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Emirates Skywards Miles have a fixed lifespan. According to the Emirates Skywards terms and conditions page, Skywards miles are valid for three years from the date of travel.
Unlike a significant number of other airline awards programs, there is no way to keep your miles alive by earning or redeeming miles. Regardless of the activity on your account, your miles will be forfeit after the 3 years. Fortunately, Emirates does offer the option of reinstating expired miles for a fee.
When Will my Emirates Miles Expire?
Seems like a simple question, right? If you thought the answer is three years to the date of your flight, you would be mistaken! Emirates operates a complex system to determine the exact date of your miles expiry. Skywards miles expire in the third year after earning — but at the end of your birthday month.
So, if you took a flight in January 2020 and your birthday is in February, your miles will be removed from your account at the end of February 2023.
Immediately there is a problem; what happens if your birthday is before your flight month? Considering the above example, what would happen if your birthday was in January, and you took a flight in February 2020. After reaching out to Emirates, they confirmed your miles do not expire in January 2023 (which would be less than 3 years). Instead, your Skywards miles would expire at the end of January 2024.
This leads to a unique quirk in the Emirates program. If you take a flight for your birthday, your miles will last for right around 3 years (ignoring how many days are between your birthday and the end of the month). However, taking a flight the month after your birthday gives your miles an effective lifespan of 3 years and 11 months!
This can lead to some unfair outcomes. Say two people took the same flight in January 2021. One traveler was born in February and the other in December. Their miles would expire at the end of February 2024 and December 2024, respectively. That's a significant difference for miles earned on the same flight.
If you really want to maximize your Emirates miles lifespan, book flights in the months shortly following your birthday month!
Track Your Skywards Expiration Through AwardWallet
AwardWallet can help save you the hassle of calculating tracking when your Skywards miles expire. Link your accounts and AwardWallet will automatically check and track your expiration for Skywards — and most other airline, hotel, and other loyalty programs.
To add your Emirates Skywards account, log into your AwardWallet account and then click this link to link your Emirates Skywards account.
COVID Status and Miles Validity Extension
In line with most major airlines, Emirates has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by extending the validity of miles and Elite status. According to the Emirates website, all Skywards miles due to expire on or after April 2020 have been extended through December 31, 2021.
Also, if you hold elite status with Emirates, then your Tier Review date has been extended through 2022. So, if your review date was April 30, 2021, your Tier Review will now be on April 30, 2022.
Retaining your status will depend on your travel patterns between March 31, 2021 and March 31, 2022. Although Emirates does state, it may make retention requirements easier due to the ongoing travel restrictions.
Reinstating Expired Skywards Miles
If your Skywards miles expired due to unforeseen circumstances, you still have a chance to reinstate them. However, it is expensive. You can only reinstate miles that have expired in the last 6 months, and miles are reinstated in blocks of 1,000 at the cost of $20 per 1,000 miles. Reinstating expired miles is limited to 50,000 Skywards miles per calendar year.
Once reinstated, your miles will have a shorter lifespan. Reinstated miles are valid for 12 months from the date of reinstatement. So, make sure that you have a plan to use your miles before paying dearly to reinstate them.
Emirates also offers an additional unusual way of extending your miles. If you have miles that are about to expire in the next 3 months. You can pay the reinstatement fee in advance and extend the validity for 12 months from the date of expiry.
How to Top Off Your Skywards Balance
Perhaps you want to use your Skywards miles before they expire, but don't have enough miles to book an award. You're in luck if you have any type of transferrable points. Since April 2020, Skywards is a transfer partner of all five major transferrable points programs:
- American Express Membership Rewards (1:1)
- Chase Ultimate Rewards (1:1)
- Citi ThankYou Points (1:1)
- Capital One Miles (2:1)
- Marriott Bonvoy (3:1 with a 5,000-mile bonus for transferring 60,000+ points)
Emirates Skywards sports a rather unique expiration policy. Rather than expiring exactly 3 years after being earned, Emirates waits until the end of your birthday month before your Skywards points expire. Thankfully, it's easy to track your Skywards expiration date through AwardWallet and top off your account through transfer partners.
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