6

Emirates First Class on the A380 is amazing because you have your own blinged out suite as well as access to an onboard shower spa and onboard bar.

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You can book Emirates First Class with Alaska Airlines miles with no fuel surcharges. Alaska charges 90,000 miles one way to Dubai and 100,000 miles to Europe, Africa, or Asia. You can even get a free stopover on one way awards, so I recently booked Zurich to Dubai, a stopover there, and then Dubai to Houston to get nearly 24 hours in Emirates A380 First Class and two showers for 100,000 miles.

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Right now there is First Class award space for 4+ people on many Emirates routes from the United States to Dubai and vice versa.

Award Space

The best award space is on the New York-to-Dubai (including the daily flight that stops in Milan) and Dallas-to-Dubai routes. This is a calendar for July 1-10 for four passengers in First Class, made by Award Nexus. Wide open!

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Getting Four Showers

If your definition of maximizing your Emirates redemption is getting the most showers for your miles, you can easily book four segments/showers on alaskaair.com.

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Combine the New York-Milan-Dubai flight with a flight to Bangkok with a fifth freedom route from Bangkok to Hong Kong. You can enjoy one stopover longer than 24 hours along the way at any point. The image below shows that stopover in Bangkok.

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Alaska Airlines Award Routing Rules

Alaska Airlines is extremely generous allowing a stopover on one way awards, anywhere you’d like en route.

Here are the basics for redemptions of Alaska miles.

Getting Alaska Miles

You can get Alaska Airlines miles from Alaska Airlines co-branded credit cards and Starwood Preferred Guest credit cards.

Alaska Airlines cards usually have very small sign up bonuses in the 25k to 30k mile range, but you can get a new one every 91+ days without closing the old ones.

Starwood Preferred Guest cards also have 25k or 30k sign up bonuses. Starpoints transfer 1:1 to Alaska miles with a 5,000 mile bonus for every 20,000 points transferred.

Bottom Line

There is great award space in Emirates A380 First Class for several people on the same flight at the moment. Book with Alaska miles. See Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Basics.

Hat Tip Points MD

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

4

Trip Report Index

I have broken my 16 hour flight from Dubai to Houston into four parts because I had over 200 photos and several videos from the flight. This section covers the ono grindz.

There are only two possibilities: either you will overeat when flying Emirates First Class or you have much stronger willpower than I do.

I filled up in the lounge in Dubai and got on the plane full. Immediately I was face-to-face with a personal snack basket in my suite.

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The Snack Basket is in My Left Hand

I resisted because none of the premium brand snacks were to my liking. That was about the only food I didn’t eat on the flight.

Before take off, I was given a menu (which I’ve reproduced in full at the bottom of this post), and the flight attendant explained the dine on demand concept. On Emirates flights, First Class passengers can order anything any time. Forget about carts rolling down the aisle on their schedule. Everything is on your schedule.

I decided to have after I woke up about 10 hours into the flight, but before that I snacked relentlessly. At the First Class bar between the two shower spas up front, there were sandwiches and fruit. I’m not sure what we were supposed to do with a whole pineapple, but I had and enjoyed the vegetarian sandwich.

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While I was at the Business Class Bar before and after my main meal, I took advantage of the snacks there–finger sandwiches, olives, mixed nuts, arare, and fruit skewers.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.48.44 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.45.42 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.41.17 PM

And near the end of the flight, a few hours after my main meal, I ordered the steak sandwich off of the snack menu.

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It was ridiculously good. I’ve decided melted cheese is my favorite food.

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But the star of the food was the main meal. When I woke up from my nap, I asked for it be served in two hours and for the flight attendant to grab me from the bar when it was time.

She found me two hours later and told me she was ready if I was.

The large table is elegantly set for your main meal with linen, real silverware, and nice plates.

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The first course was caviar and a salad. Caviar is served with the typical accoutrements of egg, onion, those little pancakes (probably not their real name), and lemon. It’s also apparently customary to drink a shot of vodka with your caviar, so I asked for a shot of Russian Standard Imperia.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.46.28 PM

As you can tell, I wholeheartedly endorse drinking vodka with caviar.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.46.47 PM

😉Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.47.12 PM

For the appetizer, I asked for a cream of mushroom soup and the Arabic mezze. The soup was very good, and I didn’t even notice that the Arabic mezze never came because I was, at no point on the flight, hungry. I’ve included a picture of the impressive mezze from the review of my flight from Zurich to Dubai.
Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.47.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.12.35 PM

For the main course, I ordered achaari murgh because I love Indian food. I’d never had this plate before, but it was delicious as I’ve come to expect from Indian food and from Emirates.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.47.43 PM

For dessert, I ordered the glutton’s trio: the fruit plate, the cheese plate, and the chocolate tart. Amazingly there were two other deserts I didn’t eat.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.48.02 PM

Do I rally need to tell you how delicious dessert was. It was perfect, sweet with a crust that balanced the chocolate perfectly.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.48.12 PM

When I was eating my main meal, I was the only passenger eating, which meant that the flight attendant had her full attention on refilling my drinks–water and vodka pineapple–clearing my plates, and bringing my next course. I like to eat quickly when I’m eating alone, so I was happy that she kept up with my pace.

One thing that frustrates me when eating in Business Class on a plane with a big cabin is that the meal service usually moves way too slowly for me. There is no such concern in Emirates First Class.

Room Service

One thing I love about Emirates First Class on the A380 is that the remote control in the armrest can also act as a telephone to call the galley, complete with “Calling Room Service” on the screen.
Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.47.49 PM

Unfortunately on both of my Emirates flights last month, I tried multiple times to call the galley and got no answer.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.47.55 PMI’m not sure if it was a technical glitch or I was being ignored. It seems like the service is more convenient for flight attendants because it saves them a trip to your seat.

 

Bottom Line

 

The food is awesome in Emirates First Class, and there is too much of it. You can have anything, any time, and it’s all very high quality.

How to Fly Emirates First Class for Yourself

Alaska Airlines charges 90,000 Alaska miles one way in Emirates First Class from the United States to Dubai or 100,000 from the United States to Europe, Asia, or Africa via Dubai. (Or vice versa since I flew Zurich to Dubai to Houston.) You can stop in Dubai as long as you’d like on the award.

You can get Alaska miles by opening the Alaska Airlines personal and business cards, which each come with 25,000 bonus miles, no spending requirement, and an immediate $75 annual fee. Both cards are churnable every few months, and you can have several open at once. You can even open multiple personal cards at once. You can also transfer SPG Starpoints to Alaska miles at a 1:1 rate with 5,000 bonus Alaska miles for every 20,000 Starpoints transferred.

You can book Emirates award flights on alaskaair.com as outlined here. You will pay (low) taxes plus a $12.50 per one way booking fee. There are no fuel surcharges on the awards.

Menu

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a

 

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

18

Trip Report Index

I have broken my 16 hour flight from Dubai to Houston into four parts because I had over 200 photos and several videos from the flight. This section covers roughly half of the flight that I spent at the onboard bar.

After waking up, I headed to the bathroom. There are three bathroom exclusively for First Class passengers, a toilet behind the cabin in the galley area and two shower spas in front of the cabin. If they’re both open, I head to one of the shower spas when I need to use the bathroom because they are so much nicer and more spacious.

Between the shower spas at the very front of the top deck is the First Class Bar. It is set up with all the First Class liquors, wines, some soft drinks, and snacks.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.39.27 PM

Here are close ups of the display and brands including the Dom Perignon 2005 champagne. The selection is extensive!Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.39.36 PMScreen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.39.42 PMScreen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.39.51 PMScreen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.40.00 PM

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The First Class bar is entirely self-serve, and there is really no place to sit down or hang out, so it is rarely used. When it is used, people are just grabbing a snack or a drink and heading back to their seats.

I prefer to hang out in the Business Class bar, which is where the action is. The Business Class bar is open to First and Business Class passengers. If you’re a First Class passenger heading there, I recommend tipping off a flight attendant to what you’ll be drinking, so she can bring back the superior First Class liquors and wines.

