Updated January 25th, 2020
We are honestly disappointed with Emirates Skywards’ valuation. As the largest Middle Eastern carrier, and legend among points and miles travelers, we had hoped for more lucrative redemption opportunities. So, it’s regrettable that we’re only assigning an ACRV of 0.46¢ per Emirates Skywards mile. This represents as a negligible 7% increase in value since last year.
|Current||Previous Period||$ Change||% Change|
|International Non-Zero Average||1.04¢||1.07¢||-0.03¢||-3%|
Emirates is of particular interest to those willing to travel mid-week. As all our hypothetical departures fall on Fridays, Emirates was perhaps unfairly punished. Search after search, we saw no weekend availability while Tuesdays/Wednesdays were wide open.
Of particular annoyance was their non-unified award booking portal. Unlike many airlines, Emirates requires separate searches for award space on partners and their own metal. This makes running a number of queries a real chore.
Most disappointing is the complete lack of high-value award redemptions. Not a single one over 4¢/mile. While economy seats were available on almost every flight, the premium-cabine ones are largely off-limits. A real shame, considering many of these are something of a goal for points and miles travelers.
Our best redemption for the month came from a first-class award seat between London and Hong Kong offered for 141,250 miles + $776 in fees. The lowest priced cash alternative was $5,947, providing a redemption value of 3.66¢ per mile.
Further working against Skywards’ valuation are the obscene mandatory fees, averaging $445.93.
All this said, our recommendation would unfortunately be to keep Emirates Skywards as a backup option. You’ll likely find better award opportunities booking an Emirates flight via Alaska’s Mileage Plan.
Emirates is currently a transfer partner of Chase, Amex and Capital One. Those holding Ultimate Rewards might be better off using Chase’s own portal. A Sapphire Reserve guarantees at least 1.5¢ per mile in value while a Sapphire preferred offers 1.25. Either top EK’s current valuation of 0.46¢.
Those holding Membership Rewards will likely find more lucrative redemption opportunities by transferring elsewhere. Flying Blue to Europe/Africa and ANA to Asia should provide a better return on spend.