Spend New Year’s Eve in Dubai with Emirates first and business class award availability for two
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Editor’s note: The team at The Points Guy loves to travel, but now is not the time for unnecessary trips. Health officials note that the fastest way to return to normalcy is to stop coming in contact with others. That includes ceasing travel. We are publishing travel deals because we should all use this time to think about and plan our next adventures. TPG doesn’t advise booking trips for travel until the late spring or early summer – and even then be mindful of cancellation policies.
Those of us in the Northeastern U.S. know that the winters are often cold, gloomy and snowy. And while this doesn’t stop the party on New Year’s Eve, many of us try and spend the holiday in a warmer and more uplifting city. One of the cities on my New Year’s Eve bucket list is Dubai, a city known for its architecture, warm weather and — on New Year’s Eve — grand parties and dazzling fireworks displays.
However, there’s no arguing the fact that it’s a long flight from New York to Dubai — in fact, the flight clocks in at just under 13-and-a-half hours. In economy class, this can be a drag, but the journey feels a lot shorter when you’re flying in Emirates’ top-notch first-class product. In fact, the flight might not feel long enough.
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If you’re interested in booking Emirates first class to Dubai this winter, now’s your chance. We’re seeing award availability from New York-JFK and Newark (EWR) to Dubai (DXB) departing on December 30th, with return dates in early January in both business and first-class. This will give you time to experience New Year’s Eve in Dubai and explore the city for a week or so after. If you want to spend New Year’s Eve at home, we’re also seeing plenty of award space in the first week of January 2021.
Here’s a look at what we’ve found.
Should you book travel now?
As mentioned in the intro, there’s no doubt that now is not the time to travel. But if you’re looking to travel after the coronavirus is contained, now can be the time to book travel for later in the year. Late 2020 and early 2021 award space is wide-open on a number of routes, so you can use your credit card and airline miles more easily than ever. Plus, it gives you something to look forward to as you wait out the coronavirus outbreak at home.
But booking travel for the end of the year still has its risks. We’re crossing our fingers that the coronavirus will be contained by the end of the year, but there’s no guarantee that this will happen. So with this in mind, make sure you familiarize yourself with the change and cancellation policies of the airline you book with and keep an eye on the CDC’s website when it’s time to travel. This will make sure that you stay safe and know what to expect if you do need to cancel your trip.
Available award space
As noted earlier, there’s wide-open first and business class award space from New York City to Dubai on Emirates for New Year’s Eve and into January 2021. Many of these flights — namely, flights departing on December 30 — have two or more seats available, so you can take a friend or family member with you to enjoy the New Year’s Eve festivities.
Your flight options aren’t limited to Dubai either. Some dates have award space on continuing flights to Hong Kong (HKG), Johannesburg (JNB) and Taipei (TPE), among others. If you book with Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, tickets to these destinations will more points, but you can add in a free stopover in Dubai on your way out.
Here’s a look at the availability we’ve found from New York City to Dubai at the end of 2020 and beginning of 2021.
New York-JFK to/from Dubai (DXB)
- Outbound: December 30-31, January 4 and 6
- Inbound: January 13-15 and 19-22
- Outbound: December 30-31; January 3-4 and 6
- Inbound: January 13-17, 19 and 20-21
Newark (EWR) to/from Dubai (DXB)
- Outbound: December 30-31; January 1 and 3
- Inbound: January 11-14 and 18-19
- Outbound: December 1-2 and 7; January 3-4 and 6
- Inbound: January 13-17 and 19-22
Which route should I book?
The main difference between the two routes is that the JFK flight is operated by an A380 while the EWR flight is operated by a 777-300ER.
The A380 flight is often seen as the more aspirational of the two products, as it has an in-flight shower, walk-up bar and other bells and whistles in first class. On the other hand, the 777-300ER that operates the EWR-DXB route features the same first-class suite as the A380 route —though this isn’t the newer first-class product that is installed on some of the airline’s newest 777s. This could change by the end of the year, though.
Business-class on either of the planes isn’t as posh as first-class, but it’s still a solid product. You can expect great service, a lie-flat seat and great dining options that are sure to keep you satisfied. That being said, if you can swing the extra mileage, we recommend booking first class for a truly incredible experience.
