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How do Emirates ‘My Family’ household accounts work?

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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 weird 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 My Family account

Emirates dropped that idea for ‘My Family’

Emirates now has a programme called ‘My Family’ You can find the details here.  

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.

Emirates My Family accounts

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 (you are OK with Classic Reward flights, Cash+Miles, Instant Upgrades, charity donations and Skywards Exclusives events)
  • 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.

Conclusion

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.

You can learn more about ‘My Family’ on the Emirates website here.

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

How to earn Emirates Skywards miles from UK credit cards (February 2024)

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:

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.

Comments (13)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • FCP says:

    Thanks for the reminder. I did not join this previously as the family points were useless. Then had balances on my own and wife’s accounts, which we have now run down.

    Does anybody know if Amex MR transfers that each of us may make into our own accounts drop into the EK household account also?

    • Tarmohamed says:

      Yes they do drop in to the family account at the % you set.

    • Marco says:

      No, credit card redemptions ie points conversions aren’t accepted in my family accounts and thus would still drop into your individual account regardless whether you are set up to contribute 100% to my family

  • BBbetter says:

    Is it because other airlines are worried that this feature will be abused, for example points sellers?

    Also, it’s funny how the culture at the airline hub can influence the policies. There can’t be a better example of a patriarchal society than insisting only the ‘family head’ can make redemptions.

  • Steve S says:

    Where do the family points total show in the App?

  • Sam says:

    I’m amazed that Emirates actually call this a reward scheme.
    A reward scheme that steals back your miles after 3 years.
    And to top it all this ‘My Family’ household account (as useless as the Skywards program itself) only lets you pool together future earned miles at the time of creating the account.
    Do people honestly waste their time on this?

    • Jonathan says:

      We all know that amongst many of us, the hard expiry policies that many enforce are annoying and out of date, but it’s unfortunately not going to change anything quickly.

      We can hope that the talk about a new Emirates co-branded credit card will provide safety from this policy, although nothing’s guaranteed. We don’t know much about what might happen in the future, and how long things might will take if something does happen with the news that came along a couple of weeks ago

      What is somewhat bizarre is that hard expiry policies are near enough the norm for Star Alliance airlines, and OneWorld and SkyTeam, these polices are near enough unheard of

      • Rob says:

        The old Emirates UK credit card had no protection against miles expiry ….

        • Jonathan says:

          Almost certainly didn’t help its downfall…

          They’d probably need to get something good together to get people interested, since while there’s nothing available, most UK credit card spending can already be earned via Amex MR points

          When you’re unable to use Amex, Barclaycard and Virgin Money offer the ability to earn a voucher, which clearly appeals to many, for some, enough to not bother with Amex full stop

          • Rob says:

            My view is that there is a market (outside the M25, outside HfP readers) for a free Emirates card earning a handful of miles but with some flight benefits – priority boarding or similar. Something for the ‘once a year’ crowd.

            A market for a £200+ paid card? Feels unlikely.

          • Jonathan says:

            You say that, but the Premium Barclaycard Avios card does well, and it hardly really has benefits, no complimentary lounge access, no double Avios when spending directly with BA etc., apart from the earning rate and the lower threshold spend for the voucher (which is already at a disadvantage to Amex’s).

            It depends on how well they work it out, after all there’s enough people around who’ll actively fly Emirates whenever possible, so they’d almost certainly be interested.

            Like you said though, it depends on the annual fee (if applicable) and what else the card will offer, although I’m guessing we won’t hear any news until at least after summer, as things like this never move quickly…

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