Emirates Is Blocking Award Redemptions In Their New First Class

Filed Under: Awards, Emirates

In a few days Emirates will be unveiling their new 777 first class, which I have high hopes for. Just a couple of days ago Emirates revealed the first two routes to feature the new first class. Specifically, as of December 1, 2017, one daily frequency to both Brussels and Geneva will feature the new cabin.

It’s pretty impressive that Emirates’ new first class will be in service only about two weeks after they unveil the product.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who is looking for ways to try Emirates’ new first class, so in this post I wanted to share what I’m seeing.

Emirates is blocking first class awards on their new 777s

While I wouldn’t necessarily assume this will be the case long term, as of now it looks like Emirates isn’t making any first class award seats available on the two flights that feature their new first class. Emirates flies to both Brussels and Geneva twice daily, and while the other daily flights often has first class award seats, the frequencies featuring the new first class don’t.

Over time this new first class will become the new normal for Emirates, so I wouldn’t necessarily assume they’ll maintain this level of restrictiveness long term. However, for now it appears to be the case.

Are there any good fares in Emirates’ new first class?

The good news is that Emirates isn’t charing a premium for their new first class, and for that matter, doesn’t even seem to be preventing discounted first class tickets from being booked on these flights (I see plenty of availability in the “A” fare class). So on revenue tickets it seems to be business as usual.

With that in mind, my plan is to find the best possible paid first class tickets that would allow me to try Emirates’ new first class. Historically departing from cities like Cairo, Colombo, Tunis, etc., will get you the lowest first class fares, so I’ve been looking at fares to both Brussels and Geneva in hopes of finding the best fare possible.

The cheapest roundtrip first class fare I was able to find to either Geneva or Brussels was ~$3,600 roundtrip.

A one-way prices out at a bit more than half the cost of a roundtrip. Specifically, the cheapest one-way fare I see is ~$2,340.

I wouldn’t consider either of those to be great fares, though as of now they’re the cheapest I’ve been able to find, and I figured they were worth sharing in case anyone is similarly interested in trying Emirates’ new first class. While I’ve searched dozens of cities, I imagine there have to be better fares out there.

Has anyone found a cheaper fare that gets a seat in Emirates’ new first class? 

  1. Great News!! Tired of all the non-paying tyre kickers monopolising first class seats by gaming credit card offers. I do pay for first class when needed. However seating in the same cabin as cheap folks constantly taking pics and of their journey to later brag about it on YouTube is particularly annoying for us “Real” elite travellers.

  2. “The good news is that Emirates isn’t charing a premium for their new first class, and for that matter, doesn’t even seem to be preventing discounted first class tickets from being booked on these flights (I see plenty of availability in the “A” fare class). So on revenue tickets it seems to be business as usual.”

    Don’t you mean “it seems to be FIRST as usual?” 🙂

  3. Consensus is great keep the free loaders out ! Now that’s a deal. Bad enough to get a family in Biz on awards kids screaming and touching everything in the bar area food counter. UGH

    Liking the switch to revenue based, keeps the hackers out

  4. If you call yourself “First Elite Traveler” You’re either a ‘nouveau riche’ pompous bragging dumb kid, or a frustrated Sprint flying deplorable… I think the kid would be posting horrible photo’s on Instagram and the Sprint flyer would be more likely to have a vivid imagination about flying F …
    An actual First Class customer who pays for his tickets probably doesn’t even know the existence of this, really good, blog….

  5. Not sure how award ticket holders are “tyre kickers” if they’ve actually paid for their seats via the use of miles. Those miles are what kept many of these airlines in business during tough times.

  6. @David

    Lol that’s untrue. At least not the way that many of us collect miles. They’re losing money on us for sure,not that I care.

  7. @EthFlyer

    They were offered money upfront by credit card companies for their imaginary points, which they would later repay through service. But some of the points expired without being used, and they are free to devalue (to reduce their liabilities) whenever they want, or restrict awards to only seats that would’ve went out empty.

