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. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
If there’s one airline in the world that doesn’t need to innovate further, it’s Emirates, which won adoration from travelers worldwide with its gold-studded first class suites and onboard showers on its A380 aircraft. Yet innovate is exactly what Emirates did in 2017, with a complete redesign of the first class experience on select Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.
The stunning new cabins feature floor to ceiling closing doors and a host of technological improvements.
The middle seats are even outfitted with high-definition virtual windows that use exterior cameras to offer a crisp view of the outside world.
Emirates began by installing this product only on newly-delivered 777 aircraft and has been slow to roll it out to the rest of the fleet. You’ll only find this revolutionary seat on a limited number of routes, from Dubai (DXB) to cities such as Brussels (BRU), Geneva (GVA) and Vienna (VIE). While Emirates first class awards have gotten much harder to book in recent years, for a long time Emirates was blocking all first class award space on planes featuring this new cabin.
It appears that this is changing, and Emirates has begun to release some first class award space for this new product. A TPG reader emailed to let us know that he successfully ticketed a flight through Japan Airlines Mileage Bank. However, this space is only showing up 24-48 hours before departure.
Thankfully ExpertFlyer makes it easy to set an alert in case space does become available. You’ll also want to use ExpertFlyer to double-check the seat map before booking. If you see the six-seat configuration shown below you’re good to go with the new suites, but if you see eight seats in a 1-2-1 layout you’ll be on the “old” first class (which still features opulent suites with closing doors).
If you’re booked on a business class Emirates award ticket on one of these new planes, you should definitely keep an eye on ExpertFlyer as your departure date approaches in case award space opens up in first class. Here are the fees to change your award ticket for a couple of popular programs for booking Emirates awards:
- Emirates Skywards: $25
- JAL Mileage Bank: 3,100 JPY (~$28)
Unfortunately, Alaska Airlines doesn’t publish an award chart for Emirates between the Middle East and Europe, the only routes that currently use the updated suites. As a result, you can’t use Mileage Plan miles for this first class product until the carrier expands to other regions.
And in the mean time, here are a few TPG reviews of Emirates first class to help pique your excitement:
- The Ultimate Guide to Emirates First Class
- Emirates’ New 777 First-Class Suite From Dubai to Brussels
H/T: TPG reader Oscar.
Know before you go.
News and deals straight to your inbox every day.
NEW INCREASED OFFER: 60,000 points! With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 60,000 point sign up bonus worth up to $1,200 in value, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
- 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, 60,000 points are worth $750 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