Back in January I explained how Emirates was now offering tickets for Arsenal matches in return for Skywards miles. ‘General’ and ‘Emirates Skybox’ tickets are available for most games at the stadium.
Full details can be found on the Emirates website (log-in required). However, at this point in the season, there is obviously nothing left for Arsenal.
You can also redeem for tickets for AC Milan, Hamburger SV, Paris St Germain, Real Madrid and SL Benfica. Only Paris St Germain tickets are currently showing. I expect Arsenal tickets to reappear around July – this year games were loaded in batches every few months.
The key here is the pricing. For weaker opposition, basic tickets are 10,000 Skywards miles each. Given that Arsenal games tend to sell out, this is not a bad use of miles. For the bigger games, standard tickets are 15,000 to 20,000 miles each.
Far better, though, is – for weaker opposition – 15,000 Skywards miles for a seat in the Emirates box. This comes complete with full hospitality including food and drink. For stronger opposition you will pay 30,000 or 40,000 miles per person.
(EDIT: pricing was increased for 2015/16 and now starts at 12,500 miles for standard tickets and 20,000 for the Skybox.)
On Sunday, I took my father-in-law down to the Emirates Stadium to watch Arsenal play Chelsea. This cost 80,000 Skywards miles in total. The cost would have been just 30,000 miles for the pair for a game such as Newcastle.
If you do this, note that the instructions you are sent are very vague about ticket collection. You need to go into the office building via the round door which has a buzzer outside. It is just before the club shop if you are coming from the tube. The security guard at the desk has your tickets. He will want to see ID.
When I reviewed the SPG Suite at the O2 last week, I said that it was a trade-off. You enjoy great hospitality but a real fan would want to be closer to the action. This is NOT the case at Arsenal. The Emirates box – not surprisingly – is the best positioned one in the stadium. It is Number 75 if you know the ground. As you can see below, I was sat EXACTLY on the half-way line.
The suite seats 24 people with 3 rows of 4 x 4 seating. What is amusing is that the seats are heated! They are well padded with substantial armrests – you will never sit in a comfier seat for a football match!
The food (buffet) and drink selection was excellent. The 4pm kick-off meant that we had already eaten lunch so we only nibbled at the food. It was done to a very high standard however. The buffet was brought out again at half time with added snacks (chicken wings) and desserts. Food is also available after the final whistle if you want to avoid the queue for the tube.
By law, you cannot take alcoholic drinks into the seats. Soft drinks and tea / coffee are fine, however, as long as they are in plastic glasses.
I can thoroughly recommend this as an Emirates Skywards redemption – even if the game ended 0-0! I will definitely be back next season. Even if you have NO Skywards miles at the moment, you can earn enough to get two tickets for the Emirates box (for weak opposition) with just one card sign-up bonus. I discussed the options in my original article here.
One further tip to note. You should NOT treat the dates shown on the Emirates website as firm. The TV companies decide at relatively short notice (2 months or so) which games to show. Your game could be moved to earlier or later on Saturday, to Sunday (as mine was) or even to Monday evening. Emirates did not offer me the chance of a refund when the Chelsea game was switched to Sunday – I’m not sure if they would have if pushed.
How to earn Emirates Skywards miles via UK credit cards
As a reminder, Emirates no longer has its own UK credit card. However, you can earn Emirates Skywards points by converting Membership Rewards points earned from selected UK American Express cards. These are:
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold – 10,000 Membership Rewards points sign-up bonus
The Platinum Card from American Express – 30,000 Membership Rewards points sign-up bonus
American Express Rewards credit card – 5,000 Membership Rewards points sign-up bonus
Membership Rewards points convert at 1:1 into Emirates Skywards miles. The cards above all earn 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on your card, which converts to 1 Emirates Skywards mile.