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Emirates is bringing its new premium economy experience to the US and more

Sept. 02, 2022
5 min read
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Emirates' new premium economy will officially land in the U.S. in the coming months.

The Dubai-based carrier announced Thursday the next tranche of routes that'll soon receive the airline's latest cabins. The list includes two U.S. destinations — New York and San Francisco — along with three other international cities: Melbourne, Australia; Auckland, New Zealand; and Singapore.

You can find the full list of additional routes and frequencies at the bottom of this post. These five new routes join Emirates' existing premium economy service to London, Paris and Sydney, which launched Aug. 1.

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Demand for premium economy has "exceeded expectations," according to Emirates, as customers are increasingly looking to splurge for a more comfortable seat without breaking the bank for a business-class upgrade.

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

Emirates will even phase in a second daily New York frequency with the new premium economy cabins at the beginning of next year's peak summer travel season.

Round-trip premium economy fares from New York to Dubai start at roughly $3,200 and climb to $4,200 during busier travel periods. Of course, fares will vary based on multiple factors, including your final destination. (Most passengers flying with Emirates connect to points beyond Dubai.)

Skywards mileage redemptions for premium economy aren't yet available, so paying with cash is your only option. Of course, you could "wipe" the charge from your statement with a flexible rewards currency.

While Emirates is only now "officially" introducing premium economy to the U.S., the carrier has flown A380s equipped with the new cabin to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in recent months (along with several other high-profile international cities).

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

In those cases, the airline has marketed the premium economy seat as an ancillary upgrade for those traveling on coach fares.

In fact, I got to experience the carrier's new premium economy offering back in December 2021 from New York to Dubai. While the airline was flying the "hard product" — the seat itself — at the time, the differentiated premium economy service wasn't yet available. An upgrade to the better seat cost $409 when I flew.

The elevated service offerings were unveiled back in May 2022, nearly a year and a half after Emirates showed off the new seats for the first time. Emirates first confirmed plans to install premium economy in 2018, after years of rumors that it would soon become the first (and only) Gulf carrier to fly the popular cabin.

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

At the outset, the airline planned a soft launch of the product, with the cabin becoming available exclusively on the airline's newest Airbus A380 jets.

In the months since, Emirates has announced a massive retrofit program to bring the premium economy cabin, along with refreshed business-, first- and economy-class cabins, to 67 A380s and 53 Boeing 777s. (It's also rumored that the airline will debut a new business-class product on the Boeing 777, but nothing has been confirmed yet.)

This upgrade program will commence in November and run through April 2025 (barring any delays).

Related: 14 things that caught me off guard in Emirates’ new premium economy

As the airline adds more premium economy-equipped jets, the cabin will start popping up on more and more routes.

Adding premium economy comes as the cabin has grown in popularity in recent years. With intermediate pricing between economy and business class, it's a more affordable option than a lie-flat bed in business class with much more comfort than coach.

Each of Emirates' premium economy recliners is wrapped in cream-colored, textured leather. They offer up to 8 inches of recline and are arranged in a more comfortable 2-4-2 configuration on the A380.

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

With 56 seats, the cabin is also more intimate than economy, and there are even dedicated lavatories for the premium economy passengers — something that you don't often find in this cabin.

While I've already recapped my premium economy experience with Emirates, I haven't yet had the chance to try out the airline's upgraded catering and amenities.

Now that the full experience is coming to the U.S., I have a good reason to fly it once again.

Emirates' expanded premium economy rollout plans

DestinationFlight numbersStart date
New YorkEK 203/204.Dec. 1, 2022.
New YorkEK 201/202.March 15, 2023.
San FranciscoEK 225/226.Feb. 15, 2023.
SydneyEK 414/415.Dec. 15, 2022.
LondonEK 5/6.Jan. 1, 2023.
AucklandEK 448/449.Jan. 15, 2023.
MelbourneEK 406/407.Feb. 1, 2023.
SingaporeEK 354/355.March 1, 2023.
Featured image by (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)
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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3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

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Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

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  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
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  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

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  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases