Barclays has announced a partnership with Emirates on the airline’s first-ever co-branded credit card available to U.S. customers. First confirmed in a Barclays Q4 earnings report and expected this spring, the new product should offer U.S. flyers their first chance to earn Emirates Skywards miles directly with the airline through credit card spend.
As reported by The Points Guy, Barclays Group CEO Jes Staley said in a conference call that the project represents “a great growth opportunity for Barclays and adds to the strong and profitable partnerships [the issuer has] with top brands in the U.S. like American Airlines and Uber.” The Emirates credit card is set to join other Barclays credit cards available to U.S. customers from airlines such as American, Frontier, Hawaiian, JetBlue and Lufthansa.
Though details on the card’s rewards rate, bonuses and perks are scarce, the prospect of earning miles with a Middle Eastern airline’s co-branded credit card is sure to interest U.S.-based flyers who frequently visit the region or connect through Dubai. Such users may also benefit from the ability to transfer Emirates Skywards miles to one of the airline’s 15 partners, which include Alaska Airlines, JetBlue, Qantas and Japan Airlines.
That said, given the rewards rate already available on a premium travel card like The Platinum Card® from American Express, which earns 5 Membership Rewards points per dollar on flights booked directly with the airline, the Emirates card may have a hard time standing out. It’s unlikely that a co-branded airline card will match such a rewards rate, but it could offer value in another way, such as giving users a fast-track to elite status, Emirates lounge access or a chance to earn companion vouchers.
Currently, you can transfer points and miles from a number of travel rewards programs to the Emirates Skywards program, including from American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Marriott Bonvoy and Capital One rewards. We value Emirates Skywards miles at just 1.1 cents each, however, so such transfers may not always offer the best value. The airline is also known to impose hefty surcharges.
Transferring rewards to the Emirates Skywards program
|Chase Ultimate Rewards||1:1|
|Amex Membership Rewards||1:1|
|Capital One rewards||2:1|
|Marriott Bonvoy||3:1 (with a 5,000 mile bonus for every 60,000 Marriott points transferred)|
You can also earn Emirates Skywards miles from crediting paid flights on Emirates or one of its partner airlines to your Skywards account. You accrue Skywards miles based on a combination of route, fare class, travel class and elite status, with Silver, Gold and Platinum elite members earning a 25%, 50% and 75% bonus respectively.
You can earn Skywards miles on eligible flights with the following Emirates partner airlines:
- Air Mauritius
- Alaska Airlines
- Copa Airlines
- GOL Linhas Aereas Inteligentes
- Japan Airlines
- Korean Air
- Malaysia Airlines
- S7 Airlines
- South African Airways
- TAP Portugal
More details on the new Emirates airline credit card should be coming soon. In the meantime, you can check out The Points Guy’s guide to Emirates Skywards to see if the program may be a good fit for you.