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Emirates just launched a flash sale to buy miles, offering a 35% discount on purchases through January 20, 2022. That's a quick sale, but you have the opportunity to my Skywards miles for as little as 1.95¢ each.
We've obviously seen cheaper deals to buy miles with other airlines. But, considering what you can do with Emirates miles, it could be worth considering this. This is also better than the last few promotions we've seen from Emirates.
A Note on Buying Miles
First, we need to address the elephant in the room. We never recommend buying miles speculatively. Programs can devalue at any time, long-term travel plans can change, and the last thing anybody needs is a substantial investment in a currency they can't use.
However, that doesn't mean buying miles is always a losing proposition. If you're right at the cusp of being able to book your next redemption, buying miles can be an easy (and affordable) way to make it happen. Additionally, buying miles can sometimes be a fantastic way to book premium-cabin travel at a significant discount compared to paying cash. This is especially true with Emirates Skywards, where partner award charts are full of sweet spots to leverage.
- Buy miles promotion is valid through January 20, 2022 at 23:59 Gulf Standard Time (2:59 pm EST in the U.S.)
- Emirates Skywards members can purchase a maximum of 100,000 miles before the bonus.
- You must purchase a minimum of 2,000 miles (no bonus at this level)
- Purchase a minimum of 5,000 miles to unlock the discount (35% discount)
- Purchased miles typically post instantly, although some purchases may take up to 48 hours
- Purchased miles do not count towards status upgrades
- Miles can only be bought by Skywards members that have at least one prior earning activity in the history of your account.
- Mile purchases are non-refundable
When Does It Make Sense to Buy Emirates Miles?
One of the interesting things about Emirates is that it doesn't belong to any major airline alliances—such as Oneworld, SkyTeam, or Star Alliance. Instead, Emirates and its Skywards program have partnerships with 15 other airlines, each with its own rules and award charts. As we alluded to before, a few of these partner award charts present distinct opportunities for attaining outsized value for your Emirates Skywards miles. You can read more about the best uses of Skywards miles here.
Let's go through a few of these sweet spots to demonstrate how you could Emirates Skywards miles for an award redemption and save a boatload, compared to paying the cash fare.
New York — Milan in Emirates First Class
- Mileage Rate: 85,000 miles each way (170,000 miles round-trip)
- Typical Cash Price: $6,232 one way
- Redemption Rate: 7+ cents per mile
- Cost to Purchase Necessary Miles (at 1.95¢ each): $1,658 one way
Boston — St. Thomas in JetBlue Mint
- Mileage Rate: 40,000 miles each way (80,000 miles round-trip)
- Typical Cash Price: $850+ one way
- Redemption Rate: 2.1 cents per mile
- Cost to Purchase Necessary Miles (at 1.95¢ each): $1,560 round-trip
Washington D.C. — Lisbon in TAP Portugal Business Class
- Mileage Rate: 64,000 miles each way (128,000 miles round-trip)
- Typical Cash Price: $3,500 round-trip
- Redemption Rate: 2.7 cents per mile
- Cost to Purchase Necessary Miles (at 1.95¢ each): $2,496 round-trip
Seattle — Tokyo with Japan Airlines (JAL) Business Class
- Mileage Rate: 76,000 miles each way (152,000 miles round-trip)
- Typical Cash Price: $6,000+ round-trip
- Redemption Rate: 4+ cents per mile
- Cost to Purchase Necessary Miles (at 1.95¢ each): $2,964 round-trip
Maximizing Your Purchase
Purchases of Emirates Skywards miles are processed by Points.com. Thus, the purchase won't qualify for any applicable travel category bonus offered on some credit cards. With that in mind, the best option would be to use this purchase towards a minimum spend requirement or to use a great ‘everyday spending' credit card.
Here are some of the best cards to buy miles with:
- The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express: 2X Membership Rewards points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners (applies to first $50,000 spent each year, then 1X)
- Citi® Double Cash Card: Earn 2% cash back on purchases 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay
- Chase Freedom Unlimited®: 1.5% on all other purchases, or 1.5X Ultimate Rewards when points are combined with a qualifying card.
- Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Credit Card: 1.5% cashback on all purchases, with a 25-75% bonus for cardholders with Bank of America Preferred Rewards status
Other Ways to Earn Emirates Skywards Miles
While this is a decent offer to buy miles, you don't have to buy Emirates miles to take advantage of these sweet spots. Emirates Skywards miles are pretty easy to come by. Other than flying on cash fares or buying miles, Emirates Skywards is a transfer partner with tons of programs:
- Amex Membership Rewards — 1:1 transfer ratio (transfers process immediately)
- Bilt Rewards — 1:1 transfer ratio
- Brex Rewards — 1:1 transfer ratio
- Capital One Miles — 1:1 transfer ratio (transfers process immediately)
- Chase Ultimate Rewards — 1:1 transfer ratio (transfers process immediately)
- Citi ThankYou Points — 1:1 transfer ratio
- Marriott Bonvoy Points — 3:1 transfer ratio, with a 5,000-mile bonus for transferring 60,000 points (transfers typically take 3 days)
Another interesting facet of Skywards is that you can pool your miles with up to 8 people. Thus, you can share miles with other people to “add up to it” if you're a bit short on an award redemption.
- Each individual determines how much to contribute to the pool — from 0% to 100% of individual miles.
- Current miles are not moved, only those from future earnings after joining the pool.
This is a fantastic way to pool miles between friends and family. Now, you don't have to worry about accounts with small numbers of miles collecting dust — or worse, expiring needlessly. Even better, when you and a partner travel together on a cash fare, you can both earn miles for the same flight and pool them together. This could reduce the need to buy miles from Emirates.
Paying 1.95¢ per mile with Emirates isn't the best deal Emirates has offered. We've seen 100% bonuses from Emirates before, which brought the price down to 1.5¢ per mile. However, we don't know when (or if) that kind of promotion will ever return. If you have a redemption in mind, this promotion could be worth considering. It can still present cost savings against buying a ticket with cash — especially in premium cabins. Just be sure to do the math beforehand.
Are you going to buy Emirates Skywards miles at 1.95¢ a piece?
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