- Emirates, the glitzy Gulf airline that flies passengers all over the globe, announced its first co-branded credit cards in the US.
- The cards earn Emirates Skywards miles on purchases, and offer a variety of perks to US-based travelers.
- As travel demand remains near historic lows during the pandemic, the credit cards also offer Emirates a novel way to earn cash as it waits for ticket sales to pick back up.
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International travel is largely on hold right now, but Emirates hopes that travelers will use the downtime to pad their frequent flyer mile accounts — and help the airline make it through the pandemic.
The airline on Monday announced its first co-branded credit cards in the US market, allowing US-based members of its Skywards frequent flyer program to earn miles on purchases.
There are two versions of the credit card, both of which are issued by Barclays: the Emirates Skywards Rewards card, and the Emirates Skywards Premium card. Both cards earn three miles per dollar spent with Emirates, two miles per dollar spent on other travel expenses, and one mile per dollar on everything else.
The cards come with a variety of other perks, including signup bonuses of up to 40,000 points after meeting spending requirements, elite status with the airline, lounge access, and more.
Emirates’ Skywards program has 2.5 million US-based members, senior vice president Dr. Nejib Ben Khedher said in a press release, and 27 million globally.
Emirates and Barclays had first teased the card in February, when the airline and Barclays announced their nascent partnership.
Since then, the global airline industry has seen travel demand collapse. Carriers like Emirates, which fly all or mostly international routes, have been struck particularly hard as travel restrictions, border closures, and