Emirates Skywards is the frequent flyer program of United Arab Emirates flag carrier Emirates. As one of the largest airlines in the world, Emirates serves over 150 cities in 80 countries. While Emirates are not part of a major airline alliance, they do have several codeshare agreements with other airlines. Skywards Miles can be earned through credit cards, flying with Emirates and their partner airlines, hotel stays and retail spending.
In this post:
- How to join Emirates Skywards
- Emirates Skywards membership tiers
- Skywards Miles vs Tier Miles
- Best Skywards credit cards in Australia
- Earning Skywards Miles
- How To Redeem Emirates Skywards Miles
- How To Use Skywards To Book Partner Reward Flights?
- Using Skyward Miles For Upgrades
- Best Skywards Redemptions
- Should I use Qantas Points or Skywards Miles?
- Emirates Skywards Classic Rewards vs Cash + Miles
- Summing up: my take on Skywards
How to join Emirates Skywards
The Emirates Skywards program is free to join. Simply visit the Emirates Skywards join page and complete the online form.
Emirates Skywards membership tiers
The Emirates Skywards program has four status levels: Blue, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Plus, for the most loyal Emirates customers, there is also an invite-only tier called iO.
Emirates Skywards Blue
Blue is the base level membership, offering the ability to earn and redeem Emirates Skywards Miles.
Emirates Skywards Silver
Earn 25,000 Tier Miles or take 25 flights to become a Skywards Silver member.
Skywards Silver members get access to:
- Complimentary seat selection for members
- 12kg additional baggage on kilogram-based tickets
- 25% bonus Miles when flying Emirates
- Priority check-in and boarding
- Lounge access to any Emirates Business Lounge in Dubai
- Instant upgrades using Skywards Miles
- Earn 1 Skywards Mile per US$1 spent on top of Marriott Bonvoy points at participating Marriott Bonvoy properties
- Benefits when flying with flybubai
Emirates Skywards Gold
Earn 50,000 Tier Miles or take 50 flights to become a Skywards Gold member.
As well as Silver benefits, Skywards Gold members get access to:
- Complimentary seat selection including companions
- 16kg additional baggage on kilogram-based tickets
- 2x 23kg baggage allowance on piece-based Economy tickets
- 50% bonus Miles when flying Emirates
- Priority phone service
- Lounge access with one guest to all Business class lounges throughout the Emirates network
- Free onboard WiFi
- Elite check-in, late checkout, and free WiFi at Marriott Bonvoy properties
Emirates Skywards Platinum
Earn 150,000 Tier Miles to become a Skywards Platinum member.
As well as Gold benefits, Skywards Platinum members get access to:
- Complimentary extra-legroom seat selection for members
- 20kg additional baggage on kilogram-based tickets
- 75% bonus Miles when flying Emirates
- Gift Skywards Gold status to someone of your choice
- No Expiry of Skywards Miles
- First Class check-in and baggage delivery
- Lounge access with one guest and two children under 17 to all First class lounges throughout the Emirates network
Skywards Miles vs Tier Miles
Emirates Skywards members can earn both Skywards Miles and Tier Miles.
Skywards Miles are Emirates’ equivalent of frequent flyer points and can be earned through credit cards, flight bookings, hotels and retail partners (as below). Skywards Miles can be used for redemptions such as flight bookings and upgrades.
Tier Miles on the other hand are Emirates’ equivalent of status credits and are used to determine a member’s status within the program. Tier Miles are only earned when flying with Emirates and Flydubai, or by on a codeshare flight that carries an Emirates flight number (beginning in EK).
Best Skywards credit cards in Australia
In Australia, there are a few credit card rewards programs that allow you to transfer points into Emirates Skywards Miles – AMEX, Citi, Diners Club and Suncorp. The transfer rate will depend on the bank you select.
|Card Provider||Rewards Program||Transfer Rate|
|American Express||Membership Rewards||2 Points = 1 Skywards Mile|
|Citi||Citi Rewards||3 Points = 1 Skywards Mile|
|Diners Club||Diners Club Rewards||2.5 Points = 1 Skywards Mile|
|Suncorp Bank||Suncorp Rewards||3 Points = 1 Skywards Mile|
If you prefer direct earn cards, you could go for the popular Emirates Citi World Mastercard which currently offers 50,000 Skywards Miles on your first spend within 90 days from approval. Ongoing earn rates range from 0.5 to 1.5 Skywards Miles based on where you spend.
Earning Skywards Miles
Flights with Emirates
Skywards members will earn Miles for every flight with Emirates, calculated based on the route, fare type, class of travel and your Skywards tier. To calculate the earnings for a particular flight you can use Emirates’ Miles Calculator.
Flights with flydubai
Emirates’ sister airline flydubai is a budget airline in Dubai. Skywards members will earn Miles for every flight with flydubai, calculated based on the route, fare type, class of travel and your Skywards tier.
Flights with partner airlines
Skywards members can earn Miles when flying with most of Emirates’ partner airlines. You will earn a given number of Skywards Miles per mile flown depending on the fare type:
- Air Mauritius: 0.25 to 2 Miles
- Alaska Airlines: 0.5 to 1.5 Miles
- Bangkok Airways: up to 1.25 Miles
- Copa Airlines: up to 1.5 Miles
- GOL: 0.5 to 1.5 Miles
- Japan Airlines: up to 1.5 Miles
- JetBlue: up to 1.5 Miles
- Jetstar: up to 1.25 Miles
- Korean Air: 1 to 2 Miles
- Malaysia Airlines: up to 1.5 Miles
- Qantas: 0.25 to 1.5 Miles
- S7 Airlines: up to 1.25 Miles
- South African Airways: up to 1.5 Miles
- TAP Air Portugal: up to 1.5 Miles
Hotels and accommodation
If you’re earning Emirates Skywards Miles on your flights, you may as well earn them on your accommodation costs too. You can earn with an extensive list of partnered hotels including Accor, Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, Marriott, Shangri-La and Ritz-Carlton.
Retail and lifestyle
You can also earn Skywards Miles on everyday costs with partnered retailers and services such as Emirates Holidays and Marhaba lounges. Although, many of Emirates’ retail partners are based in Dubai.
How To Redeem Emirates Skywards Miles
Redeeming your Skywards Miles for Emirates flights and flights operated by partner airlines is pretty straightforward. All of it can be done online via the Skywards website but there are a few things you need to look out for. The most important one: Classic Rewards. In order to get the best value for your miles, you will want to redeem them for Classic Rewards. The availability of these will, of course, depend on the flight so generally speaking, the further in advance you book, the more chances you have of getting the seat you want.
- Log into your Skywards account
- Make sure you click the “Classic Reward” checkbox before searcing.
- Input your destination and preferred class of travel.
- Hit search and select the flights you want before completing the booking.
How To Use Skywards To Book Partner Reward Flights?
For advanced bookings such as multi-city and partner redemption (ie: if you want to use your Skywards miles to book Qantas operated flights), you will need to click on the “advanced search” link.
Once you do this, don’t forget to click the “classic rewards” search option. From there, the steps will be exactly the same as if you were booking an Emirates operated flight. If you can’t find the partner flight you’re looking for you can also call the Skywards hotline. For the best contact number visit Emirates here.
Using Skyward Miles For Upgrades
At Flight Hacks we prefer to book our flight as an outright redemption since this will confirm the class of travel at the time of booking. That said, Emirates does allow you to get a confirmed upgrade and the availability is the same as for Classic Rewards. This means you can do your research first and see if upgrades are available before locking in a cash ticket. When you are booking a cash fare with Emirates you will also be able to see how many Skywards would be needed for your particular fare, this is very handy since you can do some “quick math” to figure out if the value ads up.
If you want to redeem miles for Emirates upgrades it’s important that you first check the cost of an outright Classic Reward redemption. For example, Sydney to Dubai will cost you 132,500 miles + taxes (Flex Plus) as an outright redemption in Business while an upgrade on a safer fare will set you back 127,500 miles + the cost of your saver ticket (most likely in excess of $1000).
Even if upgrades are available, you can not lock it in until your ticket is booked and paid for. So before booking, you want to make sure you have the required Skywards in your account to process the upgrade right after your booking is complete. You will get this option in the “manage my booking” section of your account. Another way to check for upgrade availability is by using the Expert Flyer search tool (click the link for our in-depth guide!)
Best Skywards Redemptions
Emirates First to New Zealand
Fly on Emirates’ fantastic First class product from Sydney to Christchurch, New Zealand. Currently, these flights are operated by Boeing 777-300ER aircraft and will set you back 54,000 Miles one-way. By comparison, Qantas charges 64,500 points for the same Emirates First class redemption, over 10,000 points more than you’d pay with Skywards Miles.
Read our review: Emirates B777 First Class
Qantas Business to Southeast Asia
Fly in Business class with Qantas to Southeast Asia. You can fly one-way from Perth to Singapore for just 50,000 Miles, or from East Coast airports to Southeast Asia for 60,000 Miles.
Read our review: Qantas A330 Business Class
Malaysia Airlines Business to Kuala Lumpur
Fly in Business class with Malaysia Airlines to Kuala Lumpur from Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth or Sydney for only 75,000 Miles one-way. From Darwin you’ll only need 45,000 Miles!
Japan Airlines Business to Tokyo
Japan Airlines operates nonstop flights to Tokyo from both Sydney and Melbourne. Fly in Business for just 85,000 Miles return.
Should I use Qantas Points or Skywards Miles?
Qantas Frequent Flyer is by far one of the most popular loyalty programs in Australia, with over 12 million members or about half of the country’s population signed up. As such, it’s important to compare the costs between using Qantas Points or Skywards Miles when flying on Emirates metal, and the results might shock you! Note that the miles below are based on the Flex Plus Skywards pricing since they are one way.
|Qantas Points||Skywards Miles|
|Sydney - Hong Kong (Y)||25,200||109,000|
|Sydney - Hong Kong (J)||68,400||185,000|
|Sydney - Dubai (Y)||41,900||82,750|
|Sydney - Dubai (J)||108,400||132,500|
|Dubai - London (Y)||20,300||38,750|
|Dubai - London (J)||57,000||62,500|
|London - Dubai (F)||89,800||85,000|
|Perth - Sydney (J - with QF)||41,500||36,000|
Emirates Skywards Classic Rewards vs Cash + Miles
The Emirates Skywards frequent flyer program works in a similar way compared to Qantas where they offer 2 types of redemptions for your miles. The one we focus on is Skywards Classic Rewards which is the best value option. Cash + Miles is where you use your miles to pay for a ticket partially with miles, while this sounds like a great idea in theory, the return on your miles is very poor. Classic Rewards are pure redemptions where you redeem the ticket in miles + taxes in cash, however since it is an award booking, this means availability will depend on how many award seats are released on the flight you are looking for.
To further complicate things, Skywards also has subclasses for the Classic Rewards, those are “Special”, “Saver”, “Flex” and “Flex Plus”. The “Special” fares are discounted reward tickets and hard to find, the goal is to find a saver fare but these are also rather hard to find on popular routes, in addition, to obtain a Saver reward you need to book a return flight and Saver fares are not available for first-class redemptions. Flex Plus fares, however, are very common and actually not that much more compared to Qantas redemptions on Emirates so don’t let that put you off. A few additional rules apply as well, on each Classic Reward fare class so here’s the breakdown:
Skywards Saver Rewards
Saver rewards offer the best value when you travel during lower-demand periods or when your travel dates are flexible.
- They are available on a return basis in Economy Class and Business Class.
- You can stay for up to three months.
- You can add one stopover to your journey.
- You can change your travel dates after the ticket has been issued for USD 25 per change.
- A fee of USD 75 will apply if you cancel an unused Saver reward ticket.
Skywards Flex Rewards
Flex rewards offer greater flexibility when making your travel plans. They cost more Skywards Miles than Saver rewards, but they offer you more seat availability during high-demand periods and on high-demand flights.
- They are available on a return basis.
- You can stay for up to three months.
- You can add two stopovers to your journey.
- You can change your travel dates at any time without charge.
- A fee of USD 50 will apply if you cancel an unused Flex reward ticket.
Skywards Flex Plus Rewards
Flex Plus rewards offer you even more reward seats during high-demand periods and on high-demand flights.
- They are available on a return and one-way basis in every class of travel.
- You can stay for up to one year.
- You can add two stopovers to your journey.
- You can make changes to your travel dates at any time without charge.
- You can cancel your ticket without charge before travel.
Summing up: my take on Skywards
The Emirates Skywards frequent flyer program is well worth joining, especially if you have a specific Emirates redemption in mind. The program also partners with other notable airlines for redemption including Alaska Airlines, Japan Airlines, Korean Air and Qantas. Especially now that Qantas point redemptions on Emirates are more costly, it’s worth comparing costs and availability via Skywards. In general, Skywards reserves more award seats for its own members. This means that by converting American Express Membership Rewards to Skywards, you will most likely increase your chances in finding the flight you want. To get the best value out of Skywards you will want to lock in a return flight as those get access to the Skywards saver rates!