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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?

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

Alaska Chart for Emirates Flights

In Emirates First Class, Alaska charges the following prices for one way awards from the United States:

  • to Middle East: 90,000 miles
  • to India: 90,000 miles
  • to Europe (via Dubai): 100,000 miles
  • to Africa: 100,000 miles
  • to East Asia: 100,000 miles

I’d say these prices are “fair.” They are cheaper than partner First Class awards with United miles to all of these regions. They are the same price or cheaper than American Airlines awards to all of these regions with identical routings. Plus Emirates First Class is a better product than all but the best United and American Airlines partners.

Getting 100,000 Alaska miles is well within reach, so two to three Emirates showers are within your grasp. A return trip with another type of miles might be easier than collecting a second hundred thousand Alaska miles.

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.

The Alaska Airlines personal card offers 30,000 bonus miles on account opening (not even first purchase) and the business card is good for another 25,000 miles at account opening. 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 30,000 bonus Starpoints each after spending $5,000 in the first six months.

Maximizing Emirates Awards with Alaska Miles

The three key maximization techniques are:

  • Using your free stopover in Dubai (easy) or elsewhere (limited options)
  • Maximizing your time in Emirates First Class
  • Maximizing your segments in Emirates First Class

Stopover

You can get a free stopover on one way Alaska Airlines awards. I am not sure the maximum possible length of the stopover, but I did price out an award with a free 11-day stopover in Dubai, and I can’t imagine wanting more than 3-4 days in Dubai.

The stopover maximizes the award by letting you see more places for the same number of miles and by letting you break up the fun of flying Emirates First Class on an A380.

To see stopover options, simply use the multi-city award search tool.

Maximizing Your Time in Emirates First Class

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.

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

Note that a continuation to Southeast Asia like Bangkok is probably shorter than you were 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

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

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 operating each flight.

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

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 7.50.14 AM Screen 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 AM Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 8.55.03 AM

Recap

I want to burn my Alaska miles in Emirates First Class for a trip to Dubai and a second place in Asia, Europe, or Africa.

The award will cost 100,000 Alaska miles and about $35 out of pocket. The miles were easy to get from churnable Alaska Airlines credit cards. The hard part is picking my destination.

If I want to maximize my segments, I can route through Bangkok to Hong Kong. If I want to maximize flight time on an A380, I can fly from Los Angeles to Dubai to Seoul. More likely I’ll maximize the destination.

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