Best Ways To Book Emirates First Class Using Points [Step-by-Step]

Emirates First Class A380 - First Class Cabin

When you think of the best first class products in the world, Emirates is probably high on your list – if not at the top! Without a doubt, Emirates offers one of the most luxurious seats in the sky, and flying first class on this airline is an experience you won’t want to miss.

From the amazing Emirates first class suite to the champagne or the shower spa, you’ll be flying like royalty. To top it all off, you’ll have access to an actual in-flight bar where you can enjoy a drink or snack and chat with your fellow passengers.

Before we discuss how to book an Emirates first class flight, let’s take a look at exactly what you’ll be booking.

A Look Inside the Emirates First Class Suite

There’s nothing quite like enjoying the glamorous first class experience on Emirates.

Let’s start with your first class suite, complete with a mini-bar, a bed, and a door for privacy. Those doors close with just the push of a button. You read correctly: individual motorized doors on an airplane. And that’s only the beginning of the Emirates first class experience!

Emirates First Class A380 - Seat 1E
There’s nothing like having your own personal Emirates first class suite. You even have your own mini-bar. Don’t worry, champagne is provided on request!

Emirates raises the stakes with their fine dining experience to keep you well-fed. From champagne to spirits to fine wine, your flight attendant will ensure you always have a nice drink to go with your meal.

Emirates First Class A380 - Caviar
Experience fine dining at 30,000 feet in your Emirates first class suite.

You might be wondering what kind of champagne. Well, this is first class on Emirates, and they really spare no expense. You’ll be able to enjoy a glass of world-renowned Dom Perignon.

Emirates First Class A380 - Dom Perignon
The Emirates first class experience wouldn’t be complete without a glass of Dom Perignon! Your flight attendant will be happy to pour you a glass (or two).

Is this the best first class experience? Perhaps, although that will depend on your personal tastes. It’s certainly up there!

How To Fly Emirates First Class

Now that you have a taste of Emirates first class, let’s discuss how to book this flight so you can have some fun!

While Emirates does have their own frequent flier program, in this case it’s not the best option and certainly not the best value for booking this flight. We’ll discuss more below.

Japan Airlines Mileage Bank

Unlike many airline award charts, Japan Airlines uses a distance-based chart. The more miles you actually fly the more Mileage Bank miles it will cost.

Japan Airlines Mileage Bank Chart
Japan Airlines Mileage Bank uses a distance-based award chart. There are some fun sweet spots!

As you can see, the award chart is broken into tiers based on the total trip distance. If you fly multiple segments, you’ll need to consider the distance of each segment.

This chart presents some amazing sweet spot award booking opportunities for Emirates First, which we’ll discuss a bit later.

For now, let’s talk about how to find Emirates first class award space and book it.

  1. To find Emirates award space, go to the Qantas website or Alaska Airlines website
    • Qantas is better if your flights are NOT to/from the U.S.
  2. Note the dates, times, and flight numbers of the flights you want
  3. Call Japan Airlines (1-800-525-3663) to confirm availability and book your award ticket
    • Office hours are 6:00am-6:00pm PST (Monday-Friday) and 7:00am-3:00pm PST (Saturday and Sunday)

If you need more miles in your Mileage Bank account, transfer SPG Starpoints. Keep in mind that transfers are not instant and often take 7 days.

For every transfer of 20,000 SPG Starpoints, you’ll receive a bonus of 5,000 miles in your Japan Airlines Mileage Bank account. You can transfer up to 60,000 SPG Starpoints per day and therefore receive 3 x 5,000-mile bonuses.

A couple key points to remember when booking with Japan Airlines 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
  • Search with Qantas for award flights that don’t touch the U.S

If you’re planning an Emirates first class trip, Japan Airlines Mileage Bank will likely cost you the fewest miles. Make sure you give them a look!

Don’t forget to check out other amazing redemptions with the Japan Airlines Mileage Bank program.

