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

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Spencer Howard
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Spencer Howard

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Always a fan of flying, Spencer wanted to find ways to upgrade his travel experience. Over the years, Spencer has been a guest speaker on multiple YouTube shows as well as podcasts on maximizing point...
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Kellie Jez

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Kellie’s professional experience has led her to a deep passion for compliance, data reporting, and process improvement. Kellie’s learned the ins and outs of the points and miles world and leads UP’s c...

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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 in-flight 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 A380 Business Class Middle Row Companion Seats
Emirates business class aboard the A380 makes for an elegant and unforgettable experience. Image Credit: Cherag Dubash

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:

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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)
Houston (IAH) – Dubai (DXB)Boston (BOS) – 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 always recommend using Emirates Skywards miles — we’ll explain more below, but trust us when we say you have better options.

Japan Airlines Mileage Bank

Japan Airlines Mileage Bank is generally going to have the lowest miles price tag, but 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!

Learn more about these pesky fees in our ultimate guide to airline fuel surcharges (and how to avoid them)!

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).

JAL Partner Award Chart
Image Credit: Japan Airlines

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 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 of 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.

Hot Tip: Learn about how to maximize stopovers and open-jaws in our comprehensive guide so you can get extra flights for free!

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.

Emirates Skywards

Emirates is a transfer partner with Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou points, Capital One Miles, and Marriott Bonvoy, while JAL is only a transfer partner with Marriott.

So while JAL doesn’t have many ways to rack up miles fast, Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards will definitely help you boost your point balances to book first class!

Better yet, Emirates has recently massively reduced the carrier-imposed surcharges on flights! Depending on your award ticket, you’ll be able to leverage stopovers!

Here are a few great example of routes you can take:

  • New York (JFK) – Milan (MXP) round-trip for 90,000 miles + ~$120 in taxes and fees
  • New York (JFK) – Dubai (DXB) round-trip for 145,000 miles + ~$322 in taxes and fees
  • Auckland (AKL) – Dubai (DXB) round-trip for 224,000 miles + ~$100 in taxes and fees

Here’s how you can book your award:

  1. Visit Emirates.
  2. Log in to your Skywards account.
  3. After you log in, search for flights. Be sure to check off the box that says Classic Rewards.
  4. Select your flights.
  5. Pay with your miles and any additional taxes and fees.

Great Emirates Business Class Redemptions

Emirates Airbus A380
Find some amazing redemptions on the Emirates Airbus A380 and enjoy an inflight bar. Image Credit: Vytautas Kielaitis via Shutterstock

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 (DXB) round-trip in business class for 85,000 miles
  • New York City (JFK) to Perth (PER) one-way in business class for 85,000 miles
  • New York City (JFK) to Milan (MXP) round-trip in business class for 63,000 miles
  • New York City (JFK) to Milan (MXP) to Dubai (DXB) to Bangkok (BKK) to Dubai (DXB) to Milan (MXP) to New York City (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.

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Cities with Emirates A380 Service
Los Angeles (LAX)
New York City (JFK)
San Francisco (SFO)
Washington, D.C. (IAD)
Boston (BOS)
Houston (IAH)

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.

Hot Tip: Check 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

Amex Credit Cards

This is our preferred method of earning Emirates miles given how generous Amex credit cards are with their welcome offers and category bonuses. You can transfer Amex points at a rate of 1:1 to Emirates.

Recommended Amex Cards (Personal)

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The Platinum Card® from American Express

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The Amex Platinum reigns supreme for luxury travel, offering the best airport lounge access plus generous statement credits, and complimentary elite status.

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The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Amex Platinum reigns supreme for luxury travel, offering the best airport lounge access plus generous statement credits, and complimentary elite status.
Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
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Good to Excellent (670-850)

When it comes to cards that offer top-notch benefits, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better card out there than The Platinum Card® from American Express.

Make no mistake — the Amex Platinum card is a premium card with a premium price tag. With amazing benefits like best-in-class airport lounge access, hotel elite status, and tremendous value in annual statement credits, it can easily prove to be one of the most lucrative cards in your wallet year after year.

