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Emirates launches 2 new credit cards in partnership with Barclays and Mastercard

Emirates Skywards launched two brand new credit cards for frequent fliers to earn more miles. Here's what you need to know about the World Elite Mastercard Credit Cards.

Emirates

This week has been jam-packed with credit card updates: Target released a new welcome bonus for its RedCard while Chase announced several changes to its card line up, including the launch of the new Chase Freedom Flex℠ and an elevated bonus for the Chase Sapphire Preferred®.

Another major announcement this week is the launch of Emirates Skywards' first co-branded credit card suite in the U.S. The Emirates Skywards Rewards World Elite Mastercard® and the Emirates Skywards Premium World Elite Mastercard® are both issued by Barclays and backed by the Mastercard network.

If you’re a loyal Emirates flyer, these cards can help you earn Skywards miles faster, allowing you to offset future travel bookings.

CNBC Select has the scoop on what you should know about the new credit cards.

Emirates Skywards World Elite Mastercards

Emirates is offering two cards that have the same rewards program, but different additional benefits and fees. Here’s a breakdown of the key features, including rewards, welcome bonus, added perks and fees.

Rewards

Both cards offer the same rewards program:

  • 3 Skywards miles for every dollar spent on eligible Emirates purchases
  • 2 Skywards miles for every dollar spent on eligible travel purchases, including airfare, hotel stays and car rentals
  • 1 Skywards mile for every dollar spent on all other purchases

This is comparable to other airline credit cards, like the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, which offers 3 miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases and at hotels, 2 miles per dollar spent at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets, and 1 mile per dollar on all other eligible purchases.

Welcome bonus

You can benefit from earning bonus miles within the first few months of card membership, though the amount of miles you earn differs by card.

Additional benefits

As co-branded airline cards, these cards come with perks geared toward travel, such as no foreign transaction fees and miles that never expire as long as your account remains open and active. Beyond that, the exact benefits you receive differ by card.

Here’s an overview of what to expect with each Emirates card.

Emirates Skywards Rewards World Elite Mastercard

  • Emirates Skywards Silver tier membership: Applies to your first year as a cardholder and includes complimentary access to Emirates Business Class lounges in Dubai, 25% extra Skywards miles on Emirates flights, priority check-in and boarding and more.
  • Ability to keep Silver tier status: Spend $20,000 on purchases each card membership year to maintain Emirates Skywards Silver status.

Emirates Skywards Premium World Elite Mastercard

  • Emirates Skywards Gold tier membership: Applies to your first year as a cardholder and includes complimentary access to Emirates Business Class lounges worldwide for the cardmember and a guest, 50% extra Skywards miles on Emirates flights, priority check-in, boarding and baggage delivery and more.
  • Ability to keep Gold tier status: Spend $40,000 on purchases each card membership year to maintain Emirates Skywards Gold status.
  • Priority Pass™ Select membership: This provides unlimited access to more than 1,200 lounges worldwide for you and a guest.
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit every five years (up to $100)
  • Anniversary bonus: Earn 10,000 anniversary bonus Skywards miles after spending $30,000 on purchases each card membership year.

Fees

The Emirates Skywards Rewards card has a significantly lower $99 annual fee compared to the Emirates Skywards Premium card’s $499. If you’re not looking to pay a lot for a card, the Rewards card is the better choice. However, if you plan on taking full advantage of the Premium card’s benefits, you can offset the annual fee while benefiting from helpful perks like Priority Pass Select membership.

The interest rate for both cards is 15.99%, 19.99% or 24.99% variable and there are currently no intro 0% APR offers.

Bottom line

If you’re looking for a more affordable card, the Emirates Skywards Rewards card is for you since it has a reasonable $99 annual fee and the same rewards rates as the Premium card ($499 annual fee).

However, if you want a luxury card, the Emirates Skywards Premium card lives up to its name by offering premium perks, such as an anniversary bonus and Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit.

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Information about the Emirates Skywards Rewards World Elite Mastercard® and the Emirates Skywards Premium World Elite Mastercard® has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer prior to publication.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the CNBC Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.