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Holiday devaluation: Emirates Skywards increases award prices with no notice

Dec. 23, 2022
4 min read
Emirates first class
Holiday devaluation: Emirates Skywards increases award prices with no notice
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To bring in the holidays, Emirates has increased its award rates again.

Unfortunately, this isn't the only bad news Emirates has rolled out on the award travel front this year. In 2022 alone, we've written the following stories about Emirates Skywards award pricing changes and increased fuel surcharges:

But now, Monkey Miles discovered award rate increases on routes between Dubai and Europe. And then One Mile at a Time found that the increases apply in many more markets.

Emirates doesn't have an award chart but directs flyers to check a miles calculator for prices. Emirates has now mostly updated this calculator, but it may still show the old, lower prices on some searches.

Related: An inside look at Emirates Skywards, as told by the program's president

It's now more expensive to fly Emirates first class on many routes. ERIC ROSEN/THE POINTS GUY

Let's look at a few of the changes.

A one-way award between Dubai and Frankfurt used to cost 38,750 miles in economy class, 72,500 miles in business class and 85,000 miles in first class. The economy-class rate hasn't changed. But now, you'll need to redeem 87,000 miles in business class or 102,000 miles in first class. And taxes and fees aren't insignificant on this one-way award, costing 1,610 United Arab Emirates dirhams (about $438) in business or first class.

EMIRATES.COM

Routes between the U.S. and Dubai are also affected. For example, a one-way award from New York to Dubai used to cost 136,250 miles in first class. But now you'll need to redeem 163,500 miles plus $836.20 to fly in first class.

EMIRATES.COM

One Mile at a Time notes that Emirates' fifth-freedom route from New York to Milan isn't affected and hypothesizes that awards to or from Dubai are what's mostly affected. But concerningly, the Emirates miles calculator says awards from New York to Milan now cost 168,750 miles one-way in first class and 142,500 one-way in business class.

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When I do an award search, the news is better. The search engine claims I can redeem 72,500 miles plus $102.80 to fly one-way in business class or 85,000 miles plus $102.80 to fly one-way in first class from New York to Milan.

EMIRATES.COM

If you want to book Emirates Skywards awards before rates increase more, you can transfer to Skywards from many programs with transferable currencies, including:

Remember that you don't have to redeem miles through the Emirates Skywards program to fly on Emirates. Air Canada and Emirates expanded their partnership in early December by introducing the ability to redeem Aeroplan points for Emirates flights. However, Emirates flights won't be available at the same rates as other Aeroplan award flights, and first-class awards won't be bookable until early 2023.

Featured image by ERIC ROSEN/THE POINTS GUY
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
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    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees