Emirates Now Offers Cash+Miles Flight Bookings

Sep 6, 2016

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

This weekend, Emirates announced a new option for redeeming Skywards miles: using them to offset paid fares. Under this new “Cash+Miles” option, you can redeem miles at a rate of 0.8 cents each toward the base fare of an Emirates ticket. In our latest points and miles valuation, we value Emirates miles at 1.2 cents per mile. So, this new Cash+Miles option definitely isn’t a great value.

However, you can redeem as few as 2,000 miles ($16), making this a (potentially) appealing option if you need to clear out a small Emirates mileage balance. Of course another alternative would be to boost your Emirates mileage balance by transferring points from either American Express Membership Rewards or Starwood Preferred Guest. Then, you can take advantage of award sweet spots or use miles for an upgrade.

Emirates Cash+Miles banner
At just 0.8 cents per mile, the new Cash+Miles option isn’t a great value.

As a general rule, if an airline is trying to convince you to spend miles a certain way, it’s going to be a bad deal. This is true of using miles for TSA PreCheck (Alaska Airlines, Southwest, United Airlines), lounge memberships, to pay for merchandise, gold bars and — yes — paying for airfares.

Airline Pay with Miles Rate (Cents) TPG Valuation
Air Canada Aeroplan ~0.67 1.5
British Airways Executive Club 0.7 – 1.2 1.5
Delta SkyMiles 1.0 1.2
Emirates Skywards 0.8 1.2

Compared to the Aeroplan option to redeem miles at a rate of <0.7 cents per mile — which is less than half of our valuation of Aeroplan miles — this Emirates deal isn’t the worst. However, unless you’re just looking to zero-out a small Emirates Skywards mileage account, you should probably pass.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.