How to travel to Dubai with points and miles in 2024


This series of articles about credit cards, points and miles, and budgeting for travel is brought to you in partnership with The Points Guy.

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Whether you’re visiting for work, exploring with the kids or just stopping by as part of a larger travel adventure, Dubai is a marvel of new era design, technology and fun. 

It’s a vibrant global city with something for every age, style and budget, where you can shop til you drop, admire the world’s tallest building and learn about the region’s history and culture in the Al Fahidi Historic District.

Dubai is also a great destination for anyone just getting started with points and miles, as there are many ways to fly and stay for free by using certain travel credit cards, paying attention to airline alliances and maximizing travel rewards whenever possible.

Here’s everything you need to know about traveling to Dubai with points and miles — plus our favorite things to do there.

How to get started with travel points and airline miles

The Madinat Jumeirah and the Burj al Arab Hotel
The Madinat Jumeirah and the Burj al Arab Hotel © Sylvain Sonnet / Getty

The cheapest award flights to Dubai

Your options are limited when it comes to nonstop flights from the U.S. United Airlines offers one route from Newark, but otherwise, you’ll need to fly on Emirates from Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, New York, Orlando, San Francisco, Seattle or Washington DC. 

For those open to one-stop flights, Air Canada offers a nonstop from Toronto, while any number of connections are available through partners of American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines, providing plenty of options via cities throughout Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

  • Cheapest economy class ticket to Dubai: 60,000 Flying Blue miles round-trip
  • Cheapest business-class ticket to Dubai: 104,000 ANA Mileage Club miles round-trip
  • Cheapest first-class ticket to Dubai: 195,000 ANA Mileage Plan miles round-trip

The best travel credit cards

The new premium economy on Emirates
The newly-refreshed premium economy on Emirates © Emirates

Emirates Skywards

While not the lowest redemption on the list, Skywards miles provide the most opportunities to fly nonstop from 12 U.S. cities, plus Toronto. Emirates is also connected to every major flexible rewards credit card loyalty program, so it’s easy to rack up points quickly.

Use the miles calculator on the Emirates website to plug in your desired cities and fare class, then select “spend” on the results page to view rates.

Here’s how many Skywards miles it would cost to fly to Dubai from the U.S.:

  • Economy Class: 72,500 to 125,000 miles round-trip (East Coast); 82,500 to 142,500 miles round-trip (West Coast)
  • Business Class: 174,000 to 276,000 miles round-trip (East Coast); 198,000 to 315,000 miles round-trip (West Coast)
  • First Class: 327,000 miles round-trip (East Coast); 372,000 miles round-trip (West Coast)

Note that Emirates is also connected to United Airlines, though the recent partnership is rather limited and the rules for earning and redeeming miles across airlines seem pretty complicated.

Earn Skywards miles quickly by transferring points from Bilt Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One Rewards or Citi ThankYou Rewards (1:1) or Marriott Bonvoy (3:1).

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Earn 60,000 bonus points once you spend $4,000 within the first three months of opening your account.
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve®: Earn 60,000 bonus points once you spend $4,000 within the first three months of opening your account.
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express*: Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $8,000 within the first six months of opening your account.
  • The Business Platinum Card® from American Express*: Earn 120,000 bonus points after spending $15,000 within the first three months of account opening.
  • Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Earn 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,000 within the first three months of opening your account.
  • Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card: Earn 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,000 within the first three months of opening your account.
  • Citi Premier® Card: Earn 60,000 bonus miles once you spend $4,000 within the first three months of opening your account.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card: Earn 30,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on eligible purchases within the first six months from account opening. Plus, earn up to 14X total points for every $1 spent at thousands of hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card: Limited time offer: Earn 5 Free Night Awards (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after spending $5,000 on purchases in your first three months from account opening with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card: Earn 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first six months of card membership.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card: Earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first six months of card membership.

