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Citi has added Emirates Skywards as a points transfer partner for its Citi Premier and Prestige cards.
Emirates offers great award availability from a variety of U.S. destinations, however fuel surcharges (which depend on the destination flown) are often very expensive and premium cabin awards are priced at 2x coach for business class and 3x coach for first class.
Take for instance New York JFK – Bangkok (via Dubai).
- 95,000 miles roundtrip for economy plus $738 in taxes and fees
- 190,000 miles roundtrip for business class plus $1736 in taxes and fees
- 285,000 miles roundtrip for first class plus $1736 in taxes and fees
Emirates A380 Inflight First Class Shower
The airline offers a great product. They have some interesting airline partnerships. And they serve a number of U.S. gateways.
With this addition Emirates joins Singapore Airlines, JetBlue, and Air France KLM as transfer partners of all the major bank currencies – Citi, Chase, American Express, and Capital One. It is also a Marriott transfer partner. (Emirates became a Chase transfer partner last August.)
This strikes me as a real blow to Barclays which is launching an Emirates Skywards credit card in the U.S. because it’s unlikely the Emirates co-brand from Barclays will earn points as quickly as a Chase Sapphire Reserve® or Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. And it won’t likely earn as fast as a no annual fee Citi® Double Cash Card – which, if you have a card whose Citi points transfer to miles – will effectively allow you to earn 2% cash back or 2 miles per dollar on all of your spending, transferable into Emirates or other airline frequent flyer programs.