How to book
The two most popular ways to book Emirates first and business class are through Emirates Skywards and Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan. Those with Chase Ultimate Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards points will likely find Emirates Skywards to be the best option, as you can transfer points from both programs to Skywards points at a 1:1 ratio.
The only downside to booking through Emirates Skywards is that the carrier imposes high fuel surcharges on award tickets. For example, you can expect to pay 136,500 miles and $824 for a nonstop ticket from New York to Dubai in first class. This isn’t a cheap ticket by any means, but it’s not too bad when you consider that a paid ticket would cost well over $7,000 on the same flight.
You can book all Emirates Skywards tickets online by heading to the Emirates website, entering your search criteria and checking the Classic rewards box. All available flights will show on the next screen, and you can follow the on-screen prompts to book the tickets.
Alaska Mileage Plan charges more miles for the same ticket but requires significantly less in taxes and fees. For example, a one-way first-class ticket from New York to Dubai on Emirates is 150,000 Mileage Plan miles and only $20 in taxes and fees.
Unfortunately, though, you can only transfer miles to Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan from Marriott Bonvoy at a 3:1 ratio (plus a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 points you transfer). You can also earn Mileage Plan miles with cobranded credit cards, dining programs and through online shopping portals.
Another nice thing about booking with Mileage Plan is that you can easily add a free stopover so long as all flights are operated by a Alaska Airlines and a single partner. For example, you could book New York-JFK to Hong Kong (HKG) via Dubai (DXB) for 180,000 miles and minimal taxes and fees. This is the standard pricing for Mileage Plan award flights to Hong Kong on Emirates, so you’re not paying any additional miles by adding in a stopover in Dubai.
Alternatively, you can add in a domestic stopover with Alaska Airlines. For example, you can book San Francisco (SFO) to Dubai (DXB) via New York-JFK for just 82,500 miles and $26 in taxes and fees in business class. The first leg would be in Alaska Airlines’ domestic first-class, and the continuing leg would be in Emirates business class.
To book an Emirates ticket with a stopover online, head to the Alaska Airlines website and set up a multi-city search. Input each of your flights as separate segments ending in your final destination of choice. Your stopover can be for as long as you’d like, but you may need to be flexible in order to find award space.
Stay in one of these points hotels
Hotels in Dubai can be pricey, but there is no shortage of ways to use your hotel points in the city. One of the poshest hotels in Dubai is the five-star Park Hyatt Dubai that’s located near the airport but also near the expat-heavy neighborhood of Al Garhound that’s packed with bars and clubs — perfect for New Year’s Eve. There’s also an on-site bar, golf course and other amenities that are sure to keep you entertained during your stay. A night at the hotel on New Year’s Eve is $531, or you can use 20,000 World of Hyatt points to book a stay for the night. You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to World of Hyatt or utilize points earned with the World of Hyatt Credit Card.
If you have Marriott points to burn, another great property to consider is the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai. This flagship Marriott property is located in the heart of downtown Dubai and offers awe-inspiring views of the city’s ever-changing skyline. On New Year’s Eve, you’ll be close to the action and have great views of the fireworks from right outside of the hotel. For nightlife, you have access to various bars in the hotel as well as in other various hotels nearby.
This property costs 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night — a steal compared to the $613 New Year’s Eve rate. Consider applying for the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card if you need to top-up your Marriott Bonvoy balance.
Finally, if you’d prefer using Hilton Honors points, consider burning them for an elegant stay at the Conrad Dubai. This property is located near the Al Satwa neighborhood which is primarily comprised of expats and has a booming nightlife scene with a variety of pubs and clubs. You can easily access the rest of the city using the nearby Dubai Metro station, giving you easy access to downtown and other attractions. At the time of writing this article, you can book this property for 70,000 Hilton Honors points on New Year’s Eve, which can be earned with a variety of Hilton American Express credit cards.
While you shouldn’t be traveling right now, it may be a good time to start planning trips for later in the year — if you understand the risks involved. If all goes well and the coronavirus outbreak is contained by the end of the year, booking these tickets could mean that you spend your first days of 2021 in the sun, enjoying all that the City of Gold has to offer.
Let us know if you book one of these tickets in the comments section below.
Feature image by STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images
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