Get instant elite status and lounge access with Emirates’ new US credit cards

Sep 14, 2020

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Earlier this year, Emirates and Barclays teased a new credit card that would be in the works for U.S. residents. Well, today, we now know all the details — and it’s not just one cobranded card, but in fact, two.

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“We’re excited to introduce our first-ever cobranded credit card in the U.S. to help travelers accumulate even more Skywards Miles on their everyday spend and travel purchases,” said Dr. Nejib Ben Khedher, divisional senior vice president, Emirates Skywards.

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That’s good news, since Emirates and its Skywards loyalty program is becoming an increasingly attractive option to book flights. That’s because the program partners with all the major transferable points currencies (including Citi most recently) and also recently slashed hundreds of dollars off its fuel surcharges.

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 to earn status with an airline — with no initial spending or flying required.

However, 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

(Photo by Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy)

Emirates Skywards Rewards World Elite Mastercard

The entry-level Emirates Skywards card has an annual fee of $99 and is offering a modest 30,000 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 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 new first class on the 777 (Photo by Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy)

Emirates Skywards Premium World Elite Mastercard

The premium flavor of the Emirates Skywards card has an annual fee of $499 and is offering a modest 40,000 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 perks are found in many other cards, including unlimited Priority Pass Select membership for the cardholder and a guest, along with a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit every five years.

Related: Review of Emirates First Class, Dubai to Los Angeles

Accessing the lounges

After a months-long hiatus, 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 US airline lounges are open?

Earning

As with many cobranded airline cards, the category bonuses on both of these cards are fairly standard. While not particularly lucrative, the 2x miles on travel is a broad category that should trigger for 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 2020

Bottom line

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

One of the best ways to do that is by strategizing your points and miles for that next trip. If Emirates is on your radar — along with its SkyWards partner airlines — there’s good news on that front. Both of these credit cards are unique, giving you elite status immediately even stepping foot on a plane.

Featured photo by Ryan Patterson/The Points Guy.

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