The Business Class bar is at the very back of the top deck, behind Business Class, so I walked through the half-full (at best) cabin to get there.

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The Business Class bar is a small half circle that is always staffed with a flight attendant. The counter is covered with snacks, and liquors are displayed behind the bartender.

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On both sides of the plane are curved couches where you can hang out any time and where you have to sit down and buckle up if the seat belt sign is turned on.

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I started with a glass of Dom Peringon, which had been brought back for me.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.40.37 PM

The Argentine bartender (what are the odds!) had a Polaroid-style camera at the bar and offered to take a picture of me. I asked a Romanian flight attendant to write something in Romanian on the card, so I could snap a picture and send that via Whatsapp to a friend in Bucharest.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.41.02 PM

The flight had free wifi that was too slow to load web pages but fast enough for iMessage, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger. The flight also had a cellular network. Because I have T-Mobile’s free international data plan, I turned Airplane Mode off to see if the cellular data would be free. I was immediately met with a text message telling me that I was roaming and data would be absurdly expensive, so I put my phone back in Airplane Mode and used the free wifi.

The bartenders, a Brazilian Business Class passenger, and I had a blast for the next few hours. The bartenders rotated every few hours, and I learned that they have some control over whether they are assigned to the bar. The bartenders as a group definitely self-select for outgoing people, so I wouldn’t mind being the only passenger at the bar and just talking to the bartender. If more passengers are in the bar area, though, it becomes even more fun.

One reason I love the bar: you know how American airlines are at great pains to remind you that all alcohol you consume on board must be served by a flight attendant? That rule either doesn’t apply to Emirates, or Emirates flouts it.

First I invented the Dom Piñon, which is one part Dom Perignon and one part pineapple juice.
Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.43.30 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.43.55 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.44.17 PM

It seemed like a good use of $170 champagne.

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Then I made a vodka soda for my Brazilian friend. I know that a shaker is an inappropriate tool for the job, but it was fun to use.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.45.10 PM

Next a Thai passenger came to the bar and didn’t know what he wanted, so I had another customer for my Dom Piñon.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.46.00 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.46.10 PM

The hours flew by while we goofed off in the back. Occasionally the fun would be interrupted by turbulence that would require us to sit on the couches and buckle up or a flight attendant having to prepare a drink that someone ordered from his seat.

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But mostly we just ate the fruit, nuts, and finger sandwiches; drank Russian Standard Imperia vodka pineapples and Dom Piñons; and discussed Houston, Dubai, travel, books, and the best nightlife in Argentina. Flight attendants representing 20 countries and 17 languages came through, a copilot stopped by for a (non-alcoholic) drink, and I had as much fun as I would at a bar anywhere in the world that was full of other interesting travelers.

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It just so happened this bar was 41,000 feet up, full of free top shelf drinks, and let me pour my own drinks.

Bottom Line

I spent about seven hours at the bar on the back of the top deck of the Emirates A380. It was an enjoyable way to meet interesting people, both crew and fellow passengers. If you’re an extrovert, this definitely beats hanging out in the suite and watching movies.

Stay tuned for reviews of the food and shower.

How to Fly Emirates First Class for Yourself

Alaska Airlines charges 90,000 Alaska miles one way in Emirates First Class from the United States to Dubai or 100,000 from the United States to Europe, Asia, or Africa via Dubai. (Or vice versa since I flew Zurich to Dubai to Houston.) You can stop in Dubai as long as you’d like on the award.

You can get Alaska miles by opening the Alaska Airlines personal and business cards, which each come with 25,000 bonus miles, no spending requirement, and an immediate $75 annual fee. Both cards are churnable every few months, and you can have several open at once. You can even open multiple personal cards at once. You can also transfer SPG Starpoints to Alaska miles at a 1:1 rate with 5,000 bonus Alaska miles for every 20,000 Starpoints transferred.

You can book Emirates award flights on alaskaair.com as outlined here. You will pay (low) taxes plus a $12.50 per one way booking fee. There are no fuel surcharges on the awards.

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

Trip Report Index

I have broken my 16 hour flight from Dubai to Houston into four parts because I had over 200 photos and several videos from the flight. This section covers roughly the first half of the flight and my review of the suite and related amenities.

Emirates 211
Dubai (DXB) – Houston (IAH)
Depart: 9:05 AM on September 10, 2015
Arrive: 4:25 PM
Duration: 16 hours, 20 minutes
Aircraft: Airbus A380
Seat: 4K (First Class)

This is it. This was my throne for 16 hours from Dubai to Houston.

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I was the last First Class passenger to board, and I was met at the door with a smile and escorted to my seat in the last row of First Class. Emirates has four singles seats along each side of the plane and three rows of double seats in the middle for 14 total First Class seats. I’d recommend the middle seats if you’re traveling with a companion and a window seat otherwise.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.33.36 PM

I have flown in the first, last, and middle rows, and I see no difference because dining is on demand, and the cabin is quiet throughout.

As soon as I sat down, I was offered any drink I’d like. I chose the specialty lime mint non-alcoholic drink, which was refreshing and tasty.

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For the 20 minutes until departure, I re-familiarized myself with my suite while flight attendants came through the cabin offering their standard pre-departure service. The suite itself is blinged out with wooden finishes and gold accents. In front of the seat is one of the largest TVs in any commercial First Class, a small vanity with spa products, and a drawer with a writing kit.

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When you get to your seat, there will be a snack basket. It is taken away before takeoff and brought back after take off until just before landing. None of the snacks appealed to me, but there is enough to eat on the flight, including sweets galore. The front of the suite also has two light fixtures and a fresh flower.
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You store your carry ons underneath the television. There are no overhead bins in First Class. Don’t worry; your carry ons don’t take up any of your leg room. I’m 6’4″, and my feet are well short of my bags. Next to my bags, you can see the inflight magazines, safety info, and headphones.
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The noise canceling headphones get the job done, but they are not Bose like some airlines offer in First and Business Class.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.35.31 PMAlso underneath the television is a universal plug and two USB plugs, so all your devices can be charged throughout the flight.

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To the side of the seat, along the window is a mini-bar.
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Mine offered still and sparkling water, pineapple juice, and three Pepsi products. I’ve said before that the mini-bar is flash over substance. None of these drinks are chilled, so to drink one, I’d have to ask the flight attendant for ice, which kind of defeats the purpose of having the drinks at your seat.

Next to the mini-bar is a touch screen tablet that controls the main television. The television itself is also a touch screen. Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.33.08 PM

Or you can control the television from the remote in your armrest.

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Overall the suite is fantastically designed. I don’t really get the mini-bar, but I have no complaints–A+.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.33.46 PM

Before take off, the flight attendants are a flurry of activity. You will be offered newspapers, magazines, a guide to the shower spa, beverages, Arabic coffee and dates, an amenity kit, pajamas, and slippers.

The amenity kit is Bulgari branded and very large.
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Along the sides, it has pouches for the brush/comb, deodorant, and toothpaste.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.35.59 PM

Inside, it also has a razor, shaving cream, tissues, and a box of Bulgari products.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.36.07 PM

I’ve gotten compliments on the smell of the body lotion.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.36.13 PM

I kept the amenity kit as my new traveling toiletries kit for the next few months, jettisoning a smaller Cathay Pacific amenity kit in Hawaii.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.36.19 PM

The pajamas are very comfortable, and I changed into them and the slippers right after take off and wore them for the rest of the flight.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.36.57 PM

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.40.44 PM

To me, wearing pajamas the whole time harkens back to slumber parties growing up and heightens the fun. The more I think about it, the more I like the comparison because both Emirates First Class and sleepovers as a kid have:

  • more food than you should eat, but it’s so delicious
  • more fun activities than you can do at once, so you’re constantly shifting from one to the next
  • Woo-hoo, no parents! Woo-hoo, no work!

I skipped the Arabic coffee and dates, but that is an impressive, two-flight-attendant presentation.

