When it comes to Airmiles rewards for credit cards, the most popular choices in the UAE are credit cards that provide Emirates Airline Skywards Miles. For frequent flyers interested in Emirates rewards, the banking options are Citibank, Emirates Islamic and Emirates NBD. Obviously, the most commonly asked question is, “What is the best credit card for Skywards Miles?” We’ve done some analysis to help you make the best choice. The most important metric to examine is the cost in Dirhams per Airmile.

To simplify the analysis, credit cards with a minimum salary requirement of AED 25,000 or higher have been excluded (these all come with annual fees of around AED 1,000).

The Contenders

Citibank offers four credit cards with Skywards Airmiles; for our analysis we looked at three of them:

 

Credit Card Minimum Salary Annual Fee Monthly Rate
Emirates-Citibank Silver Card AED 5,000 AED 250 2.99%
Emirates-Citibank Gold/Titanium Card AED 8,000 AED 400 2.99%
Emirates-Citibank Ultimate Card AED 18,000 AED 800 2.99%

How it works: Citibank provides between 0.5 Skywards Miles to 1 Skywards Mile per US Dollar spent in the UAE, and 0.75 Skywards Miles to 1.25 Skywards Miles per US Dollar spent internationally.

Emirates Islamic offers six credit cards with Skywards Airmiles, we analyzed two of them:

 

Credit Card Minimum Salary Annual Fee Monthly Rate
Emirates Islamic Skywards Gold Card AED 5,000 AED 350 AED 300
Emirates Islamic Skywards Platinum Card AED 8,000 AED 600 AED 600

How it works: Credit card holders much reach a minimum monthly spend to earn Skywards Miles. For example, the Skywards Gold and Skywards Gold Plus credit cards will provide 1,000 Skywards Miles for AED 1,750 spent during the month, and 4,000 Skywards Miles for AED 7,500 spent during the month (the customer will not receive additional Airmiles for spending more than this).

Emirates NBD offers the Skywards Signature Card (formerly the Skywards Platinum Card) and the Skywards Infinite Card. In our analysis, we looked at the former only.

 

Credit Card Minimum Salary Joining Fee Monthly Rate
Emirates NBD Skywards Signature Card AED 15,000 AED 1,499

(AED 700 annual fee after first year)

AED 2.99%

 

Cardholders earn 0.75 Skywards Miles per US Dollar spent in the UAE, and 1 Skywards Mile per US Dollar spent internationally. The Skywards Signature Card has an AED 1,499 joining fee and 10,000 Skywards Miles (upon paying the joining fee) – note that this is a limited period offer.

The Winners 

In order to reach an accurate conclusion, we have assumed that AED 20,000 is spent on the credit card in the first year (AED 15,000 in the UAE and AED 5,000 internationally).

The Emirates NBD Skywards Signature Card takes home the gold with its 10,000 Airmiles bonus offer. However, without the limited period bonus offer from Emirates NBD, the Emirates Islamic Skywards Platinum Card is the most cost effective solution for acquiring Airmiles. The only drawback with the Emirates Islamic credit cards, is that customers must reach a monthly spending minimum to earn Skywards Miles. For the Emirates Islamic Skywards Platinum Card, there is a cap of 10,500 Skywards Miles once AED 23,000 (or more) is spent in a month.

 

Credit Card Cost per Airmile
Emirates NBD Skywards Signature Card AED 1.5
Emirates Islamic Skywards Platinum Card AED 3.2
Emirates-Citibank Ultimate Card AED 3.6
Emirates-Citibank Gold/Titanium Card AED 4.6
Emirates NBD Skywards Signature Card

(with no bonus offer)

AED 4.7
Emirates Islamic Skywards Gold Card AED 5.1
Emirates-Citibank Silver Card AED 6.6

Related articles:

Credit Card Interest Rates Around the World

Top Credit Card Fees You Should Know About

A Foolproof Way to Protect Against Credit Card Fraud