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 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
Emirates business class aboard the A380 makes for an elegant and unforgettable experience. Image Credit: Emirates

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)
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 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.

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

The Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program is one of the only ways to redeem miles for Emirates business class and avoid those massive fuel surcharges. However, the mileage price can be quite high.

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, but the program still provides some other great award booking options.

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 and Alaska are only transfer partners with Marriott.

So while JAL and Alaska don’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.

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. Alaska will require more miles, but won’t impose fuel surcharges (which keeps the out of pocket cost lower).

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

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

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card - For a limited time only, earn 125,000 Bonus Points and 1 Free Night Award (value up to 50,000 points) after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Get automatic silver elite status each account anniversary year; and a free night award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary. Plus, earn up to 17x total Bovoy points per $1 when using your Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card at at over 7,000 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels, and 2x Bonvoy points per $1 on all other purchases. Annual Fee is $95.
Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card - For a limited time only, earn 60,000 Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Earn up to 14x total Bonvoy points per $1 when using your Marriott Bonvoy Bold card at over 7,000 participating in Marriott Bonvoy hotels, earn 2X on other travel purchases, then 1x on all other purchases. A solid card for Marriott loyalists looking for a no-annual-fee card offering Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card - For a limited time, earn 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points and a bonus Free Night Award after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Resort fees may apply. Terms apply. Offer expires 11/3/2021.

Earn 6x per $1 at hotels participants in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program, 3x at U.S. restaurants and flights booked directly with airlines, and 2x on all other eligible purchases. Annual Fee is $450. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Bonvoy Brilliant card, click here.
Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card - For a limited time, earn 125,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points & 2 bonus Free Night Awards after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months. Each bonus Free Night Award has a redemption level up to 50K points. Certain hotels have resort fees. Offer ends 11/3/2021.

This is a solid card for business owners who will get complimentary Marriott Bonvoy silver elite status. Annual fee is $125. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Marriott 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! 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 In Flight Bar
Your time at the Emirates in-flight bar might be the most memorable part of this amazing flight! Image Credit: Emirates

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 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 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

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.

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. 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


  2. I went on JAL website and there is no option JFK to DXB. Is there other way to do it?


  3. OLEG BUDANOV April 15, 2021

    Learned a lot, shared some. Saved myself about 5K. Happy reader right here.
    Thank you.


Any thoughts or questions? Comment below!

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