Booking Emirates Skywards One-Way Awards With Stopovers

Booking Emirates Skywards One-Way Awards With Stopovers

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I’m currently in the Maldives, and to get here I flew Emirates from Washington to Male, and I had a stopover of a couple of nights in Dubai. In this post I wanted to talk about Emirates Skywards’ stopover policy on award tickets, since I figure it’s something that some OMAAT readers might find to be useful.

Does Emirates allow stopovers on award tickets?

Emirates Skywards does allow stopovers on award tickets, though the type of stopovers that are allowed vary based on the type of award you’re booking:

  • If you book a Flex Plus award (in economy class, business class, or first class), you’re entitled to one stopover on a one-way award, or two stopovers on a roundtrip award
  • If you book a Saver award (in economy or business class), you’re entitled to one stopover on a roundtrip award

Note that this policy applies specifically to travel on Emirates when booking through the Skywards program. Furthermore, the stopover needs to be in Dubai — you’ll find that pricing is different if you try to have a stopover on a fifth freedom route (like in Athens or Milan).

Emirates Skywards allows stopovers on award tickets

Which Emirates awards allow stopovers?

For those confused by the distinction between Saver and Flex Plus awards, let me explain. These are different award fare classes, and as you’d expect, Saver awards require the fewest miles, while Flex Plus awards require more miles. However, in some situations (like when traveling one-way), Flex Plus awards are the only option.

To expand on that:

  • In first class, all awards book into Flex Plus, regardless of whether they’re one-way or roundtrip
  • In business class, one-way awards automatically book into Flex Plus, while roundtrip awards can book into Saver or Flex Plus
  • In economy class, one-way awards automatically book into Flex Plus, while roundtrip awards can book into Saver or Flex Plus
All one-way Emirates Skywards awards allow stopovers

Since all Emirates Skywards one-way awards book into Flex Plus, this means that you are allowed a stopover on a one-way Emirates award, regardless of which cabin you book. You can find all the mileage requirements with the Skywards miles calculator tool.

You can enter your origin and destination, and whether you’re traveling one-way or roundtrip, and you’ll see how many miles you can expect to pay by cabin, subject to award availability.

How do you book an Emirates award with a stopover?

If you’re traveling roundtrip, it’s easy(ish) enough to book a stopover, as you can do so directly on Emirates’ website. When you get to the flight search page, click the section that reads “Advanced search: multi-city, promo codes, partners.”

There you’ll see the advanced search option, which lets you enter multiple segments separately. Hopefully everything prices out correctly.

What about stopovers on one-way awards? Well, you have to book those by phone, so you’ll want to call up Emirates Skywards support. I recently booked one of these awards for myself for the first time, and had a mostly positive experience. It seems like Skywards agents are well trained on how to book stopovers while charging the correct price.

I recently booked a stopover on a one-way Skywards award

My experience booking a stopover on an Emirates award

The process of phoning up Emirates Skywards to get a stopover on a one-way award is fairly straightforward. But I figured I’d share my recent experience, which pleasantly surprised me.

Emirates doesn’t release all that much first class award availability in advance. In our case, award availability opened from Washington to Dubai in Emirates’ new first class a few days before departure, so I locked that in immediately on Emirates’ website, at the cost of 136,250 Skywards miles per person.

Emirates had no first class award availability from Dubai to Male, so our plan was to book a separate award ticket from Dubai to Male via another city, either on Qatar Airways or Gulf Air.

However, the same morning as our Washington to Dubai flight was scheduled to depart, two first class award seats opened from Dubai to Male a few days later.

I was wondering how complicated of a process this would be — would they be able to add the second segment and reprice the award, or would I need to cancel the existing booking and rebook the whole thing (which isn’t a risk I was willing to take)? Well, fortunately the former was the case:

  • I phoned up Emirates Skywards, and gave the representative my confirmation number
  • I explained I wanted to add a Dubai to Male segment after having a stopover in Dubai
  • The agent immediately understood what I was requesting, and quoted me the mileage difference (23,750 miles per person, since a Washington to Male award would cost 160,000 miles)
  • There was no change fee, but I was on the hook for the difference in taxes and carrier imposed surcharges

Now, this is where the situation gets a bit strange. It was four hours before departure, and the agent said that she needed to have “the back office” reissue the ticket, and she’d call me back soon to collect credit card details. I found this to be an odd system, and reminded her my flight was departing soon.

Long story short, I didn’t hear back within 30 minutes, and was planning to head to the airport soon. So I phoned up Emirates Skywards again. This time I got a fantastic agent, who quickly took responsibility for the situation. And while there were some technical issues, within 20 minutes the ticket was reissued correctly.

We had a two day stopover in Dubai on our itinerary

Bottom line

All Emirates Skywards one-way awards allow a stopover in Dubai, given that they book into the Flex Plus fare bucket. This is an awesome feature that isn’t widely known, given that there’s no way to do this online.

The good news is that agents are pretty good at handling this by phone, and you can even modify an existing one-way awards to add a stopover, should award availability open up later. You’ll just pay the difference in miles.

