Emirates is running an offer for its Skywards members to redeem their miles when offsetting cash fares for flight bookings, with a 150% bonus on the usual rate in Business Class and First Class, which is worth considering if you have upcoming travel plans and you want to cash out orphan miles.
With some attractive fares on offer in 2022, it’s also an option to partly or completely replace the cash element with Skywards miles at better rates than a saver award would achieve.
Usually you can use Emirates Skywards miles to offset some or all of your cash fare, with a minimum of 2,000 miles.
Taxes and carrier imposed charges must be paid in cash, so you can only offset the base fare using miles.
Emirates says the rate is not fixed and may vary, but generally speaking it’s almost always around 0.8 US cents (~1 Singapore cent) per mile, which is a similar rebate when using KrisFlyer miles to offset cash fares on Singapore Airlines and Scoot.
Obviously that’s a terrible option, probably only of interest when cashing out small volumes of orphan miles.
Under this limited-time Emirates Skywards offer, there’s a 25% increase in the ‘Cash + Miles’ rate when offsetting an Economy Class ticket or a 150% increase when offsetting a Business Class or First Class ticket.
Special Cash+Miles rates
|Class||Miles||Rebate||Value per mile|
|Business or First||10,000||
You’ll receive a S$25 rebate for every 2,000 miles you spend on an Economy Class fare, which is ok, or a S$250 rebate for every 10,000 miles you spend on anBusiness or First Class fare, which is much better.
This offer is available when booking cash fares on Emirates (EK) or flydubai (FZ) between 0.01am on 7th November 2021 and 11.59pm on 21st November 2021 (Dubai time).
It is valid for a trip originating anywhere on the carriers’ networks for outbound travel between 7th November 2021 and 31st March 2022.
New and existing Skywards members are eligible.
The promotion applies to tickets in the following fare categories:
- Emirates: “Special”, “Saver”, “Flex” or “Flex Plus” in either Economy Class, Business Class or First Class.
- flydubai: “Lite”, “Value” or “Flex” in Economy Class and “Business” in Business Class.
Itineraries include those marketed with an EK designator operated by Emirates codeshare partners (e.g. Jetstar Asia). You can still upgrade your ‘Cash+Miles’ ticket using cash or miles, subject to the fare conditions, and you will still earn Skywards miles and Tier miles on the element paid in cash as usual
You’ll also be covered by Emirates’ flexible booking policy with a ‘Cash + Miles’ ticket, but do note if you change your flight date and a fare difference applies this will only be payable in cash.
You can find further details and full terms and conditions for this offer at the Emirates website.
While this offer is a great way to cash out orphan miles from the Skywards programme, if you have an upcoming trip to book by 21st November the generous rate for offsetting Business and First Class fares also makes it worth considering for ‘redeeming’ a cash ticket too.
Here’s an example for a Singapore – Athens – Singapore trip in Business Class next year.
This round-trip ticket is priced at S$1,523 plus taxes and fees of S$539.70.
That means you could use 60,000 Skywards miles to offset S$1,500 of the base fare and therefore fly this route for 30,000 miles + S$281 each way in Business Class.
This flight is also available at Emirates Business Saver award rates for 140,000 miles + S$539.70 in taxes and fees (effectively 70,000 miles + S$270 each way). Obviously you’re parting with twice as many miles for an award in this case – which would make no sense with this 2.5 cpm offer running.
Granted I have picked a fare where redeeming an award ticket would give you terrible value, even without this offer running. On an expensive fare you’ll obviously be parting with more miles at the fixed cash rate, and eventually an award redemption becomes a better option.
Nonetheless if I was actually interested in booking this itinerary and I had 60,000+ Skywards miles in my account, I wouldn’t hesitate to use the ‘Cash+Miles’ option, provided they weren’t part of a stash I was saving for something else like a 777 Suite redemption.
I simply can’t guarantee that I would ever get S$1,500 of value from 60,000 Skywards miles in future.
Heck I don’t even think anyone can guarantee getting that kind of return on KrisFlyer miles either, which we’d value at S$1,140 (1.9 cpm) for the same quantity.
The biggest thing putting most of our readers off booking an Emirates flight at the moment is the fact that seven days home SHN is required on the way back to Singapore, even if you fly to and from one of the VTL countries.
That’s because the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is currently a Category 2 country on Singapore’s risk list, but good news is that from 6th December 2021 the UAE does get added to the quarantine-free VTL list.
Unfortunately only SIA flights from Dubai to Singapore are designated VTL services so far, but we do expect at least some Emirates services to follow.
Alternatively, you can take an Emirates flight via Dubai to another VTL country on or after 6th December, before returning on a VTL designated flight to Singapore, without worrying about exactly which VTL flights Emirates will offer.
Of course if your travel plans are taking you outside the VTL anyway, to Brazil for example, there’s no harm in taking an Emirates flight since you’ll be completing SHN on your return anyway.
Booking an Emirates ticket by 21st November for travel until the end of March 2022 probably isn’t on the agenda for most of you, but if you do see a good deal you like the look of and you have some Skywards miles in your account, this is a nice opportunity to cash them out at a decent rate if you want to.
For some trips, we’d even consider a full “redemption” this way, by cashing out miles at 2.5 cents each against the fare component, and just paying the taxes and fees as usual.
Unfortunately we’re still awaiting details of Emirates designated VTL flights from Dubai to Singapore, but if those come through in time for you to take advantage of this offer – it’s well worth considering.
(Cover Photo: Emirates)