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Emirates Skywards Secret iO Tier : Who Is It For?


  • Emirates Skywards has a secret invitation-only tier called iO.
  • iO membership is highly exclusive, limited to just a couple hundred VIPs worldwide.
  • iO members enjoy a plethora of personalized experiences.

Emirates Skywards loyalty program has a secret tier called iO. This is exclusively for its most valued customers, and the “iO” refers to ‘invitation only.’

Emirates is known for its award-winning Skywards loyalty program with associated benefits and rewards. Skywards offers the chance to earn and spend miles as well as move through the tiers depending on how much you fly. Most of us, however, are only familiar with the Blue, Silver, Gold, and Platinum tier levels and will not have heard of iO, although it has been around a few years.

How to achieve iO tier status?

iO is an exclusive tier that offers a discreet experience to a lucky selected few, nominated by the president of Emirates, Sir Tim Clark. It is like a private members ‘club’ for the super-rich or the ultra-frequent flyer. It acknowledges the member’s contribution to the airline and is a highly exclusive membership with very selective criteria. The privacy of the iO program protects that of its members and is crucial to the integrity of the program.

Potential members of iO may include people who have strong commercial ties with the airline and spent over $1 million on it over the years. Frequent flyers who consistently travel long-haul routes in premium cabins may also be offered a chance to join. These frequent flyers may have to have traveled on over 50 flights per year in business class or first class on full-fare tickets.

Inside an Emirates Airbus A380 first class suite.

Photo: Emirates

iO membership is restricted to just 300 VIPs worldwide, making it highly exclusive. Places are reserved for high-profile figures such as celebrities and politicians, whose identities are only known by a select few. Discretion and privacy are everything, and Emirates does not disclose much information about the secretive tier.

What are the benefits of being a Skywards iO member?

Perks of the scheme include first class lounge access, a chauffeur-driven limousine from home and to/from the airport, and bespoke amenities. Relationship managers will help tailor their trips, and there will be a meet-and-greet service at the airport. Members will be able to pick their favorite meal choices in advance and even choose a meal from their favorite restaurant. Complimentary tickets to sports events sponsored by the airline are also on offer.

Members will be met by car at the aircraft if it’s parked at a remote stand, so members won’t have to use the buses to the terminal. The journey through the airport will also have designated staff members who will take them from check-in, through immigration and security, and to the chosen lounge. They will also help with baggage claim at the end of the journey. Helicopter transfers are a possibility in some places. Priority waitlisting is another advantage when a chosen flight is full.

An Emirates worker loading suitcases into a van.

Photo: Emirates

iO offers a personalized experience with enhanced status and heightened service standards akin to traveling first class or even by private jet. A welcome kit includes a personalized note, a loyalty card, and access to premium products. A wallet and luggage tags are also included. There is a gold loyalty card included in the kit for a companion’s use. The iO loyalty scheme is valid for two years and only renewed with discretion.

Sources: Executive Traveller, The Aviator Middle East, Arabian Business

  • Emirates, Airbus A380, Penultimate
    Emirates has been unable to fly to Nigeria, so local travelers have found other ways of getting to the UAE. Photo: Vincenzo Pace/Alvin Man – Simple Flying


    IATA/ICAO Code:

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Dubai International Airport

    Year Founded:

    Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum

    United Arab Emirates


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