How to make a travel budget using points and miles 

Air France / KLM Flying Blue

Flying Blue offers the cheapest redemption option for one-stop flights to Dubai via Paris on Air France or Amsterdam on KLM. Use the calculator on the Flying Blue Rewards page to see how many miles it takes.

You’ll need this many Flying Blue miles to fly from anywhere in the U.S.:

  • Economy Class: 60,000 miles round-trip
  • Business Class: 125,000 miles round-trip

Top up your Flying Blue balance by transferring points from Bilt Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Capital One Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards (1:1) or Marriott Bonvoy (3:1).

  • Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Earn 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,000 within the first three months of opening your account.
  • Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card: Earn 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,000 within the first three months of opening your account.
  • Citi Premier® Card: Earn 60,000 bonus miles once you spend $4,000 within the first three months of opening your account.
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Earn 60,000 bonus points once you spend $4,000 within the first three months of opening your account.
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve®: Earn 60,000 bonus points once you spend $4,000 within the first three months of opening your account.
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express*: Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $8,000 within the first six months of opening your account.
  • The Business Platinum Card® from American Express*: Earn 120,000 bonus points after spending $15,000 within the first three months of account opening.

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Alaska Airlines
Alaska Airlines © Mario Tama / Getty

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

Mileage Plan miles are one of the most valuable currencies in the points-and-miles game, giving you the power to fly with any of Alaska Airlines’ 30 partners, including American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian or Qatar Airways.

The carrier recently switched to a new distance-based award chart for partner redemptions, so calculate the distance between your desired airports on Great Circle Mapper to see how many miles you’ll need to cash in.

Here’s how many Mileage Plan miles you’ll need to fly from the U.S. to Dubai with any partner airline, ranging from the East Coast to the West Coast:

  • Economy Class: 70,000 to 85,000 miles round-trip
  • Business Class: 140,000 to 170,000 miles round-trip
  • First Class: 210,000 to 260,000 miles round-trip

Make the lucrative welcome bonus from one of Alaska Airlines’ cobranded credit cards work in your favor or if your balance is still on the low side, transfer points over from Marriott Bonvoy (3:1) for a boost. 

  • Alaska Airlines Visa® card: Earn 60,000 bonus miles once you spend $3,000 within the first 90 days of account opening — and earn Alaska’s $99 Companion Fare each year after you spend $6,000.
  • Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Card: Earn 50,000 bonus miles, plus Alaska’s $99 Companion Fare (fare plus taxes and fees from $23), after spending $3,000 within the first 90 days of opening your account.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card: Earn 30,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on eligible purchases within the first six months from account opening. Plus, earn up to 14X total points for every $1 spent at thousands of hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card: Limited time offer: Earn 5 Free Night Awards (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after spending $5,000 on purchases in your first three months from account opening with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card: Earn 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first six months of card membership.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card: Earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first six months of card membership.

Best travel credit cards for hotels

Quickly earn American miles with a co-branded credit card
Quickly earn American miles with a co-branded credit card © John Gribben / The Points Guy

American Airlines AAdvantage

While American Airlines doesn’t fly nonstop to Dubai, you can still use AAdvantage miles to book one-stop flights from the U.S. with its partners, namely British Airways via London, Qatar Airways via Doha, Royal Air Jordanian via Amman or Royal Air Maroc via Casablanca.

  • Economy Class: From 80,000 miles round-trip
  • Business Class: From 140,000 miles round-trip
  • First Class: From 230,000 miles round-trip

Points can be transferred from Bilt Rewards (1:1) or Marriott Bonvoy (3:1) to increase your balance. Alternatively, signing up for one of American Airlines’ cobranded credit cards allows you to utilize the lucrative welcome bonus. 