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.03.49 PMScreen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.03.55 PM

Just before take off, I had this photo of all my “stuff” snapped.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.34.00 PMTake off is impressive to watch out the window or on your TV, which features the tail camera.
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After take off, I was ready for bed because I had been up all night, and conveniently it was about midnight in my destination city. I asked the flight attendant to make the middle seat next to my seat into a bed because the cabin was only about half full.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.38.02 PMThe Emirates First Class bed is 7’2″ long and 1’11” wide. It could definitely stand to be a little bit wider like Cathay Pacific and Malaysia Airlines First Class, but overall, it’s a very nice bed with comfortable bedding and a large pillow.

I used the touch screen to close the doors of my suite and then conked out.
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I went to bed right after take off.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.37.19 PM

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I woke up about six hours later over Estonia.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.37.40 PMScreen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.39.21 PM

I find the Emirates A380 First Class bed to be acceptably comfortable, but it isn’t my overall favorite. It’s less than two feet wide, while Cathay Pacific’s First Class bed is three feet wide. That’s the difference between feeling a bit cramped and feeling like you have all the space in the world for me.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.39.03 PM

Upon waking up, I continued sporting some amazing bed head and my pajamas for the rest of the flight.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.37.30 PM

Other than when I was sleeping at the beginning and eating later in the flight, I didn’t spend much time in the suite, preferring to hang out in the bar and shower spa.

I didn’t take much advantage of the over 600 TV and movie options on board, which is definitely one of the best offerings in the sky.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.38.55 PM

I did play one racing game briefly with the handset in my arm rest while I waited for my meal, and it was better than the standard card games and chess usually available on flights.

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Overall Impressions of Suite

I love the Emirates First Class suite. I think the color choices are very attractive, the TV is the best in the world, the snack and mini-bar options are unrivaled (though unnecessary), the sliding doors are practical and fun, and everything is comfortable.
Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.38.39 PM

I do wish the bed were a little bit wider, but overall this an upper echelon seat and suite.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.38.47 PM

Stay tuned for reviews of the second half of the flight that cover the bar, shower, food, and service.

How to Fly Emirates First Class for Yourself

Alaska Airlines charges 90,000 Alaska miles one way in Emirates First Class from the United States to Dubai or 100,000 from the United States to Europe, Asia, or Africa via Dubai. (Or vice versa since I flew Zurich to Dubai to Houston.) You can stop in Dubai as long as you’d like on the award.

You can get Alaska miles by opening the Alaska Airlines personal and business cards, which each come with 25,000 bonus miles, no spending requirement, and an immediate $75 annual fee. Both cards are churnable every few months, and you can have several open at once. You can even open multiple personal cards at once. You can also transfer SPG Starpoints to Alaska miles at a 1:1 rate with 5,000 bonus Alaska miles for every 20,000 Starpoints transferred.

You can book Emirates award flights on alaskaair.com as outlined here. You will pay (low) taxes plus a $12.50 per one way booking fee. There are no fuel surcharges on the awards.

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

16

Trip Report Index

After my stopover in Dubai, I had a 9:05 AM flight to Houston in Emirates A380 First Class.

Wanting to enjoy the Emirates First Class Lounge and having stayed up all night anyway, I arrived at the airport almost exactly four hours before departure.

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.21.25 PM

I followed signs for First Class check in and had my boarding pass quickly.Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.21.42 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.21.52 PM

The people movers to the A gates of Emirates’ Terminal 3 are a slow process, but I got to the lounge by 5:30 AM, meaning I’d have about three hours to enjoy the offerings before boarding.Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.22.01 PM

Here’s what’s completely unique about the Emirates First Class lounge in Concourse A of Terminal 3 in Dubai: The lounge takes up an entire level that is directly above the main floor of the concourse. And you board from the lounge via an elevator directly onto your jet bridge. (The Business Class lounge, which I didn’t check out is one floor above the First Class lounge and also boards via elevator.)

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.24.10 PM
View of the Main Level of Concourse A from the Floor Above (First Class Lounge)

I entered the massive First Class lounge and handed the agent my boarding pass. She scanned it and welcomed me to the lounge. That’s it. She didn’t give me a rundown of the lounge, which I think the agents should, because the lounge is massive and offers a lot that you might not know about if you aren’t told or you don’t take the time to explore.Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.22.08 PM

The first thing I wanted to do was get my bearings, so luckily I found a map of the lounge underneath the departures board.

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.23.35 PMThere are also signs like this throughout the lounge to direct you where you want to go.

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.24.03 PM

With my bearings set, I decided to check out the Cigar Bar and Quiet Lounge before enjoying breakfast in the Fine Dining area, followed by a free massage in the Spa.

Just walking through the lounge to follow my checklist, I passed several sitting areas, which are completely empty at 5:30 AM and probably empty all the time because they aren’t near food or drink.
Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.22.16 PM

I also passed really high end shops. These aren’t your standard Duty Free Shops hawking big bags of M&Ms.Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.22.23 PM

The shops are mostly selling watches, perfumes, and bottles of alcohol to dekamillionaires. I thought this display of alcohol from $600 to $3,000 per bottle was expensive…

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…until I saw this $13,000 bottle or Martell 300. I won’t even pretend to know what Martell 300 is because I paid $100 in taxes for my First Class ticket.

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.30.00 PM

I passed through the Business Center, which is stocked with computers, coffee, tea, and dates.
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Next I stopped into the Cigar Bar because I love the Cigar Bar in the Lufthansa First Class Terminal, and I like to smoke 10 cigars per year. When I saw the selection of famous Cubans on offer, I made a mental note to return after breakfast.Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.24.16 PM

My last stop before breakfast was the Quiet Lounge, which is the one part of the lounge not up to par. With how much space there is in the lounge, and the fact that some First Class lounges offer private rooms for resting, I’m surprised Emirates puts so many day beds into one room.Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.24.25 PMScreen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.24.36 PM

Finally I made it to the Fine Dining area. I took a seat on a leather chair near the entrance and was given a menu.Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.24.45 PM

You can either order menu items a la carte or just hit the buffet.Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.24.49 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.24.55 PM

Other than eggs cooked to order, I think everything else on the a la carte menu is on the buffet. I don’t care for eggs, so I just went to the buffet.Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.25.00 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.25.07 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.25.13 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.25.18 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.25.27 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.25.34 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.25.40 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.25.51 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.25.58 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.26.03 PM

I loaded up on the Indian curry, hash browns, baked beans, tomatoes, fruit, hummus, pita, veggies, and a cinnamon roll. I ordered a still water, which was brought along with a bread basket. The bread basket is a complete waste, since there is a huge bread section on the buffet, and I had already selected pita and a cinnamon roll.Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.26.11 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.26.21 PM

The vegetarian Indian curry and the fresh fruit were real highlights for me, so I went back for seconds of those.

I took a walk through the Fine Dining area after eating.Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.26.27 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.26.33 PM

One cool feature is that there is a view into the kitchen.Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.26.40 PM

After I left the Fine Dining area I decided to keep heading the direction I had been going to get to the end of the lounge, passing more empty seating areas along the way.Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.26.46 PM

At the end of the lounge is a huge seating area with a smaller buffet, a bar, and a magazine selection.Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.26.51 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.26.56 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.27.03 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.27.09 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.27.15 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.27.21 PM

There are a few things on this buffet that aren’t in the Fine Dining area like the finger sandwiches, so it is worth checking out both areas before eating.

Now that I had seen one end of the lounge, I decided to go get my 15 minute free massage from the spa that is just outside the entrance of the lounge. On my way, I passed yet another bar and seating area. I hope you’re getting the idea that the lounge is humungous, and you can definitely find a space that suits your needs.Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.27.28 PM

I exited the lounge, and a few meters to the right was the entry to the “timeless spa,” which has a big sign out front advertising free treatments.Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.29.04 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.29.10 PM

As a First Class passenger, you have five options for a 15 minute massage. I went with the back massage.
Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.29.19 PM

For reference, here are the paid options, which are quite expensive.Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.29.33 PM

I was anticipating lying face down on a table, but instead the back massage is on one of these bad boys.