Ultimately the Skywards program is the best way to book first class award travel on Emirates. While award pricing isn’t low, and while surcharges are quite high at the moment, the ability to have a stopover in Dubai for no extra miles is a great feature.

If you’ve booked a stopover on a one-way Emirates Skywards award, what was your experience like?

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  1. Jay Guest

    reading how you booked your stopover flight for DXB-MLE almost gave me a heart attack. Risking a 14hr FC flight four hours before departure with a TICKET REISSUE?? You are brave, Ben. BRAVE.

  2. Quinn Guest

    I have a one way F ticket booked from DXB to IAD and just called to add a MLE-DXB with a 3 day stopover in Dubai. There's no F availability for my date of travel but there is J. The phone agent said she can't add the J segment without cancelling my DXB-IAD which wouldn't guarantee those seats would go back to inventory. She said my only option was to book a separate itinerary. Is this a case of hang up call again and try to get a different agent?

  3. Brad Guest

    First time using a Skywards reward ticket. I called Emirates to book a AMD-DXB-SFO in business with a 2 night stopover in DXB. It seemed like a great opportunity to do some sightseeing. How does the checked luggage situation work. Does Emirates store the luggage or do I have to retrieve it and check them again?

  4. Ken Guest

    If you want to upgrade a ticket with miles, call before making the booking. A Skywards agent can tell you if you need to be a little flexible on your dates. A mix in rewards is just 2 One way tickets.

  5. Ahmed Guest

    Here is what happened to me as a beginner in this game with Emirates. I booked using cash economy class for the hope that I would upgrade it business class using points right away. I found out that I cannot do that because you have to be in awaiting list until 3 days before departure because no availablity using points but it's ok to upgrade using cash ‍♂️. So I was pissed off and I...

    Here is what happened to me as a beginner in this game with Emirates. I booked using cash economy class for the hope that I would upgrade it business class using points right away. I found out that I cannot do that because you have to be in awaiting list until 3 days before departure because no availablity using points but it's ok to upgrade using cash ‍♂️. So I was pissed off and I upgraded using cash .

    My question to you and I hope you could help me in this. How to find Emirates award availablity to use your points? Do you just keep checking thier website all the time for saver of flex pluse?

    Thank you so much

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Ahmed -- In theory upgrades could be confirmed at the time of booking, but there needs to be confirmable upgrade space. Confirmable upgrade space matches award availability, so if you can find award availability for a flight, you should also be able to upgrade it instantly.

      While you can waitlist upgrades, they often don't end up clearing. The real trick to getting the best odds at an upgrade is to do so at...

      @ Ahmed -- In theory upgrades could be confirmed at the time of booking, but there needs to be confirmable upgrade space. Confirmable upgrade space matches award availability, so if you can find award availability for a flight, you should also be able to upgrade it instantly.

      While you can waitlist upgrades, they often don't end up clearing. The real trick to getting the best odds at an upgrade is to do so at the airport or onboard, and I wrote about that here:
      https://onemileatatime.com/guides/emirates-upgrade-trick/

  6. Euro Member

    Could you give us some more details on how the pricing works if you make a stopover in one of the fifth-freedom destinations?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Euro -- Pricing would then be based on the individual segments. In other words, you'd have to pay for Dubai to Milan as an award, and then Milan to New York as an award. So there's no pricing advantage.

  7. Rob Guest

    Do both segments have to be in the same class or can you combine first class and business class on a one-way award with a stopover?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Rob -- It's fine if they're in different classes, you'll just pay the higher amount no matter what.

  8. Jimmy’s Travel Report Gold

    Lucky, did also do a transfer of points into your Skywards account at that time - or do you leave “some” points in the account for future use?

    1. Lukas Guest

      No, no one ever leaves points there for future use.

    2. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Jimmy’s Travel Report -- I transfered them when the space opens up, since Skywards transfers are generally instant.

  9. D3kingg Guest

    I’m flying DXB-MXP-JFK in Emirates first on an award. Is MXP a ‘milk run’ or do I have to deplane in MXP ? Also would they transfer me to a nonstop flight DXB-JFK at the airport ?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ D3kingg -- You have to get off the plane in Milan, but at least Emirates has its own lounge there, and you can board the plane directly from the lounge. Emirates generally won't transfer you to a nonstop, unfortunately, as standby in that way isn't really a thing at Gulf carriers.

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Rob Guest

Do both segments have to be in the same class or can you combine first class and business class on a one-way award with a stopover?

1
Jay Guest

reading how you booked your stopover flight for DXB-MLE almost gave me a heart attack. Risking a 14hr FC flight four hours before departure with a TICKET REISSUE?? You are brave, Ben. BRAVE.

0
Quinn Guest

I have a one way F ticket booked from DXB to IAD and just called to add a MLE-DXB with a 3 day stopover in Dubai. There's no F availability for my date of travel but there is J. The phone agent said she can't add the J segment without cancelling my DXB-IAD which wouldn't guarantee those seats would go back to inventory. She said my only option was to book a separate itinerary. Is this a case of hang up call again and try to get a different agent?

0
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