    You’re delusional if you think, as a whole, their awards are not a net positive (and why would they continue the program if it wasn’t?).

  8. I am an “opportunistic” flyer – fly on both awards and paid first class tickets. So I cannot begrudge people flying with miles. But! I absolutely hate flying with those taking lots of pictures, selfies, etc with no regard to other passengers… grrr… so once in a while I am glad that certain first class routes are closed for awards… sorry

  9. I’m quite certain that “real” elite travelers don’t come onto public forums and announce to the world that they are “real” elite travelers; at least those with any class anyway.

    I’m very lucky to be able to fly paid first class occasionally as well as award first class – and I think people who are lucky enough to afford these things should be thankful – not sit there and throw labels at others.

    As for taking photos for social media later – how does it bother anyone? If people taking photos were affecting, bothering or harming anyone – that may be a valid argument. But if that’s not the case, then who cares?

  10. Yeesh! The old EK first is just fine. BUT their 777 Biz is horrible. And the new seats are just as skinny. Usual EK insanity, focus on the flash not the problem.

  11. Sam, you probably noticed that quite often it is “ the case”, alas. People come out of there ‘suites’ to take ‘panoramic’ shots of the cabin, and – believe it or not – some of us are not thrilled to end up in someone’s pictures.
    The only airline I have not experienced this kind of annoying behavior ( I wonder why?) was Swiss.

  12. I guess Brüssel and Genueva are EK flights with most paid first class tickets on(i guess beide London). The Belgium- Swiss diamond connection is calling;)

    Nevertheless I am one of the guys that’s has flewn EK first multiple times and I understand what people mean, if they are complaining about guys that are taking and photos all the time. Normally I do not care about people picturing their food, but two weeks ago I had a guy behind me and I guess he was doing a video blog as he was talking into his camera for hours… very annoying

  13. @David

    Reading comprehension not your strong point I guess. Yes the program as a whole is profitable for the airlines (I never said anything to the contrary). But the program was not meant for users who take advantage of loopholes (credit card sign ups, mistake fares, transferring miles, etc). They simply hope that there are more suckers than people like us who game the system. That’s the point that I was making, that we are not profitable for the airlines, even if the program is.

  14. Hey Lucky,

    I am very tempted to give this a go, myself. While I normally fly first, DXB-IAD (A380), and on any other EK Long-haul…I’ve been anxiously awaiting the release of this cabin. If it so happens that I get to it before you do, then I’ll be happy to share my experience.

  15. I believe the reason of first for Geneva and Brussels is simple. Most pax not paying for their first class tickets but paid by regular taxpayers

    My evaluation:

    1. WHO: real free of charge (foc) travellers all over the business class lounge every time I am in it. I am pretty sure they rarely get on first they prefer to trade their full fare business class tickets for two restricted and of course changed the routing of their flights to stopover their home country.
    2. Any other international organizations based in Geneva,
    3. Middle East diplomats. Clearly Geneva is an important location for them.
    4. African diplomats, everyone knows that Brussels is the hub for flights to Africa, some out of Geneva but quite rare.
    5. Business passengers, lawyers, bankers are really the least quantity of foc pax.

    But most important none of the above pay for their tickets, and you will find them again later during holiday season with awards tickets.

    We pay for our tickets ourselves, but guess what this doesn’t mean we are winners, the airlines know very well that the real money is with the above pax not we us. So let’s not be desilutional that we are important pax, in our minds only maybe…

    Safe flying

    Ps re Swiss first, yes there is still a bit of exclusivity there inside the cabin, but that too is going away, for the same reason as above. Bankers not paying for their tickets.

  16. Award travelers here paid for their tickets, just not as much as the suckers complaining, that probably paid the “rack” rate for their hotel rooms as well. Oh, if they don’t like to see a thrilled passenger taking a couple of selfies pre-departure, they can put on the sleeping mask from the amenities kit or drop a couple Xanax. Then, we won’t have to put up with them for the entire flight as well. Better yet, they can fly “C” – Cargo Class.

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