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.29.50 PMI asked the masseuse if I should take off my shirt, and she was rather adamant that I shouldn’t.
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I don’t go out of my way to get massages. This one was fine, which is about as highly as I thought I would ever rate a massage until a few years ago when I got a free hourlong massage at the Bangkok Airport because I was flying Thai First Class. That massage was amazing, and I couldn’t believe how quickly the hour passed. This 15 minute massage was underwhelming by comparison, but if you’re more into massages than I am, it could be a nice treat.

After the massage, I returned to the lounge and went to the Cigar Bar to spend the rest of the time before my flight on my laptop while smoking a cigar.

I selected this lovely couch and started charging my electronics.
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The waiter brought the cigar selection. I had texted my cigar-expert friend asking him which one to choose but hadn’t hear back, so I went with my best proxy for quality: “I’ll take the most expensive one.”Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.30.15 PM

This was a mistake. It turns out that everything in the Emirates First Class Lounge in Dubai is free at all the bars and restaurants except the cigars. Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.30.56 PM

I guess it’s my fault for not knowing that the cigars were for purchase. There is a menu at the bar area that shows their prices. But I had no clue. I assumed they were free since everything in the lounge (except things obviously in shop areas) is free, Lufthansa has a free Cigar Bar in its First Class Terminal, no one told me the cigars cost money, and no one brought me the cigar menu when I asked for the cigar selection.

In any case, I was brought a bill for 125 AED ($34) for my cigar. I didn’t mention my surprise and just paid it–no need to ruin a great experience by disputing a bill that is small potatoes in the long run. But be warned: the cigars aren’t free.

I did enjoy my cigar and accompanying drink, and the Cigar Bar was a fine place to write for an hour or two. With about 45 minutes left before my flight’s departure, I left the Cigar Bar to sit closer to my gate (which, remember, is inside the lounge) in order to hear the boarding announcement. Much to my surprise, a last call announcement was made for my flight right as I sat down, so I headed to my gate.

All the other First Class passengers on my flight had hear the announcement and assembled, but there was no gate agent. A few minutes later she showed up and let us know that not only was it not last call, but we couldn’t even board yet. I slipped back into the Fine Dining area because it had the closest couch to my gate and wrote for another 20 minutes before we actually boarded.

When it was boarding time, I had my boarding pass scanned, then I road this elevator down one level to my jetway.

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I didn’t check out the shower rooms or the Le Clos wine shop in the lounge, but be aware those exist if you want to shower before your onboard shower or want to buy expensive wine before your flight.

Bottom Line

The Emirates First Class Lounge in Concourse A of Terminal 3 in Dubai is a marvel. According to Wikipedia, it is the largest First Class lounge in the world. The food is great, the alcohol is expensive, and boarding a plane from an elevator is novel.

The biggest areas for improvement would be individual rooms for napping and having the agent who scans your boarding pass give you an overview of the lounge offerings, spa offerings, and the fact that the cigars aren’t free.

Next time I would spend at least two hours in the lounge and probably more to enjoy the food, massage, and amenities just as fully as I did this time. I would skip the $34 stogie though.

I slightly preferred my trip to the Lufthansa First Class Terminal in Frankfurt a year and a half ago. A Porsche to the plane is a little better than an elevator, I liked the buffet a little better, the cigars were free, and the you can take a bubble bath before your flight.

I also slightly preferred my ground experience in Bangkok as a First Class passenger because the hourlong massage was killer, and nothing is better than Thai food.

So I’d rank the Emirates First Class Lounge in Dubai as my third favorite lounge overall. Where would you rank it?

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

10

Trip Report Index

  • Emirates Lounge Zurich
  • Emirates A380 First Class from Zurich to Dubai
  • Emirates Lounge Dubai
  • Emirates A380 First Class from Dubai to Houston

Emirates 88
Zurich (ZRH) – Dubai (DXB)
Depart: 3:35 PM on September 8, 2015
Arrive: 11:45 PM
Duration: 6 hours, 10 minutes
Aircraft: Airbus A380
Seat: 1A (First Class)

I was the last passenger to leave the Emirates Lounge in Zurich, and I was the last to board in First Class, about 20 minutes before the scheduled departure. The plane was not at its normal gate, so there was no boarding on the upper level.

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I boarded the lower level and was directed up the front stairs.
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At the top of the stairs, I was met by a flight attendant and brought to my seat. She hung my coat, and welcomed me to the flight.
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I had a window seat. Emirates A380s have four window seats on each side and three pairs of middle seats for 14 total.

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The middle seats have a divider to put up if you are traveling solo and to put down if you have a companion.

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The biggest (only?) downside of Emirates First Class is that there are 14 seats. Cathay Pacific First Class has only six on its 777. The seats and suites could stand to be a little bit wider, but really I am just quibbling. I had plenty of space, and I got amazingly personal attention.
Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.03.09 PM

There were only six First Class passengers on the flight, so I didn’t get to see how service would be with a full cabin, but I expect Emirates flight attendants can handle it gracefully. Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.03.18 PM

After I was seated, another flight attendant arrived quickly with a tray of drinks, and I selected a glass of champagne.Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.02.07 PM

As I sipped, I reacquainted myself with the First Class Suite on the Emirates A380. The suite doesn’t have a lot of storage space, but it is big enough that you can put your bags at the front of the suite and not have them in your way.
Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.02.20 PM

In the front of the suite are a large television, a few lights, a lighted mirror, a flower, a snack basket, and a drawer with a writing kit. Everything has gold accents.Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.02.28 PM

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The snack basket is one of the funniest things to me about Emirates First Class. It’s at your seat when you board, then taken away before take off, then brought back until just before landing. (Un)fortunately it didn’t contain anything I wanted to eat.
Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.02.34 PM

To the side of the seat is a minibar. On this flight, it contained three sodas, still and sparkling water, and pineapple juice. It’s pretty cool to have a minibar inside your suite, but to me, it’s a gimmick more than it’s useful. Every drink in the minibar is best served chilled, but the minibar is at room temperature, so to actually drink something from the minibar, I’d need to call a flight attendant for ice. If she’s coming with ice, then she might as well just bring the drink.Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.02.40 PM

Next to the minibar is a small monitor. I usually find the small monitor much more convenient to control the television than the remote control that is in the armrest.Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.02.45 PMScreen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.04.14 PM

As I inspected my throne, a flight attendant came by with an eye mask and slippers. No pajamas or amenity kit was distributed on the six hour, afternoon flight, which is a bit of a bummer.
Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.02.52 PM

Another pair of flight attendants appeared, offering dates and Arabic coffee.

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During the flurry of activity before take off, flight attendants also brought a selection of newspapers, magazines, a lightly scented hot towel, and a fast track pass for Dubai immigration. Finally the snack basket was removed, and we rumbled down the runway.

Once airborn, the captain informed us that the flight attendants represented 24 nationalities, and we would be cruising at 41,000 feet, which means that I would be showering about eight miles up in the air.

After take off, I was brought a drink–vodka pineapple–and canapes.
Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.05.03 PM

A flight attendant brought a leather-bound menu and explained that in First Class, dining is on demand. I could order anything at any time. I had eaten a lot in the lounge, so I planned to wait until near the end of the flight to have dinner.

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.05.28 PM

I ordered my meal and asked it to be served two hours before landing. I asked to take my shower right away.

Emirates First Class passengers on the A380 get to take one shower per flight. During the shower, you get five minutes of water, but you can be in the bathroom as long as you’d like. Since there are two bathrooms with showers at the front of the upper deck and up to 14 passengers, you should reserve your time in the shower as soon as you know when you’d like to shower. Here’s a video tour of the Emirates shower spa from a few years ago. It hasn’t changed.

My shower was very refreshing. In my mind, the shower time is very useful and not a gimmick. I’m glad Etihad has added showers to its A380, and I look forward to showering on one in January.

When I came out of the shower, the self-serve bar in front of First Class was set up. I’ve never used it, nor seen anyone use it because all the action is at the Business Class bar.
Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.08.33 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.08.39 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.08.40 PM

Behind Business Class is a bar that is open to First and Business Class passengers. It is staffed with a bartender for the duration of the flight. If you are a First Class passenger headed back there, tip off a flight attendant what you’d like to drink, and she’ll bring back the fancier First Class liquors for you.

