Emirates Skywards is now a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner. Try to hold back your excitement…
A gimcrack is a cheap and showy ornament, something flimsy or poorly made but deceptively attractive. I think that’s a great way to describe Emirates’ Skywards loyalty program.
Sure, it has some value to some people, but its objective value is so poor that I cannot celebrate the lastest addition to the Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer family.
In case you need it, you can transfer points on a 1:1 ratio, in increments of 1,000 points. But don’t. Just don’t do it.
Let’s take an example. Say you want to go from Dallas to Hong Kong via Dubai on Emirates in First Class.
Emirates will charge 197,500 miles and $852 in taxes fees.
JAL, if you have Marriott Bonvoy points, will charge 145,000 miles and the same $852.
Qantas, also an American Express and CITI transfer partner, will charge 192,000 miles and $852.
Meanwhile, Alaska Airlines, which frequently runs purchased miles promotions, will charge 180,000 miles and only $29 in taxes/fees.
I chose this example because it is about the best it gets in terms of making an argument in favor of Emirates. But it still doesn’t make sense unless you are flush with Chase points and only want to fly on Emirates. Even economy class redemptions carry heavy fuel surcharges. There is simply no need, in almost all cases, to redeem points with Emirates. If you only have Chase points, just save them for more lucrative redemptions.
I’ll detail a small number of exceptions in a future post, but for the most part…it just doesn’t make sense. That’s the takeaway from this news.
Having more choice is generally a good thing. It is positive news that Chase has added Emirates in that you at least have the option to redeem your Chase Ultimate Rewards for travel on Emirates. But if you value your miles and points in any sort of objective way, there are far more valuable airline and hotel transfer partners. What a shame Chase added Emirates instead of bringing back Korean Air.