Emirates is currently offering a limited-time bonus on Skywards miles purchases, which runs from now till 22 May 2021.
- From now till 8 May 2021 3.59 a.m SGT, a 100% bonus will be awarded
- From 8 May 2021 4 a.m SGT to 22 May 2021 3.59 a.m SGT, a 45% bonus will be awarded
For perspective, a 100% bonus would be the biggest sale this program has ever offered.
A minimum of 5,000 miles is required to trigger the bonus, and the maximum number of miles you can purchase per year is capped at 100,000 (pre-bonus). In other words, you can buy up to 200,000 miles (post-bonus) during this sale, at a cost of 1.5 US cents each.
Only accounts that have had some activity (defined as earning at least one mile) may purchase miles, and all purchases should be credited within 48 hours.
Saver award space has returned to Emirates Skywards
Before we talk about whether it’s worth buying miles during this sale, let’s first discuss the Emirates Skywards situation.
Back in May 2020, Emirates reduced fuel surcharges by more than 50% on most routes (OMAAT keeps saying that Emirates “eliminated” fuel surcharges, but that’s not what I’m seeing). 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 once more, something I couldn’t see back in May last year.
|⚠️ 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.|
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!
But coming back to our substantive question, is it worth buying Emirates Skywards miles during the current sale?
Well, put it this way. At a cost of 1.5 US cents per mile, you’re paying US$2,850 for a round-trip Business Class ticket to the USA, plus another S$770 or so of fuel surcharges. It’s certainly cheaper than paying the regular price, but I wouldn’t call it the deal of a lifetime.
Moreover, you should be able to redeem KrisFlyer miles for the same routes with no fuel surcharges- and keep in mind it’s much cheaper to acquire them. For a limited time, Citibank cardholders can buy miles from just 0.8 cents each through Citi PayAll, so that same Business Class ticket to the USA could theoretically cost just ~S$1,600!
I’d say this sale is most suited to those who really want to try Emirates’ premium cabin products, since Skywards miles are the easiest way for someone in Singapore to redeem them.
What card should I use?
Purchases of Emirates Skywards miles are processed by Points.com in USD (i.e they are not coded as airline transactions). Here’s the best cards to maximize the miles earned on your purchase:
|4 mpd||Cap of S$1K per s. month|
|UOB Visa Signature|
|4 mpd||Min S$1K Max S$2K FCY spend per s. month|
|SCB Visa Infinite|
|3 mpd||Min spend S$2K per s. month|
|S. Month= Statement Month | C. Month= Calendar Month|
I personally don’t recommend the DBS Woman’s World Card for Points.com purchases, as many people have reported issues with getting the bonus points credited.
Transfer Emirates Skywards miles from AMEX and Standard Chartered credit cards
If you need to further supplement your Emirates Skywards account, both American Express and Standard Chartered offer transfers to this frequent flyer program.
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.
While a 100% bonus is the largest we’ve ever seen Emirates Skywards offer, I tend to think you’d still get better value by accumulating KrisFlyer miles instead. This sale is a better bet for those who really want to experience Emirates’ premium cabin products, as opposed to those who just want the cheapest way of flying in Business/First Class.
For a primer on the Emirates Skywards program, have a read of the guide I included in this post.