Members of the American Express Membership Rewards program have a new option for redeeming their Rewards points: Transfer them 1:1 for miles in the Emirates Skywards program.
Points transfers must be made in increments of 1,000, and transfers are non-reversible.
Other airline transfer partners include Aeromexico, Air Canada, Alitalia, ANA, Asia Miles, British Airways, Delta, El Al, KLM/Air France, Frontier, Hawaiian, Iberia, JetBlue, Singapore, Virgin America, and Virgin Atlantic.
So, would you want to transfer Membership Rewards points to Emirates' program?
Award flights from New York to Dubai, Emirates' hub, are priced at 72,500 miles roundtrip in coach, 145,000 miles in business, and 217,500 miles in first class. Prices for beyond-Dubai flights are priced higher. For comparison, U.S.-Middle East awards in United's MileagePlus program are priced at 80,000 miles in coach, 120,000 miles in business, and 150,000 miles in first class.
Aside from Dubai, Emirates' only other non-stop flights from the U.S. are between New York and Milan. Round-trip award flights on that route are priced at 45,000 miles for coach, 90,000 for business, and 135,000 miles for first class. MileagePlus prices for U.S.-Europe awards: 60,000 miles in coach, 100,000 miles in business, and 135,000 miles in first class.
There are, in short, some good values to be found on the Emirates award chart, together with some non-starters.
Note that one-way awards, where available, are priced at more than half the number of miles required for a round-trip.
And be warned that Skywards miles expire three years after they were earned (or transferred from Membership Rewards); they cannot be extended indefinitely with account activity, as they can in most other programs.
Reader Reality Check
Is the addition of Emirates to the Membership Rewards program a game-changer for you?
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