There are various “fringe benefits” to miles and points collecting (and Amex card-holding) that are not only excellent, but often very few people are aware of.

As huge football fans ourselves, there’s a couple we’ve used regularly that we thought worth flagging. The first is free Premier League tickets (and hospitality!), the second is great value hospitality and tickets at various top flight leagues across Europe.

Free Premier League tickets and hospitality

Premier League Brighton are sponsored by American Express. As a result, Amex periodically offers Amex Platinum cardholders match tickets and access to the hospitality of the exclusive American Express Lounge at the American Express Community Stadium.

So, you’ll be getting full “Prawn Sandwich Brigade” executive box treatment… for free. Given that hospitality at Brighton starts at £160 for the lowest Category games, this really is an excellent offer.

The hospitality includes a premium buffet, full bar, outdoor balcony seating and take advantage of limited parking spaces.

To determine availability and take advantage of this offer, you need to contact the Platinum Concierge service on 0800 917 8054. If you do want to benefit, I strongly suggest you stay in close contact with Platinum Concierge as, once available, tickets unsurprisingly go fast.

Hospitality and match tickets using airline miles

One very little known benefit of the Emirates Skywards frequent flyer programme is that, through Emirates‘ extensive football sponsorship, you can use it to easily buy football tickets at European heavyweight teams AC Milan, Real Madrid, Arsenal, Paris St Germain, SV Hamburg and Benfica.

Emirates Skywards have a vast range of football tickets for the 2017-18 season. Not only can you get general admission tickets, you can also use miles to “buy” your way into the VIP executive box, with full catering etc, at impressively low mileage costs.

Shouldn’t I just use my miles on flights?

Generally speaking, yes. However, a major disadvantages of Emirates Skywards is the expiry of your points after three years, without any possibility of this extending. When you add to that policy the fact that redemptions often come with hefty taxes and fees, many people can find themselves fairly limited in their options.

As such, this use of Emirates Skywards miles with some potentially very interesting Emirates Skywards partners is certainly one to consider.

So how do you do it?

Simply click on this link and then log in to Emirates Skywards. You will be taken to the grandly-titled Emirates “Culture and Sport” section which sets out Emirates Skywards partners in this sector. You can then choose your team, your game and your package (match ticket or hospitality).

The above screenshot is a redemption I made a day before 4500 of my Skywards miles were due to expire (I have to confess to being an Etihad man).

What’s the mileage cost?

The starting price for tickets is as follows, in miles:

This can be broken down as follows:

AC Milan

  • General matchday ticket: starts at 3000 miles
  • VIP hospitality ticket: 12,000 miles

Arsenal

  • General matchday ticket: 12,500 miles
  • Executive box ticket: 20,000 miles

SV Hamburg

  • General matchday ticket: starts at 5000 miles
  • Executive box ticket: starts at 13,500 miles

Paris St Germain

  • General matchday ticket: 4000 miles
  • VIP hospitality ticket: 10,000 miles

Real Madrid

  • General matchday ticket: starts at 10,000 miles
  • VIP hospitality ticket: starts at 20,000 miles

Benfica

  • General matchday ticket: 3000 miles
  • VIP hospitality ticket: 8,000 miles

Note that tickets are strictly subject to availability, so you do need to be quick. While some games do still have tickets, think of this as an advance warning – prior to the 2018-19 season, keep checking the Emirates Skywards Culture and Sport page to see when the tickets are loaded, then book ASAP.

Is it good value?

The first key point to make here is that if your frequent flyer miles are about to run out, any redemption is good value. Expired frequent flyer miles are worth nothing. That is why this is a potentially very good option for anyone sat on a pile of Emirates Skywards miles that are nearing their expiry date.

If you have Emirates Skywards miles that are not close to expiry, the debate over whether this is good value depends enormously upon your situation (do you like football? Are you in one of these cities anyway on the date of the match? Could you otherwise get tickets? If so for how much etc etc), the match in question and the seat you go for. Using a fairly unscientific formula, we would value Emirates Skyward miles at around 1 pence each. As such, the Arsenal general admission ticket is dubious value at £125, while the Executive box ticket is solid value at £200. However Arsenal home tickets are notoriously expensive anyway, and with AC Milan and Paris St Germain general admission tickets, for example, available at a rough miles equivalent of £30 and £40 respectively, there is clearly value to be had.

The other key point is accessibility. You may not be able to get tickets for these games anyway, and certainly will struggle to get into the Executive boxes on a one-off basis. This makes these redemptions even better value, even where they exceed ticket face values.

Generally, it does seem that the best value option is the Executive box/VIP option.

I like this… but I don’t have any Emirates miles!

Indirectly at least, this deal is not limited to holders of Emirates Skywards miles. UK Amex Membership Rewards Points convert to Skywards Miles on a 1:1 basis, so if there’s a match that takes your fancy, you can always convert your Amex points and redeem that way.

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Tom is a veteran of the UK travel blog scene, and was the driving force behind the creation of InsideFlyer UK. While his thrifty mindset will continue to ensure your travel bill is reduced and experience improved, he's also going to make sure you enjoy the process a lot more.

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