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Emirates already flies one of the world’s most interesting fifth-freedom routes between New York (JFK) and Milan (MXP). This morning Emirates shared its plans to launch an arguably more interesting fifth-freedom flight between Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) and Athens (ATH) beginning March 12, 2017.
This new daily service will operate on a significantly later timeframe than flights offered by Delta and United on similar routes — it’s scheduled to depart EWR at 11:45pm and arrive in ATH at 4:00pm. Returning from Athens, you’ll leave at 5:30pm and arrive back in EWR around 10:00pm. The airline will operate a three-class Boeing 777-300ER on the route which features 8 first-class suites, 42 angle-flat business-class seats and 310 seats in economy.
While you can use Emirates Skywards to book these flights, there are several other options for booking awards — you can expect to redeem miles with Emirates’ various airline partners at the following rates:
Redemption rates for round-trip flights between Newark and Athens:
|Program||Economy (miles)||Business (miles)||First (miles)||Transfer Partners|
|Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan||95,000||210,000||360,000||Starwood Preferred Guest (1:1)|
|Emirates Skywards||85,000||170,000||255,000||American Express Membership Rewards (1:1)
Starwood Preferred Guest (1:1)
|Korean Air SkyPass||70,000||125,000||170,000||Chase Ultimate Rewards (1:1)
Starwood Preferred Guest (1:1)
|JAL Mileage Bank||40,000||65,000||100,000||Starwood Preferred Guest (1:1)|
|Malaysia Airlines Enrich||120,000||174,000||264,000||Citi ThankYou Rewards (1:1)|
|Qantas Frequent Flyer||70,000||144,000||216,000||Citi ThankYou Rewards (1:1)|
Considering the info from the above table, it’s pretty easy to see that using the JAL Mileage Bank program is the way to go when you want to use miles to book this new flight. Delta and United also operate nonstop flights from the New York area to Athens, but a quick search for award availability on each airline shows that you’ll be using a lot more miles to fly on a significantly less appealing product.
If you want to pay cash for these flights, we’re seeing significantly cheaper rates than both Delta and United in economy in June, with prices between $800 and $900 round-trip, as opposed to $1,200+ for the US carriers.
Round-trip flights in business class are pricing out at under $3,000 round-trip, which isn’t terrible.
You’ll pay a hefty $8,200+ for a round-trip flight in first class. (Pay close attention to that award chart higher up the page!)
Greece is one of Europe’s most popular destinations — especially in the summer. With reasonable paid fares in economy and plenty of options to use points and miles to fly in business or first class, this new fifth-freedom route is a fantastic new option for travelers who have Greece on their travel radar for this summer.
Featured image of Athens, Greece courtesy of Getty Images.
The Points Guy Assessment:
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great pick for the beginner and the frequent traveler. The CSP has superb travel benefits, double points on certain purchases, and a 50,000 point sign up bonus. The $95 annual fee is waived the first year so this puts it as one of the less expensive cards, while still allowing you to earn one of the most valuable point currencies.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards