Join me for a mid-pandemic flight in the world’s best first-class suite
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.
Few travel experiences have actually improved during the pandemic — Emirates’ first-class service from New York-JFK is a very rare exception.
On its daily flight from New York, Emirates has replaced its superjumbo Airbus A380 suite with the airline’s latest wide-body product, the affectionately named “Game Changer” onboard the Boeing 777-300ER.
First-class flyers can score their own self-enclosed suite every night from the U.S. to Dubai (DXB) — a rare opportunity to experience the world’s best suite while traveling in what’s arguably the most isolated product in the commercial aviation industry.
As I experienced during a recent flight, which you can catch in the video above, little has changed onboard. Service remains on-demand, with flyers experiencing the same level of luxury they always have, with an added COVID-19-friendly touch.
That means beginning a culinary journey with caviar and Dom Perignon Champagne, then enjoying a mid-flight feast capped off with $1,000-a-bottle cognac, before changing into the fancy airline-provided pajamas, closing your suite door and sliding into some of the most plush bedding you’ve ever encountered at 30,000 feet.
Best yet, you can currently redeem points and miles for your adventure, giving you access to an almost private-jet-like experience for a tiny fraction of the usual price of roughly $14,000.
You don’t even need a gigantic Emirates balance in order to book. The airline’s Skywards frequent flyer program partners with a handful of credit card programs, making it possible to boost your balance — instantly, in some cases.
You can currently transfer points to Skywards at the following rates:
- Chase Ultimate Rewards – 1:1
- Amex Membership Rewards – 1:1
- Citi ThankYou Rewards – 1:1
- Capital One Venture miles – 2:1
- Marriott Bonvoy – 3:1 with a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 Marriott points transferred
For the time being, I actually recommend searching for availability using Alaska Airlines’ website, though that’ll no longer be an option once Emirates restricts access to first-class awards in April.
Once you find dates with first-class availability, I recommend heading over to TPG sister site ExpertFlyer and confirming the seat map — Emirates flies two versions of the 777-300ER, and the one you want has a total of six first-class suites; not the one with eight.
As of now, Emirates plans to continue flying the 777 to JFK through March 27 — it’s possible the Airbus A380 will return after that date.
Note that aircraft substitutions are always possible, especially during the pandemic, so you could end up seeing the seat map above and still landing an older 777-300ER, which offers a slightly less private (but still fantastic) version of the airline’s suite.
Be sure to check out the video up top for the mid-pandemic suite experience, and don’t miss my colleague Zach Griff’s detailed review for more.
Featured photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees