Emirates Announces Co-Branded Credit Cards with Barclays

Even though international travel may not be in the cards for most Americans at the moment, Emirates is moving ahead with the launch of its first U.S. credit card products. In partnership with Barclays, the airline has announced the debut of the Emirates Skywards Rewards World Elite Mastercard and the Emirates Skywards Premium World Elite Mastercard. Both cards will allow customers to accrue Skywards Miles with their purchases while also providing them with complimentary status and more.

Starting with the $99 annual fee Emirates Skywards Rewards card, it will offer new cardholders immediate Silver tier membership for their first year. With Silver status, passengers will be able to enjoy complimentary access to Emirates’ Business Class lounges in Dubai, priority check-in and boarding, and other benefits such as 25% bonus Skywards Miles on Emirates flights. In order to retain this Silver status, users will need to spend $20,000 on purchases per year using their card.

As for the Emirates Skywards Rewards card’s multipliers, it will offer 3X Skywards Miles for eligible Emirates purchases, 2X miles on other travel expenses (including airfare, hotels, car rentals, and more), and 1X miles on everything else. Additionally, the card will waive foreign transaction fees. As a sign-up bonus, cardholders can earn 30,000 bonus Skywards Miles after they spend $3,000 in their first 90 days.

Turning to the Emirates Skywards Premium card, this new offering will carry an annual fee of $499. For that fee, cardholders will be granted immediate Gold tier membership status for their first year. In addition to the Silver tier benefits, Gold status allows for complimentary access to Emirates Business Class lounges worldwide, priority baggage delivery, and 50% bonus Skywards Miles on Emirates flights. In this case, to retain Gold status, cardholders will need to reach an annual spend of $40,000.

While the multipliers on the Skywards Premium are identical to the Skywards Rewards (3X on Emirates purchases, 2X on travel, and 1X on everything else) and also waives foreign transaction fees, the card does pack on some other perks. This includes earning 10,000 anniversary bonus Skywards Miles when you spend at least $30,000 on your card each year. It also comes with a Priority Pass Select, giving members access to more than 1,200 global airport lounges. Plus, cardholders can take advantage of a statement credit for up to $100 good once every five years for TSA Precheck or Global Entry application fees. The Skywards Premium also has an enhanced welcome bonus, offering 40,000 Skywards Miles when users spend $3,000 in their first 90 days.

Overall, while the miles multipliers offered by the Emirates Skywards Rewards and Emirates Skywards Premium World Elite Mastercards are fairly standard, the instant status perk is an intriguing proposition since most airline co-branded cards require a minimum spend before such status can be obtained. Of course, given the current circumstances, it’s unclear when travelers will be able to take full advantage of those perks. That said, Emirates does have domestic partners in JetBlue and Alaska Airlines, so earning bonus Skywards miles now could still be useful. All in all, if you’re starting to plan out your future travels and are considering the Emirates experience, either of these new cards may be worth a closer look.


Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded DyerNews.com in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

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