Dubai calls…. maybe?

One of the most frequent comments I get from non-mileage runners is “wow, I can’t believe you fly for ‘no reason’ without ever leaving an airport, just to earn miles.” Well, maybe I can get some praise from those people with this one….

United is offering some great fares to launch their new Dubai route, as low as $1,100 all-in roundtrip from many cities in the US. Through March 31 you can also earn 3,000 bonus miles for the cheaper coach fares, which is nice.

I almost never fly revenue flights internationally, since I usually do award tickets in premium cabins, so most that know me would never suspect I’d do this as a quasi-mileage run.

Anyway, I’m seriously considering going to Dubai shortly after Christmas, during my winter break. The dates I’m looking at are $1,300, but in this case one direction is upgradeable (and confirmable), so I’m fine with that. The other direction, spanning over 15 hours, would not be upgradeable.

Now, the only reason I’m seriously considering this is because I have a bunch of vouchers sitting around, including a $600 bump voucher and $400 customer relations voucher, which can be combined for $1,000 off any one ticket. That means for a mere $300 I could earn nearly 40,000 miles, which I figure isn’t bad, especially since Dubai is high on my list of cities to see.

I’m thinking about staying for two to three nights. Typically Dubai hotels are expensive as hell, especially around the Holidays, but in this case I found the Holiday Inn Express Jumeirah for about $80/night all-in, breakfast included, which is amazing considering I’ll earn points and hopefully get some form of status recognition. Reviews of the property are great as well.

So I’m thinking this one over, it’s definitely tempting. I could earn a bunch of miles, earn an extra two systemwide upgrades thanks to crossing another milestone, and see a city I desperately want to see, all for $300 plus a total of about $200 in hotels.

What say ye, wise readers?

Filed Under: Mileage Runs, Travel
  1. MJZ, yes, it’s possible for the price. The issue is that I won’t have more than a long weekend (Sat-Mon) through March in which I’m either not traveling or busy, so I could only do a mileage run there if going after the new year, which isn’t worth it, IMO. The other option would have been to go during spring break, but I already have an award ticket to Asia for then.

    Good thinking, though.

  2. Do it if you want to see Dubai.

    Don’t do it for the miles.

    (1) $500 isn’t that cheap for 40k miles.

    (2) That’s not the real cost. Sure, you aren’t out of pocket the rest of the ticket cost. But you unless those bump vouchers would otherwise expire (and knowing you, they’d find a use) you really are paying full price for the ticket — the bump vouchers have a cost and that cost is that you can’t use them later and will pay more for a different ticket as a result.

    (3) So it’s really closer to $1500 for 40k miles, very expensive. (And you earn Systemwides but you also burn a systemwide…)

    For what it is, it’s a good price. And with one-way upgradeable it’s one heckuva good price TO SEE DUBAI. Oh and you earn some miles which is great, but wouldn’t make sense as the reason.

    So then the question is, is Dubai tops on the list for your limited time available?

    If so, great. Do the trip! My hunch is it’s probably worth it to see Dubai, you’re upgraded, you earn some miles, you don’t have to go out of pocket now and can worry about the opportunity cost of the vouchers later, and it’s an adventure. Why not…

    Me? I’ve never flown Emirates in F and that’ll be the way I want to go when I finally get around to DXB… 🙂

  3. I am thinking of doing a Dubai trip next year as well, so I am curious if you are going to go. BTW, I would pay the higher fare to use SWU upgrades on the trip both ways with your vouchers.

  4. I just came back from 3 nights in DXB yesterday, and definitely recommend it, lots of fun, even just for the standard touristy things (mall of the emirates, wild wadi). Also, hotels will be quite pricey during that time frame, but im sure you know that. I say do it 😉

  5. I went in July/August for 7 nights and stayed at the Jumeirah Madinat Resort next to the Burj. I had a great time, you would enjoy it. That is the busier time of year for tourism, so I imagine it would be busy.

    You live once, I say go for it! I have a book on Dubai if you would like to borrow it. 🙂

    I flew DL Business Elite since UA had not started service yet.,_U.A.E..html

    Go for it!

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