Emirates has become one of the world’s foremost airlines in recent years. With a fleet of only Boeing 777s and Airbus A380s, the airline offers premium products on every route they fly at competitive pricing. It is an airline that truly serves the entire world and has leveraged their hub in Dubai to become one of the most well-known and revered airlines worldwide. The airline’s frequent flyer program is called Emirates Skywards.
Similar to its UAE counterpart, Emirates Skywards has 4 tier levels. Their base tier is blue, which is followed by silver, gold, and platinum.
Silver is the first level of elite status in the program and requires 25,000 tier miles or 25 flights in a 13 month rolling period. Maintaining silver status requires 25,000 tier miles or 25 flights in the qualifying year.
Gold is the second level of elite status in the program and requires 50,000 tier miles or 40 segments in a 13 month rolling period. Maintaining this tier requires 50,000 tier miles or 50 segments in the qualifying year.
Platinum is the highest tier level in the program and requires 150,000 tier miles a 13 month rolling period. Maintaining this tier requires 150,000 tier miles in the qualifying year. Interestingly, you cannot achieve platinum by the number of flights you take, just by the number of miles you earn.
Emirates’ program is broken up into two different types of miles; Skywards Miles and Tier Miles. Skywards Miles are those that can be spent and can be earned even if you don’t fly through deals like shopping partners. Tier Miles on the other hand, can only be earned from actually flying on the airline (or partner airlines on which tier miles can be earned). Emirates awards the same number of Skywards Miles and Tier Miles on tickets dependent on fare class. For example, an Economy Classic fare will earn less than an Economy Flex ticket. For this reason, it can be much harder to earn status when flying lower fare economy tickets.
Similar to other frequent flying programs, elites in Emirates Skywards earn mileage accrual bonuses on their flights. As is pretty standard across the industry, silver members will earn a 25% bonus, gold members will enjoy a 50% bonus, and a 75% bonus for platinum members.
Many people consider lounge access as one of the key components of elite status. Lounge access simplifies and takes a lot of the stress out of traveling, especially long haul travel.
Silver members in Emirates’ program will enjoy business class lounge access at Dubai International Airport. They are also able to bring guests in at a discounted rate. They are unable to access any lounges outside of Dubai through their elite status.
Gold members, like silver members, are able to access the business class lounge at Dubai International Airport and they are able to bring in one guest. This benefit extends outside of Dubai as gold members will get access to business class lounges or premium lounges at airport worldwide (when flying Emirates) along with one guest.
Platinum members will be able to enjoy Emirates’ first class lounge at Dubai International Airport (or any other Emirates lounge they wish to access). Around the world they will have access to the premium lounges on offer. At Dubai and around the world, platinum elites can bring along one adult guest and two guests under the age of 17.
Emirates elites begin enjoying some of their benefits as soon as they reach the airport as all elites are eligible for priority check-in lines.
Silver members traveling in economy class have seven check-in counters dedicated for them in Dubai’s Terminal 3. Gold members can check-in at any business class counter, regardless of class of travel and platinum members are welcome to check-in at first class counters, regardless of class of travel.
Outside of Dubai:
At any other airport in the Emirates network, silver and gold members can check-in at business class counters and platinum members can check-in at first class counters.
Priority Security and Immigration
Gold and platinum members will enjoy fast track immigration security when in Dubai and whenever possible outside of Dubai as well.
All elite tier levels of Emirates’ frequent flyer program will be able to board along with first and business class.
Gold and platinum members will enjoy their bags being tagged with priority bags. This will ensure that their bags are first on the belt and they can be on their way at their destination sooner.
Onboard upgrade with miles
While a few airlines do allow passengers to upgrade once on board with miles or cash, Emirates limits this benefit to just their elite members. Silver, gold, and platinum members are all allowed to request upgrades on board, but they will have the option to pay with miles only. While it isn’t a free upgrade, limiting this privilege to just elites allows them slightly better opportunities to nab that seat in a higher class.
Being on a waitlist is never a fun part of travel for anyone, but Emirates seeks to make that easier for all members of their frequent flyer program, starting from the base level of blue all the way up to platinum. While higher tier elites will be higher up on the waitlist than others, just being a part of their frequent flyer program can get you on the next flight sooner than someone else. However, note that your Skywards number must be on the reservation for this benefit to kick in.
Emirates elites are allowed a fair amount of excess baggage, but it is not guaranteed on all flights. Silver members will enjoy 12 kg of excess baggage above the ticketed weight, gold members will enjoy 16 kg of excess baggage and platinum members will be allowed 20 kg of excess baggage. It is important to keep in mind that Emirates has certain rules regarding this though, for example, no bag can weigh more than 32 kg on any transatlantic flight. Typically, this excess weight needs to be fit inside the number of bags permitted if it is a piece concept route. However, it is important to note that certain airports and countries have regulations on bags coming into or leaving the country. Passengers can refer to Emirates’ guidelines here and Emirates’ online baggage calculator here. Whether you are an elite member or not, these links will prove vital to ensuring you have a smooth journey.
Seating Benefits and Guaranteed Seats
Emirates gold and platinum members will always have a seat on Emirates flights, even when the flight is full. Gold and platinum members simply need to call an Emirates Contact Center at least 48 hours before their flight to avail of this benefit. For those who already have a ticket, agents on the phone will make sure your ticket is a full Flex fare and if it isn’t, they can upgrade it for you. For those who do not have tickets, agents will be able to book you on your desired flight in eligible booking classes. For platinum members, Emirates will always try to secure business class seats for you as well, but at certain times this won’t be possible and this is not guaranteed.
Platinum members can also redeem Skywards miles for Flex Plus economy or business class seats, even if they are on high demand flights with limited or restricted availability. Using this benefit typically needs to be done through an Emirates Contact Center.
Emirates Skywards silver, gold, and platinum members also enjoy the benefit of complimentary seat selection on their reservations. This will always apply to regular seats, but at times may apply to extra value seats as well. (Example: Extra legroom seats). For gold and platinum members, this benefit extends to any travel companions (on the same booking) as well.
Platinum Exclusive Benefit
Emirates Skywards platinum members are allowed the opportunity to nominate any one Skywards member to become an Emirates gold elite. This is a valuable opportunity to help a travel companion who may not travel as much get elite status so that they can enjoy similar benefits.