4 Cheap Ways to Fly Business Class From New York to Dubai Using Miles

Reader Khalid is new to this hobby and wants to book a business class ticket from New York to Dubai using airline miles. His preference is to fly one of the big three Middle Eastern carriers (Emirates, Etihad, Qatar Airways). Furthermore, he wants to know the cheapest way to book this flight using airline miles. Many people who get into this hobby aspire to fly at least one of the big three Middle Eastern airlines in a premium cabin. Thus, I thought it would be useful to write an actual post on how this topic. Below is an overview of cheap options for flying business class to Dubai on Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar Airways. Surprisingly, it comes down to four frequent flyer programs: American AAdvantage, Alaska MileagePlan, Korean Air, and JAL Mileage Bank.


Miles Required: 85,000 – 165,000 miles

Credit Cards that Help You Get There:

Emirates New Business Class Seat on the Boeing 777-300
Emirates New Business Class Seat on the Boeing 777-300

Emirates’ business class product is a bit outdated. They got their act together and put flatbed seats on the A380 and introduced a new product on the 777 that left a lot of people unimpressed. Still, Emirates has the advantage of offering great award availability. These award tickets can be expensive when booked with points, but easy via the Alaska Airlines website.

Redeeming Alaska Miles for Emirates Business Class to Dubai

It takes 165,000 Alaska miles roundtrip for a business class ticket between the U.S. and Dubai. Those miles are going to be a bit difficult to earn because the Alaska card has a pretty low sign-up bonus right now. Also, the card isn’t as churnable as it used to be. The good news is that you can transfer Starwood points at a 1:1 ratio. For every 20,000 points transferred, you’ll get a 5,000 mile bonus. That makes earning Alaska miles a little easier, since you’re essentially earning 1.25 miles per $1 spent with the SPG Credit Cards.

Redeeming Korean Air Miles for Emirates Business Class to Dubai

Korean Air partners with Emirates and requires 140,000 miles roundtrip. You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards to Korean. The best way to earn these points is to get both the Ink Business Preferred and Sapphire Reserve or Preferred cards. Just keep the Chase 5/24 rule in mind before applying for either card.

Redeeming JAL Miles for Emirates Business Class to Dubai

The cheapest way to fly Emirates business class between New York and Dubai is with Japan Airlines. JAL has a distance-based award chart which requires just 85,000 miles roundtrip for this particular route. The problem is earning that many JAL miles: JAL has no major credit card or transfer partnerships, except with Starwood. If you get the business and personal version of the SPG card, transfer those points to JAL, and do around $27,000 worth of manufactured spending, you’ll have enough miles for this trip. 

Etihad Airways 

Miles Required: 140,000 miles

Credit Cards that Help You Get There:

Etihad Airways Business Class Seat 1K on the 777-200 San Francisco to Abu Dhabi
Etihad Airways Business Class Seat 1K on the 777-200 San Francisco to Abu Dhabi

Redeeming Korean Air Miles for Eihad Business Class to Dubai

It takes just 140,000 Korean Air miles to fly Etihad business class roundtrip between the U.S. and Dubai. Etihad business class is superior to Emirates business class and since you have a stop in Abu Dhabi, you get more flying time.

Redeeming American AAdvantage Miles for Eihad Business Class to Dubai

American Airlines also charges 140,000 miles roundtrip for Etihad flights. You can earn these miles through a combination of the Citi AA card, Barclay AA, and SPG Amex cards. Of all the airline options, flying Etihad Airways presents the most mileage redemption opportunities.

Qatar Airways

Miles Required: 85,000 – 140,000 miles 

Credit Cards that Help You Get There:

Qatar Airways A350 New Business Class Seat
Qatar Airways Business Class seat onboard the A350

Qatar Airways is the one airline I’d voluntarily fly in long-haul economy class. They have a terrific economy class product and their brand business class seats on A350 operated between New York and Doha are especially nice. Thanks to a partnership with American Airlines, you can redeem just 140,000 miles roundtrip between the U.S. and Dubai. With the recent increased sign-up bonuses on the Citi AAdvantage credit cards, earning 140,000 miles is fairly attainable. More importantly, JAL also partners with Qatar. Thus, you can once again redeem just 85,000 miles roundtrip for this ticket. 

My Thoughts

Given a choice, I would likely fly Qatar Airways business class between New York and Dubai using airline miles. The redemption rate can be as low as 85,000 miles roundtrip using JAL miles, which is almost half of the miles required by most other frequent flyer programs. Qatar Airways’ A350 business class is also more modern than Emirates’ Midas-inspired decor. Plus, Skytrax ranks Qatar Airways the #2 (right behind Emirates) best airline globally.

Qatar Airways is also rolling out a new, fully-enclosed QSuite Business Class seat that looks better than some first class products. The new seats will be available on the Doha – London route starting June 2017, with further routes being rolled out next year. If you find yourself in London or Doha this summer, this is a great opportunity to test out an awesome new business class product.

That’s my take on the cheapest ways to travel to Dubai using points and miles. Which airline would you choose to fly in business class between New York and Dubai?

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  1. Ariana:
    Good post, bad timing 🙂
    Some additional observations: if you have lots of Marriott points, you can transfer them to SPG (3:1) to top off your account or you can go the night+miles route.
    Korean Air seems to have “very limited” Emirates availability. I called them about 1 week ago and they couldn’t see any availability for my dates event though I was able to see award tickets using EK, QF, and AS websites plus calling JL and verifying availability with them.
    Lastly, my understanding that KE passes on fuel surcharges while the other airlines do no.


  2. you missed a good option ANA business class on Eithad. 104k miles RT plus maybe some fuel surcharges (?). ANA is a transfer too from AMEX and SPG.

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