Elite status and 60,000 miles: Emirates unveils elevated offers on its new card lineup

Feb 10, 2021

In the midst of the pandemic last year, Emirates launched a new credit card lineup for U.S. residents. In partnership with Barclays, the two cobranded cards appeal to fans of the Dubai-based carrier — with perks aplenty.

Now, there’s an elevated offer on both of these cards. Besides the up to 60,000 bonus Skywards Miles — worth $720 according to TPG’s most valuations — one of the unique perks is instant elite status for a year, with the ability to hold on to it after hitting a certain spending threshold.

The Emirates Skywards loyalty program can be an attractive option to book flights. For instance, the (mostly) distance-based program partners with all the major transferable points currencies and also recently slashed hundreds of dollars off its fuel surcharges for its own flights.

Let’s dive into both of these cards and their benefits.

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Related: The top credit cards from international airlines

In This Post

Instant Emirates Skywards elite status

One of the most exciting elements about both of these card products from Emirates and Barclays is that they will offer immediate elite status for one year upon card enrollment. This arguably makes it the easiest card you can use to earn status with an airline — with no initial spending or flying required.

To retain your Emirates Skywards status after the first year, you’ll have to accumulate a certain threshold of spending each card membership year.

Related: Everything you need to know about Emirates Skywards

Emirates Skywards Rewards World Elite Mastercard®

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

The entry-level Emirates Skywards card has an annual fee of $99 and is offering 50,000 bonus Skywards Miles after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening. It also comes with Silver tier Skywards status. Typically, Silver members have to earn 25,000 Tier Miles or fly 25 flight segments. There are a handful of notable perks with Silver status, including:

  • Complimentary access to Emirates Business Class lounges in Dubai
  • 25% bonus Skywards Miles on Emirates flights
  • Free Economy Class seat selection
  • Priority check-in and boarding

To retain Silver status after the first year, cardholders will have to spend $20,000 on the card during the course of the card membership year.

Related: The best programs to book Emirates awards

Emirates Skywards Premium World Elite Mastercard®

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

The premium flavor of the Emirates Skywards card has an annual fee of $499 and is offering 60,000 bonus Skywards Miles after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening. It also comes with Gold tier Skywards status. Typically, Gold members have to earn 50,000 Tier Miles or fly 50 flight segments. With Gold, you’ll get even more perks on top of the Silver status benefits mentioned above. These include:

  • Complimentary access to Emirates Business Class lounges worldwide for the cardmember and a guest
  • 50% bonus Skywards Miles on Emirates flights
  • Priority baggage delivery

To retain Gold status after the first year, cardholders will have to spend $40,000 on the card during the course of the card membership year.

Other cardholder perks include unlimited Priority Pass Select membership for the cardholder and a guest, along with a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit (up to $100) every five years.

Related: Review of Emirates first class, Dubai to Los Angeles

Accessing the lounges

After a months-long hiatus, much of the Emirates premium experience has resumed, including the reopening of lounges in Dubai. While some lounges around the world are currently closed, the good news is that you can access them with these cards — including the Dubai location — even if you’re not flying Emirates.

Emirates lounge. (Photo by Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy)

Related: Which U.S. airline lounges are open?

Earning

As with many cobranded airline cards, the category bonuses on both of these cards are fairly standard. With a TPG valuation of 1.2 cents per Skywards Mile, a 3x bonus on Emirates purchases is equivalent to about 3.6 cents in rewards per dollar spent. And while not amazingly lucrative, the 2x Skywards Miles (worth 2.4 cents) on travel is a broad category that should be triggered by many purchases.

  • Earn 3 Skywards Miles for every $1 spent on eligible Emirates purchases
  • Earn 2 Skywards Miles for every $1 spent on eligible travel purchases, including airfare, hotel stays and car rentals
  • Earn 1 Skywards Mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases

Related: These are the best airline credit cards of 2021

Here’s a look at a few of the best uses of those miles once they land safely in your Emirates frequent flyer account. (Hint: The insane first-class suites are a great choice!)

(Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

Bottom line

While international flying may still be on pause for many people now, it is an ideal time to look forward to — and plan for — future travel.

One of the best ways to do that is by earning and strategizing your points and miles for that next trip. If Emirates is on your radar, there’s good news on that front. Both of these credit cards give you elite status immediately without you even stepping foot on a plane.

(Photo by Samantha Rosen/The Points Guy)

And the elevated sign-up offers are just the icing on the cake. Or, since it’s Emirates, we’ll instead say the miles are just the olives on the inflight bar while flying at 36,000 feet.

The information for the Emirates cards has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Featured photo by Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy.