If you are planning to redeem airline miles for Emirates First Class, it looks like Emirates Skywards will soon be your only option.
Emirates appears to be moving towards a Lufthansa-style model, whereby First Class redemptions are only available via its own programme, in this case Emirates Skywards.
(Lufthansa does open up First Class seats to partners, but usually only 14 days before travel. Only Miles & More members can book further in advance.)
Alaska Airlines stopped offering Emirates First Class to its Mileage Plan members on 1st April.
Japan Air Lines has now announced that Mileage Bank members will be blocked from Emirates First Class from 1st September. JAL offered attractive rates for Emirates redemptions, although the only easy way for most of us to get their miles would have been a transfer from Marriott Bonvoy.
Qantas Points are now the only other major currency which can get you into Emirates First Class, but the redemption chart is not attractive. Qantas Points are also very hard to pick up for UK residents – whilst Qantas is now a UK American Express Membership Rewards partner, this doesn’t matter much as you can also transfer directly to Skywards.
With the Etihad First Class Apartment on the A380 fleet now seemingly consigned to history, the new Emirates First Class Suite may be the most OTT product in the sky.
It is tricky to find, appearing only on a handful of refurbished Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. Pre-covid, it was only found on the London Stansted services if you were departing the UK.
Here is my review of the new Emirates First Class Suite – probably the only place in the sky why you can order a £790 bottle of cognac ….
How to earn Emirates Skywards miles from UK credit cards (August 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 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.
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.