Points Panda has partnered with a variety of financial companies including CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Points Panda and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. For more information please read our full Advertiser Disclosure.
Emirates 777 Business Class with Credit Card Points
Flying Emirates A380 business class to Dubai is great… but what’s even better? Have a two-day stopover in Dubai, and then flying Emirates 777 business class to the Maldives. All on the SAME TICKET. We booked our flights to Dubai and to the Maldives in Emirates business class but using Alaska Airlines frequent flyer miles, so arranging the two-day stopover in Dubai was super easy.
I booked the award ticket to Dubai and then the Maldives by redeeming 82,500 Alaska Airlines miles. I had only flown Alaska Airlines one time, so I accrued most of the miles through two credit cards: the Bank of America Alaska Airlines credit card and the card formerly now as the AMEX SPG Preferred credit card. Now that SPG is a part of Marriott, you would need to transfer Marriott points into your Alaska Airlines account in order to combine all of the points together. Since Alaska Airlines is a partner with Emirate, you can redeem your Alaska Airlines miles for travel with Emirates.
The flight I booked (Washington to Dubai to the Maldives) is currently valued at $5,230. That means that the redemption was worth an impressive 6.3 cents/point. Much better than getting 1% cash back!
However, redeeming Alaska Airlines miles is not the only way to book an Emirates 777 business class flight. In fact, Emirates now partners with the major credit card points currencies (Chase, AMEX, Citi, and Capital One), which means you can transfer any of these points into an Emirates frequent flyer account. Note that the redemption costs will be higher. Roughly 120,000 Emirates miles will be required each way, and you’ll also need to pay a couple of hundred dollars in taxes and fees. Still, since you can use ANY of the major credit card points programs to transfer into Emirates, it can be a very valuable program to use.
A special aspect of redeeming Alaska Airlines miles for award ticket is that you can include a free stopover. In our case, we stayed for two night in Dubai and then continued on to the Maldives. But if you wanted, you could stay for even longer in Dubai. It’s all on one award ticket, which saves tens of thousands of credit card points; otherwise, you would have to purchase two separate award tickets.
Want to learn more? Check out our partners at Cardratings.com for the current best available credit card offers.
We flew the Airbus A380 from DC to Dubai, but on this flight, we flew Emirates 777 business class. We had lower expectations (no onboard bar 😢), but we were once again blown away by the Emirates experience.
Airport Arrival & Emirates Business Class Lounge
Right from the start, Emirates makes its business and first class passengers feel extra special. While most airlines have a dedicated counter for premium class passengers check-in, Emirates offers a dedicated airport entrance. I’m talking a sign along the road to the airport that says “Business/First Class Passengers Turn Here.” We were met at the curb by an Emirates porter who grabbed our bags and brought us straight to the check-in counter. There were a couple dozen counters staffed with Emirates agents, so no business or first class passengers would have to wait at all.
And most airlines give expedited access to the security line… but once again, Emirates isn’t most airlines. Since its a completely separate entrance to the airport, business and first class passengers also have their own dedicated airport security checkpoints. We were checked-in and through security within 10 minutes of arriving at the airport.
We had roughly four hours to burn until our 4:35am flight to the Maldives, so we went straight to the Emirates Business Class Lounge.
I knew this place was big, but I had no idea just how big. The directory at the front of the lounge gave us a preview of what to expect.
There was also a menu to describe the different dining options available in the lounge. You can see a general map of the lounge below the menu. This place is HUGE.
The lounge occupies the second-level space above the rest of the terminal. As you can see here, the lounge is on both sides of the terminal, and this picture captures about 1/4 of the lounge itself.
We were craving some munchies after midnight but didn’t want to gorge ourselves, so we went to the Voss Health Hub first. I vaguely remember those Voss water bottles costing something like $8 each in Las Vegas, but (of course) they were complimentary in the lounge. Besides special water, they also had healthy foods such as fruits, veggies, dips, yogurt, etc.
We walked past the Quiet Lounge, which had lots of loungers for people who wanted some shut eye. It was the middle of the night, but we were too excited to sleep. So we explored some more.
We meandered to what we assumed was the only food area in the lounge. And HO-LY. COW. I had high expectations, but Emirates once again impressed.
This buffet was HUGE. And came with a full bar. And a nice selection of desserts. Easily the best selection I’ve ever seen in a lounge.
Then I realized that this was only one of about four separate buffet areas. They had additional buffets which featured the different menus that we saw at the entrance. So there was an Asian buffet, Mediterranean buffet, separate dessert bar, etc. I seriously couldn’t believe how much the lounge had to offer. Mind = blown 🤯
(Note: Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the buffet sizes and options may be significantly reduced).
The lounge also featured a separate Moet Chandon champagne bar. Apparently nobody was popping bottles at 2:00am.
And a complimentary Costa Coffee bar.
THIS LOUNGE WAS INSANE! I couldn’t help myself and probably ate more than is healthy.
