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With Emirates now a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards®, the airline's miles are easier than ever to accrue. While Emirates has been a 1:1 transfer partner of American Express for some time, this new partnership with Chase gives cardholders more opportunities to travel to the nearly 150 destinations that Emirates serves — and on the many airlines Emirates partners with.
Before you start redeeming those miles, two important notes:
Emirates has different award charts for each partner airline. Just because something is a good deal with one partner doesn’t mean it will be with all others.
When redeeming miles with Emirates you'll be on the hook for taxes, fees and the airline's hefty carrier-imposed surcharges, which can surpass $1,000 on longer routes.
With those caveats out of the way, here are 7 solid ways to redeem Emirates miles.
1. Try Emirates first class
Emirates first class is one of the most sought-after award tickets in the skies. But no matter which airline’s miles you use, it’s not cheap. If you’re looking to treat yourself and you have plenty of miles in the bank, give this award a try.
2. Fly domestically within the U.S. on JetBlue
You can redeem Emirates miles directly for flights on JetBlue, since they’re partners (JetBlue is also a 1:1 transfer partner with Chase). One-way flights cost as few as 7,500 miles, but each segment will be priced separately, so this is a good option if you don’t need to make a connection.
3. Fly to Africa on Emirates
The price you’ll pay when flying to Africa depends on where exactly you want to go, but rates are pretty decent all-around.
For example, you can fly to North Africa from Los Angeles for the following round-trip prices:
Economy: 85,000 miles.
Business class: 170,000 miles.
First class: 255,000 miles.
Prices from other parts of the U.S. and to other parts of Africa will vary somewhat. To check the flight prices for a trip to Africa (or elsewhere), your best bet is to use Emirates’ Flight Calculator. You’ll want to look at the “saver” column for the best prices.
4. Fly between Portugal and Northern Africa on TAP Portugal
Long-haul flights on TAP Portugal are expensive with Emirates miles, but they’re a good option to redeem for short flights. You can travel from Portugal to Northern Africa or the Azores with flight prices starting at just 15,000 miles in economy and 30,000 miles in business class.
5. Fly within Brazil on GOL
Flights within Brazil can be quite cheap or very expensive, so it’s always best to check cash prices first. But redeeming Emirates miles for flights on GOL is a good option when prices are higher. One Brazilian destination that’s notoriously expensive (but can be well worth it) is Fernando de Noronha. You can redeem just 4,500 miles each way to fly from Recife.
6. Hop around the Indian Ocean with Air Mauritius
If you’re already going to be flying as far as the Indian Ocean, it might be a good idea to plan an extra-long trip and visit multiple destinations. These flights tend to be very expensive — which means they’re a great use for miles. Emirates partners with Air Mauritius, so you can easily hop between Mauritius, Rodrigues, Reunion and Madagascar for only 25,000 Emirates miles round-trip in economy.
You can also fly from Mauritius to African destinations including Durban, Johannesburg or Nairobi for 32,000 Emirates miles. For redemptions with Air Mauritius, business class costs twice as much as economy.
7. Fly from Japan to Australia or Hawaii with Japan Airlines
Using your Emirates miles to book flights on Japan Airlines usually isn’t the best option, but they do offer decent pricing on flights from Japan to Australia or Hawaii. You can fly these routes for:
Economy: 40,000 miles.
Business class: 85,000 miles.
First class: 125,000 miles.
The bottom line
It’s always great to see new benefits and transfer partners being added to popular programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards®. While Emirates probably won’t be the best program for all your travel needs, they do have a number of decent sweet spots that are worth remembering when you book your next trip. Just watch out for potentially hefty surcharges.
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice: Find the best travel credit card for you Snag these hotel loyalty perks, even if you’re disloyal Earn more points and miles with these 6 strategies