Hold the elusive Emirates Skywards Platinum card in your wallet for unlimited first class lounge access across Emirates and its partner airline networks, including those of Qantas.
You get a 'golden gift' for your partner, a boosted lounge guest and baggage allowance, and greater flexibility when it comes to using Skywards Miles for points-based bookings.
Here is a look at Skywards Platinum membership and how you can make the most of it on your next journeys.
How to earn Emirates Skywards Platinum status
Unlike Skywards Silver and Gold which can be earned with either Tier Miles or taking a number of Emirates flights in a year, Skywards Platinum can only be earned by accumulating 150,000 Tier Miles with Emirates and FlyDubai in a membership year.
Tier Miles are Emirates' form of 'status credits' which you would be accustomed to in Australia. These are only earned on EK-coded flights depending on the distance flown and fare class.
The below graphic is the number of Tier Miles earned in a Sydney-Dubai-London return business class ticket in various fare classes. You'd need six-and-a-half such trips in Business Special or three-and-a-half trips in Business Flex Plus to attain Skywards Platinum.
Flying Emirates first class is, of course, a far more efficient way to reach Skywards Platinum status: the same Sydney-London return trip earns 62,000 Tier Miles each run, meaning two-and-a-half trips will get you to Platinum.
There are no routes that will net you Skywards Platinum in one simple return trip (unlike Gold), so be prepared to do some seriously long hours in premium cabins, over multiple trips, to get there.
The Emirates Mileage Calculator will show you how many Tier Miles you can earn on your next journey.
Lounge access for Skywards Platinum members
The lounge access arrangements for Skywards Platinum members are far better than any of the lower tiers, where guests are concerned.
At any Emirates-operated first or business class lounge, you are entitled to bring in one adult guest and two children under 17 years of age, as long as everyone is on the same Emirates or Qantas codeshare flight.
Thanks to the Emirates-Qantas tie-up, Skywards Platinum is roughly equivalent to Qantas Platinum as well when flying with the Red Roo. Emirates isn't part of the Oneworld alliance though, so don't expect any Oneworld Emerald benefits on other airlines.
When flying on Qantas-operated flights, your lounge access is upgraded to Domestic Business Lounges and International First Lounges, still with one guest who must also be travelling with you on the same flight. Visit the Qantas Lounge Eligibility page for more information.
Emirates Skywards Platinum members can pay to bring more of their buddies to the First Class lounges in Dubai for US$210 (A$300) per passenger, or for US$100 (A$143) at other selected worldwide lounges outside of Dubai.
FlyDubai passengers do have some further restrictions on lounge access, even for Skywards Platinum holders. In Dubai Terminal 2 and around the world, you have access to FlyDubai's and partner lounges for yourself only. On the flip side, departures from Dubai Terminal 3 means you can access the Emirates First Class lounges in Concourse B & C, along with your usual guest entitlements (1 adult and two children up to 17 years old).
Checked baggage allowance for Skywards Platinum members
Skywards Platinum members get an additional 20kg baggage allowance on top of what's included in their ticket for destinations where the weight system applies, which covers most flights except those to The Americas. This is also extended to Qantas-operated flights.
For flights with the piece system, Platinum members don't have any advantage over Gold, where the special allowance is a flat 2x 23kg allowance on all economy fare types. This is only a benefit when booked on the cheapest Economy Special fare which includes 1x 23kg bag, as all other fares and travel classes already include two pieces anyway.
Perks for Skywards Platinum members
The biggest reward that Skywards Platinum members get straight away is a complimentary Gold Partner nomination, which gifts anyone of your choice 12 months of Skywards Gold, unlocking business class lounge access and most priority services when they travel.
Skywards Platinum opens up first class check-in where available, including with partner airline Qantas. With that comes first class priority-tagged baggage and naturally, priority boarding at the gate too.
Members can also redeem Skywards Miles for a last-minute economy or business class Flex Plus reward seat, even on high-demand flights with restricted availability. While Flex Plus tickets require more miles than standard reward seats, there is greater flexibility for changes and cancellations. This benefit needs to be requested through the call centre. For last minute cash fares, Skywards Platinum members can request a business class seat at Flex Plus levels.
Speaking of Skywards Miles, these will never expire while you remain Platinum. However, be very careful as you approach the end of your membership. If you drop from Platinum to Gold, any unredeemed Skywards Miles that would have expired during the Platinum-benefit period will automatically expire when your membership downgrades.
Free unlimited WiFi is offered where available in any class of travel, although that benefit is extended to all Skywards Gold plus business and first class passengers, so the service quality may suffer at times. Your Skywards Platinum number has to be attached to the booking for this to work. Putting a Qantas Frequent Flyer number into the booking means the system won't recognise your Skywards Platinum WiFi entitlements.
Through a partnership with Marriott, your status still has some pull after leaving the airport. Emirates' Platinum members earn 1 Skywards Mile per US$1 spent at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels worldwide. Your shiny card also allows you to enjoy complimentary 4pm late check-out, access to the Elite check-in line and complimentary inhanced in-room WiFi.
Rounding up that list is:
- 75% bonus Skywards Miles for EK-coded flights (these are miles for redeeming reward flights, not Tier Miles for status)
- Free standard economy class seat selection for you and passengers in the same booking (even where a fee would normally be charged for your booking class)
- Free exit row economy seats for you only when on a Flex Plus economy fare
- Highest priority for waitlists and upgrades
- Priority service through the contact centres