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 options. So, it’s regrettable that we’re only assigning an ACRV of $0.0043 per Emirates Skywards mile. That said, the program does offer some promise if one is willing to be flexible.
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 Wednesday/Thursday was 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 $0.04/mile. While economy seats appear to be bookable on almost every flight, the premium ones are largely off-limits. A real shame, considering most of these are something of a “goal” to 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 + $770.99 in fees. The lowest priced cash alternative was $6,256, providing a redemption value of $0.0388/mile. This alone is good, but considering it’s the best we could do, it’s awful.
Further working against Skywards’ valuation are the obscene mandatory fees. Averaging $461.56 per itinerary, they are even worst than British Airways at $339.76.
All this said, our recommendation would unfortunately be to keep Emirates as a backup option. You’ll likely find better award opportunities booking an Emirates flight via Alaska’s Mileage Plan.