I asked a flight attendant to send back a bottle of Russian Standard Imperia vodka to the bar. (The Business Class vodka is Grey Goose.)

I walked back through the upper deck and snapped a picture of Business Class, which looks nearly as comfortable as First Class, just not as private.Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.08.53 PM

The Business Class bar is a blast. The flight attendants have some control over whether they are assigned there, so they self-select for outgoing, fun people.

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.09.49 PM

I got behind the bar to mix a few drinks and mug for the camera. While American airlines make a point of announcing that you can only drink alcohol served by a flight attendant on board, Emirates has no such rule. First Class passengers can pour themselves a drink up front near the showers or at the back bar.

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.09.41 PM

Emirates has a green-amber-red system for flight attendants to track your drinking and make sure you aren’t over-served. Somehow I stayed green, according to the bartender, which leads me to believe it is based more on your behavior than on how many drinks you’ve been served.Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.09.29 PM

When I got tired of standing at the bar, or when the Fasten Seatbelt sign was illuminated, I sat on one of the benches in the bar area.

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.09.13 PM

I spent most of the flight in the bar, talking with the bartender and other passengers.

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.09.08 PM

When we were two hours out of Dubai, I headed back to my seat for dinner. Before going to the bar, I had asked for turndown service, so I returned to find my seat like this.

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.10.34 PM

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.10.43 PM

I wasn’t tired, so I didn’t attempt to sleep. (Wait for my Dubai to Houston trip report for my thoughts on the bed.) A few minutes later, the first course of my dinner was served: caviar and a bread basket.
Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.12.03 PM

The caviar came with all the traditional sides. I continued my streak of only eating caviar on planes.Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.12.14 PMScreen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.12.27 PM

After I finished, the flight attendant cleared the caviar and brought me the mushroom soup.

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.12.45 PM

It was tasty, but the star of the appetizers was the Arabic mezze, which came after the soup. There were about a dozen options, but none better than the hummus.

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.12.35 PM

Next came the main course: beef fillet with lemon risotto.

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.12.52 PM

Why did I order a steak? Steaks on planes always disappoint me. I should have audibled when I asked for it to be cooked medium, and the flight attendant informed me that they can’t guarantee that because it’s pre-cooked and just heated up onboard. The steak was well done and not tender at all. The risotto was fine, and the mashed potatoes, which I had ordered from the section at the end of the menu of additional side options, were the best part of the entree. I only ate half because I was stuffed.

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.12.58 PM

But, as my niece says, I was full for dinner, not full for dessert, so I had all the desserts and a cheese plate brought to me. The berry dome was a hit for me.
Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.13.18 PM

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.06.41 PM

After dinner was cleared, I watched a few TV episodes on the big screen TV. The selection of TV shows and movies, over 600 total, is unreal.

We touched down in Dubai on time and taxied to a remote stand.Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.13.42 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.13.46 PM

First Class passengers were offloaded first, and we had a blinged-out bus ride to the terminal. Somehow the bus ride took about 15 minutes.Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.13.54 PM

When we finally got to the terminal, immigration and customs were a breeze. As I exited customs, I used this trick to get a free chauffeur ride to my hotel–the Radisson Blu Dubai Deira Creek.Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.14.11 PM

Overall

I went into the flight with very high expectations, and they were exceeded. Flying economy is uncomfortable, boring, and a chore. Flying Emirates First Class on the A380 is comfortable, fun, and luxurious. You want the flight to last longer.

I spent a few hours talking to interesting world travelers and drinking top shelf liquor at a flying bar. I took a shower eight miles up. I was served a multi-course meal with more food than a person should eat in a day.

What’s not to like about Emirates First Class?

Here’s how to book Emirates First Class with miles.

Select menu pages:

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.06.51 PMScreen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.07.18 PMScreen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.08.02 PMScreen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.07.51 PMScreen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.08.14 PMScreen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.07.42 PMScreen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.06.31 PMScreen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.07.31 PMScreen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.06.11 PMScreen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.06.02 PM

 

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

6
  • Emirates Lounge Zurich
  • Emirates A380 First Class from Zurich to Dubai
  • Emirates Lounge Dubai
  • Emirates A380 First Class from Dubai to Houston

Last Tuesday I flew from Zurich to Dubai in First Class on the Emirates A380. As with all premium cabin international tickets, including award tickets, I got lounge access as part of my ticket.

Emirates operates lounges in many of the cities that it serves including Zurich. (In other cities, you’ll have access to another airline’s lounge.)

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 5.47.04 PM

I love high-end lounges because they have free food, drinks, and comfortable places to work and shower, and Emirates Lounges are high-end lounges. Emirates begins check in in Zurich four hours before the flight, and I got to the lounge more than three hours before my flight.

The Emirates Lounge is just above the normal Emirates gate, E52.

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 5.57.13 PM

It is open to First and Business Class passengers, but I was the first person into the lounge. The lounge agent welcomed me warmly and asked if I would be using the internet.Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 5.57.34 PM

Unfortunately the internet situation at the Emirates Lounge in Zurich is terrible. You have to sign into the airport’s wifi with the code given to you by the agent. And then every hour, you have to get a new code.

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.00.37 PMI imagine this is the Zurich Airport’s fault and not Emirates’ fault, but it is annoying.

After check in, I took a lap around the lounge, and lap really is the right word because the seating sections of the lounge are like the outside of a rectangle with the bathrooms in the middle.

Along the right is the quiet seating area. I would have preferred to work here because the rest of the lounge got annoyingly loud between conversations and phone calls, but I didn’t see the silver towers of outlets, so I couldn’t work here and charge my devices.
Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 5.57.41 PM

The quiet area has this relaxing water feature and floor-to-ceiling windows.Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 5.57.49 PM

The back section has a business center…Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 5.57.54 PM

…a seating area…Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 5.58.01 PM

…the magazine rack…
Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 5.58.08 PM

…a TV tuned to CNN…Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 5.58.14 PM

… and a bar area with snacks.

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I worked in this back section because I found a free tower to charge my devices. The tower has American sockets.

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.00.31 PM

The left side of the lounge has the buffet, dining room, and floor-to-ceiling windows. You might also notice the doors in some of these photos, but unfortunately they cannot be opened to access the open air balconies that surround the lounge.
Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 5.58.20 PM

The bar is stocked with mid-shelf liquors. You’ll get better stuff on the plane in Business Class and even better stuff in First Class.Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 5.58.29 PM

There are sodas, juices, and beers. I was happy to see pineapple juice to make my favorite cocktail.

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 5.58.35 PM

The buffet was very impressive for a lounge that serves only one flight at a time. For meat options, Emirates offered chicken schnitzel, beef stroganoff…Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 5.58.42 PM

…sea bass, and veal sausage.Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 5.59.05 PM

Vegetable options were also extensive.Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 5.58.49 PM

The vegetable curries with lentils and the vegetarian lasagna caught my eye.
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There was also a cold buffet the featured desserts, fruits, cheese, and arabic mezze.Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 5.59.28 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 5.59.36 PM

To another side, there was green pea soup and bread.

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 5.59.22 PMI went wild for my first meal of the day.
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I actually ate almost all of it. I really loved the chicken schnitzel and Indian-style lentil curry. The vegetable lasagna was skippable, and the potatoes were downright bad, which shocked me because I love potatoes.Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 5.59.54 PM

I even got seconds of my favorites.Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.00.17 PM

I spent a few hours working, which was interrupted by the aforementioned internet system. A boarding call was made in the lounge, and I stopped by the bathrooms on the way out to get a look at the offering. The shower stalls were modest but clean and contained all the essentials. Of course, First Class passengers get to shower on board, so I had skipped these.

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There was a problem with the normal Emirates gate, so we had to walk about five minutes to the other end of the terminal to board.Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.01.01 PM

Bottom Line

The Emirates Lounge in Zurich is a great place to get a delicious meal, have a few drinks, and even take a shower. It is not particularly well designed for work, since you have to get a new internet code every hour and because of the lack of charging towers in the quiet section.

