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Emirates recently launched Skywards+ subscription plans. While this originally elicited a big yawn from me, reading the details makes it more interesting. The math on this might surprise you. Here are the details of the available plans — and how they might be useful to even periodic Emirates travelers.
Pricing Plans of Emirates Skywards+
There are 3 different Emirates Skywards+ plans available:
- Skywards+ Classic — $399 per year
- Skywards+ Advanced — $699 per year
- Skywards+ Premium — $999 per year
Comparison of Emirates Skywards+ Plan Benefits
You can see a comparison of the benefits in each level of Emirates Skywards+ subscription plans in the image above.
For most people, the similarities are more important than the differences. Each level of Emirates Skywards+ includes the following:
- 20% Discount on Classic Rewards
- Preferential Cash+Miles rates
- 20% Bonus Skywards Miles
- Extra weight allowance on checked baggage
And here are where the plans differ:
- Number of airport lounge access passes — 2 for Classic vs 5 for Advanced vs 10 for Premium
- Upgrade rewards discounts — only included in the Advanced and Premium plans
- Extra checked bag allowance — only included in the Advanced and Premium plans
- Bonus Tier Miles — only included in the Premium plan
The Positives of Skywards+ Plans
The Skywards redemption discount is probably the most attractive benefit of these Skywards+ plans. Given the number of miles required for Classic Rewards in premium cabins, this one benefit can present a significant amount of mileage savings.
To fly over the ocean in business or first class will generally cost over 100,000 miles. So, saving 20,000 miles — or 40,000 miles if you’re redeeming as a couple — from your Skywards stash could justify paying the Skywards+ fee. And that mileage savings only grows with more distance flown.
Thus, Emirates Skywards+ subscription plans can also make a redemption possible what wouldn't be possible otherwise. Say you only have 80,000 Skywards miles but want to make a redemption costing 100,000 miles. With this Skywards+ discount, you can now book this award.
Read more: The best uses of Emirates Skywards miles.
There are two drawbacks of this mileage discount worth highlighting:
- The 20% discount on a Classic Rewards redemption is only valid once per year. Make sure you use this for maximum value. It’s unclear yet if / how you can decline this redemption on a low-value redemption to save it for more value on a later redemption.
- The 20% discount on a Classic Rewards redemption only applies to online bookings. If you’re getting errors when booking online and call to make a redemption, you won’t get the discount.
Emirates has launched some interesting subscription plans in Skywards+. Even if you plan to make just one premium cabin redemption through Skywards this year, signing up for one of these Skywards+ plans could be worthwhile.
Unless you are flying a lot of cash tickets with Emirates (thus earning a lot of bonus miles) or flying economy quite often but desperately want the lounge access, the higher-cost plans don’t add significant value. The Classic plan is likely sufficient to accomplish the main goal: saving more than what you spend on the subscription fee.
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