Emirates offering 35% discount on Skywards miles (and brings back Saver space)

Emirates Skywards miles are still too expensive, but the return of Saver space and removal of fuel surcharges make it a viable place to transfer credit card points.

For a three-day period, Emirates is offering a 35% discount on purchases of Skywards miles, the largest discount I’ve ever seen them run (someone fact check me if you know of a bigger sale). 

More interesting, however, is the fact that Saver space has returned once more. This, coupled with the recent reduction in fuel surcharges, may make Emirates Skywards worth looking at. 

Buy Emirates Skywards miles with a 35% discount

From now till 3.59 a.m SGT on 19 August 2020, Emirates is selling Skywards miles with a flat 35% discount. This offer applies when you purchase at least 5,000 miles in a single transaction, and members can buy a maximum of 100,000 miles per calendar year. 

The regular price of Emirates Skywards miles is ~4.27 SG cents each, so with a 35% discount, you’re paying 2.77 SG cents each. 

Saver award space has returned to Emirates Skywards

Emirates B777 Business Class

Before we talk about whether it’s worth buying miles during this sale, let’s first discuss the Emirates Skywards situation. 

Back in May, Emirates reduced fuel surcharges by more than 50% on most routes. This was fantastic news, given that their absurdly high fuel surcharges could often cost more than S$1,000 on a round-trip premium cabin award.

The flip side was that Saver award space also went missing, and only the much more expensive Flex Plus awards remained. You’d now pay more miles, but less cash. 

At the time, I speculated that this may only be temporary, as Emirates might simply not be selling any tickets in the Economy and Business Saver buckets. Fortunately, it seems like that was correct, as Saver awards are appearing online once more. 

Take Singapore to Dubai in Business Class, for example. This should cost 105,000 miles for a round-trip Saver award, or 145,000 miles for a round-trip Flex Plus award. I’m now able to find 105,000 miles options, something I couldn’t see back in May. 

Or take Singapore to New York. The last time I ran this search, only Flexi Plus Business Class awards were available for 262,500 miles. Now, I can see Saver Business Class awards at 190,000 miles again!

The flexible date search shows that this isn’t an isolated incident; there are many days with wide open saver awards. 

Emirates does not have an award chart, so if you want to check the mileage required for a particular route, you’ll need to use this calculator.

But coming back to our substantive question, is it therefore worth buying Emirates Skywards miles during the current sale?

Probably not. With a cost of 2.77 SG cents per mile, you’re paying S$5,989 for a round-trip Business Class ticket to New York, and S$3,202 for a round-trip Business Class ticket to Dubai. That’s way too expensive. 

Transfer Emirates Skywards miles from AMEX and SCB credit cards

So why even bring it up? Even though it’s too expensive to buy Emirates Skywards miles, the return of Saver awards and removal of fuel surcharges may make it worthwhile transferring credit card points. 

Both American Express and Standard Chartered offer transfers to Emirates Skywards (AMEX briefly removed Skywards, but added it back later):

KrisFlyer
Star Alliance
           
             
               
               
               
Oneworld
   
             
           
           
             
SkyTeam
             
               
Non-aligned
             
             
Hotels
               
               
             
               

Standard Chartered offers a relatively poor transfer rate of 3.5 SC points= 1 mile (versus 2.5 SC points= 1 mile for KrisFlyer), but AMEX offers the same 450 MR points= 250 miles (400 MR points if you’re a Platinum Charge/Centurion member) for Emirates Skywards as it does all its other frequent flyer partners. 

Therefore, someone with a good-sized stash of AMEX MR points could potentially find good value in Emirates Skywards. I’ll certainly be taking a closer look at it when planning future trips. 

⚠️ Keep in mind though: it’ll still be better to use KrisFlyer miles in most cases, due to their relative availability, lower price and lack of fuel surcharges. This is more for those who really want to try Emirates’ cabin products.

Conclusion

The current Emirates Skywards miles sale is still too expensive for my liking, unless you’re just shy of a few thousand miles for an award and want to top off your account. 

However, the return of Saver awards and reduced fuel surcharges may make Emirates Skywards a viable place to transfer credit card rewards points. 

For a primer on the Emirates Skywards program, have a read of the guide I included in this post. 

Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion with the intention of helping people travel better for less and impressing chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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Tim

I thought there could be value in buying miles for upgrades, if someone else paid for the ticket. Eg work gets you Y you buy miles to use for upgrade to J but even with the discount it’s a crap deal

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