How to get to (and stay in) Dubai using points and miles

Feb 18, 2021

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 is one of the most interesting cities in the world. Its massive skyscrapers, over-the-top hotels and stunning beaches make it the perfect vacation for anyone that wants a trip to the future. Plus, you have plenty of great options for flying there. Whether you fly Emirates first-class or book a connecting ticket on a carrier like Swiss, KLM or Qatar Airways, you’re sure to have a great experience.

Better yet, the United Arab Emirates (or UAE) is currently open for American tourists so long as you pack a negative COVID test. So if you’re comfortable with traveling abroad during the coronavirus pandemic, Dubai can be a great place to vacation. Just be sure to keep an eye on the country’s COVID numbers — the virus is still a real threat worldwide.

In this article, I’ll give you a look at the best ways to fly to Dubai and stay there on points. On the flight side, I’ll show you the best economy, business and first class options on major carriers that serve the country. Then, I’ll discuss the best hotel options — ranging from five-star luxury to more modest offerings.

You’ll have everything you need to book a points-fueled trip to Dubai by the end of the article. Let’s dive in!

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

In This Post

Airfare

Emirates A380 in Arsenal FC Livery
(Photo by Arsenal FC/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

First thing’s first: you’ll need to book airfare from the U.S. to Dubai to start your journey.

Here’s a look at all the best ways to fly to the City of Gold using your points and miles. I’ll start with the major alliance airlines and then move onto non-alliance options like Emirates. I’ll focus on the cheapest options for economy, business and first-class bookings.

Cheapest Oneworld awards to Dubai

Qatar Airways Qsuite Seat
Qatar Airways’ Qsuites product is an excellent way to get to Dubai via Doha. (Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

Oneworld has three great options for flights to Dubai: Qatar Airways via Doha (DOH), Royal Air Maroc via Casablanca (CMN) and  Royal Jordanian via Amman (AMM). Qatar and the UAE recently struck down their blockade, allowing for nonstop flights between the two nations. The airline has a superior in-flight experience — especially on Qsuite-equipped aircraft. On the other hand, it’s easier to find Royal Air Maroc and Royal Jordanian award space, but the airlines serve a limited number of U.S. airports.

Your best bet for booking these awards is American Airlines AAdvantage. Economy tickets cost 80,000 miles round-trip, business class costs 140,000 and first-class costs 230,000. Taxes and fees are low on both Qatar Airways and Royal Jordanian flights when booked with AAdvantage — for example, this one-way flight from Detroit (DTW) to Dubai (DXB) has just $18 in taxes and fees, even in business class.

DTW to DXB AAdvantage Award Flight
(Screenshot courtesy of American Airlines)

On the Cathay Pacific Asia Miles side, 80,000 miles round-trip in economy, 150,000 in business class and 335,000 in first-class. Note that Asia Miles’ pricing can be hard to predict, but we’ve found this pricing accurate in most cases.

Unfortunately, Asia Miles passes on fuel surcharges for Qatar and Asia Miles awards, which can add a substantial cost to your bookings. For example, a Royal Air Jordanian business class ticket from New York-JFK to Dubai (DXB) has roughly $278 in taxes and fees.Royal Air Jordanian Asia Miles Award

(Screenshot courtesy of Asia Miles)

There are a number of ways to earn AAdvantage miles, including spending on American Airlines cobranded credit cards. One of my favorites is the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® — this card offers 50,000 American AAdvantage miles after you spend $2,500 in the first three months of account opening. This is more than enough points for a one-way economy ticket and almost enough for a one-way business class ticket.

