I’ve spent the first part of 2018 trying to come up with a few aviation related goals. For starters, I want to review one or two OneWorld Partner Airline’s First Class products. I’ve already booked one flight in Qantas First Class for later in the year and am trying to decided on which other airline to choose. I keep coming back to British Airways because it’d be easy, but the fuel surcharges are high for award tickets.
On top of that goal I’d also like to review at least two “world-class” First Class products. Last year I reviewed Singapore Airlines (old) Suites Class and Lufthansa First Class both of which were incredible. This year, I’ve been eying Singapore Airlines New Suites Class and Emirates First Class. Singapore Airlines would be easy to justify as the flight is bookable with KrisFlyer points. Also, I could use the flight to position to Sydney to catch my Qantas Flight back to the US. Booking Emirates First Class on the other hand is much harder to justify.
Emirates First Class Is Expensive
The issue with wanting to book Emirates First Class is that it’s hilariously expensive. To book a single nonstop flight on the Emirates A380 from the US to Dubai costs well over $20,000! Yes, a single flight costs about the same as a car. Booking Emirates First Class as a round trip brings the price down slightly, but even still prices are at or above $10,000 for each trip.
The only way I’d consider booking Emirates First Class is if I booked a flight from South Africa to the United States via Dubai. That itinerary believe it or not only costs $4,900. Since you could book the A380 the whole way you’d get 4 on board showers and several hours at the on board bar for that price. Yes, it’s a ton of money, but maybe it’s worth it?
There are also ways to use miles to book Emirates First Class, but that’s even more expensive on a per flight basis. If my goal is to spend as much time in Emirates First Class as possible that I definitely won’t be using miles to accomplish that goal.
Why Is Emirates First Class So Appealing
Emirates First Class is so appealing because of the impeccable hard and soft products offered. In first on either the 777 or A380 all passengers receive a semi-private enclosed suite. The suite isn’t quite as larges as those offered in Singapore Airlines’ old suites class, but they are plenty spacious.
However, it’s not the suite that’s appealing. It’s the entire Emirates First Class experience. When flying Emirates First Class all passengers have access to a complimentary car service so the Emirates experience begins right as you leave your house or hotel. The car service takes you to the airport where you’re immediately met by an Emirates agent who assists you as you check in and pass through security. At the airport you have access to Emirates First Class lounges. I’d make sure to book a trip through Dubai as the Emirates First Class lounge in Dubai looks incredible.
The amazing Emirates First Class experience continues as you board the aircraft. As I haven’t yet flown Emirates First Class I can’t tell you exactly what happens on board, but Casey Neistat’s video review sums it up nicely.
As a commercial aviation enthusiast (AvGeek) there aren’t many experiences that can compare to Emirates First Class. Oh, did I forget to mention the on board shower in First Class on the Emirates A380? Yes, all passengers can spend up to 30 minutes in the private shower suite where each can take a 5 minute shower. How awesome would it be to shower while 35,000 feet in the air?
Why I’m Considering Spending $5,000 On A Round Trip Flight
No matter how you slice it $5,000 is a ton of money. In fact, that’s nearly 100% of my annual budget for airfare. Even so, paying for Emirates First Class might be the best way to do it. That’s because if you pay for your flight with cash you can earn frequent flyer miles. Specifically, you can credit your miles to the Alaska Airlines MileagePlan. When crediting Emirates First Class to Alaska you earn 3.50 MileagePlan miles per mile flown.
When flying from South Africa to New York via Dubai you travel a total of over 21,000 miles. That means you earn approximately 75,000 MileagePlan miles! If you maintain top-tier elite status with Alaska Airlines you earn 4.75 MIleagePlan miles per mile flown. In that case you’d earn almost 100,000 redeemable miles.
I typically value all miles and points at a flat rate of $0.015/each. So if you earned 75,000 Alaska miles you’d essentially be getting a $1,125 rebate on the flight. That reduces your “out-of-pocket” cost of flying Emirates First Class to just $3,800. Not bad. For that you’d also earn enough miles to fly Cathay Pacific First Class between the United States and Asia which typically costs somewhere around $10,000!
On top of MileagePlan miles I’d also use my American Express Platinum card to pay for the flight. Since I earn 5X points on airfare with the card I’d earn about 25,000 Membership Rewards points from this purchase. I value MR points at the same $0.015/point value so I’d get an additional $375 of value back in points from this purchase.
I really, really badly want to fly Emirates First Class. However, there is no way that I’d be willing to fly Emirates first class in a long weekend. If I do end up trying to book Emirates First I’d most likely try to book it as a return leg from an actual vacation to South Africa to begin the journey. Next, I’d look to book the outbound leg back to South Africa as the beginning of a second vacation at a later day. I’d want the Emirates First Class experience to enhance a vacation rather than to fly it simply to review the product.
While $5,000 is a ton of money I think it’s somewhat justifiable. For that price you’re getting a chance to fly one of the worlds best airline products for almost 40 hours! On top of that you’d also get to spend time in the insane Emirates First Class Lounge in Dubai and hopefully build in a stopover to actually visit Dubai for a day or two.
Lastly, by flying Emirates First Class round trip between South Africa to the United States I’d earn enough miles to book another one-way long haul First Class flight. In this case I’ll have the opportunity to write several more reviews of airlines and lounges along the way. I like to think this effectively cuts the price of my trip in half, but at this point I’m trying to do a lot of mental accounting to justify this purchase…
Ps. As I wrote this I realized how insane it is to book a $5,000 trip. Perhaps I should wait to try out this products, but it’s getting harder and harder to resist.
Featured Image Courtesy of Emirates