The Emirates Skywards miles programme is one of the best, premium airmiles programmes offered by any airline in the world. It gives members the opportunity to redeem their Emirates Skywards miles against flight ticket purchases and ticket upgrades on Emirates airlines in addition to other options such as hotels and travel bookings.
Skywards miles programme members can earn miles by purchasing tickets on Emirates airlines, however, another popular option to earn miles used by thousands of UAE residents is by using an Emirates Skywards co-branded credit card. These credit cards are issued as part of a joint arrangement between Emirates Airlines and the banks issuing the credit cards.
In the UAE there are several such co-branded airline credit cards offered by many banks. While the main objective to apply for an miles credit card is primarily to earn rewards in the form of “miles” and use those miles for flight tickets and upgrades there are other unique benefits offered by these cards which also vary significantly from one credit card to another. The focus of this article are Emirates Skywards co-branded credit cards and to help readers understand which of the many options available are best suited to them.
Banks in UAE that currently offer Emirates Skywards co-branded credit cards are –
- Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB)
- Dubai Islamic Bank
- Emirates Islamic Bank
- Emirate NBD
Across these 6 banks there are currently a total of 14 different Emirates Skywards credit cards offered. These are broadly categorised based on the minimum income required to be eligible for each credit card, the features and benefits offered, annual fees charged and so on.
The monthly minimum income requirement for Emirates Skywards credit cards are as below:
|Credit Card||Min. Salary|
|Dubai Islamic Emirates Skywards Platinum Credit Card||AED 5,000|
|Citibank Emirates World||AED 12,000|
|Emirates Islamic Skywards Signature Credit Card||AED 12,000|
|ADIB Emirates Skywards World Card||AED 15,000|
|Dubai Islamic Emirates Skywards Signature Credit Card||AED 15,000|
|Emirates NBD Skywards Signature Credit Card||AED 15,000|
|Citibank Emirates Ultimate||AED 18,000|
|ADIB Emirates Skywards World Elite Card||AED 25,000|
|RAKBANK Emirates Skywards World Elite Mastercard Credit Card||AED 25,000|
|Emirates Islamic Skywards Infinite Credit Card||AED 25,000|
|Emirates NBD Skywards Infinite Credit Card||AED 30,000|
|Dubai Islamic Emirates Skywards Infinite Credit Card||AED 35,000|
|Citibank Emirates Ultima||AED 36,750|
Which is “The Best Emirates Skywards credit card” in the UAE?
While many readers would want to scroll directly to this section to find out the ‘best’, the reality, as is often the case, is that among the many options available there is no single “Best Emirates Skywards credit card” for everyone. Different Skywards credit cards offer different benefits. In the sections below we will help you identify which one is the “the best Skywards credit card for you” based on your specific needs, spend patterns and priorities as an individual.
Please note that the best credit cards identified tend to be ‘premium’ credit cards as they understandably have the highest rewards as well as features and benefits that the bank can offer. As such, these Skywards cards are likely to have higher annual membership fees. However, the benefits offered by these credit cards most often can easily justify the annual fees charged. This is especially true if the cardholder takes advantage of the specific features and benefits on offer – another reason to ensure they apply for credit cards most suited to their specific needs. However, there are also a few Emirates Skywards credit cards which have very low annual fees while still offering good benefits which can also be considered.EARNING SKYWARDS MILES FROM EVEN REGULAR ‘EVERY DAY’ SPENDS
Best for – Maximum Miles Earning Potential
|This is perhaps the most important feature to be considered for any Emirates Skywards co-branded credit card as the main purpose for a cardholder is to maximize Skywards miles earned by using their credit cards.
This is also an aspect where there are significant differences in earning rates and eligibility requirements between the different Skywards credit card options available. Readers are advised to review the conditions carefully before arriving at a decision on which card is best suited to their specific spend patterns.
It is important to note that the cards in this category typically do not offer high earn rates on some regular, day-to-day categories such as groceries, utilities, fuel, school fees etc. but instead offer very high earn rates on almost all other types of spends - think electronics, clothes, luxury, travel, dining and most other categories. Depending on the individual’s spend patterns these cards are potentially the best options to earn the absolute maximum Skywards miles from your credit card spends.
|ADIB Emirates Skywards World Elite Credit Card||Emirates Islamic Bank Skywards Black Credit Card||Citibank Emirates Ultima credit card
|The ADIB Emirates Skywards World Elite credit card is an excellent option to maximise your Skywards miles earnings as it offers 3 Skywards miles per USD spent at Emirates Airline as well as offering 2 Skywards miles/USD for foreign currency spends and 1.5 Skyward miles/USD for domestic purchases.||The Emirates Islamic Bank Skywards Black Credit Card offers 3.5 Skywards miles for every 1 USD spent at Emirates airlines. This is the highest offered by any credit card in the UAE currently. ||The Citibank Ultima credit card offers an extremely attractive combination of a high miles earn rate along with very minimal spend category restrictions. This credit card offers an even better earning rate on purchases made at Emirates as compared to the DIB Skywards Infinite credit card (which is also a great option). So, if you are a big spender at Emirates then this is the card to get to maximise your Skywards rewards. Compared to the Dubai Islamic bank Skywards Infinite card, it pays a lower earnings rate on two specific categories.|
|Earn rates are lower for specific everyday categories such as groceries, utilities, government spends, fuel, school fees, Salik etc. but for almost every other type of spend category this is an excellent option. In addition to the high Skyward miles earn rates, this card also has other very compelling features including complimentary Emirates Airlines home check-ins, Skyward Gold tier membership and so on.||In addition to this, it also offers 2 Skyward miles per USD equivalent of foreign currency spends and 1.5 Skyward miles per USD of domestic spends. This is again the highest offered by any Skywards credit card in the UAE (along with the ADIB World Elite Skywards credit card which also offers the same).|
While this card has lower earn rates for some specific every day categories (grocery, fuel, utilities etc.) for all other purchases this is indeed a really powerful option to maximise your Skywards miles earnings.
|Emirates Skywards miles earned per USD (equivalent) spent on the card:
2.5 Skywards miles for purchases made at Emirates online or at Emirates sales offices
1.5 Skyward miles for purchases made in foreign currencies
1 Skyward mile for all other local purchases
Spends at groceries/supermarkets and related to real estate will earn 0.5 Skywards miles per USD of spend and government services and utilities spends earn no miles
Best for – Earning Skyward Miles From Even Regular “Everyday” spends
Best for – “Bonus” Skywards Miles:
|Several credit cards award “bonus” Emirates Skywards miles based on specific criteria, such as a minimum spend levels achieved on the credit card within a specific time period. In this category, there can be varying opinions on which is the “best” option as some cards award higher total maximum bonus miles but at the same time require higher spend levels and over shorter time periods as well. The “best” option here would be determined by the individual’s specific spend patterns.
|ADIB Emirates Skywards World Elite Credit Card & ADIB Emirates Skywards World Credit Card||Emirates NBD Skywards Infinite Credit Card||Emirates Skywards Dubai Islamic Bank Infinite Credit Card
Cardholders can get up to 120,000 bonus Emirates Skywards miles with this card.
50,000 welcome bonus Emirates Skywards miles are awarded plus an additional 70,000 bonus miles if a minimum retail spend of AED 140,000 is achieved within 6 months of card issuance.
offers cardholders the opportunity to earn up to 75,000 Emirates Skywards Miles
40,000 additional “spend based miles” if cumulative retail spend of USD 20,000 is achieved within 3 months
"Annual miles”: 25,000 miles will be credited if USD 7,500 is spent at Emirates (online or at sales offices) within the first 12 months
25,000 miles if spend of USD
20,000 is achieved in the first 4 statements
25,000 on balance transfer (minimum balance transfer of AED 50,000)
Best for – Joining offers:
Best for –Emirates Skywards Tier Membership
Best for – Association Benefits
The relevance of this for a cardholder is that there are specific benefits and features offered by these associations to the cardholder by virtue of the partnership between the bank and the association. Similar to the different tier levels available in the Emirates Skywards miles programme, both Visa and Mastercard offer different “tiers” or levels of benefits for different credit card types.
Please note that these association features are offered in partnership with the banks and are for the most part a standard offering for the specific credit card type across all banks. Examples of these include VIP airport lounge access, travel insurance cover, car rental offers and so on. Please note that the type of benefits offered vary significantly between Visa and Mastercard.
These (Visa/Mastercard) features must not be confused with specific features offered by banks directly to their cardholders which are not part of the Visa or Mastercard benefits. Examples of such bank-specific features include complimentary valet parking, cinema tickets, airport transfer offers and so on.
Customers are advised to review closely all the features offered for each credit card to understand all the benefits available before arriving at the best credit suited to them.
Below is a categorization of the available Emirates Skywards options based on their Visa or Mastercard credit card association type:
1. Mastercard World Elite:
This is the top-of-the-line tier of credit card benefits offered by Mastercard and are available in the following credit cards:
ADIB Emirates Skywards World Elite credit card
Citibank Emirates Ultimate credit card
RAKBANK Emirates Skywards World Elite Mastercard credit card
2. Mastercard World:
This is the second highest tier of credit card benefits offered by Mastercard and are available in the following credit cards:
ADIB Emirates Skywards World credit card
Citibank Emirates World credit card
1. Visa Infinite:
This is the top-of-the-line tier of credit card benefits offered by Visa and are available in the following credit cards:
Citibank Emirates Ultima credit card
Dubai Islamic Emirates Skywards Infinite credit card
Emirates Islamic Bank Emirates Skyward Black credit card
Emirates Islamic Skywards Infinite credit card
Emirates NBD Skywards Infinite credit card
2. Visa Signature:
This is the second highest tier of credit card benefits offered by Visa and are available in the following credit cards:
Dubai Islamic Emirates Skywards Signature credit card
Emirates Islamic Skywards Signature credit card
Emirates NBD Skywards Signature credit card
3. Visa Platinum:
This is the third highest tier of credit card benefits offered by Visa and are available in the following credit cards:
Dubai Islamic Emirates Platinum credit card
All relevant features of this credit card, along with side-by-side comparisons can be seen at: www.soulwallet.com
Best for – Low-Fee, High Value Offered
Citi Emirates Ultimate Credit Card
While most of the above credit cards are premium credit cards and have reasonably high annual fees, the Citi Emirates Ultimate credit card offers excellent benefits for a very reasonable annual fee of only AED 800. Not only is this among the lowest fees on an Emirates Skywards credit card, this card also offers customers to earn the annual fee back as a statement credit if retail spend of AED 20,000 is made within 90 days of getting the card.
This card also has a very healthy Skyward miles earning rate of 1.25 Skyward miles per USD for all international spends and 1 Skyward mile per USD of domestic spends. Other benefits include free VIP airport lounge access for the cardholder plus a guest at over 1,000 lounges worldwide and golf and movie offers in the UAE.
Unique benefits offered by some Emirates Skywards credit cards:
- Complimentary Emirates Airlines home check-in 4 times a year – ADIB Emirates Skywards World Elite Credit Card.
- Complimentary access to Emirates Towers Health Club at any time, any day – Dubai Islamic Skywards Infinite Credit Card.
- 15% discount on buying Emirates Skywards Miles – RAKBANK Emirates Skywards World Elite Credit Card.
The below Emirates Skywards credit cards all offer the primary cardholder complimentary Skywards Silver Tier membership as a benefit:
- Citibank Emirates Ultima credit card
- Dubai Islamic Emirates Skywards Infinite credit card
- Emirates Islamic Skywards Infinite credit card
- Emirates NBD Skywards Infinite credit card
- ADIB Emirates Skywards World credit card
All relevant features of this credit card, along with side-by-side comparisons can be seen at: www.soulwallet.com
We hope this article has been useful in giving you a better understanding of the various Emirates Skywards miles credit card options available in the UAE. While we have highlighted the best options for specific benefits offered by these credit cards we highly recommend that you review all the features in detail before deciding which is the best credit card for you. After all, the process of identifying the best option and applying for a credit card is not something undertaken on a regular basis and therefore getting it right will not only help one maximise potential saves but will also help enjoy specific benefits most relevant to your individual preferences.
Detailed features and benefits along with side-by-side comparisons of all these credit cards can be found at www.soulwallet.com.