As Australia's only direct-earning Emirates Skywards frequent flyer credit card, the Emirates Citi World Mastercard from Citibank offers both Skywards miles and a range of Emirates-related perks to go with them.
Among the list, access to Emirates Chauffeur Drive and the airline's Australian airport lounges even when travelling in economy, plus free international travel insurance and up to 60,000 bonus Skywards miles for new customers.
Emirates Citi World MasterCard: fast facts
- Grade/tier: Black
- Card type: World Mastercard
- Loyalty program: Emirates Skywards
- Skywards miles earned per $1 (domestic spend): 1.0 up to $3,000 per statement period; 0.5 from $3,001-$10,000; none thereafter until new statement period begins
- Skywards miles earned per $1 (eligible international spend): 1.25
- Skywards miles earned per $1 (Emirates flights): 1.5, when booked via emirates.com
- Skywards miles earned per $1 (government payments): No points
- Points capping: Applies only to domestic spend as above; uncapped overseas and for Emirates flight bookings.
Fees, charges and interest: 3.5/5
- Annual fee: $149 in the first year, $299 thereafter
- Supplementary cardholder fee: $0
- Interest rate on purchases: 20.99% p.a.
- Interest-free days on purchases: Up to 55
- Interest rate on cash advances: 21.74% p.a.
- International transaction fee: 3.4%
- Minimum income requirement: $75,000 p.a.
- Minimum credit limit: $15,000
Earning points for free flights: 3.5/5
As Australia's only direct-earning credit card linked to the Emirates Skywards frequent flyer program, every mile you earn is automatically added to your Skywards tally every month, and can be used to book flights with Emirates and its partner airlines including Qantas, Korean Air and Malaysia Airlines, among others.
An earning rate of one Skywards mile per $1 spent isn't to be sniffed at on a Mastercard, especially in 2018 following the RBA's cuts to credit card interchange fees last year, although higher monthly spenders may find themselves earning fewer points as each month progresses due to the $3,000 tiering threshold, or no points at all above $10,000.
You could, however, pocket 50,000 bonus Skywards miles when you apply before June 30 2018 and spend on your card at least once within 90 days of card approval.
Plus, if you spend at least $500 on emirates.com using your Emirates Citi World Mastercard during that 90-day window, you'll be rewarded with an extra 10,000 bonus Skywards miles, for an all-out bonus of 60,000 Skywards miles.
Just note that payments to government bodies (like the ATO) and government-related entities (such as Australia Post) don't earn points with this card.
Free insurance coverage: 4/5
Insurance is much the same as you'll find across Citibank's higher-end credit cards with international travel insurance available on return journeys of up to six months or on trips of up to 31 days when departing Australia on a one-way ticket.
Booking your international flights using the Emirates Citi World Mastercard activates this cover, as does using Emirates Skywards miles to book your flight – provided you've earned at least 15,000 Skywards miles via this card in the 12 months before you book.
Also thrown in: interstate flight inconvenience insurance, transit accident cover, purchase protection insurance and access to a 'guaranteed pricing scheme', covering you for the difference less any excess when a product you buy on the card is later advertised at a lower price.
Airport lounge access and other perks: 4.5/5
Every year you'll receive two invitations to Emirates' Australian airport lounges (located in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth) which you can use for access prior to Emirates flights paid for using your Citi World Mastercard and booked under an EK (not Qantas QF) flight number.
There's no access in Dubai or elsewhere across the globe, so be sure to use your invitation before you depart. You're free to use the second voucher on a later journey or to bring in a guest on the same flight, which covers your partner, a friend or a colleague.
Also for your enjoyment, complimentary return chauffeur-driven airport transfers once a year in Australia (as you depart and again when you return) when booked on an Emirates economy trip paid for using this card, again when you're travelling on an Emirates EK flight number – a perk the airline usually reserves for business and first class flyers.
Emirates Citi World MasterCard: the verdict
With free airport lounge access, chauffeur-driven airport transfers, international travel insurance on journeys booked with Skywards miles and more, the Emirates Citi World Mastercard packs a punch for frequent Emirates jetsetters.
At a cost of just $149 in the first year and $299 thereafter, it also remains a solid all-round performer for Skywards loyalists, and one that can still easily pay for itself: particularly when you consider what you might otherwise pay for lounge access or meals at the airport, the cost of getting to and from, and the cost of a separate travel insurance policy.
Savvy spenders might also pair the Emirates Citi World Mastercard with a higher-earning American Express card to maximise their points, such as the American Express Explorer credit card, which provides the equivalent of 1.5 Skywards miles per $1 spent through the AMEX Membership Rewards Gateway scheme.
The strategy would be to use AMEX wherever it's accepted in Australia to earn more points, and then the Mastercard everywhere else to earn Skywards miles on every transaction, and perhaps remain within the Citibank card's advantageous 1/$1 earning rate, on spends of $3,000/month or less.