Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.
Travelers can find great redemption values for Emirates Skywards Miles if they know where to look. And due to the airline's extensive network, award flights can be booked with Emirates miles all around the world on many airlines.
You can use Skywards Miles to book travel on either Emirates’ own flights or with one of its partner airlines. And since the airline is a transfer partner of all five major transferrable rewards programs, the options to accrue miles are plentiful. This includes American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One Miles, Chase Ultimate Rewards®, Citi ThankYou points and Marriott Bonvoy.
Here are five sweet spots for Emirates miles for travelers who want to maximize the value of their miles.
» Learn more: The best Chase transfer partners — and ones to avoid
Best ways to redeem Emirates miles
1. Book luxurious first class flights from the U.S. to Europe
Emirates offers one of the most luxurious first class options in the world. Flyers rave about the lavish experience, including over-the-top features like bars and showers onboard.
You can redeem Emirates airline miles to fly first class from New York to Milan for only 170,000 miles and $159 in taxes. This is an excellent deal when you consider these flights regularly cost over $6,000.
Plus, you can take advantage of all of the airline's first class amenities, which include extra baggage allowance, lounge access and a private jetway for boarding. If you want a further review on the first class experience, check out our flight review from Dubai to Amman.
2. Use your miles for upgrades
Upgrading with miles is not always the best value, but many Emirates flights are an exception to this rule. Emirates often runs deals where you can find reasonably priced business class flights from many U.S. destinations. In these instances, it sometimes makes sense to pay cash for the flight and then upgrade with miles.
For example, during Summer 2021, Emirates business class seats are available for about $2,400 with the option to upgrade to first class for 39,000 miles. If you were to pay cash for a first class seat on the same flight, you would spend over $3,800. In this instance, you save $1,400 by using 39,000 miles. That’s not a bad deal.
3. Take advantage of a free stopover
Stopovers are an awesome way to see new places and break up long trips. Unfortunately, stopovers aren’t available with all airlines, and are often further restricted when booking flights with miles.
» Learn more: What are layover, stopover and open jaw tickets?
But Emirates allows free stopovers on tickets that meet certain requirements. For instance, one-way award tickets booked as Flex Plus reward fares can add a free stopover so long as it flies from one flight zone to a different zone in a continuous direction.
For a round-trip award itinerary, you can book stopovers by using the multi-trip booking option to search for your flights. You can even book a free stopover on some partner award tickets that you book using Skywards Miles, like Korean Air and Qantas.
4. Use miles for partner award tickets
Though Emirates is not part of any of the major airline alliances, it has several partnerships with airlines around the world, including:
There aren’t too many partner award sweet spots for Emirates miles partners, but there are a few scenarios where booking via Emirates makes sense.
For instance, JetBlue has dynamic award prices that are tied to the cash price for each flight, while Emirates uses a distance-based award chart for partner bookings. Since Emirates’ chart is set, it could cost way less to book using its miles when JetBlue cash prices are high.
5. Fly Qantas first class from anywhere in the U.S. for less
Qantas is Australia's largest airline, and it has an extensive partnership with Emirates. Both Qantas business and first class are excellent options to make the long trip from the U.S. to Australia. You’ll likely spend fewer miles if you book through Emirates rather than Qantas due to Emirate's distance-based award chart.
If you want to get value out of Emirates Skywards Miles …
Your Emirates Skywards Miles can be used to fly all around the world. Since there are so many ways to accrue them via partners and transferable rewards points, you may be able to book award flights sooner than you would be able to with other airline miles.
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 2022, 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