Best Ways to Book Emirates Business Class Using Points [Step-by-Step]

Emirates Business Class Seat

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Emirates has cultivated a reputation as one of the best airlines in the world, and it is well-deserved. Let’s be honest…you’re probably here right now because of the amazing things you’ve heard!

If you’d like to see what it’s all about, the Emirates business class cabin is a great way to go. Specifically, we’re going to talk about the experience on Emirates’ Airbus A380.

With lie-flat seats, direct aisle access, and an inflight bar, your business class experience will be the trip of a lifetime!

A Look Inside Emirates Business Class

From the moment you step into the Emirates business class cabin, you’ll be excited to fly. For solo travelers, the window seats provide great privacy, while couples, friends, and families can enjoy each other’s company by selecting 2 seats in the middle section.

Emirates Business Class Bed
Enjoy a lie-flat bed in business class on Emirates’ Airbus A380.

Regardless of your seat choice, you are guaranteed direct aisle access on all A380s, so you don’t have to climb over anyone to visit the in-flight bar (we’ll get to that later). Additionally, all business class seats on Emirates’ A380 are lie-flat, so you can sleep comfortably.

When booking your flight, be sure to verify that you’re flying business class in the A380. Otherwise, you might be surprised by a 2-3-2 configuration with angled flat seats and no direct aisle access!

Here are the flights that operate an A380 from North America:

A380 Routes From North America
Los Angeles (LAX) – Dubai (DXB)San Francisco (SFO) – Dubai (DXB)
New York City (JFK) – Dubai (DXB)New York City (JFK) – Milan (MXP)
Washington D.C. (IAD) – Dubai (DXB)Toronto (YYZ) – Dubai (DXB)

While you’re relaxing in your seat, you’ll enjoy great meals throughout your flight as well as your choice of beer, wine, and spirits. In fact, your flight attendant will even offer you a glass of champagne when settled in your seat before takeoff.

How to Fly Emirates Business Class

If you’re ready to have some fun trying the business class cabin on Emirates, let’s dive into how you can book this flight.

It may sound counter-intuitive, but we don’t recommend using Emirates Skywards miles — we’ll explain more below, but trust us when we say you have better options.

Japan Airlines Mileage Bank

In November 2017, Japan Airlines Mileage Bank imposed huge fuel surcharges on awards on Emirates in addition to the miles cost. For trips from the U.S. in Emirates business class, these can be as much as $1,716!

There are a few airports where you can start your trip and avoid these surcharges:

  • Hong Kong (HKG)
  • Tokyo (NRT)
  • Sydney (SYD)
  • Colombo (CMB)
  • Sydney (SYD)
  • Auckland (AKL)

If you decide to book an Emirates award, then consult Japan Airlines’ distance-based chart (the longer the flight, the more Mileage Bank miles your flight will cost).

Hot Tip: With yet another impending devaluation starting November 20, 2018, we would suggest you act fast to book Emirates awards.

JAL Partner Award Chart
A new devaluation is apparent on the new JAL Partner Award Chart. Image courtesy of

When booking, make sure you remember to calculate the distance of each segment of your itinerary and add them together. Once you have done that, you can check Japan Airlines’ partner award chart to see how many Mileage Bank miles are required.

There are some amazing sweet spot award redemptions to be found in this chart, so play around with it and see what you can find.

You can now search for Emirates availability directly on the JAL website:

  1. Go to JAL’s website
  2. Search for your desired route
  3. Select your desired flight
  4. Pay the necessary taxes/fees and complete your booking

A couple key points to remember when booking with Japan Airlines Mileage Bank miles:

  • You are allowed up to 6 segments, 2 stopovers (stays exceeding 24 hours), and 1 open jaw per itinerary
  • One-way bookings are allowed
  • Use Qantas to search for flights that are not to or from the U.S.

Using Japan Airline Mileage Bank miles is generally your best bet to book Emirates business class for the fewest miles.

Make sure you check out some of the other amazing redemption options provided by Japan Airlines.

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

The Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program was the go-to way to book Emirates award tickets before Alaska Air devalued the award chart in early 2016. Emirates business class didn’t take as much of a hit as first class, but it was still a blow.

