Based in Dubai, Emirates is the largest airline in the Middle East (seventh largest in the world) and has over 3,500 flights around the world per week to almost 80 countries. They operate four of the longest nonstop flights from Dubai to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas/Fort Worth, and Houston, and are consistently ranked as one of the top airlines in the world.
In 1985, Emirates came to life with the financial help of Dubai’s royal family and Pakistan International Airlines, which supplied technical and administrative assistance. Over the course of the first year, Emirates transported 260,000 passengers and 10,000 tons of freight, and added Colombo, Dhaka, Amman, and Cairo to their destinations list. By 1987, London, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Manila, Singapore, and Malé.
Starting the 1990s, Emirates had become one of the fastest growing airlines, with profits well over $100 million per year. Even the Gulf War didn’t slow down their progress. They were also the only airline allowed to fly in the area for a period of time. By 1993, Emirates established service around the world and began a partnership with US Airways. Over 30 countries and 37 destinations were available to Emirates customers by 1996 and in 1998, the airline started Emirates Sky Cargo.
The early 2000s were a difficult time for Emirates, even though they added several new aircraft, nonstop flights to Australia and Brazil, and services to both the East and West Coasts of the U.S. Not only did the bombing of Colombo Airport affect ticket sales, but the September 11th attacks in America caused many passengers to cancel their new flights to the United States. This caused Emirates to reduce the frequency of many of their flights to help combat their financial crisis. By 2004 however, they were back to adding flights with nonstop operations to JFK and even secured a deal with the Arsenal soccer team for stadium naming rights and shirt sponsorship.
After opening flights to São Paulo in 2007, Emirates conquered the very first nonstop flights between the Middle East and South America, and began catering operations as well. Because of the growth of Emirates and its airline power in the Middle East, Dubai International Airport built Terminal 3 just for them. It is the second largest building in the world by floor space and has over 43 million passengers moving through it per year. Moving on to 2012, the airline was able to secure a deal with Qantas, moving their flights from Singapore to Dubai, and ending the agreement between Qantas and British Airways. Additionally, Emirates changed its frequent flyer program to mirror Qantas’ and altered fares to better align with the other airline. To this day, Emirates continues to win awards for service and overall airline quality while expanding its reach around the globe.
Emirates Codeshare Agreements
Currently, Emirates is not part of any airline alliance, but they do have codeshare agreements with several airlines.
- Air Mauritius
- Virgin America
- Air New Zealand
- Thai Airways
- Alaska Airlines
- TAP Portugal
- All Nippon Airways
- South African Airways
- Cathay Pacific
- Singapore airlines
- Garuda Indonesia
- Silk Air
- Royal Jordanian Airlines
- Royal Air Maroc
- Jetstar Asia
- Korean Air
- Philippine Airlines
Emirates Main Hubs and Where They Fly
Emirates planes fly to 140 destinations in 70+ countries on six continents. Countries with the largest amount of Emirates flights are India, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Pakistan.
- Dubai International Airport
Where They Fly:
- Abu Dhabi
- Addis Ababa
- Bandar Abbas
- Buenos Aires
- Cape Town
- Dallas/Fort Worth
- Dar es Salaam
- Ho Chi Minh City
- Hong Kong
- Kuala Lumpur
- Los Angeles
- Newcastle upon Tyne
- New York City
- Rio de Janeiro
- San Francisco
- Sao Paulo
- Saint Petersburg
- Washington, D.C.
Emirates Skywards Frequent Flyer Program and How it Works
Emirates frequent flyer program, Skywards, offers passengers the chance to earn miles on all flights; even discounted ones. It has four different membership tiers (Blue, Silver, Gold, and Platinum) and every 12-13 months, members are evaluated on their yearly travel miles and can move up or down a tier. Additionally, members receive benefits like lounge access, seat upgrades, personal travel coordinators, redeeming miles with partners, and priority luggage delivery at baggage claim.
Blue members are usually those who have just jointed Skywards and have 0-24,999 miles. Perks such as waitlist priority, upgrades at check-in, e-gate service in Dubai, and special offers are enjoyed by Blue members in addition to members-only deals.
Silver members have between 25,000-49,999 miles and bonuses like members-only offers, bonus Skywards miles when flying Emirates, priority check-in and boarding, extra baggage, and lounge access in Dubai, as well as members-only discounts.
Gold members have 50,000-149,999 miles, with extras like priority service, guaranteed seats on full flights, lounge access for members and their guests, instant upgrades, and priority baggage delivery.
Platinum members have 150,000+ miles and the most benefits out of all the tiers. In addition to having access to all the benefits of all the other tiers, Platinum members also receive last seat Flex Plus reward tickets and gold partner nomination. Gold partner nomination allows a Platinum member to upgrade a spouse, friend, partner, or colleague to Gold membership. They can only make one nomination per year and can only change the nomination during the tier cycle evaluation phase.
Emirates First Class Seats
Best Emirates Award Travel Flights
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- 10 Best Uses of American Express Membership Rewards Points for Flights
- Best International First Class Flights Bookable with Points
How to Book Emirates Award Travel
Although Emirates Skywards Miles are only valid up to three years, they have reward flights starting at just 15,000 miles and there are no blackout dates. Additionally, member upgrades start at 7,500 miles.
The best way to book an Emirates award flight is to use the website. There’s a handy miles calculator where you enter your departure and arrival cities and it tells you how many Skywards Miles you need for free travel. You can also call 1-800-777-3999 for flight and general customer service.
You can also use one of their partner sites to book award travel. Alaska Airlines is the top transfer partner and offers bonus miles in addition to easy to use award charts. The ticket must be booked through and operated by Emirates to receive miles, and the Mileage Plan number must be present on the reservation. Chauffeur service is not available when you book award travel with Mileage Plan miles, though.
How to Earn Emirates Skywards Miles
The Skywards frequent flyer program has two types of miles that members can earn: Skywards Miles and Tier Miles. Skywards miles can be earned through partner offers, flights, and promotions, and redeemed for rewards, while Tier Miles are only earned on Emirates flights to move members between the four tiers. There are also bonus Skywards Miles available on certain flights to give members a boost.
Flight earning rates for miles are based on a number of factors including route, fare type (Special, Saver, Flex, Flex Plus), class, and tier. By choosing the right ticket fare and seat class, members can get the most out of their miles. For those who are Silver members and beyond, additional miles are collected for all flights due to their elite status (25% bonus miles for Silver, 50% bonus miles for Gold, and 75% bonus miles for Platinum). Bonus miles are also earned when family members connected to your account fly with Emirates.
Besides flights, members can earn miles through partners including other airlines, banks, hotels, car rentals, and stores, or transfer or purchase miles.
- Alaska Airlines
- Japan Airlines
- Jet Airways
- Korean Air
- S7 Airlines
- South Afrian Airways
- TAP Portugal
- Virgin America
- American Express
- Atlantis The Palm, Dubai
- Coral International
- Crown Hotels
- Emirates & SPG Rewards
- Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa
- Global Hotel Alliance
- Hilton Worldwide
- Hyatt Hotels and Resorts
- InterContinental Hotels Group
- Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts
- Langham Hospitality Group
- Le Meridien Dubai
- Marriott International
- One and Only Resorts and Mazagan
- Radisson Blu and Park Inn by Radisson
- Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts
- Swissotel Hotels and Resorts
- Taj Group
- The Address Hotels and Resorts
- Arabian Adventures
- Danat Dubai Cruises
- Dubai Autodrome
- Emirates Holiday
- Language Direct
- Sky Dubai
- Wild Wadi Water Park
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