Upgrade Emirates Flight Seat

We’ve spent the last several days researching an intriguing trick for upgrading Emirates flights, and we even attempted it on an Emirates trip. In the airline industry, we’d contend that this is your greatest chance ever to book a first-class seat or business class. With Emirates upgrade service, there is always an opportunity for premium-class travel. 

Upgrade Emirates Flight Seat

In this post, we will help you understand the basics of upgrading your flight to Emirates First Class, what is the best way to upgrade the flight, and more.

The Fundamentals of Quickly Upgrading to Emirates First/Business Class

Sometimes it might be difficult to find Emirates first class through a rewards program, especially if there are several people traveling. Thankfully, there are certain places where finding business class awards are much simpler. The trick here is as follows:

  • Although not many airlines allow you to upgrade award tickets using miles in the same manner as Emirates.
  • Under the Emirates upgrade with miles program, you can redeem the miles hassle-free to upgrade the business class award tickets to first class.
  • The issue is that even if you waitlist the first-class upgrade in advance, it is still capacity regulated. Your request will cancel if the award ticket does not become available within 48 hours.
  • You can upgrade to any available first class or business class seat for the same number of miles. 
  • Passengers may request the service on the day of departure because there are no capacity restrictions on upgrades. 
  • You can request the upgrade at check-in, at the gate, or even on board with the crew.

That’s correct, even if you have a business class award ticket, you can upgrade to an Emirates first class seat as long as one is available on the day of departure for a reasonable number of miles. By the way, the same approach applies when upgrading from economy to business class.

What is the Best Way to Upgrade the Emirates Flight?

Generally speaking, you can only upgrade your service level by one class of flight if your booking is directly by Emirates’ official sources. Any codeshare flight ticket is not eligible. 

At the time of writing this post, the confirmable upgrade space was still available. Airlines make a fraction of seats available for awards and upgrades in advance, making the procedure simple. What happens if the Emirates Business Class upgrade is on the waitlist?

We recently tested it and found out how many miles you need to upgrade to the first class. We selected the flight from Dubai (DXB) to Newyork (JFK) on 21st October 2022 on the Emirates website. To purchase a Business Class one-way flight, you need 14,080 miles. For the First Class, it is 25,090 miles. So here, we decided to book the Business Class flight and worked on securing an upgrade. 

Emirates Business Class upgrade

Emirates’ website contains very little information on the upgrade procedure, which is a problem. Therefore, understanding the system required a lot of trial and error as well as sometimes calling the airlines directly. 

How Many Miles do you Need to Upgrade the Emirates Flight?

You can use the mileage calculator on Emirates Skywards, to research a certain route and see how many miles you’d need for an upgrade, reward ticket, etc. We researched a one-way flight from Dubai (DXB) to NewYork (JFK), and this is what appeared under the business class column:

Let’s say you purchased a business class flight from Dubai to New York, and now you need to upgrade to First Class. You need to know how many miles you need – 

upgrade to emirates first

As you can see – 

  • An upgrade from Business Flex Plus to First Class costs 54,000 miles
  • You have noted in the above screenshot, that the miles vary with the type of ticket you book. 

Upgrade Emirates Flight with Auto-Upgrade Feature

After booking a flight from Dubai (DXB) to New York (JFK), we tried our luck with Emirates’ auto-upgrade feature. 

We logged in to our flight details via the Emirates Manage Booking section and clicked the ‘Upgrade with miles’ button. You can also upgrade your Emirates flight with miles by simply visiting the Emirates Flight Upgrade Page.

Once you click on the ‘upgrade with miles’ button, this shows – 

upgrade Emirates flight with miles
  • This stated that my flight was qualified for an automatic upgrade with 25,000 Skywards miles but also that an upgrade was not immediately confirmable.

