage calculator here. Log-in is required.
How to earn Emirates Skywards miles from UK credit cards (January 2021)
Emirates Skywards does not have a UK credit card. However, you can earn Emirates Skywards miles by converting Membership Rewards points earned from selected UK American Express cards. These are:
- American Express Preferred Rewards Gold (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 20,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 20,000 Emirates Skywards miles. This card is FREE for your first year and also comes with two airport lounge passes.
- The Platinum Card from American Express (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 30,000 Emirates Skywards miles
- American Express Rewards credit card (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 5,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 5,000 Emirates Skywards miles. This card is FREE for life.
Membership Rewards points convert at 1:1 into Emirates Skywards miles which is an attractive rate. The cards above all earn 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on your card, which converts to 1 Emirates Skywards mile. The Gold card earns double points (2 per £1) on all flights you charge to it.