The lounge was nicer than my accommodations in Zurich, so I spent as much time as possible in it. It’s not an iconic lounge though like the Lufthansa First Class Terminal or Emirates Lounge in Dubai, though, so if you’re having a blast in Zurich and aren’t hungry, you can skip it entirely.

 

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

5

Emirates offers First and Business Class passengers free chauffeur service to and from the airport. I took advantage with rides to Auckland’s airport and from Sydney’s airport in 2013.

Starting in January 2015, Emirates restricted chauffeur service to First and Business Class passengers whose tickets were issued by Emirates or Qantas.

The best way for travel hackers to book Emirates First and Business Class ticket is with Alaska Airlines miles, meaning Alaska issues the ticket. That means, by the rules, no chauffeur service. But One Mile at a Time reports a trick to get free chauffeur service in Dubai that works sometimes:

Upon landing in Dubai, follow signs for Emirates Chauffeur Drive Services and request a chauffeur there at the airport. Commenters reported some successes and some failures.

I decided to try it out when I landed in Dubai yesterday, having flown Emirates First Class from Zurich (trip report to follow.) After clearing customs, you see huge signs that point you to the right for a chauffeur or to the left to exit. I headed right and to the First Class desk inside the chauffeur area. I presented my ticket with a smile and said I’d like a ride to my hotel.

A minute later she was handing me a slip to hand to the driver for my free ride. Success!

It did seem to take her an extra thirty seconds to print my ticket because someone else showed up next to me after me and had his slip printed before mine. I speculate that maybe she had to override something on the computer on my behalf.

This trick will not work 100% of the time, and maybe Emirates will shut it down completely, but for now, there is a chance to get a free ride from the Dubai airport on an Alaska award ticket. I don’t know of a similar way to get a ride to the Dubai airport, nor do I know of a way to get rides to/from any other airport on an Alaska award ticket.

If you try this out, make sure you have a backup transportation plan. Share your results in the comments.

 

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

30

Emirates First Class is now bookable with Alaska Airlines miles again! A search today for May:

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Click on “Nonstop” or “1 stop” to see flight details for each flight. The aircraft is listed on the pop up. Emirates Flight 204 is served by an A380, which means showers are onboard.Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 3.35.03 PMIn case you missed the saga, for a while, Emirates First Class was only bookable on alaskaair.com for flights through March 28, 2015. If you wanted to book Emirates First Class for dates beyond March 28, you had to call Alaska and ask the agent to use the ‘old system’ to book your award. Then Alaska Airlines told their phone agents not to use the ‘old system,’ so we couldn’t book Emirates First Class at all. Alaska told me they were looking for a way to bring the First Class space back online, and now they have.

Guide to Booking Emirates First Class with Alaska Airlines Miles

  • Why Alaska Miles
  • Why Emirates First Class a Big Deal (The Product, Including an Onboard Shower)
  • How Many Miles You Need (Award Chart)
  • How to Search & Book
  • Maximizing the Award (Stopovers in Dubai & Booking Three Emirates A380 Segments on Single Award)

Why Alaska Miles

Alaska Airlines has a number of incredible partners despite not being a member of any of the three airline alliances. Alaska miles are perfect for Emirates awards because:

  • Alaska doesn’t collect fuel surcharges on Emirates awards
  • Alaska’s chart for Emirates awards is fair, though not exactly cheap
  • Alaska allows stopovers on one way awards, so you can see Dubai for a few days then continue your trip

Why Emirates First Class Is a Big Deal

Being able to book Emirates First Class with Alaska miles is a BIG DEAL because Emirates First Class on the A380 is one of the nicest products in the sky, and until recently, its A380 was the only commercial airline that offered First Class passengers the opportunity to shower onboard. (Etihad A380 First Class also has a shower now.)

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 12.25.27 PM

I flew Emirates First Class on a 3.5 hour hop from Auckland to Sydney and was blown away. Here is the first part of that trip report, and my video inside the shower spa.

How Many Miles You Need

Alaska charges 90,000 miles one way in First Class to Dubai and 100,000 miles one way to Africa, Asia, or Europe via Dubai.

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 11.27.34 AM

Unfortunately you cannot use Alaska miles for all Emirates routes. Your award needs to start or end in North America and cannot go to Australia.

Alaska does not collect fuel surcharges on Emirates awards. You just pay low government taxes + $12.50 per one way partner award.

How to Search & Book

You can search alaskaair.com for Emirates awards.

Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 4.00.12 PMThe award search is completely intuitive and offers the chance to look at month-by-month calendars. Days that say 90k definitely have Emirates First Class space between New York and Dubai. Days that say 80k may.

Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 4.01.02 PM

There are two related drawbacks of the alaskaair.com search.

  1. You cannot search routes that don’t touch North America–for instance Dubai to Seoul.
  2. On a multi-city search, it can be cumbersome to figure out two days that both have award space because instead of letting you search segment one first and then segment two, it makes you search both at once.

These problems are solved by searching Emirates award space on Expert Flyer, a paid service, that I explained how to search here.

The fare bucket to search is Z for First Class. This is where it gets a little bit weird.

  • If Z = 1, Alaska may have access to 1 award seat in Emirates First Class.
  • If Z = 2, Alaska may have access to 2 award seats in Emirates First Class.
  • If Z = 2, Alaska definitely has access to at least 1 award seat in Emirates First Class.

If I need to search for segments that don’t include North America, I go to Expert Flyer and search dates with Z = 2.

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 11.23.23 AM
The search screen on Expert Flyer

In these search results, you can see that the Emirates flight from Houston to Dubai on April 19 has Z = 2, but on April 20 only has Z = 1. That means Alaska definitely has at least one award seat on the Emirates flight for April 19.

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 11.23.54 AM

Once you’ve found your award space on alaskaair.com and Expert Flyer, book on alaskaair.com to avoid a phone fee.

Maximizing Your Alaska Award in Emirates First Class

Stopovers

One stopover is allowed on one way Alaska awards for as long as you’d like, subject to the fact that you can only book up to 11 months in advance. Here is an example with a 32 hour stopover. Make it a week or a month if you’d like.

Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 2.00.56 PM

The easiest stopover point by far will be Dubai, but a stopover in Seattle, Bangkok, and a few other cities is possible.

Getting the Most Time in the Emirates A380

Your Alaska Airlines award on Emirates has to start or end in the United States and pass through Dubai.

The longest flight from the United States to Dubai is from Los Angeles at 15hr50min. Here are the other destinations, though Orlando, Boston, and Seattle are served by 777s.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emirates_destinations
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emirates_destinations

After a few days in Dubai, you can continue on some long flights up to 10 hours. Unfortunately you cannot use Alaska miles to fly Emirates to Australia or New Zealand, so you are limited to connections to Europe, Africa, and Asia. Here are all the places Emirates flies from Dubai.

Here are some sample legal routes.

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 8.34.33 AM
Source: gcmap.com

A continuation to Southeast Asia like Bangkok is shorter than I was expecting. It’s actually shorter than backtracking to London.

The farthest flight shown is to Tokyo, but it is operated by shower-less 777s. Johannesburg also is flown by 777s.

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 8.34.11 AM
Source: gcmap.com

I think the farthest flight from Dubai to Asia, Africa, or Europe served by an A380 is to Seoul with the second farthest to Hong Kong. Correct me in the comments if I’m wrong.

Maximizing Your Segments in Emirates First Class

Each segment of Emirates First Class comes with its own pleasures, including lounge access and five minutes worth of water in the shower.

You can get three segments on a single award if you fly to Hong Kong via Dubai and Bangkok. The Bangkok-to-Hong Kong segment is less than three hours, but you can enjoy a shower on it as well. Here’s an award with 25 hours in Emirates First Class on an A380, three showers, and a three-day stopover in Dubai for 100,000 Alaska miles + $38.

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 7.49.35 AMHere’s the same award, but the stopover has been moved to Bangkok.

