Emirates Skywards added a new feature last week – the ability to use your Skywards miles as part payment towards a cash ticket.
Is it a good deal?
No, not really. It isn’t truly awful either but it isn’t something I can wholeheartedly recommend.
This is how it works:
You can use ‘cash and miles’ to book any Emirates marketed and operated flight
(This excludes, for example, Qantas flights with Emirates flight numbers or Emirates flights with Qantas flight numbers.)
You can redeem anything from 2,000 miles
You can only reduce the base fare and not any element of taxes or charges, so it is impossible to get a flight for literally no money
The redeemable miles and tier miles you receive for the flight will be reduced pro-rata to the portion of the fare which was not paid in cash
All cabin classes can be booked using ‘cash and miles’
Tickets booked with ‘cash and miles’ can be changed or cancelled as per the rules of the original cash ticket
‘Cash and miles’ can only be booked via emirates.com and not via the Emirates app
What value do I receive?
You receive $8 for every 1,000 miles you redeem.
That works out at almost exactly 0.6p per Skywards mile.
I do not consider this a good deal. Even though Emirates redemption flights come with heavy fuel surcharges, you should still be easily able to exceed 0.6p.
And, of course, it is worse than that. Because you don’t earn miles on the percentage of the flight paid for with miles, you are losing out on the miles you earn. This means that the net value of the miles you redeem drops below 0.8 cents.
You also won’t earn tier miles on the % of a flight paid for in miles. This may hinder your chances of gaining or retaining status.
There are other ways to use up small amounts of Emirates miles although none are incredibly generous:
You can redeem Skywards miles for Arsenal football tickets, both general seats and the Emirates Skybox. The latest batch of seats have just been released. Depending on what you would be willing to pay to watch Arsenal from the – fully catered – Emirates Skybox this can be excellent value.
You can transfer miles INTO Heathrow Rewards. The minimum is 6,000 miles which gets you a £20 Heathrow shopping voucher – although this is a worse deal than using them as part payment for a flight.
If you are travelling to Dubai, Skywards miles can be used for gift vouchers for various Dubai shops and tourist attractions, as well as a selection of Marriott hotels across the Middle East as well as South Africa and Manchester and Glasgow airports.
You can learn more about ‘cash and miles’ on the Emirates site here.
How to earn Emirates Skywards miles from UK credit cards (August 2022)
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.
Cards earning Membership Rewards points include:
- 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 free 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.
EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.
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.