I’ve now visited dozens of airport lounges. Even Singapore Airlines’ The Private Room. And I still haven’t seen a lounge the size and scope of the Emirates business class lounge in Dubai. If you have the option of flying Emirates business class either to or from Dubai, definitely choose to fly FROM Dubai so you can use this lounge.
Emirates 777 Business Class Flight
Emirates 777 Business Class Seat
We (sadly) had to leave the swanky business class lounge around 3:30am and headed to our gate. We were invited to board around 3:45am. Like our previous flight, they had a separate jetway for business class passengers. We had essentially been up all night, so were happy to settle into our business class seat.
Overall, the seats had a similar motif to the business class seats on the Airbus A380. The seats on the 777 were arranged in a 2-3-2 pattern in business class, while the A380 were 1-2-1. So our seats were still very nice and spacious, but not quite as private. We sat in two seats next to the window, which also featured a privacy screen in between in case you were flying alone.
The flight attendant greeted us quietly and dropped off two glasses of champagne. The seats had the normal-sized tray table that folded out over the seat, and it also had a nifty side table that folded down from the arm rest. Perfect size for a drink, phone, snack, etc.
The seat was adjustable by buttons in the armrest, and had a nice “cruise” setting that included a leg rest. And like the Airbus A380, the TV screens were huge. Emirates 777 business class had the same in-flight entertainment system as the A380, but since it was an “overnight” flight, nobody seemed too concerned with watching movies .
Once again, I had to push all the buttons and explore all the features of the seat. The seats were fully lie flat at the touch of a button. It kind of felt like you’re going to sink into the bowels of the aircraft as the seat slowly goes horizontal, but I can attest that its safe.
Emirates 777 Business Class Meal
The flight was only about 4 hours to the Maldives, so the crew quickly served breakfast to allow passengers maximum time for sleeping.
Like our previous Emirates flight, the flight attendant placed a white table cloth on our tray table and the food tray also had a white cloth. The meal was simple and nothing too fancy, but still great. The breakfast included fresh fruit, yogurt, eggs, potatoes, beans, and a bread roll. It’s not like you can get too luxurious with breakfast, right? I already ate lots of food in the lounge so wasn’t super hungry at this point anyway.
Note: due to the coronavirus pandemic, the meals in Emirates 777 business class may be very different.
After breakfast, it was time for an hour or two of shuteye before we landed in the Maldives. We knew we’d be exhausted after pulling an all-nighter in our thirties, but we figured we’d have plenty of time to sleep on the beach.
A fun feature on Emirates aircraft is the the lighting. After the crew wrapped up cleaning the cabin after breakfast, they dimmed the lights, and the ceiling lighting had a “starry night” design.
Arriving in the Maldives
I woke up around 45 minutes before landing as the crew prepared the cabin for arrival. It was a little cloudy, but we had great views of all the small islands of the Maldives as we approached the airport in Male.
As the plane approached the Male airport, I switched the TV to the plane’s camera, which gave an awesome view of the approach.
We touched down on time and headed over to customs. Now to find the seaplane to our resort!
Overall, the Emirates 777 business class flight from Dubai to the Maldives was great. But it was the overall experience at the Dubai airport that really blew us away. From the moment we arrived at the airport, Emirates made sure we felt like we were being taken care of. And that lounge was INSANE.
While the airpot and lounge experience was incredible, the service on our flight to the Maldives was very different from our Emirates A380 business class flight from DC to Dubai. The obvious difference is 777 lacks the onboard bar than the A380 is famous for. And since our flight from DC to Dubai was so much longer, it gave the flight attendants more opportunity to serve us and provide the attention to detail that Emirates is known for. Since most people slept on our shorter flight to the Maldives, it’s really hard to compare the two. It’s apple and oranges.
With that, if you had your choice between Emirates A380 business class or Emirates 777 business class, definitely go with the A380.
Check-in/Airport Experience: 10/10
I would give this a 20/10 if I could! Having a dedicated business class check-in terminal and then a HUGE business class lounge was amazing. Talk about making a first impression.
Seats/Inflight Entertainment: 7/10
The seats in Emirates 777 business class aren’t as nice as Emirates A380 business class. They’re outdated, don’t offer direct aisle access for all business class passengers, and aren’t as comfortable. But they are still lie-flat seats with one of the best inflight entertainment systems in the industry.
The service on the flight was fine, but since this was an overnight flight, the flight attendants wanted to tread lightly and let the passengers sleep.
I’ve learned that breakfast on a plane is the easiest meal to execute. After a few hours of sleep, a plate of eggs, sausages, and potatoes was exactly what I wanted.
Again, it was the Emirates business class lounge that was the real showstopper. The onboard experience was fine, but nothing to write home about. Comparing Emirates A380 with their 777, I’d go out of my way to fly the A380 if possible.
Want to start your own credit card points journey? Check out our site to learn the basics, and follow our blog for more tips on how to make your dream vacation a reality. If you’re ready to to explore different credit cards, check out our partners at Cardratings for the best available credit card offers. You can sign up for our travel concierge to get unlimited credit card and award booking assistance for one full year.