How to fly Emirates’ first class for just £18 without leaving Europe

Jul 18, 2020

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Emirates often features amongst the airlines with the best first-class cabins in the world. And with that prestige, you can expect a hefty price tag. From London, you’re looking at return first-class tickets to Dubai (DXB) averaging around the £5,700 mark — or 135,000 miles + £339 in fees and taxes.

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Thankfully, because of Emirates’ fifth-freedom route between Larnaca, Cyprus (LCA) and Malta (MLA), you can have a taste of what it’s like to fly Emirates first class for just 37,500 Skywards miles + £18 from Malta to Larnaca (it’s £22 in the other direction).

First Class on board Emirates’ 777-300 (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

Unfortunately, however, this route is very unlikely to see the airline’s new First Class Suite. However, the old first-class product is nothing to turn your head at either. You can still expect eight fully enclosed suites and all the bells and whistles you might be used to seeing with Emirates.

Related: Comparing Emirates’ new and old first class suites

If you don’t have enough Skywards miles in your account, you can top it up by transferring your American Express Membership Reward Points at a rate of 1:1. If you don’t have any of those, either, then you could consider signing up for the Platinum Card by American Express which comes with a welcome bonus of 30,000 points after spending £4,000 in the first six months.

Related: Where to find and how to book Emirates’ new 777 First Class Suite

Finding availability is easy and quite open. Log in to your Skywards account and head to the Search Flights section of the homepage. Then, make sure you select the Book Classic Rewards option and just first class as your class of travel before adding in MLA and LCA as either your departure or arrival airports and finally, the dates you wish to travel.

(Image courtesy of Emirates)

As it’s not the most popular of routes, finding availability is easy. I had no trouble finding reward seats on several of the dates that I tried.

(Image courtesy of Emirates)

It’s worth noting that while you’ll be able to fly Emirates’ famed first class, you won’t get the full experience. The hard product will be the same as you could expect on a long-haul flight. However, for this short 1,082-mile hop, you shouldn’t expect the same soft product offering — the meal services won’t be the same, and the inflight amenities likely won’t be the same.

The flight operates once daily, with the following schedule:

  • EK109 Larnaca (LCA) 12:20 p.m. Departure ⇒ Malta (MLA) 2:05 p.m. Arrival
  • EK110 Malta (MLA) 3:35 a.m. Departure ⇒ Larnaca (LCA) 7:00 p.m. Arrival

If you’re not quite ready for first or business class, Emirates’ economy class and business class also scored well when TPG reviewed it last year. Better still, the airline will be bringing a premium economy cabin into play on its A380s soon.

Featured image by Zach Honig/The Points Guy

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