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Real Redemptions Part 1: Emirates First Class, 5 Nights in the Maldives, & Paris in the Spring

Erin Miller's image
Erin Miller
Erin Miller's image

Erin Miller

Content Contributor

188 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 26U.S. States Visited: 28

An experienced points hacker, Erin is Alex’s partner-in-crime and contributes to Upgraded Points with in-depth guides and relationship management. Erin’s work has been cited in multiple major publicat...
Edited by: Kellie Jez
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Kellie Jez

Director of Operations & Compliance

1 Published Article 1171 Edited Articles

Countries Visited: 10U.S. States Visited: 20

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 First Class

One of our first Real Redemptions contributions comes from Andrew of Life, Tailored, a travel blog dedicated to the notion that you certainly don’t need to be rich to live a luxurious life. Andrew is a full-time blogger (he also runs a non-travel startup blog) who aims to help others “live a first class life on a business (or economy) budget.”

Using points bought at $0.0197/mile (~ 2 cents) during an Alaska Airlines sale, Andrew and his wife Stephanie were able to book 2 seats to Singapore in Emirates First Class (route:  JFK>MXP>DXB>SIN).

This was before the latest Alaska Airlines devaluation, so they were able to secure this epic redemption at 100,000 miles per one-way ticket on the Alaska Airlines website. That’s about $1,970 for a ticket that would otherwise cost $16,500-$20,000!

Emirates First Class  Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

Emirates First Class is consistently named one of the best products in the sky, featuring complimentary chauffeur service to/from the airport, individual travel suites for privacy, onboard lounge with walk-up bar, and most notably a shower spa complete with Bvlgari toiletries…plus so much more.

Hot Tip: Just because Alaska Airlines points have been devalued doesn’t mean you can’t book this same flight! Read our guide on other ways you can book Emirates first class.

The opportunity to fly across the globe in such luxury and shower in the sky (not once, but twice) placed this redemption atop Andrew’s list of favorites. Plus, due to Alaska’s devaluation, he and his wife are much less likely to book this product again in the future – so it’s possibly a once in a lifetime experience!

Couples Vacation, AWise

Where to next? Andrew and his wife are planning to fly to Europe this September in Singapore Suites! They’ve secured this redemption before and had a fantastic experience. You can read about their process for this redemption and other travel hacking tips on the Life, Tailored blog.

Great work guys!

5 Nights in the Maldives

Points fanatic Diana from Locos Por Las Millas chimes in here on the Real Redemptions series with a vast amount of knowledge on the subject! Her family of 4 travels the world mostly on airline miles and hotel points – so far they’ve checked off 62 countries and counting!

Diana works full-time as Director of Sales for Rehomex, LLC, and runs Locos Por Las Millas on the side. Hailing from Mexico, she moved to the U.S. with her husband about 13 years ago and noticed an absence of points sites written for the Spanish speaking audience. Diana writes her blog in her native language with the goal of inspiring newcomers to the U.S. (and to this crazy world of points) to jump into the game!

Without further ado, we give you Diana’s favorite Real Redemption: a FIVE-night stay at the Conrad Maldives earned simply by utilizing 3 credit card sign-up/spending bonuses and a Hotel Membership.

  1. Citi Hilton Honors Reserve Card – 2 weekend nights
  2. Hilton Honors Surpass Card from American Express – 100,000 bonus + points earned on daily purchases (This offer is now expired)
  3. Barclay Hawaiian Card – 35,000 Hawaiian Miles converted to 70,000 Hilton HHonors points

Conrad Maldives

By accomplishing the minimum spend requirements on each of the above credit cards, Diana was able to secure 5 nights at the Conrad Maldives for free:

  • 2 nights for 95,000 Hilton HHonors points per night
  • 2 weekend nights with the Citi Card
  • 5th night free with her Hilton Diamond Membership.

All this for a room that would otherwise cost ~$5,000 for the 5 night stay!

Private Pool, Conrad Maldives

This redemption tops Diana’s list because she and her husband were celebrating their 22nd wedding anniversary. On top of everything else, they were upgraded to a deluxe beach villa with their own swimming pool and private access to the beach, where they were able to take moonlit swims each night. Diana considers this Maldives trip an absolute dream come true!

Underwater Restaurant, Maldives

Their next points trip? Diana and 8 members of her family are traveling to Amsterdam and Venice, then taking a Greek cruise with Royal Caribbean. She claims these travels were booked for almost free using miles and points, and the cruise was paid for on different credit cards offering cash back and travel credit.

This woman is totally owning the points system – we salute you, Diana!

Paris in the Spring

Michele from The Intrepid Guide is a travel and language blogger who’s here on the Real Redemptions series to share a sneaky little find… but more about that in a minute!

In October 2010, Michele quit her cubicle job and set out on an adventure to explore the world. She lives by the motto “The more we travel, the more we learn.” With her blog, Michele shares her travel and language-learning experiences through resource guides, infographics, language learning tools, photography, and more!

Knysna Elephant Park    London Sky Garden

A native Aussie now living in London, Michele uses points to travel every chance she gets. This includes a yearly trip back to Melbourne on Emirates, which racks up a large number of miles. The downside here is that Emirates is not part of an alliance, meaning Michele didn’t have any opportunities for redeeming those miles outside of Emirates’ Skywards program (which requires more points than she had accumulated for just 1 flight).

However, one day while Michele was browsing the Emirates website to check whether their policy on points had changed, she happened to notice a new collaboration. Though not the most luxurious option, Michele noticed she could utilize her points for 2 return tickets to Paris on easyJet. In her own words: “I snapped them up tout de suite.”

Notting Hill, MF

Michele shares this redemption because even though it was only a short trip on a budget airline, it was an important find! If she hadn’t been curious and done her research, she never would have known about the Emirates-easyJet partnership. Knowing a number of Aussies who have similar issues with wasted Emirates points, Michele was thrilled to find a way to use them for travel throughout Europe.

And gosh, who wouldn’t want to take their partner to Paris see Monet’s Gardens in the spring? Sounds like a dream! What an important reminder to stay fresh on those airline points policies!

For her next adventure, Michele is taking a trip to Luxembourg, which she paid for with her Miles and More points.

Thanks for the insight and keep it up, lady!

Remember, these are REAL redemptions by real people, just like you!  You can learn more about getting started with collecting points for fantastic trips of your own via the Upgraded Points Express Beginner’s Guide!

Got the basics down and hungry for more? We’re bringing you tons of in-depth content on how to earn points, how to use points, and the latest news, so take a look around…

You’ll be booking that epic redemption before you know it!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you book Emirates First Class with Alaska miles?

You can still book Emirates First Class with Alaska miles but the redemption has since been devalued.

Erin Miller's image

About Erin Miller

An experienced points hacker, Erin is Alex’s partner-in-crime and contributes to Upgraded Points with in-depth guides and relationship management. Erin’s work has been cited in multiple major publications.


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