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 8.44.19 AM

Other Example Itineraries

Here are all the Emirates A380 routes.

I priced out awards to Africa, Asia, and Europe on Alaska’s website and confirmed by clicking the words “1 stop” or “2 stops” which aircraft is operating each flight.

Los Angeles to Dubai to Hong Kong (23hr45min in A380 First)

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 7.50.14 AMScreen Shot 2014-06-30 at 7.50.21 AM

Los Angeles to Dubai to London (23hr20min in A380 First)

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 8.04.36 AMScreen Shot 2014-06-30 at 8.04.29 AM

Los Angeles to Dubai to Cape Town (15hr50min in A380 First and 9hr50min in 777-300ER First)

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 8.54.56 AMScreen Shot 2014-06-30 at 8.55.03 AM

Getting Alaska Airlines Miles

There are four credit cards that earn Alaska Airlines miles. The Alaska Airlines cards earn the miles directly, and the Starwood cards earn Starpoints which transfer 1:1 to Alaska miles with 5,000 bonus miles for every 20,000 Starpoints transferred.

CKANbanner_300x250_v6b

The Alaska Airlines personal card offers 25,000 bonus miles on account opening (not even first purchase) and the business card is good for another 25,000 miles after first purchase. Both have a $75 annual that is NOT waived. I’m gotten both bonuses multiple times without having to close my old Alaska cards.

The Starwood cards currently offer 25,000 bonus Starpoints each after spending $5,000 in the first six months.

Recap

Emirates First Class is now bookable again with Alaska miles on alaskaair.com. Book your one way award to Europe, Asia, or Africa with a stopover in Dubai for 100,000 miles one way + taxes + $12.50.

If you want to maximize segments, you can route through Dubai and Bangkok to Hong Kong. If you want to maximize flight time on an A380, you can fly from Los Angeles to Dubai to Seoul. Or you can maximize the destination.

Alaska has no cancellation fee or change fee more than 60 days before departure and a manageable cancellation fee of $125 after that.

Book your ticket with your Arrival Plus and you can then remove the taxes and fees from your statement by redeeming Arrival miles.

Are you going to book Emirates First Class now?

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

10

Emirates First Class is not bookable with Alaska Airlines miles for flights past March 28, 2015. There has been a workaround, but I think all Alaska agents have gotten the memo not to use it.

I reached out to Alaska Airlines for a statement on what’s going on. This is from a spokeswoman for Alaska:

It’s not a glitch. Emirate awards show in our system if there are a minimum of three seats available per flight. The minimum threshold is due to the connection in place between Emirates and our shopping system vendor. We are actively investigating work-arounds, but there is not an immediate solution.

There’s a lot I find odd.

  • How is it “not a glitch” that award space only appears when there are 3+ seats available?
  • There is an immediate solution. “The old system.” But Alaska agents have been told not to use it.
  • I can’t completely verify that the statement is true.

I checked into whether only days with 3+ Emirates First Class seats appear to have space on alaskaair.com. It holds true for Houston to Dubai flights this month.

For instance, here’s the calendar for award space for 1 person in First Class.

Screen Shot 2015-03-06 at 12.31.35 PM

Any day that says 90k + $20 has award space in Emirates First Class. Here’s the same calendar for 3 people and all the 90k + $20 days remain.

Screen Shot 2015-03-06 at 12.31.58 PM

That means that it is true that the only days in March that show 1 Emirates First Class seat from Houston to Dubai show 3+.

Screen Shot 2015-03-06 at 12.30.46 PM

I can’t verify that’s true on every route on every date though I haven’t found a date with 1 First Class Emirates seat that doesn’t also have 3 seats.

But I still don’t think Alaska Airlines is correctly displaying Emirates award space even on these days. Expert Flyer and Alaska award space just don’t match up.

For instance, March 26 shows 2 First Class award seats on Expert Flyer. Alaskaair.com shows 3. Alaska is showing a seat that I’m not sure exists. (I don’t know whether you can book it because I don’t have 270k Alaska miles.)

Screen Shot 2015-03-06 at 12.53.19 PM

March 29 (and many later days) show 3 First Class award seats on Expert Flyer and none on alaskaair.com. Alaska is definitely not showing space that does exist.

Screen Shot 2015-03-06 at 12.55.25 PM

Something stinks with how Alaska Airlines is displaying Emirates award space. I don’t know whose fault this initial screw up is. Alaska blames its “shopping system vendor.” (Let’s all thank that vendor for the extra First Class award seat from Houston to Dubai on March 26.)

But I place the blame firmly on Alaska for not allowing its “old system,” which as far as we know still works perfectly, to be used by agents to book Emirates First Class award space that Emirates has released to Alaska.

Thanks to Alaska for commenting on the issue, though it sheds no light on the situation.

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

25

Update 2/18/15: I cancelled my award reservation in Emirates First Class using Alaska miles. I was invited to a wedding that changed my plans. I tried to change my reservation to different dates.

I called up and asked for the change. The agent said the date I wanted had no First Class award space even though Z = 3. I asked her to look in the old system, and she said a supervisor had told her not to.

I called twice more, running my little social-engineering trick of “I just got cut off trying to make a change. The agent had found the space in the old system.” Both agents said they couldn’t use the old system. In the end, I canceled my award because it was 61 days before departure, and free changes and cancellations only last until 60 days before departure.

I reached out to Alaska Airlines asking for a statement on what’s going on because this is what they told One Mile at a Time in January:

First thank you for bringing this to our attention. When you first contacted me, we thought that perhaps your search return was limited because of the original query. However, in digging deeper into this issue, we learned that we were wrong and quickly launched an investigation with our vendors to identify and try to resolve what we believe is a system glitch. We have a strong partnership with Emirates and our mutual customers have been enjoying award travel on both airlines fora number of years. I assure you that Mileage Plan™ members have been able to book First Class awards on Emirates without issue and we are working to restore that functionality. We apologize for any inconvenience this is causing our customers and assure you and your readers that we are working with Emirates to resolve the technical glitch and hope to have it fixed soon.

I will update if I hear back from them. My take is that maybe it is Emirates fault that its First Class award space isn’t showing up on Alaska’s main system, but it is definitely Alaska’s fault that we can’t book the space if they are telling their agents not to use the old system, which displays the award space perfectly well.

——————————————————–

One Mile at a Time broke the news that Emirates First Class award space does not appear on alaskaair.com for any flights beyond March 28, 2015. Business Class and economy class award space does appear until the end of the bookable schedule (mid-December.)

He speculated that the Alaska/Emirates partnership might be ending or at least the chance to book Emirates First Class beyond March 28, 2015 might never again exist. My interpretation is similar: I suspect Alaska permanently wants to block Emirates First Class award redemptions for travel beyond March 28. (Any flights already booked for travel beyond March 28 are safe.)

But just now I was able to book myself an award in Emirates First Class for April. Following my steps, you should be able to book yourself Emirates First Class through mid-December, the end of the schedule.

Being able to book Emirates First Class with Alaska miles is a BIG DEAL because Emirates First Class on the A380 is one of the nicest products in the sky, and until recently, its A380 was the only commercial airline that offered First Class passengers the opportunity to shower onboard.

I flew Emirates First Class on a 3.5 hour hop from Auckland to Sydney and was blown away. Here is the first part of that trip report, and my video inside the shower spa.

Why Alaska Miles?

I desperately want to get back into Emirates First Class because Auckland to Sydney was the best flight of my life. The best way to fly Emirates First Class is with Alaska Airlines miles. Alaska charges 90,000 miles one way to Dubai and 100,000 to Africa or Asia.

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 11.27.34 AM

Unfortunately you cannot use Alaska miles for all Emirates routes. Your award needs to start or end in North America and cannot go to Australia.

Alaska does not collect fuel surcharges on Emirates awards. You just pay low taxes + $12.50 per one way partner award + a $15 phone fee.

The Problem

Someone is blocking Emirates First Class award space from appearing on alaskaair.com for flights after March 28. It’s probably Alaska, but it might be Emirates.

