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There’s a new way to earn miles for travelers who enjoy flying with Emirates and for U.S.-based members of the airline’s loyalty program, Emirates Skywards. In the past, the only way to earn miles for the loyalty program was via flights. You either had to buy them outright or transfer miles or points over from another credit card or loyalty program. But now, earning those miles is as easy as swiping your credit card.

emirates credit cards
Johnny flying Emirates back in August 2008.

The Emirates Credit Cards

For the first time, Emirates is offering a co-branded credit card suite for U.S. consumers. There are two new Emirates Skywards Mastercard credit cards to choose from, the Emirates Skywards Premium World Elite Mastercard® and the Emirates Skywards Rewards World Elite Mastercard®.

What to Expect from the Emirates Skywards Rewards World Elite Mastercard 

The information for the Emirates Skywards Rewards World Elite Mastercard® has been collected independently by Johnny Jet. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

The Emirates Skywards Rewards World Elite Mastercard® option gives travelers immediate Silver-tier Skywards status for their first cardholder year. Silver status grants travelers extra perks such as the ability to earn more miles while flying with Emirates, free seat selection in economy class, priority check-in, priority boarding, and free entry to select business class lounges. 

Beyond that first year of Silver status, the card itself gives travelers a variety of ways to earn miles. Cardholders earn:

  • 3 miles for every $1 spent on Emirates.com or at the Emirates sales office
  • 2 miles for every $1 spent on eligible airfares, hotel stays, and car rentals
  • 1 mile for every $1 spent on anything else

Of course, there’s a sign-up bonus. You can currently receive 30,000 bonus Skywards miles if you spend $3,000 on the card in the first 90 days. If you spend $20,000 on the card each year, you’ll keep that Silver status, too. 

The card comes with no foreign transaction fees. The annual fee is $99.

What to Expect from the Emirates Skywards Premium World Elite Mastercard

The information for the Emirates Skywards Premium World Elite Mastercard® has been collected independently by Johnny Jet. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

If you want to go with a more luxurious, high-end credit card, the Emirates Skywards Premium World Elite Mastercard® comes with a few extra perks. Instead of Silver status, cardholders enjoy a first year of Gold status, which gives you even more miles when you fly, priority baggage delivery, and access to all of the Emirates business class lounges worldwide.

The miles earning rate is the same as with the other card, but you do get additional cardholder benefits, such as a free Priority Pass Select membership and a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit. 

The card’s sign-up bonus is also slightly more attractive, giving you 40,000 bonus Skywards miles if you spend $3,000 on the card in the first 90 days. Retaining Gold status is a little pricier, though, as it requires $40,000 in purchases on the card each year. If you can’t quite make that, but you do spend $30,000 on the card each year, you’ll get an annual 10,000-mile bonus. 

The annual fee for this card is quite a bit more expensive than what you’ll pay for the basic card, at $499 per year. There are no foreign transaction fees. 

Earning More Emirates Skywards Miles While Supporting the Travel Industry

The launch of the two credit cards coincides with Emirates’ broader efforts to make it easier for Skywards members to earn miles without traveling — something that many airlines and travel credit card providers have been doing since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Emirates also more recently just launched its shopping portal in the United States as an additional way to earn bonus miles. The Skywards Miles@ mall offers bonus miles on everyday purchases from more than a thousand retailers. 

In a release regarding the new efforts, Nejib Ben Khedher, divisional senior vice president at Emirates Skywards, said, “The Emirates Skywards Mastercard offers a fantastic opportunity to accelerate Skywards Miles earnings for spend on future flight rewards with Emirates and our partner airlines, JetBlue and Alaska Airlines. This is a unique opportunity allowing our more than 2.5 million U.S. members to boost their Skywards Miles to use as a payment option with cash+Miles, and for flight upgrades while traveling from cities across the U.S., including New York, Houston and Los Angeles.”

If you think the new cards sound familiar, it might be because Emirates teased the cards earlier in the year. This was back in February, right before the travel industry took its huge hit.

Alternative Options

If you would rather have more flexibility when redeeming rewards, consider a flexible travel credit card. Two Chase examples include the Chase Sapphire Preferred® and the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Emirates is a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner.

Select American Express cards, as well as Capital One cards, are also Emirates transfer partners.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® earns 2x points per $1 spent on dining and travel worldwide. Lyft rides earn 5x points per $1 spent through March 2022. All other purchases earn 1x point per $1 spent. Additionally, you can get 25% more value when you redeem your points for airfare, hotels, car rentals, and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. You can transfer your points at a 1:1 ratio (Emirates is a Chase transfer partner).

New cardholders can earn 80,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening. The annual fee is $95.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is the premium version of the Sapphire Preferred. Some of the benefits include a $300 annual travel credit, Priority Pass membership, and credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. It earns 3x points on dining worldwide and on travel (once you earn the $300 travel credit). Cardholders get 50% more value when redeeming points for travel. Points that are earned can be transferred to Emirates.

New cardholders can earn 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening. The annual fee is $550.

Both cards are some of the best Chase credit cards.

Summary of Emirates Credit Cards

Emirates reported that its focus has been largely on air freight during the pandemic, as demand for its many international routes has significantly decreased. However, co-branded credit cards such as these are often a lucrative deal for many airlines. The airlines sell the miles first to the credit card issuer, which then releases them to the cardholder. 

If you’re a frequent flyer of Emirates, one of these two options can quickly earn you more rewards. It’s also great that these options now exist for U.S.-based consumers.

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