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Excellent advance award availability for Emirates’ first class suite to and from London

The Points Guy logo The Points Guy 6/10/2020 Ben Smithson
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Emirates is now releasing more, advanced award availability on its much-heralded Boeing 777-300ER first class suite — including to and from London Stansted (STN).

The product has previously been notoriously difficult to book with points and miles, both because the Dubai-based airline has it only on a tiny proportion of its massive fleet and would usually only release award seats a few days before each flight. Because the exclusive cabin has only six suites, it doesn’t leave much room to release large amounts of seats for award redemptions.

Related: Emirati excellence: Emirates first class on the 777 from Dubai to London Stansted

As first reported by Mainly Miles, Emirates is now releasing one award seat on each of its double daily flights to and from Stansted well in advance for travel from November 1 onwards.

Related: Emirates likely won’t have first class on new Boeing 787s or Airbus A350s

Here is an example of availability for one person between London (STN) and Dubai (DXB) for round-trip flights in November/December:

a screenshot of a cell phone © The Points Guy

And again in January/February:

a screenshot of a cell phone © The Points Guy

Note the mileage prices shown in the examples above of 135,000 miles + £335 (~$427) are for a round-trip journey using Emirates Skywards miles, a 1:1 transfer partner of both American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards. Just note that the award rates climb to 85,000 miles in each direction if you are looking to book one-way flights.

That reduced surcharge is because recently, Skywards significantly reduced the amount of fees, taxes and surcharges required for redemptions with Emirates. Flights in premium cabins departing the U.K. retain higher taxes than those flying to the U.K. because of the unavoidable U.K. APD tax, which all airlines and loyalty programs pass on to passengers, regardless of how the flights are booked.

Emirates also offers the first class suite product between Dubai (DXB) and a limited number of other European destinations including Frankfurt (FRA), Geneva (GVA), Brussels (BRU) and Hamburg (HAM), so if you are unable to find availability to and from Stansted, you could try these other cities as an alternative. The product also is also featured on flights to Tokyo (HND), so you could even fly the new product all the way from London to Tokyo, though there does not appear to be first-class availability on the Tokyo route over the same months as there is for Stansted flights.

Related: Ultimate guide to Emirates first class

While Emirates first class can also be booked with Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles when you’re departing from the U.S., you can’t do so for journeys that originate in Europe. However, you also have Japan Airlines Mileage Bank miles or Qantas Frequent Flyer points as options. Japan Airlines offers the lowest award rates, with one-way flights clocking in at 65,000 miles and round-trip itineraries at 120,000 miles. That being said, JAL doesn’t partner with any of the major transferable point programs — though you can transfer Marriott points at a 3:1 ratio (with a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 points transferred).

Qantas is a 1:1 transfer partner of Amex Membership Rewards and Citi ThankYou Rewards, but the award rates are much higher. One-way, first-class awards between London and Dubai will set you back 85,500 points, while a round-trip journey comes in at 171,000 points.

Related: Where to find and how to book Emirates’ New 777 first class suite

Given Emirates typically operates more than a dozen flights to and from the U.K. every day with its older first-class product that is far easier to book with points, why should you aim for the new product? You can read our full TPG review of the new first class suite on this route here, but to summarize, TPG U.K. Director of Content Nicky Kelvin declared: “I had high expectations of this products, as it was right up there on my bucket list, and on board, I was not disappointed. The food and service were exceptional, and the seat and suite had such a wow factor. More understated perhaps than the garish previous Emirates first-class seat, but lashings of class, luxury and comfort make this the best seat I’ve flown on in the sky so far, and as a bed, it was impossibly comfy”.

Featured image by Nicky Kelvin / The Points Guy.

SPONSORED: While travel is limited right now due to COVID-19, you need your everyday purchases to give you flexible, forever useful cash. In general, TPG gives preference to transferable points and using your points to travel, but on some days, cash is king.

These are the top cash-back cards, and a few others that award transferable points that can be used as cash.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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