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Update: The offer mentioned below for the Platinum Card from American Express has expired. View the current offer here.
Yesterday, American Express Membership Rewards announced the addition of Emirates as a new transfer partner, which was exciting on a number of levels since the airline has become one of the world’s premier carriers and it opens up a slew of new redemption opportunities for folks who earn Membership Rewards on cards like the Premier Rewards, Business Gold Rewards, Platinum and Business Platinum.
I’m planning on testing out a few Emirates redemptions, and I was curious to see if points would transfer instantly to my account, so I linked up my Emirates Skywards account to my Membership Rewards account and transferred over 1,000 points to see how fast it would process. Lo and behold the points showed up in my Skywards account within seconds.
Just to make another test of it, I was even able to make a second transfer of 1,000 points just a few minutes later to see if you can transfer more than once in the same day, and those points transferred instantly as well.
That’s great news for people looking to put their Membership Rewards points to use for Emirates awards since it means you can look up award space, find out what’s available and transfer points as necessary to your account without having to do so speculatively ahead of time. It takes several days for Amex points to transfer to some partners like ANA or Singapore.
Before going through with any Membership Rewards point transfer, American Express asks you to agree to certain terms. The terms and conditions for Emirates are much more lengthy than most airlines and state:
1. Enrollment in the Emirates Skywards Program is required.
2. Membership in the Emirates Skywards Program is at all times subject to the Emirates Skywards Program Rules as set out on the Emirates Skywards website.
3. Transfers will be made immediately, but please allow up to 48 hours for the transfer to be completed.
4. Once transfer is complete, log into your Emirates Skywards account at emirates.com/skywards and follow the procedure for redeeming your Skywards Miles or call Emirates at 1-800-777-3999.
5. Once Skywards Miles are credited to your Emirates Skywards account, changes, reissuance or re-credit of Skywards Miles are not allowed.
6. Please note no booking can be made until the Skywards Miles are credited to your Emirates Skywards account.
7. Emirates flight tickets are subject to availability and Emirates Conditions of Carriage and applicable ticketing conditions as set out on the Emirates website.
8. All redemption bookings are subject to the Emirates Skywards Program Rules as set out on the Emirates Skywards website.
9. Only one Skywards membership account number can be assigned for the transfer of Membership Reward points. Any subsequent change to the Skywards membership account number is not allowed.
10. The transfer of Membership Rewards points to Skywards Miles shall only be valid if transferred from an account held with Membership Rewards program in the member’s own name and transferred to that member’s Emirates Skywards account in the same name. Emirates Skywards reserves the right in its sole discretion not to credit a member’s Emirates Skywards account where Emirates has reason to believe that the identity of the member does not match the identity of the transferor or where there has been any fraudulent activity connected with the transfer or conversion in relation to the member’s account.
I tend to run into issues when transferring my Membership Rewards where my linked frequent flyer account number won’t show up when checking out. If this happens I have to call Membership Rewards customer service (1-800-266-7077) and have a representative process the transfer for me which is inconvenient, but they are always helpful and get it done quickly. Since Emirates is a brand new transfer partner you may have some issues completing transfers but as long as you call the customer service line they can take care of it right away and the points transfer instantly.