Many airlines now have branded credit cards that can be used for credit and to gain frequent flyer points by spending money. These airline partnership programs are mutually beneficial – you can be rewarded for using your credit card, and the airline benefits from having you as a loyal customer.
If you prefer to travel with Emirates, using an Emirates credit card can help you earn points (known as Emirates Skyward Miles) that can be redeemed for flights, upgrades and other purchases.
Some credit cards with Emirates points also offer benefits such as travel insurance, introductory bonus points and airport lounge access.
What are credit card rewards?
Credit card rewards are perks or benefits that credit card companies offer to give back to their customers and incentivise people to choose them as a provider.
The different credit card rewards types include:
- Travel rewards – Frequent flyer miles such as Emirates points, flight upgrades, airport lounge access, travel insurance, accommodation or transport.
- General rewards – Items such as electronics, appliances and event tickets.
- Cashback – Credit put onto your card as a percentage of your spending. Cashback rewards can include earning a percentage of your retail purchase back, supermarket vouchers and more.
The pros and cons of credit card rewards
When researching credit cards with Emirates points or other frequent flyer rewards programs, it’s worth knowing the pros and cons that come with rewards cards.
- Earn from your purchases – If you plan on making most of your purchases on your credit cards, choosing the right card to suit your needs can be an easy way to access valuable rewards.
- Get discounts and cashback - Reward credit cards often give cashback with each purchase you make, which can bring down the price of future purchases or go towards you credit card balance.
- Travel for free – With enough mileage points earned, you might be able to book flights and accommodation without having to pay.
- Enjoy additional privileges – Many rewards cards offer other useful features such as travel insurance, car rental insurance and purchase insurance.
- High annual fee – Rewards cards can have an expensive annual fee relative to other cards on the market, so compare frequent flyer rewards cards to see what’s available.
- High interest rate – Many rewards credit cards come with a variable interest rate, meaning the rate you pay initially can rise steeply over time. Watch out for reward credit cards that offer a low introductory rate that rises significantly once the introductory period expires.
- Reward limitations – There are often limitations and caps to earning and collecting rewards on credit cards. Read the fine print to make sure you know the terms of your card.
What are Emirates Skywards Miles?
Emirates Skywards is the frequent flyer program of Emirates Airline. Skywards Miles are the frequent flyer points you can earn as an Emirates Skyward member.
Like many other frequent flyer programs, Emirates Skywards is a great way to take advantage of perks such as reduced flight fares and upgrades. Earning Emirates Skywards Miles isn’t difficult to do if you frequently travel with Emirates or have an Emirates credit card.
How do you earn Emirates points?
You can earn Emirate Skywards Miles in three ways:
- Flying with Emirates or partner airlines Air Mauritius, Alaska Airlines, easyJet, flydubai, GOL, Japan Airlines, Jet Airways, JetBlue, Jetstar, Korean Air, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, S7 Airlines, South African Airways, TAP Portugal and Virgin America.
- Making purchases with non-flight partners including InterContinental Hotels, Hertz, Citibank and others.
- Making purchases using an Emirates credit card.
For every dollar you spend with an Emirates credit card, you can earn a certain number of Skywards Miles, which can vary depending on the offer or any promotions running at that time.
How do you spend Emirates points?
As we’ve briefly touched upon, Emirates Skywards Miles can be used to redeem a variety of rewards.
In line with other frequent flyer programs, you can spend points on flights with Emirates or partner airlines. Depending on the number of points you have, you may be able to fly for free or upgrade your ticket at no extra cost.
Emirates Skywards also offers Cash+Miles, which means you can pay for flights using a combination of accrued points and cash. You can choose how many points to put towards the cost of your ticket, starting from 2,000 points.
Along with flight rewards, you can also spend Emirates Skywards Miles on other purchases like hotel accommodation, event tickets or even donate to charity.
How long do Emirates Skywards Miles last?
Once you’ve accrued Emirates Skywards Miles by making purchases on your credit card or otherwise, your points will be valid for three years. Within the calendar year that your points are due to expire, they will be removed from your account at the end of your birthday month.
Many other airlines also set an expiry date for customers’ frequent flyer points or conditions for keeping them. Qantas Points, for example, don’t expire but you need to earn or use them at least once every 18 months to keep them.
Can Emirates points be transferred?
Skywards Miles can be transferred online to another Emirates Skywards account for a fee. This means if you earn points on your Emirates credit card, you can transfer them to another person so they can spend them on flight rewards and other purchases.
Where does Emirates fly to?
If you’re weighing up whether to choose a credit card with Emirates points over another airline partner card, you might be wondering if Emirates flies to destinations you’d like to travel to.
The good news is that Emirates flies to more than 100 destinations in Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Europe and Australia. That means if you’re shopping around for credit cards with Emirates points, you can be fairly confident that your earned Emirates Skyward Miles will get you where you want to go.
And don’t forget that you can use your Emirates points to go towards flights with their partner airlines as well. So even if Emirates doesn’t fly to a destination you’re planning to travel to, one of their partner airlines may do so.
Other airlines with credit card partnerships
Alongside Emirates, there are a number of other airlines with branded credit cards that offer you the chance to earn frequent flyer points for spending:
- Qantas – Most major providers in Australia offer credit cards that allow you to earn Qantas Points
- Virgin – Most major providers in Australia offer credit cards that allow you to earn Virgin Velocity points, and there are several dedicated Virgin Money Velocity credit cards
- Jetstar – Branded credit cards are available that can be used to earn Jetstar miles or Qantas Points
- Air New Zealand – Several partner credit cards are available from providers like American Express, ANZ, NAB and Westpac
- Malaysia Airlines – Several partner credit cards are available from providers like American Express, Citibank, HSBC, Westpac and St George
- Singapore Airlines – Providers like American Express, ANZ and Citibank offer credit cards that allow you to earn KrisFlyer points
As well as dedicated airline credit cards, there are also several other credit cards on the market through which you can earn frequent flyer miles with programs, like flybuys.
^To find the best credit card for you, it's important to think about your personal financial goals and consider which credit card options will likely help you to meet those goals. Remember that the best credit card for you may not be the best credit card for somebody else in differnt circumstances. If you're having trouble with the fine print, or otherwise aren't sure which is the best credit card for you, a qualified financial adviser may be able to help.