Asia Miles are far easier to earn since they transfer in from American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One Rewards and Citi ThankYou. American Express is offering elevated welcome offers on a handful of its credit cards, with the best being:

  • American Express® Green Card: 30,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. Earn 3x points on dining at restaurants, travel and transit (including flights, hotels, transit, taxis, tours, and ridesharing services), 1x points on all other purchases ($150 annual fee; see rates and fees).
  • 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 account opening. Earn 4x points on dining at restaurants; 4x points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per calendar year; then 1x points); 3x points on airfare purchased directly from airlines; 1x points on all other purchases, ($250 annual fee; see rates and fees).
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express: 75,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in your first six months of card membership. Earn 5x points on airfare purchased directly from airlines or with American Express Travel (earn 5x points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year), 5x on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel, and Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts; 1x on all other purchases, ($550 annual fee; see rates and fees).

The information for the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select card and 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: Royal Jordanian (787-8) Business Class From New York to Amman

Cheapest Star Alliance awards to Dubai

Swiss A340 Business Class Seat
(Photo by Andrew Kunesh/The Points Guy)

Most Star Alliance award tickets will go through Europe on partners like Lufthansa, Swiss and Turkish Airlines. Air Canada also operates nonstop flights to Dubai from its hub in Toronto (YYZ), or you can fly EgyptAir via Cairo (CAI) and Ethiopian Airlines via Addis Ababa (ADD). My favorite option, however, is Swiss via its hub in Zurich (ZRH).

There are plenty of options for booking flights to Dubai with any of these carriers. You’ll generally get the best deals with Avianca LifeMiles. Round-trip tickets from the U.S. to Dubai cost 85,000 LifeMiles in economy, 156,000 in business and 210,000 miles in first-class. The program doesn’t pass on fuel surcharges, so you’ll pay under $100 in taxes and fees on round-trip tickets.

EWR ZRH DXB LifeMiles Award Ticket
(Screenshot courtesy of Avianca LifeMiles)

You can also use United MileagePlus miles to book your ticket. Prices are unpredictable due to United’s switch to dynamic pricing for partner awards. I’m finding partner flights pricing at 93,500 miles one-way in business class on most dates through the summer, which is significantly higher than Avianca’s price. That said, it might be worth considering if you have a stash of United miles to spend.

ORD ZRH DXB United Award Ticket
(Screenshot courtesy of United Airlines)

It’s worth noting that Asiana Club and ANA Mileage Club may offer lower award pricing on these tickets. That said, it’s difficult to earn Asiana Club miles in the U.S., and ANA Mileage Club adds large fuel surcharges on most Star Alliance partner awards.

You can transfer miles to Avianca LifeMiles from American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One Rewards and Citi ThankYou. Alternatively, you can earn United miles with United cobranded credit cards or transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards. Here’s a look at the current welcome offers for United’s suite of credit cards:

  • United Explorer Card: Earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, an additional 25,000 bonus miles after you spend $10,000 in the first 6 months.
  • United Gateway Card: Earn 20,000 miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening

Related: How Swiss business class manages to remain excellent — even during a pandemic

Cheapest SkyTeam awards to Dubai

Air France 777 business class seat
(Photo by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy)

SkyTeam airlines have more limited options for flights to Dubai. You’re most likely to fly with Air France or KLM Royal Dutch Airlines through Paris (CDG) or Amsterdam (AMS), respectively. Both of these airlines offer a solid in-flight experience and have continued to operate routes to both the U.S. and Dubai through the coronavirus pandemic.

You’re best off booking these tickets with Air France and KLM’s Flying Blue loyalty program. This program prices its awards dynamically with highly-volatile pricing, but it’s possible to find a great deal. Many summer dates have economy awards starting at just 34,000 miles one-way and business class tickets starting at 85,000 miles one-way. Note you’re subject to over $400 in taxes and fees on many of these tickets.

JFK AMS DXB Flying Blue Award Ticket
(Screenshot courtesy of Air France)

You can also book these award tickets with Delta SkyMiles. Delta devalued its program multiple times over the last year, but the U.S. to Middle East awards have remained reasonable. You can book tickets to Dubai for 37,500 SkyMiles one-way in economy and 85,000 in business class. You’ll pay lower taxes and fees when you book with Delta as well.

