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Credit Card Review: Emirates Skywards Mastercard

Credit Card Review: Emirates Skywards Mastercard

Emirates plane taking off

Fellow Emirates Airlines lovers rejoice!!  The airline recently launched 2 new Emirates Skywards Mastercard credit cards for U.S. travelers through Barclays Bank.  Unlike the Rewards World Elite, the Premium World Elite is targeted towards luxury jet-setters, who value perks like airport lounge access and TSA Pre✓.  On the other hand, regular flyers might love the Rewards World Elite for its low price tag (at $99 vs. $499) and complimentary Emirates Business lounge access.  Here’s a quick review on the 2!

Emirates Skywards Premium World Elite

Emirates Skywards Rewards World Elite

Annual Fee:



Welcome Bonus:

Recommended Credit Score:

Foreign Transaction Fees: 


Emirates Skywards Gold

15.99%, 19.99% or 24.99%

40,000 Skyward Miles 

670 – 850



Emirates Skywards Silver

15.99%, 19.99% or 24.99%

30,000 Skyward Miles 

670 – 850


The Emirates Skywards World Elite Cards are best for …

People who fly with Emirates Airlines frequently, as the most mileage earnings focus on the airline’s flights.  However, Emirates Cards are unique in that, cardmembers can earn 2x miles on other airlines, hotels, and car rentals.  Most U.S. co-branded airline credit cards allow for the most earnings on the relevant airline.  For example, the United Explorer earns only 2X miles per $1 spent on United purchases and 1X miles on other purchases.  Ultimately, even non-Emirates airlines loyalists can benefit from having the card.

Welcome Bonus

Both cards offer a sizeable sign-up bonus.  For the Emirates Skywards Premium World Elite, the welcome bonus is 40,000 miles, while it’s 30,000 miles for the Rewards World Elite.  Both cards have a similar spending requirement of $3,000 on purchases during the first 3 months of card ownership.  Additionally, new members enjoy Emirates Skywards tier membership during the first year.  The Premium World Elite comes with Gold status, while the Rewards World Elite comes with Silver status.  To maintain membership after that first year, there is a yearly spending requirement of $40,000 and $20,000, respectively.

Emirates Skywards World Elite Rewards

While other airline co-branded credit cards earn only 2X miles with the relevant airline, Emirates is a unique case.  You earn 3 Skyward miles per $1 spent at or Emirates Sales Office.  Additionally, members earn 2 Skyward miles per $1 spent on eligible airfare, hotels, and car rentals.  Again, other co-branded airline cards will only allow for bonus miles with hotel/car rental partners ONLY.  Finally, earn 1 Skyward mile for every other purchase.  Spend $30,000/year on the Premium World Elite and earn an additional bonus 10,000 Skyward miles.

Emirates Skywards Miles Redemption

Skywards Miles can be used to book airfare, seat upgrades, hotels, car rentals, football tickets etc.  Emirates has also partnered with some of the major banks, so you can transfer other points to Skyward miles.  For instance, cardmembers can now convert American Express Membership Points or Capital One Miles into Skyward Miles.  This partnership also includes Citi ThankYou Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and HSBC US.

Additional Perks

Premium World Elite

 Unlimited access to 1,200+ airport lounges worldwide for you & guest(s)

  Complimentary access to Emirates Business Class lounges

  $100 credit for Global Entry/TSA Pre✓

▪  50% Bonus miles on Emirates flights

▪  Unlimited Wi-fi on board

▪  Priority check-in, boarding and baggage delivery

Rewards World Elite

  Complimentary access to Emirates Business Class lounges (in Dubai only)

▪  25% Bonus miles on Emirates flights

▪  Unlimited Wi-fi on board

▪  Priority check-in and boarding

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, figuring out the best Emirates Skywards Card for you will depend on a couple of factors.  First, while the Premium World Elite offers a lot more perks than the Rewards World Elite, it does come with a hefty price tag of $499/year.  That might not make sense for those who don’t care for things like lounge access.  However, the Rewards World Elite will get you access to Emirates businesses lounges in Dubai.  Second, the Rewards World Elite is a much more tempting card if you don’t fly Emirates often.  Not only do you also get the option to maximize rewards earned on Emirates flights, but also on many others.  Finally, both cards have solid bonuses, but if you are looking for something more substantial, Chase Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve are better options.

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