Emirates A380 Onboard Lounge
Image courtesy of Emirates

If you like a cocktail bar, you’ll absolutely love visiting one 33,000 feet in the sky. Emirates offers one of the niftiest get ups on their Airbus A380, with top of the line business class seats and a cozy bar to unwind too. While tickets would usually set you back at least $3,000, there’s a way to experience Emirates business class for more than 20 hours, starting at just 55,0000 points.

a group of people in an airplaneAnywhere

By anywhere, we mean anywhere that Emirates flies. As long as you’re cool with that – you can enjoy a serious amount of flying for a minimal amount of points and cash. Basically: you’ve got 10,000 miles of flying to play with thanks to a distance based chart for calculating the points you need, rather than just point to point. That could be just one crazy long haul flight, or a round trip where the distance is under 5,000 miles. Your pick. For reference, London to Dubai is 3,421 miles in distance one way. Here’s a tool to calculate distances.


You need either: Japan Airlines Mileage Bank points, or Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) points. The end goal is to create Japan Airlines Mileage Bank points, to take advantage of their lucrative distance chart for flights on Emirates. You can convert Starwood points into Japan Airlines points, and for every 20,000 you convert – you get 5,000 bonus points. The ultimate goal here is 65,000 Japan Airlines points, so you’d need just 55,000 Starwood to reach that goal. 65,000 is the exact amount required for up to 10,000 miles of business class on Emirates, using Japan Airlines Mileage Bank Miles to book the flights.

a pool with a building in the backgroundGetting Points

Starwood offers both a business and personal credit card in many markets. Same goes for Japan Airlines. Using either, or both – you could secure these points with little or no cost. You can also earn these points for flights you’re already taking, by crediting any OneWorld airline flights to Japan Airlines Mileage Bank. Yep, even if you fly on American Airlines, Cathay, British Airways or any other OneWorld airline you can earn Japan Airlines miles, by entering your Japan Airlines frequent flyer number. You can also earn Starwood points from staying at Starwood or Marriott hotels, Uber rides, Delta flights and more.

The Experience

We don’t have to sell you here. The experience is really, really nice. Airport lounges – check. Fully flat beds – check. Moet champagne – check. An actual cocktail bar on a plane? Yep – that too. It’s hard not to love it. And with 10,000 miles of actual distance to cover, there are plenty of places you could go. If you want to go further, 80,000 points buys you 12,000 miles instead of 10,000.

a beach with a city and mountains in the backgroundRoute Ideas

How about New York to Milan round trip? Or Tokyo, Seoul or Hong Kong to Dubai? Maybe Dubai to Johannesburg or Cape Town? All of these are firmly in reach of 10,000 miles round trip. So is a one way ticket from the US to Dubai, or vice versa, with enough left over for a short flight under six hours elsewhere, like the Maldives.


The end goal is 65,000 Japan Airlines Mileage Bank points ready to roll. You can transfer your 55,000 Starwood points to get this done. Transfers can take up to 10 days. Once you have the points, you’ll need to find available seats. You can do that using Qantas website, Emirates or Alaska. You can also use powerful tools like AwardNexus. Surcharges can vary and are generally very low, but on flights departing from Hong Kong, Tokyo or Seoul, there are none at all. Once all is in place, call Japan Airlines to book, with flight numbers and dates ready to roll.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. 1) Does SPG still partner with Uber? I thought they ended that relationship, no?
    2) The picture above “getting points” was taken where? That looks amazing!

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