Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

NEW: Use small expiring amounts of Emirates Skywards miles for gift cards

Links on Head for Points may support the site by paying a commission.  See here for all partner links.

Emirates Skywards is one of those frequent flyer programmes which has a ‘no mercy’ policy on miles expiry.

You need to use your miles within three years of earning them or they will expire. This often means that people who only earn small quantities find themselves with an upcoming expiry date but not enough miles for a long haul Emirates flight.

There are some ways of cashing out small amounts of Emirates miles:

use Emirates Skywards miles for gift cards

None of these are ideal, especially if your balance is small.

use small expiring amounts of Emirates Skywards miles for gift cards

Redeem Emirates Skywards miles for gift cards

Helpfully, Emirates has just launched a new redemption option.

Via the Emirates Skywards Miles Mall, you can now redeem your miles for digital gift cards for UK retailers.

The rate is not great but, at the same time, it isn’t terrible either. It is a better return than the existing deal of using 6,000 miles for £20 of Heathrow shopping credit. You also only need just 2,000 miles to take part.

Different retailers have different redemption rates so you need to trade off convenience vs value:

  • Tesco, for example, has a weak redemption rate. 2,000 miles only gets you £6.55 of e-gift card.
  • Caffe Nero, on the other hand, gets you £7.86 of e-gift card for 2,000 Skywards miles

If you redeem for one of the retailers offering £7.86 per 2,000 miles then you are getting almost 0.4p per mile. Whilst not amazing, it is certainly better than watching them expire.

You can check out the options over at the Miles Mall here.

We published a complete guide to earning Emirates Skywards miles from UK credit cards which you can find here.


How to earn Emirates Skywards miles from UK credit cards

How to earn Emirates Skywards miles from UK credit cards (May 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 (22)

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

  • Jonathan says:

    If you’re worried about losing your points, don’t bother with EK SkyWards, and use the likes of AeroPlan, no hard expiry, part of Star Alliance (a lot of programs in this group are known for their use of hard expiry), and you can also earn and redeem via Etihad as well, just to name a couple of benefits.
    For those who fly Emirates often enough, it shouldn’t be too difficult to spend your points before they expire, even it means using them in Economy, not great but it’s better than nothing.
    What’s rather weird is not many programs offer ways of getting credit in return for points, (Lufthansa has got that long ongoing legal battle against someone who wants a large cash cheque for their balance of M&M points), I think Emirates is one of the very few that allow redemptions to go and watch sports match events – limited availability !

  • mike anthony says:

    Thanks for this – is there anything that can be done with Emirates Family miles? I have a chunk of those expiring this year and can’t find anything to do with them!
    Thanks
    Mike

    • Joe says:

      Oh can you not use them for gift cards? I have 22k from a family trip to dubai that I’d like to cash out if possible

  • The real Swiss Tony says:

    Probably worth adding that you can pick how many miles you spend. You’re not limited to 2k increments, (which is good since I have 7.5k….)

  • Sam says:

    Unless you are a very frequent flyer with Emirates, this is completely pointless airline reward scheme.
    Outside of this, no one is going to build up enough points for meaningful upgrade /redemption within the 3-year expiry.

    • blenz101 says:

      It’s a UAE based airline so where those living in their home market have plenty of opportunity to earn miles.

      I guess so many people pass through the UAE and may have an account that they are happy to just wipe the balance and focus on UAE residents and genuine frequent fliers from international markets.

    • Jonathan says:

      You say this, but the UK is the country with the most number of SkyWards accounts

      How many of these accounts have never lost any points is anyone’s guess, probably all !
      – Rob has mentioned before that he’s had to take a redemption and got poor value for money or lost low amounts due to hard expiry

      • Rob says:

        I did, ended up with Heathrow credit.

        People may also EXPECT to earn more but don’t. Perhaps they start working on a project in Dubai which gets cancelled, or they do regular holidays but for some reason stop, or various other reasons. No-one can plan with certainty that they will do a certain number of future flights to earn enough to redeem – it’s always a gamble.

        No different to me assuming I will hit 35 Marriott nights this year to renew my Platinum. I expect to do it but I have no idea at the moment where at least 10 of those nights will come from. If things change I have unnecessarily given Marriott business that could have gone elsewhere.

        • Jonathan says:

          When I mentioned that you’ve had to take poor value redemption(s), you had to do with some of your M&M points, and you lost something like 1000 KrisFlyer points, both due to hard expiry, you mentioned these occasions in the relevant articles – none were not at all recent though

      • Blenz101 says:

        My point was that those resident in the airlines home market (a much smaller market) have the opportunity to earn and burn easily within the expiry. Credit cards and mall spend earn substantial points.

        Enough to upgrade the free return flight to the home country from your employer or happily spent on a Maldives / Seychelles redemption for a long weekend away.

        Emirates want residents flying and thurs earning and burning with them rather than the residents home airline which likely flies to Dubai anyway into T1.

        • Julia says:

          Have to agree with Blenz101 that if you’re in the area then it’s easier to use the points. We always transfer our TAP points into EK miles which is a handy side line..

          Looking forward it may be a different game with the Red Sea closed to cruise ships and those that cruise between countries will then have to fly. The release of the Emirates credit card would become handy then.

  • Nathan says:

    Thanks for the article and email, very timely and I now have an £8 credit on the Uber app that would have otherwise gone to waste given my very small skywards balance!

  • scholar wong says:

    Thanks Rob, just cashed in points I would never be able to make good use of for £94 of Deliveroo credit!

  • David says:

    Thanx.got 11 pound for primark.better than nothing.

  • The real Swiss Tony says:

    Thing is, if you add this to the Marriott points and the fact that once you have a qualifying flight on EK you get free messaging via the wifi, it does add up.

    Bundle the three together and I must have got around £100 of value from an £2600 air ticket. Not transformative, but it starts to register.

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

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.