Airlines AMEX Credit Cards Emirates

American Express removes Emirates Skywards from transfer partners

Membership Rewards points can no longer be transferred to Emirates, leaving SCB as the airline's sole Singapore partner.

American Express cardholders now have one less airline partner, as Emirates Skywards transfers are no longer available on the Membership Rewards portal.

emirates skywards

This affects all cards which earn Membership Rewards, i.e the American Express Centurion, American Express Platinum Cards, and American Express Rewards card.

amex cards which earn membership rewards points

It’s possible the removal is only temporary. Historically, we’ve seen banks remove  partners for a brief period due to contractual or technical issues, only to reinstate them later. I’m checking with American Express and will update this article when I hear back.

And nothing of value was lost?

emirates new first class
Emirates new First Class may look amazing, but in reality is only available on a handful of aircraft. Plus, awards only appear 48-72 hours before departure | Photo Credit: TPG

If the removal is indeed permanent, I doubt too many tears will be shed. The fact of the matter is, Emirates Skywards never represented great value thanks to the steep fuel surcharges it imposes on awards.

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Here’s some sample award prices out of Singapore:

Business (Saver)
First (Flex)
OW RT OW RT
SIN-DXB 72.5K
+S$346
105K
+ S$686
98.75K
+S$346
157.5K
+ S$686
SIN-MEL 62.5K
+ S$406
90K
+S$825
85K
+ S$406
135K
+ S$825
SIN-DXB-JFK 131.25K
+ S$830
190K
+ S$1.6K
178.75K
+ S$830
262.5K
+ S$1.6K
SIN-DXB-LHR 103.75K
+S$593
150K
+ S$1.5K
141.25K
+S$593
225K
+ S$1.5K
SIN-DXB-ZRH 103.75K
+ S$584
150K
+ S$1.2K
141.25K
+S$584
225K
+ S$1.2K
SIN-PEN 27.5K
+ S$53
40K
+S$53
37.5K
+ S$53
60K
+S$53
SIN-DXB-GRU 137.5K
+ S$782
200K
+S$1.6K
187.5K
+S$782
300K
+S$1.6K

You could easily find cheaper redemption options through KrisFlyer, plus you wouldn’t have to deal with the fuel surcharges.

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Skywards offered a few decent partner awards like Bangkok Airways from Singapore to Koh Samui or Japan Airlines from Singapore to New York, but you could always redeem those for less through programs like Etihad Guest or Alaska Mileage Plan.

That’s not to say the program had no value at all; it just had very niche use cases that didn’t make it worth the time for most frequent flyers.

Where can AMEX Membership Rewards points still be transferred to?

With the loss of Emirates Skywards, AMEX still has seven airlines and two hotel transfer partners. Membership Rewards points can be transferred at the following ratios.

MR Points:
Partner Miles/
Points*
krisflyer logo 450: 250
asiamiles logo 450:250
british airways logo 450:250
china airlines logo 450:250
eva air logo 450:250
enrich logo 450:250
royal orchid plus logo 450:250
hilton honors logo 1000:1250
marriott bonvoy logo 1000:1000
*Centurion and Platinum Charge cardholders enjoy a special rate of 400 points : 250 miles for airline transfer partners

Conversions are free, with the exception of the AMEX Rewards Card where a S$20 fee per transfer applies.

🐛 Bug Alert: The Membership Rewards portal has a longstanding bug which hides the EVA Air option when you’re logged in. That doesn’t mean it’s not available, but it does mean you’ll have to call up customer service to transfer points.

amex transfer partners when logged in vs out

Who else transfers to Emirates Skywards?

AMEX’s removal means that Standard Chartered is the only bank in Singapore still offering points transfers to Emirates Skywards.

*SCB X Card and SCB Visa Infinite card pool points | ^Only among the Membership Rewards earning cards. May require calling up CSO to manually pool | # OCBC$ from Titanium Rewards cards pool. Travel$ and VOYAGE miles do not pool

Unfortunately, SCB’s regular transfer rate to Skywards is a very poor 3.5 points: 1 mile. That’s 40% worse than transfers to some of SCB’s other partners like KrisFlyer, and outside of transfer bonuses, makes it a very unattractive proposition.

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To learn about the full range of transfer partners available in Singapore and how to go about choosing one, refer to our full guide here.

Conclusion

Despite the poor value that Skywards represents, I did actually transfer some points earlier this year just so I could finally give First Class on the Emirates A380 a try. I’m currently booked to fly to Dubai in November, although who knows whether that trip will actually happen.

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Happy Camper

I did the exact same thing.. even if it’s now considered old.. I wanted to try their DXB First Class Lounge, and more importantly, their A380 Suites, and was supposed to have done so just this past March…….. well, abt that…… C’est la vie…

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