Pros

  • The best airport lounge access out of any card (by far) — enjoy access to over 1,400 worldwide lounges, including the luxurious Amex Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass lounges, Plaza Premium Lounges, and many more!
  • 5x points per dollar spent on flights purchased directly with the airline or with AmexTravel.com (up to $500,000 per year)
  • 5x points per dollar spent on prepaid hotels booked with AmexTravel.com
  • Annual and monthly statement credits upon enrollment (airline credit, Uber Cash credit, Saks Fifth Avenue credit, streaming credit, prepaid hotel credit on eligible stays, Walmart+ credit, CLEAR credit, and Equinox credit)
  • TSA PreCheck or Global Entry credit
  • Access to American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts
  • Access to Amex International Airline Program
  • No foreign transaction fees (rates and fees)

Cons

  • $695 annual fee (rates and fees)
  • Airline credit does not cover airfare (only incidentals like checked bags)
  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • $200 Hotel Credit: Get up to $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®. The Hotel Collection requires a minimum two-night stay.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back in statement credits each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Disney+, a Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, The New York Times, Peacock, and The Wall Street Journal. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership (subject to auto-renewal) with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card®. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Up Benefits are excluded.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year when incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card®.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only. Terms Apply.
  • $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $300 back in statement credits per calendar year on an Equinox membership, or an Equinox club membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you pay with your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required. Visit https://platinum.equinox.com/ to enroll.
  • $189 CLEAR® Plus Credit: Breeze through security with CLEAR Plus at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues nationwide and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your Membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Platinum Card®. Learn more.
  • $100 Global Entry Credit: Receive either a $100 statement credit every 4 years for a Global Entry application fee or a statement credit up to $85 every 4.5 years for a TSA PreCheck® (through a TSA official enrollment provider) application fee, when charged to your Platinum Card®. Card Members approved for Global Entry will also receive access to TSA PreCheck at no additional cost.
  • Shop Saks with Platinum: Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases in Saks Fifth Avenue stores or at saks.com on your Platinum Card®. That's up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • $300 SoulCycle At-Home Bike Credit: Get a $300 statement credit for the purchase of a SoulCycle at-home bike with your Platinum Card®. An Equinox+ subscription is required to purchase a SoulCycle at-home bike and access SoulCycle content. Must charge full price of bike in one transaction. Shipping available in the contiguous U.S. only. Enrollment Required.
  • Unlock access to exclusive reservations and special dining experiences with Global Dining Access by Resy when you add your Platinum Card® to your Resy profile.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Financial Snapshot

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  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

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BEST FOR DINING
American Express® Gold CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees

American Express® Gold Card

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This is the best card for food lovers who dine out at restaurants (worldwide), order take-out and want big rewards at U.S. supermarkets!

Learn More(at Amex's secure site)

American Express® Gold Card

This is the best card for food lovers who dine out at restaurants (worldwide), order take-out and want big rewards at U.S. supermarkets!
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.
60,000 points
$1,320
$250
See Pay Over Time APR
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The American Express® Gold Card is a game-changer.

With this card, you can earn 4x Membership Rewards points at restaurants and you’ll also earn 4x Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1x.

There isn’t another card on the market that offers a 1-2 punch like this. Of course, there are several other benefits of the Gold Card as well, including extra monthly dining rewards and more.

Pros

  • 4x points per dollar at restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
  • 4x points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets, up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases; and 1x thereafter
  • 3x points per dollar on flights purchased directly from airlines or at Amex Travel
  • Up to $120 annual dining credit: up to $10 monthly statement credit when you pay with the Amex Gold card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations
  • Up to $120 in annual Uber Cash: get $10 monthly in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S. when you add your Gold Card to your Uber account
  • No foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees)
  • Access to Amex’s The Hotel Collection
  • Access to American Express transfer partners

Cons

  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Get a $100 experience credit with a minimum two-night stay when you book The Hotel Collection through American Express Travel. Experience credit varies by property.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: See Pay Over Time APR
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

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American Express Membership Rewards

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. There are several Marriott credit cards available.

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! Image Credit: Sorbis via Shutterstock

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 in-flight. You will still have access to great food and your choice of beverages, not to mention an amazing in-flight bar.

Emirates Business Class In-Flight Bar

Emirates First Class A380 - Bar
Your time at the Emirates in-flight bar might be the most memorable part of this amazing flight! Image Credit: Alex Miller

Enjoy a drink, a snack, and the company of your fellow passengers at Emirates’ in-flight 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 Bvlgari products to keep you refreshed throughout your flight.

Final Thoughts

Give Emirates a try; you won’t be disappointed! Using Japan Airlines miles or Emirates 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 points, 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

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Frequently Asked Questions

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. You can also use Emirates miles, but those come with large surcharges too.

Emirates miles are much easier to earn, as they are transfer partners with Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, and Marriott Bonvoy.

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.

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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). He runs Straight to the Points, an award-seat alert platform.

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