You can search Emirates First Class award space on Expert Flyer, a paid service, that I explained how to search here.

The fare bucket to search is Z. This is where it gets a little bit weird.

  • If Z = 1, Alaska may have access to 1 award seat in Emirates First Class.
  • If Z = 2, Alaska may have access to 2 award seats in Emirates First Class.
  • If Z = 2, Alaska definitely has access to at least 1 award seat in Emirates First Class.

So I looked for dates with Z = 2.

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 11.23.23 AM
The search screen on Expert Flyer

 

In these search results, you can see that the Emirates flight from Houston to Dubai on April 19 has Z = 2, but on April 20 only has Z = 1. That means Alaska definitely has at least one award seat on the Emirates flight for April 19.

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 11.23.54 AM

But that seat does not appear online. Online the April 19 flight only has economy and Business space.

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 11.44.38 AM

The Solution

This is why this hobby is amazing. As commentors despaired in the One Mile at a Time comment thread, commentor Carlos provided the solution.

After a lot of [hang up call again], I was able to book a F award flying on april. After getting the same answer that there was no F available (even though in EF Z=2), the magic sentence was to ask if the search could be made on the old system and voilà, space was found.

The “old system” is the magic phrase.

Commentors Chris and Tom quickly chimed in that it worked for them, and it worked for me just now!

My Experience

I picked out flights from Houston to Dubai and Dubai to Bangkok with a day and a half in Dubai. You can get free stopovers on Alaska one way awards on Emirates flights.

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 11.24.34 AM

This is going to be 15 hours in the A380 First Class and then six more hours a day and a half later.

For both flights, I found Z = 2 space.

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 11.21.15 AM

I called Alaska Airlines at 800-252-7522 and politely told the agent I wanted to fly First Class from Houston to Dubai and then Dubai to Bangkok in First Class.

She searched and came back excited, but it turned out there was space on the flights I had in mind in Business Class but not First Class.

It is important to note that apparently the agents have no idea that the website and their system only show Emirates First Class award space until March 28.

I tried Carlos’ trick.

“Hmm…I really want to fly First Class. I’ve heard that if you check your old system, there might be space available.”

She hemmed and hawed and eventually said she couldn’t do it. I thanked her and hung up after the six minute call. For the second call I had a different strategy.

The successful eight-minute call started out like this:

[in a friendly voice]

“Hi, I want to fly Emirates First Class from Houston to Bangkok. I was just on the line with another agent, and she had found the space and given me the flight info when my phone was disconnected. She said she found the space in the old system. Can I give you the flight info?”

When I said “old system,” this agent actually interjected, “That’s the right way.”

She took the flight info that I had found on Expert Flyer and disappeared for a few minutes, coming back to tell me that she had found the award space in First Class and it would cost 100,000 miles. Success!

I booked the flight on the spot. She gave me an Alaska and an Emirates confirmation number. Twenty minutes later, my confirmation email appeared from Alaska. I went to the Emirates website to make sure they can see my reservation, and they can! I am all set for travel.

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 12.01.31 PM

Bottom Line

Hat tip to One Mile at a Time for uncovering the possible end of the Alaska/Emirates partnership at least as far as First Class awards. Hat tip to Carlos for uncovering the trick to book Emirates First Class on flights beyond March 28.

When calling Alaska to book the award, the magic words are “old system,” and I recommend starting the call with a white lie about having just been disconnected after an agent found space through the old system. That may arouse less suspicion and make the agent feel comfortable that her colleague thinks it’s OK to use the old system.

Now there are a couple possibilities:

  1. This could just be a glitch, and Alaska may resume showing Emirates First Class space for flights March 29 and later. In that case, this post is nearly useless.
  2. This blocking could be intentional and could get worse by an outright prohibition on booking Emirates First Class that becomes widely known among Alaska phone agents. In that case, use the trick in this post ASAP if you’re hoping to fly Emirates First Class on an A380.

Alaska has no cancellation fee more than 60 days before departure and a manageable cancellation fee of $125 after that, so somewhat speculative bookings may be prudent if you fear that possibility 2 is more likely.

Book your ticket with your Arrival Plus and you can then remove the taxes and fees from your statement by redeeming Arrival miles.

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 12.25.27 PM

Are you going to book Emirates First Class now?

 

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

3

Emirates is releasing two First Class seats on its A380 flights from San Francisco and Houston to Dubai on a ton of days in Winter 2015.

My flight in Emirates First Class was my favorite ever because of the over-the-top service and amenities, like two onboard shower spas.

At the MileValue dinner, when I shared these five tips, a reader (wish I could remember a name for credit here) shared the tip that Emirates First Class award space on its A380s was wide open from San Francisco and Houston.

You can search Emirates award space at alaskaair.com and book it with Alaska Airlines miles with no fuel surcharges. You can get Alaska miles by opening the Alaska Airlines credit cards or by transferring SPG Starpoints to Alaska Airlines miles.

  • How good is award space on the Emirates A380s?
  • What if you don’t live in San Francisco or Houston?
  • How many Alaska Airlines miles do you need?
  • What about free stopovers on the award?
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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

20

You can take up to three showers in the First Class Shower Spa onboard Emirates A380s on a single award that costs only 100,00 Alaska Airlines miles. Emirates Airlines First Class is the standard for luxury as the only airline with two showers onboard in which the 16 First Class passengers can freshen up.

In January 2013, I flew Emirates First Class from Auckland, New Zealand to Sydney, Australia–one of three tag flights between New Zealand and Australia.

I enjoyed the chauffeur service, lounge, onboard bar and meal service, suite, and the shower.

I have wanted to get back into Emirates First Class on a longer flight since then, so I started collecting Alaska Airlines miles, which are the means by which Americans can take a 7-mile-high shower.

Since opening three Alaska Airlines personal cards and two business cards, I have 140,000 Alaska Airlines miles.

Alaska charges only 90,000 miles one way in First Class from the United States to the Middle East or India and only 100,000 miles one way to Africa, East Asia, or Europe. It’s quite simple to book over 24 hours worth of Emirates First Class flights on a single one way award, and I’ve even found a routing that gets you three Emirates A380 First Class flights on a single award.

  • How can you get Alaska Airlines miles?
  • Where can you search Emirates award space?
  • How can you maximize an Emirates First Class award with Alaska miles?
  • What routing features three Emirates A380 flights?
  • What are the stopover rules for Alaska awards?
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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

59

Update: See the comments for reports that fuel surcharges are being collected by JAL on Emirates flights.

Yesterday I panned the Emirates frequent flyer program for its exorbitant miles prices and fuel surcharges to enjoy Emirates Business and First Class.

But flying Emirates First Class on an A380 is awesome–there’s an onboard shower and bar–so I want to give everyone the cheapest ways to use miles to put a truly luxury experience within reach.

Fully Flat Bed in Your Emirates First Class Suite
Fully Flat Bed in Your Emirates First Class Suite

There are two programs that offer Emirates First Class and Business Class redemptions at reasonable rates:

  • Japan Airlines Mileage Bank
  • Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

Each program offers a better rate in certain situations, but both offer sweet spots that get you into Emirates First Class and Business Class at reasonable miles prices with no fuel surcharges. And you can quickly get the miles needed in each program even if you don’t currently have an account with either airline and never plan to fly to Japan or Alaska.

What are the redemption prices for Emirates First and Business Class with Japan Airlines and Alaska Airlines miles? When do you use one program, and when do you use the other. How can you get Japan Airlines and Alaska Airlines miles?

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

The newest Membership Rewards airline partner is Emirates Skyward miles. To celebrate the partnership, from now until November 22, 2013, you can transfer 1,000 Membership Rewards to 1,250 Emirates miles, a 25% transfer bonus.

The bonus is coded into the transfer page.

Screen Shot 2013-11-12 at 5.27.14 PM

My first thought was: this is a fantastic way to get into Emirates First Class on an A380, the only plane with an onboard shower–that I flew this January from Auckland to Sydney.

Is this your ticket to showering at 35,000 feet? Are there sweet spots with Emirates miles?

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

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