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

Until Alaska Airlines massively devalued their Emirates award chart in early 2016, using Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program was the go-to way to book first class awards on Emirates. Unfortunately, Alaska Airlines now charges a ton of miles to book an Emirates first class ticket.

Check out the current cost in Alaska miles in the chart below:

Route One-Way Award Cost
U.S. to Middle East/India 150,000 Alaska miles
U.S. to Europe 180,000 Alaska miles
U.S. to Asia 180,000 Alaska miles
U.S. to Africa 200,000 Alaska miles
U.S. to Oceania 225,000 Alaska miles

Not only are these award prices much more expensive than using Japan Airlines’ Mileage Bank program, but your point of origin or destination must be in the U.S.

If you have a ton of Alaska miles sitting around, here’s how you can book an Emirates first class ticket:

  1. Go to Alaska’s website
  2. Search for your desired route (make sure you select “Use Miles”)
  3. Select your desired flight and “Add To Cart”
  4. Login to your Alaska Mileage Plan account
  5. Pay the necessary taxes/fees and complete your Emirates booking

If you need more Alaska miles, transfer SPG Starpoints prior to booking. Transfers of SPG points can take up to 2 days.

While Alaska Airlines might not be the go-to program for Emirates program anymore, Mileage Plan still provides some other amazing redemption options.

Other Options for a First Class Emirates Booking

You might be wondering why we don’t recommend utilizing the Emirates Skywards program. Well, there are 2 reasons: the number of Skywards miles required is quite high, and they pass on carrier-imposed surcharges that can exceed $1,000.

Qantas and Korean Air also partner with Emirates, but making a first class Emirates booking requires a large number of miles plus expensive taxes and fees.

Unless you really need to book Emirates first class with these programs, you’re better off using Japan Airlines’ Mileage Bank program.

Great Emirates First Class Redemptions

It’s clear that Japan Airlines provides the best opportunity to book Emirates first class, so let’s look at a few of the best options available for booking:

  • New York City (JFK) to Dubai round-trip in first class for 135,000 miles
  • New York City (JFK) to Perth one-way in first class for 135,000 miles
  • New York City (JFK) to Milan round-trip in first class for 100,000 miles
  • New York City (JFK) to Milan to Dubai to Bangkok to Dubai to Milan to JFK for 155,000 miles
    • This routing could include a stopover in Milan or Dubai on your way to Bangkok, plus a stopover at the other city on your return to New York

If you want to experience a shower in the sky, find a route on which Emirates operates an Airbus A380. Currently, Emirates operates this aircraft between Dubai and 4 U.S. airports:

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 still provide the same first class suite and perks, but you won’t get to experience the shower spa and in-flight bar.

How To Earn Enough Miles for Emirates First Class

The easiest way to earn the necessary miles for both Japan Airlines and Alaska Airlines in order to fly Emirates First is through the use of SPG credit cards.

What’s great is that with each transfer of 20,000 SPG Starpoints, you will receive a bonus 5,000 miles in the designated frequent flyer program, which is Emirates in this case.

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Not Sure?
> Don't Miss These 7 Valuable Card Benefits
> 45 Best Ways To Redeem SPG Points
  • Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints®
  • Up to 5x Starpoints® on eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Detailed Review
Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express
  • Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints®
  • Up to 5x Starpoints® on eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Detailed Review

Bank of America also provides both personal and business versions of co-branded cards with Alaska Airlines that will earn you additional Alaska miles.

When Should You Search for Emirates First Class Award Space?

Unlike airlines such as Cathay Pacific and Lufthansa, Emirates does not have a regular schedule for releasing first class award space to their partner airlines.

That being said, Emirates first class is a highly sought after award ticket, so you should start searching for space as soon as you have an idea about your travel dates.

The more flexibility you have with your travel dates, the easier it will be to find space and book your Emirates first class experience!

What Makes Emirates First Class Amazing?

If the pictures above weren’t enough to convince you that Emirates first class is an experience that should not be missed, let’s dive into some more features you’ll get to enjoy.

Emirates First Class Lounge

Emirates First Class A380 - First Class Lounge
Your Emirates First Class Lounge experience is sure to get your travel day started on the right foot.

When departing from or transiting Dubai International Airport, you will have access to the Emirates First Class Lounge. If your flight is on the Emirates A380, you will be able to board your flight directly from the lounge.

You’ll find areas dedicated to entertainment, dining, and even families with children. There really is something for everyone in the Emirates First Class Lounge.

Emirates has amazing lounges in other airports around the world too, including in New York City (JFK) where you can also board your flight from the lounge.

Emirates First Class Catering

Emirates First Class Lounge Dining
Whether you want a full meal or a snack, you will be happy in the Emirates First Class Lounge and during your flight.

From start to finish, your first class experience will include fantastic food and beverage choices. In the Emirates First Class Lounge, you have the option to enjoy snacks from a buffet or order a meal in the dining area anytime you are hungry.

You’ll also enjoy on-demand dining on your flight, so you can eat when you are ready. As we mentioned above, fine champagne and other drinks are available as desired.

Emirates In-Flight Bar

Emirates First Class A380 - Bar
Enjoy a drink, a snack, and the company of your fellow premium cabin passengers at Emirates’ in-flight bar on the Airbus A380.

One of the most well-known features of flying Emirates first class on their Airbus A380 is the in-flight bar. Located at the rear of the business class cabin, first class passengers are welcome to enjoy the company of fellow passengers and have a drink.

You can even bring your Dom Perignon champagne with you. This is a fantastic way to stretch your legs and add a little fun to your flight.

Emirates First Class Shower Spa

Emirates First Class A380 - Onboard Shower
A shower at 30,000 feet is pretty unbelievable and in a space like this, it’s definitely comfortable as well.

Emirates first class passengers are able to enjoy the First Class Shower Spa. You will have access to the room for 30 minutes and 5 minutes of hot water in the shower. During your spa experience, you might notice that your feet are warm. That’s because the floor is heated!

After a long flight, this can be just what you need to freshen up before an adventure.

Emirates First Class Amenity Kit and Pajamas

Emirates First Class A380 - Amenities Kit & Pajamas
Slippers, pajamas and a luxury amenity kit help you rest easy during your journey.

To top off the first class experience, Emirates provides an amenity kit with high-end Bvlgari products and pajamas (that you can keep) so you can relax comfortably during your flight.

Final Thoughts

It’s clear that Emirates first class is an experience any traveler will enjoy. While these flights retail for tens of thousands of dollars, you can transfer your SPG Starpoints to the Japan Airlines Mileage Bank program to score an amazing award ticket.

Like with all award bookings, make sure you check for award availability before transferring points. Additionally, remember to start your search for award space as soon as you have narrowed down your possible travel dates. This will increase the likelihood of finding Emirates first class award space.

Now that you know how to book Emirates first class, what are you waiting for? Get out there and take flight in one of the most amazing first class products in the sky!

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Not Sure?

Don’t miss out on these 7 valuable benefits & perks that you’ll get access to as a cardholder!


What is the best way to book Emirates first class?
Right now, the cheapest way to make a first class Emirates booking is with Japan Airlines Mileage Bank miles. If you have a ton of Alaska Mileage Plan miles, they can be a solid backup option.

What credit cards can help me earn miles to fly Emirates first class?
If you need to earn Japan Airlines miles or Alaska Airlines miles, your best bet is using the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express.

What do I get when flying Emirates first class?
When you fly Emirates first class on the Airbus A380, you’ll enjoy a comfortable suite with a lie-flat seat. Additionally, you’ll have 30 minutes to use the first class shower spa.

To top it all off, you can enjoy the in-flight bar at the rear of the business class cabin. Don’t forget the Dom Perignon champagne!