JFK CDG DXB Delta Award Ticket
(Screenshot courtesy of Delta Air Lines)

You can transfer points to Flying Blue from any of the major transferable points programs. This includes American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi ThankYou. If you’re short on Chase points, you can earn them with these credit cards:

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred Card – Earn  80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months from account opening. Plus earn a $50 statement credit on grocery purchases in the first year of account opening.
  • Ink Business Preferred Credit Card – Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve – Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months from account opening.

Related: The best websites for searching SkyTeam award availability

Cheapest non-alliance program awards to Dubai

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

If you’re looking for a nonstop flight to Dubai, you’re best booking a flight with Emirates. The Dubai-based carrier offers nonstop service from a handful of U.S. cities — including Chicago, Dallas, New York and others — to the city year-round. Plus, the airline is well-known for its top-notch first-class and solid business-class products that offer some of the best in-flight service in the sky.

You can book these tickets with the Emirates Skywards. Awards are priced based on the distance of a flight and, unfortunately, there’s no published award chart. That said, awards are fixed at a standard price. You can use Emirates’ handy calculator tool to quickly find how many points you’ll need for an award in any class of service.

It’s also worth noting that there are a few different tiers of Emirates awards. For economy and business awards, you can choose between Saver and Flex Plus tickets. Saver tickets are cheaper but are harder to find. On the other hand, first-class awards can be booked in Flex and Flex Plus, with Flex being the cheaper option. If possible, always try and book the cheapest tier for your desired cabin class to save miles.

From New York-JFK to Dubai (DXB), you’ll pay 72,500 miles round-trip in economy, 145,000 in business class and 217,500 in first-class. Considering the price of an Emirates first-class ticket can often top $20,000, this is a stellar deal. On top of this, Emirates recently lowered fuel surcharges on its own award tickets too. You can expect to pay under $500 in taxes and fees on any round-trip Emirates award ticket from the U.S.

JFK DXB Emirates Award Ticket
(Screenshot courtesy of Emirates)

You can transfer points to Emirates Skywards from American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi ThankYou. The airline also offers two U.S. cobranded credit cards with Barclays. Here’s a look at their current welcome offers:

  • Emirates Skywards Premium World Elite Mastercard®: Earn 60,000 bonus Skywards Miles after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
  • Emirates Skywards Rewards World Elite Mastercard®: Earn 50,000 bonus Skywards Miles after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

Related: Best ways to redeem Emirates Skywards miles for maximum value

Hotels

Grand Hyatt Dubai Suite
Dubai is home to some of the world’s most extravagant hotels, like the Grand Hyatt Dubai. (Image courtesy of Hyatt)

Dubai is known for its world-class hotels — and you can stay in some of the best using your hotel points. You’ll find everything from five-star luxury to solid value options, so there’s truly something for everyone. You’ll be happy to know that hotels in Dubai are some of the best in the world, in terms of points value. You can use this to stretch your hotel points further or stay in a high-end luxury hotel without draining your points balance.

Here’s a look at the best options for all the major hotel loyalty programs.

Hilton

Hilton has a whopping 23 hotels in Dubai, giving you plenty of options to choose from. Here’s a look at seven of your best options, which are centrally located near downtown and other major tourist and business districts. Hilton doesn’t have standard award pricing for its award nights, but these hotels consistently price on or around the prices below on off-peak dates:

    • Al Seef Heritage Hotel Dubai, Curio Collection by Hilton: 18,000 points per night
    • Canopy by Hilton Dubai Al Seef: 12,000 points per night
    • Conrad Dubai: 19,000 points per night
    • Habtoor Palace Dubai, LXR Hotels & Resorts: 33,000 points per night
    • Hilton Dubai The Walk: 34,000 points per night
    • Waldorf Astoria Dubai International Financial Centre: 43,000 points per night
    • Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah: 64,000 points per night

These are exceptional deals for Hilton properties. Properties in the Al Seef area are located along the Dubai Creek, where you’ll find historic buildings from Dubai’s past. On the other hand, hotels located closer to the Financial Centre are close to famous buildings like the Burj Khalifa. Whatever you choose, the city can be easily navigated by taxi or metro.

How to earn Hilton points: Short on Hilton points? Consider opening a Hilton cobranded credit card. Each comes with a solid welcome bonus and has various benefits like elite status, an annual free night and more. Here’s a look at the current lineup of Hilton credit cards:

The information for the Hilton Aspire 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: How to redeem points with the Hilton Honors program

Hyatt

Andaz Dubai The Palm Guestroom
The Andaz Dubai The Palm is a great way to experience Dubai’s legendary beaches. (Image courtesy of Hyatt)

Hyatt also has a large presence in Dubai. You’ll find everything from modest Hyatt Place properties to Park Hyatts around the city, so you have plenty of choice in how you redeem your World of Hyatt points. Remember, the program has a standard category-based award chart, so you’ll always get predictable award pricing.

Some of the best Hyatt properties in Dubai include:

  • Andaz Dubai The Palm: 20,000 points per night
  • Grand Hyatt Dubai: 15,000 points per night
  • Hyatt Place Dubai Baniyas Square: 5,000 points per night
  • Hyatt Regency Dubai: 8,000 points per night
  • Hyatt Regency Dubai Creek Heights: 12,000 points per night
  • Park Hyatt Dubai: 20,000 points per night

While any of these hotels are a great option, I’m itching to stay at the Andaz Dubai at The Palm. The hotel is located right off the beach near Dubai’s famous Palm Islands. On-site, you’ll find modern rooms, an Andaz Lounge and a handful of restaurants. Plus, it’s close to the Mall of The Emirates and other attractions.

How to earn World of Hyatt points: You can transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards to World of Hyatt or earn with the Hyatt cobranded credit card.

  • World Of Hyatt Credit Card: Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. Plus, up to 30,000 more Bonus Points by earning 2 Bonus Points total per $1 spent on purchases that normally earn 1 Bonus Point, on up to $15,000 in the first six months of account opening.

Related: Earning two years of rewarding top-tier Hyatt elite status after just 11 nights

IHG

IHG has several properties in Dubai, including three InterContinental hotels. You can use your IHG Rewards points to book any of these hotels. The program moved to dynamic pricing but kept relatively consistent rates on off-peak and standard dates. Here’s a look at some of the best IHG properties in Dubai:

  • Crowne Plaza Dubai: 15,000 points per night
  • Hotel Indigo Dubai Downtown: 20,000 points per night
  • InterContinental Hotels Residence Suites Dubai F.C: 20,000 points per night
  • InterContinental Hotels Dubai Festival City: 25,000 points per night
  • InterContinental Hotels Dubai Marina: 25,000 points per night

How to earn IHG points: You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to IHG or earn with one of IHG’s cobranded credit cards:

Related: Maximizing redemptions with the IHG Rewards Club program

Marriott

W The Palm Room
Marriott has a ton of properties in Dubai, including a W property near the Palm Islands. (Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy)

As you might expect, Marriott has a massive presence in Dubai. You’ll find everything from JW Marriotts to Ritz-Carltons in the city, so you have plenty of luxurious options. Or, you can stretch your Marriott Bonvoy points and stay at one of the city’s Aloft, Element or Courtyard properties. Whatever you choose, you’ll have a great stay in the Dubai neighborhood of your choosing.

Marriott has kept a standard award chart, albeit with peak and off-peak pricing. Here’s a look at standard award pricing for some of the city’s best Marriott properties:

  • JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai: 50,000 points per night
  • Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina: 35,000 points per night
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai: 85,000 points per night
  • The St. Regis Dubai, The Palm: 85,000 points per night
  • Sheraton Grand Hotel, Dubai: 35,000 points per night
  • W Dubai, The Palm: 60,000 points per night

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points: You can transfer points from American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards to Marriott, but it’s not typically a good deal. Instead, I recommend using a Marriott cobranded credit card to earn Marriott Bonvoy points. These are your options:

  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card: Earn 100,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card: Earn 125,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first three months. Plus, earn up to $200 in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants within the first six months of card membership. Offer ends 5/12/2021.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card: Earn 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, earn up to $150 back in statement credits on eligible purchases made on your new Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer ends 5/12/21. Terms apply.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card: Earn 50,000 Marriott points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. Terms apply.

Related: Battle of the hotels: Why I think Marriott is the best

Radisson

Radisson has a small footprint in Dubai, but its hotels are still worth considering. Most of Dubai’s Radisson properties are under the flagship Radisson Blu brand. Here’s a look at the Radisson properties worth considering:

  • Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Canal View: 50,000 points per night
  • Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek: 38,000 points per night
  • Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Media City: 44,000 points per night
  • Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Waterfront: 50,000 points per night
  • The Radisson Blu Residence, Dubai Marina: 44,000 points per night

How to earn Radisson Rewards points: You can earn Radisson Rewards points with a cobranded credit card. Here’s a look at the current offers:

  • Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Signature® Card: Earn 50,000 points after your first purchase plus 35,000 points once you spend $2,500 on your card within the first 90 days
  • Radisson Rewards Visa® Card: Earn 30,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on your card within the first 90 day

Related: 9 mistakes to avoid when redeeming hotel points

Activities

Save on a trip to the top of the famous Burj Khalifa with your Chase points. (Image by dblight/Getty Images)

There is no shortage of interesting things to do in Dubai. From desert tours to tickets to the Burj Khalifa, you can save money on your trip’s activities by booking them through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal. Your redemption value will vary based on the type of Chase credit card you have. Chase Freedom cards can redeem at 1.0 cents per point, Chase Sapphire Preferred at 1.25 cents per point and Chase Sapphire Reserve at 1.5 cents per point.

For example, Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders can use 3,600 points to book a desert safari that’s complete with sandboarding and a camel ride. Alternatively, you can book the same experience for $45. This is perfect for thrill-seekers wanting to get out of the city and into Dubai’s famous surrounding deserts.

Dubai Desert Safari Chase Travel Portal
(Screenshot courtesy of Chase)

Alternatively, you can use 3,280 points for a ticket to the Burj Khalifa’s 124th and 125th-floor observation decks. This is an excellent way to get a breathtaking view of Dubai and its surroundings without breaking the bank.

Burj Khalifa Observation Deck Tickets Chase Travel Portal
(Screenshot courtesy of Chase)

Related: Trip-spiration: thrill-seekers head to Dubai

Ground transportation

Car with Uber sticker in windshield
Uber now operates in Dubai, giving you easy access to the city from the airport. (Photo by Hrach Hovhannisyan/Shutterstock)

You have a few different options for using points and miles to cover the cost of the journey from Dubai International Airport to your hotel.

The most convenient way for many to make this journey is in an Uber. Uber now serves Dubai and is reasonably priced, especially if you’re headed to a hotel in the Al Seef or touristy areas. An Uber Select — the cheapest option in Dubai — from the airport to the Conrad Dubai, for example, will usually cost between $10 and $15 one-way.

You can charge Uber rides to your Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and use miles to cover your expenses.

Alternatively, you can take the Dubai Metro’s Red Line from the airport into the city. You can view pricing on the Dubai Roads & Transport Authority’s website.

Related: Frequent Uber or Lyft passenger? These credit cards are for you

Bottom line

Whether you’re traveling solo or as a family, Dubai is a great destination if you’re seeking a warm vacation abroad. In this article, you learned how to book flights, hotels and activities in Dubai using your points and miles. This can help you save money on your trip and upgrade your travel experience at the same time.

Safe travels!

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

Feature photo by Tom Dulat/Stringer/Getty Images

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, 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.

Apply Now
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®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • 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.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.