Is Dubai a place you’d like to visit? Would you like to know how you can visit Dubai on points?
My husband and I went on a group tour with Fun for Less Tours in March. I did a tour of Bali and China with them a couple of years ago and it was fabulous! It is more expensive to do a group tour but some countries are just better off doing with a tour group than alone. I’ve found that using miles for travel to/from the tour helps take the bite out of the cost. This year we did Dubai, Jordan, Israel, and Egypt with them. We arrived in Dubai two days early so we could recover from jet lag. Those two nights and our flights were all funded through points.
Our flight to Dubai left from LAX and we live in Denver. I used 12,480 Southwest Rapid Rewards to purchase two one-way flights to Los Angeles. Although I live near a big airport, Denver International Airport (DIA), it is not uncommon for me to have to position at least one way to take advantage of international business class reward ticket redemptions.
I redeemed 82,5000 Alaska miles each to get my husband and myself to Dubai in business class. I only paid $14 in taxes for both seats. Emirates is known for being one of the best airlines so I was really excited to fly them. I couldn’t believe I was flying Emirates for almost free with points!
Because we had Emirates Business Class tickets, we were able to go into the Emirates lounge in LAX prior to departure. It is an amazing lounge with some of the best food! I had filet mignon and mashed potatoes preflight!
I earned my miles on signup bonuses for my husband and myself on Marriott and SPG personal and business cards. Before the Marriott/SPG merger, you could buy Marriott travel packages with Marriott points. I had a lot of Marriott points so I bought a couple of packages that gave me 2 free weeks at a Marriott hotel and 240,000 Alaska miles. That gave me a lot of Alaska miles, which I love!! It is possible to use just 50,000 miles for a one-way business class seat with Alaska miles. I flew back from Beijing last year on Hainan Airlines doing just that. It was worth the splurge this time to fly Emirates!
Currently, the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card is offering 40,000 miles as a welcome bonus when you sign up for their card and spend $2,000 in three months. You also get Alaska’s famous companion fare which allows you to fly someone free with you one time each year for $121. My husband and I have used the companion fare every year for travel to Seattle, Mexico, or Hawaii. You also get a free checked bag for you and up to six companions. The annual fee is $75 and this is more than made up for with the companion fare so it is a card I keep in my wallet as we use it every year.
We redeemed my annual free night certificate from IHG (Intercontinental Hotel Group) at the Intercontinental Dubai in Festival City for the first night. It was a great hotel and because I have Platinum Elite status with the card, they upgraded us to a suite! That is always a nice gift!! (My family jokes that “of course, you got an upgrade” because it happens quite often). I love my IHG card and will always keep it in my wallet.
Our second night was at the Westin Dubai with a free night certificate. I get a free night certificate with each of the Marriott cards I have after paying the annual fee. I also have Platinum Elite status with Marriott. This gives me free breakfasts and a room upgrade.
Jumping on deals as I did here is a good reason to read our blog and follow us on Instagram We will try to keep you updated when cards are changing so you can get them before the offer is gone.
At the end of our trip, we flew to visit our daughter who lives in London. I transferred 47,000 American Express Membership Rewards to British Airways to purchase two first-class flights from Cairo to London.
We flew home from London via American Airlines. I used 115,000 American Airlines miles to purchase two business class flights back to Denver. Both Citibank and Barclays issue American Airlines cards.
Whew! You can see why I love having a variety of points/miles! My personal philosophy of always having a credit card that I am meeting the minimum spend on has allowed me to earn about 3,000,000 miles/points. I put EVERYTHING on a credit card because I don’t want to leave any points on the table (so to speak).
We arrived in Dubai after traveling via Emirates in business class from Los Angeles. Sixteen hours of flying might sound horrible to some, and my husband was worried but, honestly, it flew by! I watched two movies, ate a delicious dinner of monkfish (called poor man’s lobster), slept for seven hours, watched another movie, had a yummy omelet for breakfast and we were there!! I had the best time traveling to Dubai for free with points!
We took a taxi to the Intercontinental Dubai at Festival City and got there about 8:00 at night. Upon check-in, to our free room booked with a yearly anniversary night, we learned we were upgraded to club level because I have Platinum status with the card. They gave us a lovely room on the 18th floor and access to the club lounge. Club lounges at hotels usually offer free breakfast and often, appetizers and drinks at night. Whoopee! Free breakfast! They don’t have to give you club lounge access with an anniversary night but I have had good luck with them doing so. Now we were eating free in Dubai with points!
The Intercontinental is next to the Festival City Mall so we walked around a little. I loved seeing all the families out shopping and eating around the area. There was a fantastic water show that portrayed a pirate’s story and it was like being at Disneyland. Watching the men in their long white robes called kandura and women in their abaya (black robes) and hijab (scarf) was fascinating. They may dress differently, but they were out enjoying a Friday night with family just like we do. It is always lovely to see families around the world just enjoying time together.
We got up early (blame it on the jet lag), walked a couple of miles, worked out in the gym, and then went to the club lounge for breakfast. They had a nice buffet and made to order food also. I stuck with the buffet while my husband ordered Eggs Benedict.
This is a great location, particularly for families. There is a lot to do with children. You have the mall, a beautiful pool area, and lots of space to run and play. I would come and stay here again without question – and the fact that we paid nothing for it other than my annual fee on the IHG card (mine is $49.00 year through this year) is nothing short of amazing!
The second day we headed via taxi to the Westin which is located on a beach. Surprise, surprise – they upgraded us to a suite too! They even had a yummy dessert and note there to welcome us. My husband is now very impressed with travel hacking! He was becoming a believer that we could enjoy Dubai on points! We spent most of our time here just relaxing by the pool or on the beach.
We joined our tour the next day. Being rested, relaxed, and not having jet lag is the best way to start a long tour. We were definitely the ones with the most energy that first day! The best part, we had traveled in business class for almost free and spent two extra days in Dubai for free. We had a great time in Dubai using points! What a great way to start a 3-week tour!!