Since the demise of MBNA's Skywards cards, it's no longer possible to get your hands on a dedicated Skywards credit card in the UK. But you can still earn points that are transferable for miles to enjoy premium travel benefits and discounts.
If you’re a frequent flyer with Emirates or any of the airline’s partners, a credit card that earns Skywards Miles could help you get reward flights and upgrades faster. As well as earning points for your everyday spending, some cards offer you other travel benefits such as airport lounge access and complimentary insurance. Depending on the card you choose, you could also enjoy a lump sum of welcome bonus points as a new cardholder.
The good news is that you can convert American Express Membership Rewards points into Skywards Miles, at a ratio of one Membership Rewards point to one Skywards point. You can connect your Amex account to your Skywards account, or call Amex and ask them to do it for you. You’ll need to transfer in multiples of 500 points, and the minimum you can transfer is 1,000 points.
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card
10,000 Membership Rewards point welcome bonus
2 complimentary airport lounge visits per year
No annual fee in year 1
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.9% (variable) p.a. with an annual fee of £140 (£0 in first year), your representative APR is 57.6% APR (variable).
Table: sorted by representative APR, promoted deals first
Updated February 29th, 2020
Approval for any credit card will depend on your status. The APR shown represents the interest rate offered to most successful applicants. Depending on your personal circumstances the APR you're offered may be higher, or you may not be offered credit at all. Fees and rates are subject to change without notice. It's always wise to check the terms of any deal before you borrow.
Weigh up the following features when you compare Emirates credit cards so that you can find one that’s right for you:
Sign-up offers. Introductory benefits such as a lump sum of bonus points, an enhanced earn-rate, 0% interest periods or reduced annual fees for the first year add value to the card when you first get it. But it’s important to also consider the ongoing features if you’re planning to use the card beyond that promotional period.
Earn rate. Look at the number of points per £1 spent and your average spending to help you work out the value of a card. Remember to also consider the conversion rate if you’re looking at cards that let you transfer rewards points to Skywards Miles.
Interest rate. Pay attention to the rate of interest charged for purchases if you think you’ll carry a balance on your credit card because interest fees can easily outweigh the value of rewards. If you habitually pay off your monthly balances, interest rates may not be such a major factor.
Annual fee. The annual fees for rewards cards differ quite wildly from card to card. Make sure that these costs don’t outweigh the value you get from your rewards by considering your average spending and the number of points/miles that will give you each month and year.
Other benefits. Depending on the card you choose, you could get access to perks including complimentary insurance, airport lounge access, travel credit and personal concierge services. While these extras can add value to the card, make sure you consider whether or not you’ll use them to decide if they’re worth it for you.
Other costs. If you plan to use your credit card overseas, be aware that foreign transaction fees usually apply (they’re typically around 3%). Other potential costs include cash advance fees (that’s when you withdraw cash using a credit card, which is generally best avoided).
What are the alternative options for frequent flyers?
Looking for a new frequent flyer programme? British Airways offers cards that earn Avios directly, and Virgin Atlantic cards earn Virgin Flying Club miles.
Updated February 29th, 2020
How to apply for an Emirates credit card
You can apply for any of the cards featured on this page online in around 15 minutes. Once you’ve chosen your card, be sure to use the issuer’s “eligibility checker” facility to find out if your application would stand a decent chance of getting approved. You can also check if you meet the eligibility criteria, which usually include:
Age. You’ll need to be at least 18 years old.
Residency status. You must be a UK resident to apply.
Income. Some credit cards require you to earn a specific amount of money before you’re eligible to apply. Be sure to check the “application requirements” for these details.
Frequently asked questions about Emirates credit cards
Yes, you do. Joining the Emirates Skywards program is simple, and you don’t have to pay a fee. For indirect earn credit cards, you will be required to provide your Emirates Skywards frequent flyer account details and submit a request to convert your points.
Depending on the credit card you choose, you could request an additional cardholder for your account. The additional cardholder would then be able to earn points/miles for your account when they use the card. Note that some cards may charge an annual additional cardholder fee for this option and also that you’d still be solely responsible for paying off all debt and interest.
You can use your accumulated miles for flight upgrades, or redeem them for a variety of store products and travel-related services including car rental and hotel accommodation. You can also put the miles towards popular sporting and cultural events, or even donate them to a charity.
Yes, you can use your Skywards Miles towards eligible flights with Emirates partner airlines. These include Air Mauritius, Alaska Airlines, easyJet, Japan Airlines, Jet Airways, JetBlue, Jetstar, Korean Air, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, S7 Airlines, South African Airways, TAP Portugal and Virgin America.
Chris Lilly is a publisher at finder.com. He's a specialist in credit-based products including business and personal loans, mortgages and credit cards, and is passionate about helping UK consumers make informed decisions about their borrowing. In his spare time Chris likes forcing his kids to exercise more.
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