This chart shows the current mileage cost of booking an Emirates business class flight with Alaska miles:

To/From North AmericaOne-Way Award Cost
Middle East/India82,500 Alaska miles
Europe105,000 Alaska miles
Asia105,000 Alaska miles
Africa120,000 Alaska miles
Oceania120,000 Alaska miles

When booking with Alaska miles, your origin or destination must be in the United States. Additionally, Alaska Airlines requires significantly more miles than Japan Airlines.

Nevertheless, Alaska Airlines will not pass on fuel surcharges with Emirates, so you’ll be able to save $1,700 in taxes and fees for round-trip tickets! In return for paying more miles, you’ll save cash from surcharges.

If you have plenty of Alaska miles, here’s what you need to know to book:

  1. Visit Alaska Airlines
  2. Select “Use Miles” and search for your desired route
  3. Select your flights and “Add To Cart”
  4. Log in to your Alaska Mileage Plan account
  5. Pay the necessary taxes/fees and complete your booking

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan doesn’t provide a great value for Emirates business class these days, but the program still provides some other great award booking options.

Other Options for Booking Emirates

We didn’t include the Emirates Skywards program as an option here for 2 reasons: the number of Skywards miles required is quite high, and they pass on carrier-imposed surcharges (which can exceed $1,000!).

You could also book with Korean Air or Qantas Frequent Flyer miles, but they too include high taxes and fees.

If possible, avoid using these programs and book with Japan Airlines miles instead.

Great Emirates Business Class Redemptions

Emirates Airbus A380
Find some amazing redemptions on the Emirates Airbus A380 and enjoy an inflight bar.

Even with the new surcharges, Japan Airlines may provide the best opportunity to book Emirates business class, so let’s look at a few options available for booking:

  • New York City (JFK) to Dubai round-trip in business class for 85,000 miles
  • New York City (JFK) to Perth, Australia one-way in business class for 85,000 miles
  • New York City (JFK) to Milan round-trip in business class for 63,000 miles
  • New York City (JFK) to Milan to Dubai to Bangkok to Dubai to Milan to JFK for 100,000 miles
    • This routing could include a stopover in Milan or Dubai on your way to Bangkok, and a stopover in the other location on your return to New York City

Remember, you’ll want to fly business class on Emirates’ Airbus A380 to ensure maximum comfort and fun! Plus, the A380 Dubai to Los Angeles route is one of the longest nonstop flights in the world, giving you tons of time to enjoy your luxury experience.

Emirates A380 Routes
Los Angeles (LAX)
New York City (JFK)
San Francisco (SFO)
Washington, D.C. (IAD)

Emirates flies to several other U.S. airports with their Boeing 777. These routes do not have direct aisle access for all business class seats, nor do they include the lie-flat seats (which means sleeping will be less comfortable).

While Japan Airlines will require fewer miles, a round-trip business class award from the U.S. to Dubai will include up to about $1,716 in taxes and fees. Alaska will require more miles, but won’t impose fuel surcharges (which keeps the out of pocket cost lower).

Hot Tip: Chrck out our dedicated guide for more information on Emirates’ routing options to/from the U.S.

How to Earn Enough Miles for Emirates Business Class

Alaska miles can be earned directly with their co-branded credit cards provided by Bank of America, which offers both a personal and business version of the card.

Marriott Credit Cards

You can earn Marriott points and transfer those to Emirates at a rate of 3:1. Plus, for every 60,000 Marriott points that you transfer, you’ll receive a bonus of 5,000 Skywards miles.

Recommended Marriott Cards

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Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card - earn 75,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. A solid card for business owners who will get complimentary Marriott Bonvoy silver elite status. Annual fee is $125. For rates and fees of the Bonvoy Business Card, click here.

When Should You Search for Award Space?

Emirates does not have a regular schedule for releasing business class award space to their partner airlines. However, don’t wait to search for space and book your business class award ticket.

These award tickets are popular, so start your search as soon as you know when you want to travel. As with all award searches, flexibility is your friend — the more flexible your travel dates, the easier it will be to find award space.

