Skip to content

Emirates adds flights to the U.S., widespread business and first class award availability

Sept. 20, 2021
6 min read
A first class seat configured for sleeping aboard an Emirates Airlines A380
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Dubai has been open to tourists since July 2020, making it a popular option for travelers looking for a warm vacation abroad. Demand has picked up so much so that Emirates plans to restore more than 90% of its pre-pandemic U.S. services by early December.

Starting from October, it will operate 78 weekly flights to 12 destinations in the U.S., with an increase in service to Boston (BOS), Dallas (DFW), New York (JFK), San Francisco (SFO), Seattle (SEA) and Washington DC (IAD). Then, by early December, it will offer daily flights to those destinations, as well as double daily flights to New York.

Plus, Emirates is bringing back its double-decker A380 to more routes, including its New York-JFK to Milan (MXP) fifth-freedom route.

With additional flights now on sale, we're also seeing fairly widespread award availability across all cabins — economy, business class and first class. In particular, we're seeing a lot of availability for travel in late 2021 and early 2022, around the time of Dubai's World Expo event.

Keep in mind, with Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan no longer in the picture, your three main options for booking Emirates awards are Emirates Skywards, JAL Mileage Bank and Qantas Frequent Flyer. Further, first class awards are now restricted to Emirates and Qantas members. Skywards offers decent redemption rates, reasonable taxes and fees and lots of transfer partners.

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

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

(Photo by Victoria Walker/The Points Guy)

The deal

Airline: Emirates
Routes: Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), Dallas (DFW), Houston (IAH), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), New York-JFK, Newark (EWR), Orlando (MCO), San Francisco (SFO), Seattle (SEA), Washington D.C. (IAD) to/from Dubai (DXB)
Cost: 125,000+ Skywards miles round-trip in economy, 200,000 miles in business class or 272,500 in first class plus taxes and fees
Dates: Oct. 2021 — end of the calendar
Pay taxes and fees with: The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x on airfare booked directly with the airline or through Amex Travel, on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year), Citi Premier® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve (3x on air travel), American Express® Gold Card (3x on airfare when booked directly with the airline or through Amex Travel) or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on travel).

Sample itineraries

Boston (BOS) to Dubai (DXB) in first class in February 2022:

(Screenshot courtesy of emirates.com)

New York-JFK to Dubai (DXB) in first class in March 2022:

(Screenshot courtesy of emirates.com)

Washington D.C. (IAD) to Dubai (DXB) in first class in March 2022:

(Screenshot courtesy of emirates.com)

Washington D.C. (IAD) to Dubai (DXB) in business class in March 2022:

(Screenshot courtesy of emirates.com)

Seattle (SEA) to Dubai (DXB) in business class in March 2022:

(Screenshot courtesy of emirates.com)

San Francisco (SFO) to Dubai (DXB) in first class in January 2022:

(Screenshot courtesy of emirates.com)

Best programs for booking Emirates awards

As mentioned, your three main options for booking Emirates awards are Emirates Skywards, JAL Mileage Bank and Qantas Frequent Flyer. Unfortunately, as of Sept. 1, JAL no longer has access to Emirates first class awards.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

In most cases, booking directly through Emirates Skywards will make the most sense. It offers decent redemption rates and massively reduced fuel surcharges on all of its award tickets last year. More importantly, it partners with all five major transferable points currencies: Chase Ultimate Rewards, Amex Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, Capital One Venture miles and Marriott Bonvoy.

Emirates, JAL and Qantas all price awards by distance, but just to give you an idea, here’s a chart comparing round-trip redemption rates for flights between New York-JFK and Dubai. The taxes and fees should be roughly comparable between programs, or at least close enough that they wouldn’t’ sway you to book with one airline over the other.

Further reading: The best programs for booking Emirates awards

ProgramEconomyBusinessFirst
Emirates Skywards125,000200,000272,500
JAL Mileage Bank

55,000

110,000

N/A

Qantas Frequent Flyer90,000209,000299,600

And here’s a chart comparing round-trip redemption rates for flights between Los Angeles (LAX) and Dubai:

ProgramEconomyBusinessFirst
Emirates Skywards82,500165,000310,000
JAL Mileage Bank

70,000

130,000

N/A

Qantas Frequent Flyer100,600238,400341,600

Maximize your purchase

Make sure to pay award taxes and fees with a card that earns bonus points on airfare and offers travel protections. Some cards that fit the bill include The Platinum Card® from American Express, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.

Featured image by AFP/Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

TPG Exclusive Offer
TPG Exclusive Offer
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 5X points
5XGet 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com
1.5XEarn 1.5X points on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year
1X1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.

Intro offer

Earn 150,000 points120,000 points
The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

Annual Fee

$695

Recommended Credit

670-850
Good, Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

It's hard to find a card that competes with the mile-long list of benefits that come with the Amex Business Platinum. While it's certainly not the card for the average consumer, a business owner with tons of expenses -- especially related to travel -- will find this card incredibly valuable. This card is similar to the consumer version that Amex offers, but with more business-oriented perks around statement credits and earning rates that are a better fit for business owners.

Pros

  • An up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four to five years
  • Up to $400 annual credit for eligible U.S. Dell purchases (enrollment required)
  • Gold status at Marriott and Hilton hotels (enrollment required)
  • Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Hotel Collection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • International Airline Program and Cruise Privileges Program

Cons

  • Steep annual fee
  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high-bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for checked baggage fees, lounge day passes, and more at one selected airline.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
Apply for The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
TPG Exclusive Offer
TPG Exclusive Offer
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

5XGet 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com
1.5XEarn 1.5X points on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year
1X1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

    Earn 150,000 points
    120,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $695
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Good, Excellent

Why We Chose It

It's hard to find a card that competes with the mile-long list of benefits that come with the Amex Business Platinum. While it's certainly not the card for the average consumer, a business owner with tons of expenses -- especially related to travel -- will find this card incredibly valuable. This card is similar to the consumer version that Amex offers, but with more business-oriented perks around statement credits and earning rates that are a better fit for business owners.

Pros

  • An up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four to five years
  • Up to $400 annual credit for eligible U.S. Dell purchases (enrollment required)
  • Gold status at Marriott and Hilton hotels (enrollment required)
  • Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Hotel Collection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • International Airline Program and Cruise Privileges Program

Cons

  • Steep annual fee
  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high-bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for checked baggage fees, lounge day passes, and more at one selected airline.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.