Book Emirates flights to Europe with wide-open business class award space

Jan 26, 2022

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Flying in Emirates’ long-haul business class is a dream for many.

Emirates operates two fifth-freedom flights from New York, one from Newark (EWR) to Athens, Greece (ATH), and another from New York-JFK to Milan (MXP). These flights have restarted after a brief pandemic pause, and both Italy and Greece are open to vaccinated American tourists.

You can score business-class award space on both routes for just 90,000 Skywards miles round-trip, as first reported by Thrifty Traveler Premium. This is a pretty solid deal considering Emirates is known for its top-notch service, dining options and lounges.

Let’s take a closer look at the award space and how to book it.

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In This Post

The deal

Airline: Emirates.
Routes: JFK-MXP and EWR-ATH.
Cost: From 90,000 American Express, Chase, Citi or Capital One points or miles round-trip (transferred to Emirates Skywards).
Dates: Spring and autumn.
How to book: First, find award availability on the Emirates website before transferring points. Points usually transfer instantly to Emirates Skywards. Once points are in your Emirates account, we advise booking immediately.
Pay taxes/fees with: The Platinum Card® from American Express (5 points per dollar on airfare booked directly with the airline or through American Express Travel, on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year), Chase Sapphire Reserve (3 points per dollar on travel) or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2 points per dollar on travel) for travel protections on the award flight.

Related: The best ways to travel to Europe using points and miles

Is it worth it?

Although Emirates’ business-class seats are not the newest in the sky, the product is still fantastic at 90,000 miles round-trip. You’ll enjoy excellent inflight dining and entertainment, and a lie-flat seat so you’ll arrive at your final destination rested and ready to explore. Plus, if you find a flight on the Airbus A380, you can enjoy the lounge in the sky.

Emirates Airbus A380 Onboard Lounge Bar
(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

One of the most appealing parts of this deal is that you might be able to upgrade to Emirates first class — which provides an even more luxurious experience — for just 30,000 miles at check-in. Again, since most points transfer to Emirates instantly, you can do this at the check-in counter.

Shower on Emirates Airbus A380 (first class passengers only)
Flying on Emirates first class, you will have access to the shower suite! (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Business-class flights on Emirates aren’t cheap either. This spring, you’re looking at almost $2,800 per person on the Newark-to-Athens route. Booking this route for just 90,000 points round-trip can save you a ton of cash, and can give you more than 3 cents per point in value depending on the date, which is a great redemption value for any transferable points currency.

Related: Flying in style: The best programs for booking Emirates awards

Emirates deal for $2,795 roundtrip between EWR and ATH
(Screenshot courtesy of google.com/flights)

Sample itineraries

We’re seeing discounted Emirates award space on both the New York-JFK-to-Milan and Newark-to-Athens routes throughout the year, with the most award availability in the spring and autumn months. Unfortunately, many peak summer months are priced at higher rates.

Emirates Skywards deal to Europe showing 45k miles each way
(Screenshot courtesy of emirates.com)

Additionally, note that our test searches indicate that in order to be eligible for the 90,000-mile price, you must book a round-trip flight.

Availability to Milan (MXP) in May for 90k miles roundtrip
(Screenshot courtesy of emirates.com)

Families and couples can book these deals too, as some flights have award space for two or more passengers. We found the majority of these flights in the autumn months.

EWR to ATH award space for two in October
Availability to Athens for two in October. (Screenshot courtesy of emirates.com)

Related: An inside look at Emirates Skywards as told by the program’s president

Boosting your Emirates Skywards balance

Photo of Amex Platinum
(Photo by Isabelle Raphael for The Points Guy)

Emirates Skywards is a transfer partner of all the major transferable points currencies: American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One, Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi ThankYou Rewards. Here’s a look at some of our favorite Amex cards and their current welcome offers, which can give you a head start on booking an Emirates flight in business class. Each card has its own set of benefits and fees, so do your research and see which is best for your wallet.

  • American Express® Gold Card: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new card within the first six months of card membership. Earn 4 points per dollar on dining at restaurants, 4 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in purchases per calendar year, then 1 point per dollar), 3 points per dollar on airfare purchased directly from airlines or American Express Travel, and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases ($250 annual fee; see rates and fees).
  • The Platinum Card from American Express: Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $6,000 on purchases in your first six months of card membership. Earn 5 points per dollar on airfare purchased directly from airlines or with American Express Travel (on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year), 5 points per dollar on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel and Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts, and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases ($695 annual fee; see rates and fees).
  • American Express® Green Card: Earn 45,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $2,000 on purchases within the first six months of card membership. Earn 3 points per dollar on dining at restaurants, travel and transit (including flights, hotels, transit, taxis, tours and ridesharing services), and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases ($150 annual fee; see rates and fees).

The information for the Amex Green Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Related: The ultimate guide to Amex Membership Rewards

Bottom line

With Italy and Greece having relatively straightforward COVID-19 travel rules, this Emirates business-class deal is highly appealing. Keep in mind that you may be able to upgrade to first class at check-in. If your plans change, Emirates makes it very easy to change your award ticket, thanks to its recently relaxed change and cancellation policies.

For rates and fees of the Amex Gold Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Green Card, click here.

Feature photo by Eric Rosen/The Points Guy.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Regular APR
16.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

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