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Dubai was just named the 'most popular destination' — here's where to stay on points

Jan. 21, 2022
8 min read
sunset view of the Dubai skyline with large interstate system
Dubai was just named the 'most popular destination' — here's where to stay on points
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Dubai can be a polarizing place: People tend to either love the lavish lifestyle, human-made islands and larger-than-life skyscrapers or look around and wonder what's the points of it all.

This year, it looks like more and more people are leaning into the metropolis, as Tripadvisor just named it the Most Popular Destination in the World in the travel review company's 2022 Travelers' Choice Awards.

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Dubai beat out a handful of the usual contenders, including London, Paris and Rome, to claim its place on the throne. The full list of the world's most popular destinations, based on the quality and quantity of reviews on Tripadvisor between Nov. 1, 2020, and Oct. 31, 2020, includes:

  1. Dubai
  2. London
  3. Cancun, Mexico
  4. Bali, Indonesia
  5. Crete, Greece
  6. Rome
  7. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
  8. Istanbul
  9. Paris
  10. Hurghada, Egypt
(Photo by evenfh/Shutterstock)

Why Dubai?

Dubai is an adult playground of sorts, as it's home to an unfathomable amount of experiences, restaurants, hotels and attractions. The city, which was once a sleepy fishing village in the desert, has grown rapidly over the past few decades, attracting people from all over the world. It truly is a multicultural place, with around 90% of the population having moved there from another country.

A truly cosmopolitan city, Dubai offers a variety of ways to pass the time, regardless of your interests. You can see for miles from the top of the world's tallest skyscraper, learn how to ski at an indoor ski facility in the middle of the desert, shop for gold and spices in historic souks or have dinner strapped into a chair at a table suspended more than 150 feet above the ground.

It also helps that Dubai is currently hosting Expo 2020 Dubai, an event where 192 countries from around the globe set up pavilions to highlight the very best of their nations, through the end of March. Plus, Dubai is where Emirates, one of the world's most desirable airlines, is based, making it easy to catch a direct flight to Dubai from a handful of U.S. cities.

The options are limitless, and, in my experience, it's a place you truly have to see to believe.

Related: 5 things you should know before visiting Dubai

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Points hotels in Dubai

There's no shortage of points hotels in Dubai for you to consider. From luxury hotels occupying space in skyscrapers to a dessert retreat fit for royalty (that's you, my friend), here are just some of the many Dubai hotels you can book with points. And if you need help figuring out how to actually get to Dubai using points and miles, check out our handy guide for some expert advice.

Andaz Dubai The Palm

Andaz Dubai The Palm guest room. (Photo courtesy of Hyatt)

The Palm is a series of human-made islands that jut out into the Arabian sea. It is absolutely loaded with hotels from nearly every brand you can think of, including plenty of options that are bookable with points. One that's particularly great for World of Hyatt loyalists is Andaz Dubai The Palm, which is located closer to "the trunk" of the islands, meaning it won't take you too long to get back into Dubai proper. At this Andaz outpost, guests can enjoy colorful, playful rooms and suites; an adults-only cabana pool with views of the world's tallest building; a handful of restaurants, bars and a club; and a spa that's perfect for refreshing after spending time in the UAE heat.

How to book: At this Category 5 World of Hyatt hotel, rooms can be booked between 17,000 and 23,000 points, depending on whether your stay is during a peak or off-peak period of time. With the World of Hyatt Credit Card, you can score three free standard redemption nights here by earning 30,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of opening an account, plus up to 30,000 more bonus points by earning 2 points per dollar spent on up to $15,000 in purchases in the first six months of opening the account.

W Dubai - The Palm

(Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy)

A very solid Marriott Bonvoy option also on The Palm, the W Dubai "sets the gold standard for every other hotel in the W brand," according to our 2019 review of the resort. That's a pretty big statement, but it's one I can get behind because my own stay there was fabulous. Guest rooms are big, with tile walls that feel like colorful mosaics. The various pools have plenty of room to spread out, including in orb-looking structures that seem like they're floating on the water. Not to mention, the resort's Italian restaurant, Torno Subito, is absolutely delicious.

How to book: Rates at this Category 7 Marriott Bonvoy property cost anywhere from 50,000 to 70,000 points per night, though these points totals may change when Marriott shifts to dynamic pricing in March.

Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai

(Photo courtesy of Marriott)

Sure, Al Maha is another Marriott Bonvoy property available in Dubai, but it's vastly different from others in the brand's portfolio. Here, you can learn about Dubai's desert conservation efforts, take a thrilling ride across sand dunes in a four-wheel-drive vehicle, ride a camel at sunset, unwind in a gorgeous spa or beat the heat in your private swimming pool, a standard amenity for every room. Situated just 45 minutes outside of Dubai proper, this luxury escape is the place to go to get a taste of the other side of the most popular destination in the world.

How to book: Award nights at this Marriott Bonvoy Category 8 hotel will cost you between 70,000 and 100,000 points per night.

Waldorf Astoria Dubai International Financial Centre

(Photo courtesy of Hilton)

If you want to be close to the action and pledge your allegiance to Hilton Honors, book a stay at the Waldorf Astoria in Dubai's financial district. The hotel itself is a stunner, with dark, heavy wooden accents combined with pops of royal blue and gold. It occupies the 18th through 55th floors of a high-rise not far from the Burj Khalifa and the massive Dubai Mall, making it an ideal option for sightseeing. Plus, it sits across the street from an entertainment complex housing a number of restaurants and bars, though you'll be more than content with the on-site food and beverage options. The hotel's restaurant, Bull & Bear, is a crowd-pleaser, serving up a wonderful breakfast buffet and innovative cocktails and dishes at dinner.

How to book: Standard room rates at this Waldorf Astoria outpost start at 80,000 points per night. You can get a free standard award night here with the Hilton Honors American Express Card, which is offering 80,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the card in the first three months of card membership. Terms Apply.

Hotel Indigo Dubai Downtown

(Photo courtesy of IHG)

For an aesthetically pleasing stay in Dubai, choose IHG's Hotel Indigo Dubai Downtown. Conveniently tucked between the Design District and the city center, this hotel has a curated art collection featuring 200-plus Dubai-inspired pieces, with each floor dedicated to one specific artist. When you're done checking out the art, head outside to the pool, where you're bound to feel like a small fish in a big sea of towering skyscrapers hovering above you, before venturing out to explore all that Dubai has to offer.

How to book: Award stays here start at 29,000 IHG Rewards points.

Featured image by Shutterstock
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.

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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.
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TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
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

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
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

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
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

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • 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.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023