How to Fly to the United Arab Emirates in Business or First Class With Points

Aug 30, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a popular destination for British tourists. There are dozens of direct flights each day with various airlines, it’s a fairly short flight with only a few hours time difference and in the midst of the dark, cold and dreary British winters it’s warm, dry and sunny. There are great beaches, shopping, tourist attractions and amazing luxury hotels.

It can be a fantastic use of points to try bucket list products — and often with excellent availability. Here are our top picks for nonstop flights with some of the world’s best airlines and products, bookable with points.

Emirates

Emirates has more frequencies from the UK to the UAE than any other airline, with 11 flights per day from London alone (spread across LHR, LGW and STN). The Heathrow and Gatwick services are all A380-operated, which has the airline’s best business class, while the Stansted services have an inferior business class product but feature its amazing new first class suites, which TPG UK recently reviewed.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0538.JPG
Emirates’ new first class suite. (Photo by Nicky Kelvin / The Points Guy)

The best way to book Emirates from the UK to DXB with points is:

  • Business class: 62,500 Emirates Skywards points each way, per person
  • First class: 85,000 Emirates Skywards points each way, per person
Emirates A380 Business Class. (Photo by Zach Honig / The Points Guy)

Emirates Skywards is a transfer partner of American Express UK’s Membership Rewards programme, meaning you can transfer your points directly to Emirates.

Etihad

Etihad offers solid business- and first-class products from London (LHR) and Manchester (MAN) to its hub in Abu Dhabi (AUH). Abu Dhabi is an easy taxi ride away from Dubai, meaning you can fly into Abu Dhabi even if you want to visit Dubai, or vice versa.

All Etihad flights from the UK feature 1-2-1 fully-flat business class seats with direct aisle access, privacy and storage.

Etihad A380 Business Class.
Etihad A380 Business Class. Photo by The Points Guy

The airline’s A380s have its best first class product known as ‘Apartments’, with enough space to walk around in. You can even take a shower on board.

Etihad A380 first class. (Photo by JT Genter/The Points Guy)

The best way to book Etihad from the UK to AUH with points is:

  • Business class: 42,500 American Airlines AAdvanatge miles each way, per person
  • First class: 62,500 American Airlines AAdvanatge miles each way, per person

British Airways

While business and first class on British Airways is inferior to its Oneworld partner Qatar, British Airways consistently has excellent award availability on these routes. BA operates direct flights to both Abu Dhabi (AUH) and Dubai (DXB), with both business and first class on these routes. Dubai will be one of the first routes to receive the airline’s highly anticipated new Club Suite.

Image by Nicky Kelvin / The Points Guy
British Airways A350 Club World Suite. Image by Nicky Kelvin / The Points Guy

The best way to book British Airways to AUH or DXB with points is:

  • Business class: 50,000 British Airways Avios each way, per person (off-peak), or 42,500 American Airlines AAdvanatge miles
  • First class: 68,000 British Airways Avios points each way, per person (off-peak), or 62,500 American Airlines AAdvanatge miles
British Airways First Class Image courtesy of British Airways
British Airways First Class Food. Image courtesy of British Airways

Qatar Airways

While Qatar is not one of the Emirates, if you are considering an alternative to Dubai or Abu Dhabi — especially to use points or miles to get there — consider nearby Doha (DOH). Qatar Airways has outstanding premium products from the UK, excellent frequencies and excellent award availability.

There is only first class on its Airbus A380 flights, which it operates from select services from London (LHR). But the real sweet spot is its amazing Qsuite business-class product, which it operates on several flights from London (LHR) as well. We think it might just be the world’s best business class.

It simply doesn't get better than Qsuites for the long flight
Qatar Qsuite. (Photo by Qatar Airways)

As Qatar is a member of the Oneworld alliance, you can redeem Avios or American Airlines miles at the rates listed above (as the distances are the same).

Qatar A380 first class. (Photo by Zach Honig / The Points Guy)

Note that because of the ongoing Gulf Blockade, you unfortunately cannot fly between Doha and the UAE.

As these are premium cabin redemptions, note the UK APD Tax will also kick in, so you can expect fees and surcharges to apply.

Featured image by Gettys Images

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.

Disclaimer: The responses below are 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 posts and/or questions are answered.