Spend your Emirates miles as cash in Heathrow… and now Dubai Airport too

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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. 


  1. Adam says

    I was only thinking yesterday that we dont seem to see any articles on Emirates, is it hard to collect and redeem for them as some of their products look pretty good.

    • Tom Sumner says

      Interesting question. I can’t speak for the other writers, but from my perspective I certainly find Etihad preferable: (in my opinion) the product is better, the loyalty scheme is better and the prices are better.

      As such, there also tends to be more to publicise in relation to Etihad (+ Qatar) than Emirates. You rarely see a mega value flight or redemption deal with Emirates, and as a result they get limited attention from us. We would never ignore a good value Emirates option, there just don’t seem to be that many.

  2. Adam says

    Cheers Tom, i dont see much over on HFP on Emirates also so was interested if you guys come across any cracking low fare deals.

  3. Adam says

    On your side when it comes to Etihad, some of the products look amazing. Mind you i looked at Emirates first the other day, not too shabby!
    Please post any EY hacks you know of Tom..

    • Tom Sumner says

      It’s not a hack as such, but your starter for 10 is the Etihad GuestSeat redemption. Amazingly, even after a fairly hefty devaluation this remains a great value option.

      Etihad also offer regular bonuses on transfers of points into Etihad Guest, including occasional 100% bonuses from Heathrow Rewards. Given that EY is an Amex Membership Rewards partner, this gives you regular opportunities to heavily boost your EY mileage balance.

      • Adam says

        Been in discussion with joe over this matter, i found guest seats for AUH – MLE in E for two of us return but the taxes worked out when converted from aed to gbp over £460 plus a stack of miles. Does this sound about right in taxes to you?

        • Tom Sumner says

          You can get a little rinsed on the tax with EY coming out of LHR, but the key point is you don’t out of AUH.

          So, one option is to give up on an aspirational element to the outward journey and just get a cash economy fare out there (easily achievable for sub-£300) – but then get the GuestSeat back. For example, Biz Class can be found for 66k miles plus around £100, while First is available for 88k miles plus £150.

  4. Adam says

    Miles 68988
    Taxes, fees and charges AED 1920
    Discount (if applicable)
    TOTAL:Miles 68988
    AED 1920
    This is the breakdown, aed – gbp = £428?
    I just thought this looked pricey for E redemptions.

    • Tom Sumner says

      In terms of AUH-MLE, the cheapest I could see was via the Guestseat at around 35k miles plus £215 return, which is ok.

      However, with Biz class available at 73k miles and £460 return, I’d probably go for this.

      That said, I don’t think the AUH-MLE flight (4.5 hours) is particularly worth splurging your miles on. Personally, I’d save them for the AUH-LHR leg.

      • Adam says

        Looks like the breakdown i have pasted is correct, i suppose just over £100 each return is ok but not brilliant. I think cash fare was £870 for the seats. I wont have 150k of miles to spare, more like half that and £900 in taxes im not happy paying.
        Im planning to use AA miles for LHR – AHU in Biz / First on the a380 return.
        Ive been looking up Biz on the A380, is there much difference between the a380 and other aircraft EY use for the same class?
        Cheers A.

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