Tip: When Emirates says you have insufficient miles, use the app


In this great piece from Milenomics about booking JetBlue Mint with Emirates miles, Robert notes a problem that we had encountered with Emirates last fall: while miles transferred from US credit card transferable currency programs post to your Emirates Skywards account instantly and the desktop web browser shows the miles in your account, they aren’t always immediately available for use. Thankfully, we had discovered a workaround last fall (and forgot all about posting the tip): the miles are instantly usable within the Emirates app. That won’t help you for a JetBlue booking, but hopefully it will if you need to book on Emirates metal.

We ran into this problem when trying to book our Emirates First Class flights between Dubai and the Maldives last fall. I had transferred miles from other transferable currencies to book us both in first class one way from the Maldives to Dubai (I transferred 114.5K from Brex and 28K from Chase). Transfers were instant and showed up in my Emirates Skywards account on the desktop site right away. (Side note: Brex doesn’t require that you transfer in increments of 1,000 miles, so I was able to transfer without “wasting” any miles).

However, when I tried to book, I kept getting an error saying that I didn’t have enough miles. That was odd and frustrating because I did have enough miles, but the booking engine clearly hadn’t caught up with my current balance. See where it shows “insufficient miles”.

Robert at Milenomics seems to have found a workaround of making a second mileage transfer; his theory is that there is a bug whereby the Emirates site is checking whether you have enough miles to also cover the taxes & fees. You may need to make an additional transfer like he did if you’re looking to book on JetBlue. However, if you’re booking on Emirates metal, here’s my tip: try the Emirates app on your phone. I was able to easily run an award search via the app and I was able to book without issue on the app when the desktop browser was saying I had insufficient miles.

After getting farther along in the process on the app than I had on the website, I wondered if maybe it was just a matter of impatience. Maybe I just had to wait a few minutes and in the time it took me to run the search in the app, the desktop site had caught up with my balance. However, I tested that: I opened an entirely new browser and logged in to my Emirates account and went through an award search online and ran into the same error saying I didn’t have enough miles to book. Clearly, there was a disconnect between what the desktop version of the booking engine recognized my balance to be vs the app. I went ahead and completed my booking via the app with no problem at all and no need to transfer any additional miles.

I actually ended up in a similar situation a second time because we had originally booked Qatar Qsuites from Dubai to the Maldives and decided to instead fly nonstop on Emirates. Compounding on that, we were going to fly business class from Dubai to the Maldives because there weren’t two seats in first class. When two seats became available in first class on the flight we had booked in business, we cancelled and rebooked. That meant transferring to Emirates a couple more times and I ran into the same issue on the website and booked via the app on at least one of those two instances.

Moral of the story: if you transfer miles to Emirates and try to book online but get an error about not having enough miles, try the app.

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my wife’s flowers were a no show today and I am in hot water….does anyone know the customer service phone number for 1800FLOWERS.com?


Interesting. I previously thought that error happened when your redemption would leave you with exactly zero miles. The time I transferred in miles and had a few extra, I was able to book.