Emirates has decided to celebrate the festive season with a secret 20% devaluation of Emirates Skywards miles.
This is on top of the very substantial increases in taxes and charges which we’ve seen over the past 12 months.
Emirates recently announced that the UK was the single biggest market for Emirates Skywards in terms of member numbers. With plans for a new dedicated UK credit card now scrapped, and the Qatar Airways / Avios tie-up showing some exceptionally attractive redemption rates, this may be a step too far for some.
Here is the new headline pricing from Europe to Dubai as an example of the changes:
- Business Saver – 54,000 Skywards miles each way, but needs to be booked as a round-trip at 108,000 miles and availability is very restricted – was 90,000 miles return (up 20%)
- Business Flex – 87,000 Skywards miles one way – was 72,500 miles (up 20%)
- First Flex – 102,000 Skywards miles one way – was 85,000 miles (up 20%)
Here is some example one-way pricing from London in Business Class:
The total price for a return in Business Class to Dubai is 174,000 miles and £950 of taxes and charges. This is ludicrous, given that it isn’t too unusual to see £999 cash tickets in Business Class to Dubai on (admittedly lesser) airlines.
It’s interesting to note that, even though I am looking at midweek flights for mid June which is both a long way ahead and very much not peak season, there is NO Business Saver availability showing.
Here is one way First Class pricing from London:
The taxes and charges are virtually the same as for Business Class.
Whilst this IS still good value for First Class on the new Emirates 777-300ER (image above) which is arguably the second best First Class product in the world behind the Singapore Airlines A380 suite, it is difficult to justify this on the Emirates A380 fleet. Here is my review of Emirates First Class on the 777-300ER fleet.
At present there are no changes to bookings which simply connect in Dubai, or to ‘Fifth Freedom’ routes such as Milan to New York JFK. The Fifth Freedom flights also escaped the recent tax increases – Milan to New York now looks like a bargain at 145,000 miles + €228 return in Business Class on a Flex ticket (90,000 if you can find Saver dates).
How to earn Emirates Skywards miles from UK credit cards (January 2023)
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 four 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 10,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 10,000 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.