Emirates has launched a new version of its Skywards+ plans, a paid subscription that grants customers additional benefits when traveling on the airline.
Even if you’re not a frequent Emirates passenger, there’s one particularly interesting benefit that could save you a big chunk on a Skywards award, and single-handedly pay for the membership after just one trip.
What is Skywards+?
Skywards+ members pay an annual membership fee ranging from US$399 to US$999, in return for the following benefits:
|20% Bonus Skywards miles||✔||✔||✔|
|20% Bonus Tier Miles||✔|
|20% Off Skywards Classic Rewards||✔||✔||✔|
|20% Off Skywards Upgrade Rewards||✔||✔|
|Pref. Cash + Miles Rate||✔||✔||✔|
|Emirates Lounge Passes||2||5||10|
|Baggage Allowance||+5kg||+10kg or 1 pc.||+10kg or 1 pc.|
Memberships are activated instantly, and expire at the end of the 12th month following subscription. For example, someone who subscribes on 6 November 2021 will enjoy Skywards+ benefits until 30 November 2022. To stretch your membership, try to apply at the beginning of the month.
Benefits are non-transferrable and can only used by the Skywards+ member (except for the discount on award redemptions, which we’ll get to in the next section).
You can find the full T&Cs of Emirates Skywards+ membership here.
Is Skywards+ worth it?
While the lounge passes and extra baggage perks are nice, what’s really catching my attention is the discount on Skywards awards.
All Skywards+ subscribers receive a one-time 20% discount on a Classic Rewards ticket (basically an award flight on Emirates metal). This discount applies to all passengers on a single booking, whether it’s one-way or roundtrip (but not multi-city/open-jaw bookings), whether it’s Economy, Business or First. There’s also no need for the rest of the passengers on the itinerary to be Skywards+ members (though the Skywards+ member him/herself must be traveling).
Suppose you wanted to try Emirates First Class on the Singapore to Dubai route. A round-trip award costs 197,500 miles, so you’d save 39,500 miles with the 20% discount. Assuming a value of 2 cents per mile, that’s S$790 of savings- way more than the US$399 price tag already.
Of course, the savings get bigger the more people in your itinerary or the further you fly. Two people traveling in First Class from Singapore to New York would save 143,000 miles, for example.
Skywards doesn’t have an award chart, so if you’re curious to know the cost of a given route, you’ll have to play around with the miles calculator. For ease of reference, here’s the round-trip cost for selected destinations out of Singapore.
|RT cost per pax.||Business Class||First Class|
Emirates does impose fuel surcharges, but they’re relatively mild (at least compared to before).
Here’s a few other things to note about Skywards+ perks:
- While the 20% off Skywards Classic Rewards coupon must be used within the subscription period, the travel date can be outside the subscription period
- Lounge passes must be used in conjunction with an Emirates flight; you can’t use them when traveling on another airline
- The 20% off Skywards Upgrade Rewards coupon must be used on Emirates.com; it does not apply to upgrades at the airport
Earning Skywards miles in Singapore
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 rate of 450 MR points= 250 miles (400 MR points for Platinum Charge/Centurion) to Emirates Skywards as it does all its other frequent flyer partners.
I’d say that someone who intends to redeem Skywards miles for flights should definitely do the math on a Skywards+ membership, especially if he/she is traveling with a partner or family.
Frequent travelers on Emirates would also find the 20% bonus on Skywards miles useful, and some lounge passes never hurt anyone.