Airport retailers “do not sell what you need, but what you want”October 7, 2015 11:30
Emirates Skywards vs Etihad Guest
Let's see which carrier takes you farther, higher, and with a bigger smile on your face.
If you’re flying economy class to Beirut, Lebanon from Dubai, and you’re a Skywards Blue member, you’d accumulate 2658 air miles, and the same in tier miles. Silver members, however, earn 25 percent more air miles, and gold members earn 50 percent more, although they earn the same tier mile as blue members.
Alternatively, you can earn air miles by using credit cards, but we’ll leave that to you to research.
Air miles expire every three years, whereas tier miles expire every year.
Let’s say you’re a blue member and you’ve accumulated 25,000 air miles, and you want to redeem your miles for a ticket to Beirut. According to the service center, you’d need 25,000 air miles to pay for the ticket, plus AED225 in taxes. The taxes, however, change regularly, so the total amount is subject to change.
That seems fair.
Non flight rewards
The number of air miles required to buy a non flight reward depends on the product you’re looking at (that’s obvious enough). However, the price of the product on the screen does not include the cost of delivery, which in some cases can be hefty. Delivery costs vary according to the product you’re purchasing and your address.
Furthermore, according to The Emirates High Street website, the price of a Canon EOS 5D with 24-105 mm Lens was $3,540 before discount, almost $250 higher than it was retailing in the market ($3,299).
In order to upgrade from a blue to a silver member, you need to accumulate 25,000 tier miles within a single calendar year or 20 segments (or sectors). That’s a little under 10 return economy tickets to Beirut a year. In order to maintain your silver membership, you need to maintain that level of travel.
Similarly, to become a gold member, you need 50,000 tier miles or 40 segments, and to maintain the same miles or segments.
So you have to keep up the pace incessantly?
Complementary seat upgrade
Apparently, blue skywards member don’t get upgraded (unless there’s a major exception). According to the call center, you’re more likely to get upgraded if you’re a silver or gold member.
Final score: 27
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