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Midway through last year, Emirates and Heathrow Rewards teamed up to introduce an interesting option for your Emirates Skywards miles. In addition to allowing conversions from Heathrow Rewards to Emirates Skywards miles, they allowed you to transfer your miles into Heathrow Rewards, meaning they converted to credit for spending at Heathrow.
The obvious downside was the rate. The minimum transfer is 6000 miles, which gets you 2000 Heathrow Rewards points, which is basically £20 to spend at Heathrow. At 0.33p per mile, that’s mediocre value – not least because when you convert the other way, from Heathrow Rewards to Emirates, you get 1 Emirates mile per 1 Heathrow Rewards point.
However, if you did have some Emirates miles about to expire (not least bearing in mind their “hard” 36 month expiry policy), this does give you another redemption option.
However, there’s another similar but better value option that has just been announced…
In addition to the Heathrow option above, you can now redeem your Emirates Skywards miles at Dubai Airport (list of excluded retailers here), and Dubai South (Al Maktoum) Airport. Given the sometimes fantastic value you can get at Dubai Duty Free, this is an interesting option. Also, the exchange rate is better than the 0.33p offered by the Heathrow Rewards tie-up: every 4500 Emirates miles will get you 100 AED to spend at Dubai Duty Free (and after that, every additional 45 Skyward miles gets you 1 AED). At today’s exchange rates, 100 AED is £22.22, so that works out at 0.49 pence per Skyward mile.
Still not a fantastic deal by any means, but a redemption option worth considering if you have miles set to expire, and certainly one preferable to the Heathrow conversion option.
To make a purchase using Skywards miles, you simply need to present your Emirates Skywards membership card or number (with sufficient miles in the account, obviously), airline boarding pass and passport.
The full details of this offer are available here.
As one final aside, while you would be crazy to do it given the exchange rates, you cannot transfer your Emirates miles into Heathrow Rewards and then convert them back out into airline miles (e.g. Avios). The Heathrow Rewards IT specifically blocks it, such that any Heathrow Rewards Points earned through an Emirates miles conversion can only be converted into Heathrow Airport credit.