MileValue is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as CreditCards.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Note: Some of the offers mentioned below may have changed or are no longer be available. You can view current offers here.


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?

Search alaskaair.com for award seats by checking “Use Miles.” If you search a city pair like San Francisco to Dubai that is served by Emirates flights, you will get results with Emirates award seats. Check “Award Calendar” to display the results for one month instead of just one day.

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 7.46.15 AMOn the results screen, select to Filter Results by First Class.

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 1.47.45 AM

You’ll get a calendar like this one for flights from San Francisco to Dubai in February 2015.

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 1.47.51 AM

Every day that says “90k + $20” and many days that say “80k + $575” have Emirates First Class award space for two people 90,000 Alaska miles + $20 per person.

Alaska charges a different amount of miles depending on the partner flown. To the Middle East: Emirates First Class costs 90,000 miles and British Airways costs 80,000. Emirates flights do not have fuel surcharges when booked with Alaska miles, but British Airways flights do. Since British Airways flights cost fewer miles, their price shows up on the calendar instead of Emirates flights. But on February 17, for instance, and on many other days, there is Emirates First Class space for 90,000 miles + $20 on the direct San Francisco to Dubai flight. Click any day on the calendar with the quoted “80k + $575” price to see if there is space in Emirates First Class.

Once you have selected a date and see the flight times, click “Details” to see more information about the flight including its operating aircraft.

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 1.51.17 AM

Only the Emirates A380 has showers in First Class. If your flight is served by a 777, it will not have a shower. Most American destinations, including Houston and San Francisco are served by the A380.

For two folks, two one way First Class tickets in the Emirates A380 from the United States to Dubai costs 180,000 Alaska miles + $39 total.

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 1.47.25 AM

On Alaska awards, you can combine Alaska Airlines award space with Emirates award space, so if you live in a city with Alaska Airlines service, you can fly to an Emirates gateway on Alaska for no extra miles.

Award Space

Here is award space from San Francisco to Dubai for two people in First Class. Remember that all the 90k + $20 days have Emirates First Class space and some of the 80k + $575 days do.

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 1.47.51 AM Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 1.48.06 AM

Award space dries up after March 2015 from San Francisco to Dubai.

Here is award space in from Houston to Dubai in February 2015 for two people in First Class. Remember that all the 90k + $20 days have Emirates First Class space and some of the 80k + $575 days do.

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 1.50.56 AM

Stopover

You can add a stopover to one way Alaska Airlines awards. Here is one with 2.5 days in Dubai on the way to Seoul, South Korea. This is 23hr55min of A380 First Class, two showers, and a fun stop in Dubai on the way to East Asia for only 100,000 Alaska miles.

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 1.52.42 AM

How Many Miles Do You Need?

You need 90,000 Alaska miles for a one way First Class award between the United States and the Middle East. You need 100,000 miles to Europe, India, East Asia, or Africa via the Middle East.

There is no way to use Alaska miles to fly Emirates on awards that don’t either start or end in North America, and there is no way to use Alaska miles to fly Emirates to Australia or New Zealand.

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 7.59.57 AM Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 8.00.03 AM Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 8.00.20 AMHow to Get Alaska Miles

Right now the biggest bonuses I know of on the Alaska Airlines cards are 25,000 miles for each card. Both the personal and business card offer 25,000 Alaska miles upon approval. The personal card also offers a $100 statement credit after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days. Neither waives its $75 annual fee.

You can get Alaska Airlines cards and their bonuses multiple times. I’ve gotten the personal three times and business twice within a year.

You can also transfer Starpoints 1:1 to Alaska miles, and as usual, 20,000 Starpoints transfer to 25,000 Alaska miles because of the 5,000 mile bonus on every 20,000 Starpoints transferred. Right now both the Starwood personal and business credit cards are offering 25,000 bonus Starpoints after spending $5,000 in the first six months.

CKANbanner_300x250_v6b

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Just getting started in the world of points and miles? The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best card for you to start with.

With a bonus of 60,000 points after $4,000 spend in the first 3 months, 5x points on travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal and 3x points on restaurants, streaming services, and online groceries (excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs), this card truly cannot be beat for getting started!


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

The comments section below is not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all questions are answered.