Emirates & Barclays Launching New Credit Card

Filed Under: Credit Cards, Emirates

Here’s something that’s kind of interesting, but unlikely to actually be all that useful.

Barclays & Emirates launching USA credit card

As noted by View from the Wing, during Barclays’ fourth quarter earnings call it was shared that Emirates and Barclays will be launching a co-branded credit card:

“Established a new co-branded credit card partnership with Emirates in the US”

Interestingly the slide makes this sound past tense, though since it hasn’t happened yet, I expect the card launch is imminent.

This will join Barclays’ existing portfolio of USA airline credit cards, which otherwise include American, Frontier, Hawaiian, JetBlue, and Lufthansa.

Barclays has several other cards in the travel space, from Choice and Wyndham on the hotel front, to Carnival, Holland America, and Princess on the cruise front.

Emirates Skywards is spectacularly unrewarding

All around Emirates is a great airline with incredibly favorable global brand recognition. That’s certainly a good start when introducing a product like this.

At the same time, the Emirates Skywards frequent flyer program is one of the least rewarding frequent flyer programs out there, especially in comparison to Etihad Guest:

  • Emirates Skywards has no useful redemption partners
  • Redemption rates aren’t unreasonable (at least not for US to Europe routes), but the carrier imposed surcharges are high

To give a few examples of redemption rates:

  • A one-way business class ticket from New York to Milan will cost you 62,500 miles plus $520 in surcharges
  • A one-way first class ticket from Newark to Athens will cost you 85,000 miles plus $520 in surcharges
  • A one-way first class ticket from Los Angeles to Dubai will cost you 155,000 miles plus $812 in surcharges

Emirates Skywards has hefty surcharges for award redemptions

Airline co-brand cards are only worth it for perks

In general there are almost no circumstances under which it makes sense to spend money on an airline co-branded credit card over a card earning transferable points. A card earning transferable points gives you more flexibility, and usually lets you earn points at a faster rate.

That means airline credit cards have to offer some perks beyond just the return on spending to get people to keep cards. That can come in the form of opportunities to earn elite status, benefits when flying the airline, or some sort of other discount.

Could the Emirates credit card offer some valuable perks to cardmembers?

Bottom line

I’m always excited to see new co-branded credit cards introduced. While Emirates is already transfer partners with some transferable points currencies, I’ll be curious to see what they come up with for their co-branded US market card.

  1. @ben

    “In general there are almost no circumstances under which it makes sense to spend money on an airline co-branded credit card over a card earning transferable points.”

    I agree 3/4 of the time. The other 1/4 of the time I’m busy meeting sign up bonus or in the case of my Amex Delta card, chasing Amex offers like the Lowe’s and Staples 10% off (Amazon GCs), which seem to only appear on my Delta card as opposed to my MR earning cards.

  2. I agree. If this card somehow gets me 5x emirates skywards miles per dollar on all purchases, then I’d get this card in a heartbeat and those skywards redemption rates won’t seem too bad! lol of course that’s not going to happen.

  3. So you’re telling me that I can sign up for the Emirates card and then have the glorious treat of spending 155k miles along with $812 for First. Or, I can use 150k of my Alaska Airlines miles along with $20?!? Hmm….maybe I should do the Alaska miles options, spend part of the $792 worth of saving on a nice bat and then fly to Dubai and beat their Skywards team over the head for their stupidity! How do airlines keep coming up with even worse ways to promote their already terrible mileage programs? If anyone signs up for this card, they should be walked back to the mental hospital they escaped from!

  4. Let’s not comment about how bad this card will be until Barclays release more details.

    But there is one thing for sure.
    You can trust Barclays that this card won’t be attractive at all.

  5. @Points

    Yeah, but will you ever use the card again after you got the bonus?

    How many AA cards you have and how many will you keep.

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