Emirates is well known for its premium cabin seats and luxurious experiences. Given that, you might be wondering: What are Emirates Skywards miles worth?
Based on our analysis, the short answer is that they are worth 1 cent each.
This is a baseline value, drawn from real-world data on hundreds of economy routes, not a maximized value. In other words, you should aim for award redemptions that offer 1 cent or more in value from your Skywards miles.
What does this value mean?
Our estimated value of Emirates Skywards miles at 1 cent per mile provides a lower-end value you can use to determine the relative value of your own redemptions. It is based on comparing main cabin fares, using both cash and miles, across several dates and destinations.
In other words, this is the value you can expect to get from your Skywards miles without seeking particularly high-value redemptions. This means you can get more value by looking for sweet spots and using more advanced award techniques. It also means you can end up getting lower value than this if you’re not careful and book the first award ticket you find.
» Learn more: Should I book award travel this year?
How to convert Skywards miles to dollars
With this calculator, you can figure out how much your miles are worth in dollars based on our valuation.
How does the value of Skywards miles change when booking business class?
Emirates Skywards redemptions are much more valuable in business class than economy. Based on our analysis, Emirates business class awards average 3 cents per mile in value. That's three times more than the average of just 1 cent per mile for economy awards.
Emirates economy awards are less valuable than almost any airline program we analyzed. Even Spirit points (1.1 cents per point) are more valuable than Emirates miles for economy awards on their respective airlines.
However, it's the opposite story for Emirates business class awards. Of the programs we've analyzed, only ANA Mileage Club miles have a higher average value in business class.
When is the best time to book with Skywards?
In our analysis, we compared booking flights 15 days until departure, booking 180 days before departure and booking flights during peak winter holidays. Unlike with other mileage programs, we found that you get the best value (although just slightly) from your Emirates Skywards miles for holiday flights.
For economy awards
For economy flights, the difference is small. Close-in bookings average 0.9 cent per mile while advance bookings average 0.8 cent per mile. Holiday bookings edge both out at an average of 1 cent per mile.
For business class awards
The difference is a bit more stark for business class bookings. We found an average of 2.6 cents per mile for bookings made 15 days until departure but just 2.4 cents per mile for bookings made 180 days from departure. At an average of 2.9 cents per mile, holiday flights are much closer to the overall average redemption rate.
How flexible are Emirates Skywards miles?
Emirates isn't a member of a major airline alliance, but that doesn't mean there's a lack of options. You can redeem Skywards miles on over a dozen airlines — including Japan Airlines, JetBlue, Korean Air, Qantas, South African Airways and TAP Portugal.
Partner awards aren't as lucrative as they used to be, but you can still find value on partner awards. For example, you can book awards on TAP Portugal from the U.S. East Coast to Lisbon for 64,000 Skywards miles each way in business class. Or book Japan Airlines business class from Seattle to Tokyo for 76,000 Skywards miles each way.
» Learn more: The beginner's guide to points and miles
How did we determine our Skywards miles value?
We collected hundreds of data points comparing the cash value to award (mile) value for the same routes and dates. That is, we compared the cost of a given ticket in either cash or miles, across many tickets.
This method differs from others in that it looks at actual redemptions rather than hypothetical, maximized redemptions. The advantage of this approach is that it provides a real-world indication of how much these miles are worth, on average. That said, it doesn’t take into account the high-value redemptions that points enthusiasts seek.
Wondering what you can do with those miles? Learn which credit card is best for international award travel.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card