  • Barclays AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®: Earn 60,000 bonus miles after making your first purchase and paying the $99 annual fee within the first 90 days of account opening.
  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®: Earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $2,500 within the first three months of opening your account.
  • CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®: Earn 65,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 within the first four months of account opening.
  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive Mastercard®: Earn 70,000 bonus miles after spending $7,000 within the first three months of opening your account.
  • Barclays AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®: Earn 60,000 bonus miles after making your first purchase and paying the $99 annual fee within the first 90 days of account opening.
  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®: Earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $2,500 within the first three months of opening your account.
  • CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®: Earn 65,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 within the first four months of account opening.
  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive Mastercard®: Earn 70,000 bonus miles after spending $7,000 within the first three months of opening your account.

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Avianca LifeMiles

Using Avianca LifeMiles to fly Star Alliance partners like United Airlines, which has a nonstop hop to Dubai from Newark, or Air Canada, which has a direct route from Toronto, is a great points-and-miles sweet spot.

LifeMiles can also be used for one-stop flights on partners like Turkish Airlines (via Istanbul), SWISS (via Zurich) or Lufthansa (via Frankfurt).

Here’s how many miles you’ll need for any of those partner options:

  • Economy Class: 85,000 miles round-trip
  • Business Class: 156,000 miles round-trip
  • First Class: 210,000 miles round-trip

Transfer points from Capital One Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards or Bilt Rewards (1:1) or Marriott Bonvoy 

(3:1) to accumulate Avianca LifeMiles quickly.

  • Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Earn 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,000 within the first three months of opening your account.
  • Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card: Earn 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,000 within the first three months of opening your account.
  • Citi Premier® Card: Earn 60,000 bonus miles once you spend $4,000 within the first three months of opening your account.
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express*: Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $8,000 within the first six months of opening your account.
  • The Business Platinum Card® from American Express*: Earn 120,000 bonus points after spending $15,000 within the first three months of account opening.

Should you book travel with cash or points?

You can fly to Dubai in All Nippon Airways' esteemed “The Room” business class from just 104,000 miles round-trip
You can fly to Dubai in All Nippon Airways’ esteemed “The Room” business class from just 104,000 miles round-trip © Eric Rosen / The Points Guy

All Nippon Airways (ANA) Mileage Club

Like LifeMiles, ANA Mileage Club miles can be used for award redemptions with the same Star Alliance partners listed above, including United Airlines and Air Canada, among others.

Start by searching for award availability on United’s website, then confirm it with ANA. There are two rules: you’re only allowed to book round-trip redemptions (not one-way trips) and just for yourself or family members.

  • Economy Class: 65,000 miles round-trip
  • Business Class: 104,000 miles round-trip
  • First Class: 195,000 miles round-trip

You can accrue ANA Mileage Club miles in a hurry by transferring points from Marriott Bonvoy (3:1) or American Express Membership Rewards (1:1).

  • The Platinum Card® from American Express*: Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $8,000 within the first six months of opening your account.
  • The Business Platinum Card® from American Express*: Earn 120,000 bonus points after spending $15,000 within the first three months of account opening.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card: Earn 30,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on eligible purchases within the first six months from account opening. Plus, earn up to 14X total points for every $1 spent at thousands of hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card: Limited time offer: Earn 5 Free Night Awards (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after spending $5,000 on purchases in your first three months from account opening with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card: Earn 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first six months of card membership.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card: Earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first six months of card membership.

How to use points and miles to save money on travel

Mornings at Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai; a Marriott property
Mornings at Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai; a Marriott property © Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy

Dubai hotels you can book with points

There are plenty of points hotels in Dubai, including properties connected to Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton Honors, IHG One Rewards and World of Hyatt.

You can earn points toward future stays by signing up for your preferred brand’s hotel credit card and taking advantage of its welcome bonus or by joining its free loyalty program.

If Hilton is your go-to, the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire credit card makes a great choice, offering members $200 in statement credits toward resort fees and other on-property charges during Hilton stays worldwide.

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World of Hyatt

You’ll find heaps of World of Hyatt hotels in Dubai, including budget-friendly options like the Hyatt Place Dubai Jumeirah (from 6,500 points per night) and the Hyatt Regency Dubai (from 9,500 points per night).  

Save up your precious points and splurge on a stay at one of Dubai’s incredible high-end properties like the Grand Hyatt Dubai (from 18,000 points per night), Andaz Dubai The Palm (from 23,000 points per night) or the Park Hyatt Dubai (from 29,000 points per night).

The welcome bonus from the World of Hyatt Credit Card, Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers enough points for two nights at the Park Hyatt or Andaz, three nights at the Grand Hyatt, six nights at the Hyatt Regency or nine nights at Hyatt Place.

Points can be transferred from Chase Ultimate Rewards to World of Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio if you need to boost your balance.

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Marriott Bonvoy

Experience the ultimate in luxury at Marriott Bonvoy’s many Dubai offerings, including The Dubai Edition, which has nightly rates from 85,000 points; the W Dubai–Mina Seyahi, with rooms from 77,500 points per night; and The St. Regis Downtown Dubai, with nightly rates from 92,500 points.

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card’s welcome bonus provides enough points to cover one free night at each of these hotels.

Need more points for a free night? Transfer some over from American Express Membership Rewards at a 1:1 ratio.

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Hilton Honors

Hilton has a ton of hotels and resorts all over the UAE, providing options for every style and budget. On the budget-friendly end, the Hampton by Hilton Dubai Al Seef offers nightly rates from 22,000 points, while the nearby Canopy by Hilton Dubai Al Seef has rooms from 30,000 points per night.

A good mid-range option is the Conrad Dubai, with nightly rates from 58,000 points. Worth the splurge if you’ve got the points are the Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah, which has rooms from 85,000 points per night, and the Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah, with nightly rates starting at 70,000 points.

The welcome bonus from the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card provides enough for two free nights at the last three luxury hotels, five nights at the Canopy or seven nights at the Hampton — not too shabby!

Thanks to their partnership, American Express Membership Rewards points can be transferred to Hilton Honors at a 1:2 ratio if you need more quickly.

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IHG One Rewards

Choose from several IHG hotels and resorts, including the new adults-only party-centric Monaco Heart of Europe Dubai (from 30,000 points per night), the Crowne Plaza Dubai Jumeirah (from 55,000 points per night) or Hotel Indigo Dubai Downtown (from 60,000 points per night).

The welcome bonus from the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve or the IHG One Rewards Traveler Credit Card yields enough points to cover a free night at the Crowne Plaza or Hotel Indigo, or two nights at the Monaco Heart of Europe.

Points can be transferred to IHG One Rewards from Chase Ultimate Rewards or Bilt Rewards at a 1:1 ratio should you need to boost your balance.

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Arriving at Atlantis Monorail station, Dubai
Arriving at Atlantis Monorail station, Dubai © Leonid Andronov / Getty

Activities and ground transportation

Getting around Dubai is pretty easy thanks to an extensive public transport system involving metro, tram, bus and boat service, as well as a monorail linking Dubai Marina and the Palm Jumeirah. Taxis are plentiful while ride-share fans can get their fill with Uber and Dubai-based Careem.

Driving is done on the right side of the road and the left side of the car. If you don’t want to spend a ton on taxis, renting a car is a great option for doing day trips from Dubai to places like Abu Dhabi, just 90 minutes away, or Sharjah, the UAE’s cultural capital. 

Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders can save on guided tours and rental cars by booking them through the Chase travel portal, where Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1.25 cents per point or 1.5 cents per point, depending on the card.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve includes a $300 annual travel credit, which can be used to cover recent travel purchases. Other cards, like the Capital One Venture and the Capital One Venture X, allow you to redeem miles toward travel charges at a value of one cent per mile — hey, every little bit counts!

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Bottom line

Thanks to points and miles, there’s no reason a trip to Dubai needs to break the bank. By maximizing welcome bonuses and formulating a strategy to fly and stay for free using travel rewards, you’ll be able to focus more on enjoying your time here instead of worrying about your bill.

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*Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions, and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.



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