Also, remember to take into account the transfer time of your travel rewards cards points if you are transferring from flexible point programs. It would be a shame to miss an award because you hadn’t yet transferred your miles!

What Makes Emirates Business Class Great?

It’s probably already clear why Emirates business class should be on your list of flying experiences to try! But just in case you need some convincing, let’s dig into it a little more.

Emirates Business Class Lounge

You will have access to the Emirates Business Class Lounge in Dubai. When you are flying on the Emirates Airbus A380, you will be able to board directly from the lounge.

During your stay, you will be treated to a relaxing experience complete with champagne and a great selection of food.

Emirates has lounges in many airports across the world, so you’ll have somewhere to relax before your flight when flying business class.

World Class Catering

Emirates Business Class Lounge Dining
Enjoy a great meal at the Business Class Lounge!

Right off the bat, your business class adventure will provide a buffet that includes plenty of meal options to satisfy any culinary desire. You will also have a variety of wine, beer, spirits, and champagne to pair with your meal before finishing it off with one of the many dessert options.

Of course, the fun only continues once you are inflight. You will still have access to great food and your choice of beverages, not to mention an amazing inflight bar.

Emirates Business Class Inflight Bar

Emirates In Flight Bar
Your time at the Emirates inflight bar might be the most memorable part of this amazing flight!

Enjoy a drink, a snack, and the company of your fellow passengers at Emirates’ inflight bar on the Airbus A380.

Emirates is famous for the bar at the rear of the business class cabin on their Airbus A380. Anytime you feel the urge for a snack or a drink (they’ll make you cocktails too!), you can visit the bar and mingle with your premium cabin companions.

The Business Class Amenity Kit

No business class experience would be complete without an amenity kit, and Emirates excels with theirs, providing Bulgari products to keep you refreshed throughout your flight.

Final Thoughts

Give Emirates a try; you won’t be disappointed! Using Japan Airlines miles or Alaska Airlines miles, you can book a great experience that would normally cost thousands of dollars.

Just because this is an exciting opportunity, don’t forget to make smart decisions when booking. Check for award availability before transferring pionts, and remember that flexibility is key to making business class on Emirates a reality for you.

This article should give you everything you need to get started, so get ready to go book your Emirates business class experience!

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Best Ways to Book Emirates Business Class Using Points


What is the best way to book Emirates business class?

Use Japan Airlines’ Mileage Bank program if you want the lowest miles cost when booking, while Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan has higher mile costs but lower cash surcharges.

What do I get when flying Emirates business class?

When you fly on the Airbus A380, you’ll have access to an amazing inflight bar complete with snacks and cocktails.

Additionally, all business class seats on the A380 are lie-flat and have direct aisle access.

Before your flight, you’ll have access to the Emirates business class lounge.

Spencer Howard

About Spencer Howard

Always a fan of flying, it was only natural that Spencer was drawn to finding a way to improve the travel experience. Like many, he started this journey searching for cheap flights to take him around the world. This was fun for a while, but Spencer was intrigued by the idea of flying in business and first class! Throwing himself into what became an extensive research project, Spencer spent 3-4 hours per night learning everything he could about frequent flyer miles over the course of several months (he thinks this is normal).


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1 comment

  1. Deanna · June 20, 2018 · Reply

    Hi this is the exact post i was looking for. This is exactly what i want to do and would love some of the stop over options but not sure how to do all of this yet. Have the points scared to mess it up. So anyone who wants to lend a hand it would be appreciated. My husband and I live in Oklahoma (yeah i know one of the worst for flying out of) We are planning on going to Nairobi mid February to the end of Feb for a mission type trip. We have to be in Nairobi from the 17th – 27th. I have no problem with positioning flights out of IAH, LAX or NYC really makes no difference we will have to go somewhere. I REALLY want the Emirates A380 and am willing to get a flight from Dubai to Africa unless someone can figure out a better idea. We can spend extra days on either end to make it work and wouldn’t mind spending a couple of days in Dubai. So any expert flyers with advice on making this a trip of a lifetime? Am I correct after reading the post that we could get roundtrip from Houston for 85000 points? How many from LA or NYC? Hoping for help. Thanks Deanna

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