Most people don’t realise that the British Airways style of family or household account is actually very rare. Few other airlines let you pool 100% of the miles earned by your wider friends and family.
Until 2018, Emirates had a family policy that could best be described as a token gesture. Your family were allowed to credit their miles to your account, but only at a rate of 20%. All of the other miles were lost.
You had the situation where, for example, you and three family members could individually earn 10,000 Skywards miles each from a particular flight, or one person could earn 16,000 miles (10,000 + 2,000 + 2,000 + 2,000). Hmmm …..
Emirates dropped that idea for ‘My Family’
Up to eight family members can come together. They do need to be family and there is a list of acceptable relationships:
“Husband, Wife, Partner, Son, Step‑Son, Daughter, Step‑Daughter, Mother, Mother‑in‑Law, Step‑Mother, Father, Father‑in‑Law, Step‑Father, Brother, Sister, Granddaughter, Grandson and Domestic Helper.”
Going forward, you can agree that either 25%, 50%, 75% or 100% of your miles earned go into the pooled ‘My Family’ pot.
It is not possible to return miles back to individual accounts once they have been placed in a ‘My Family’ account. If someone leaves the account, the Skywards miles they contributed remain in the family pot.
How does ‘My Family’ work?
When ‘My Family’ first launched, Emirates only allowed you to pool miles from flights and NOT from partner activity such as credit cards. As well as being hugely confusing to administer, this was also not practical for most people.
This is no longer the case. Emirates now allows you to pool ALL miles, however they are earned, in your ‘My Family’ pot.
There are still some snags though:
- You cannot pool your existing miles
- You will end up with two balances – your total before ‘My Family’ was set up (plus some of your future miles earned if you choose not to contribute 100% of future earnings to ‘My Family’) plus the new pool
- Some types of redemption are not possible from a ‘My Family’ pool
- Only the nominated ‘Family Head’ can make redemptions from the ‘My Family’ account
- The usual Emirates expiry rules apply, with a ‘hard’ expiry after three years regardless of activity in the meantime
One potential option would be to have 100% of miles from the flights of your children dropped into a ‘My Family’ account, whilst contributing nothing or only a small amount yourself. It would give you easy access to the miles from your children whilst preserving your own flexibility.
The current iteration of ‘My Family’ is better than the previous couple of efforts from Emirates, but it still has a long way to go before it becomes the obvious thing to do for members with dependents.
The British Airways model is cleaner and simpler, and to be honest it is something that BA doesn’t get much credit for. Household accounts are a lot rarer amongst the major frequent flyer schemes than you may think.
PS. If you want to learn about the BA equivalent, we published this article on how British Airways household accounts work.
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.