It shows something like this – 

Upgrade to First Class on Emirates

Emirates’ auto upgrade system is similar to waiting for an upgrade. The problem is that – 

  • The upgrade request must be at least 72 hours prior to departure.
  • It is possible to cancel auto upgrades between 60 and 48 hours before departure.
  • Your request for an upgrade will be automatically canceled if an auto upgrade doesn’t clear at least 48 hours before departure.
  • In order to be notified when your auto upgrade is approved, you can submit your phone number when you request it.
emirates auto upgrade with miles

Your automatic upgrade also expires if a seat with an award or an upgrade becomes available. Additionally, theoretically, revenue management might occasionally clear waitlisted auto upgrades, but it’s far from a given thing.

Some folks reportedly had success with this. However, it is not sure that any auto-upgrade request would be approved. We received notice that our request was canceled and that my upgrade had not passed 48 hours prior to travel.

Emirates Upgrade With Miles at the Airport

As long as there are still seats available at check-in, Emirates accepts upgrades. Unfortunately, this is not available at the time of online check-in, this is only valid at the airport. When you get to the check-in desk, just let the attendant know that you’d like to request an Emirates Skywards upgrade so they can handle it for you.

How did that turn out for us then? As previously indicated, we took an Emirates flight from Dubai to Newyork. Just before the check-in counter opened when we headed to the airport, which was just over three hours before departure. We searched online and saw that three of the eight first-class seats were still up for grabs.

As it was about to be my turn to check in, I glanced once more and found that there were two seats available.

  • I requested the ‘Emirates last minute upgrade’ service. 
  • Since we were two passengers. It cost us 50,211 miles to upgrade to the first class.
  • They asked for the Emirates frequent flyer number and redeemed our miles. 
  • Our upgrade to the first class was confirmed. 

You can even Upgrade on Board an Emirates flight

The chance to upgrade continues after leaving the airport. If there are seats available, the crew can still conduct a mileage upgrade even after you have boarded the aircraft.

Upgrade Emirates flight to first class

Do Emirates Give Free Upgrades?

Free upgrades to business class are extremely uncommon. Get in touch with Emirates Airlines when you want to know a significant reduction in price if you’re traveling in business class on a budget. If you already have your ticket, use these suggestions to upgrade your economy class airline seat to a luxurious business or even first class.

Join the Emirates Skywards Upgrade Program

It’s recommended to stay loyal to Emirates Airlines and enroll in their frequent flyer club if you’re very often. This enables you – 

  • To accumulate air miles for every trip you take. 
  • These air miles can exchange for complimentary flights or travel upgrades. 
  • Being a good client, especially if you fly regularly, can rapidly lead to you receiving special privileges from the airline.
  • By signing up for the Emirates Skywards program, you establish yourself as a valued client.
  • You’ll receive additional benefits if you fly regularly enough to achieve Elite Status.
  • A complimentary or significantly discounted ticket upgrade could be one of these benefits.

Also, the Emirates is part of an alliance or partner program. This means they’ll honor passengers with connecting flights and shared lounges.

Arrive Early

The first person to check in and enquire about the Emirate seat upgrade will have a better chance of getting it.

Grab A Branded Credit Card

Certain credit card issuers also partner with Emirates’ free upgrade program, allowing you to earn extra points. This is applicable – 

  • When you purchase the flight using the A Branded Credit Card.  
  • As certain credit cards are reputed to offer bonus miles for creating an account, it is worthwhile to look into the rewards that come with doing so.
  • Benefits like free checked bags, priority boarding, entry to lounges, and first-class seating are frequently included with airline credit cards. 
  • In specific situations, certain credit card companies offer upgrades.
  • Your point balance might significantly increase when you pay with your credit card when you shop online through airline shopping portals.

Ask For It

If you choose to wait until the day of departure, see if the Emirates can check for any reduced last-minute upgrades. Arrive early to ensure – 

  • That your name is towards the top of the list. 
  • Inform them politely that you are willing to pay. If they understand you aren’t looking for a freebie. 
  • This way, the Emirates upgrade desk will more likely place a note next to your name, giving you priority if a seat becomes available.

Learn About Your Aircraft

Understanding the design of a cabin can be quite helpful. For instance – 

  • Emirates international route features a roomy business class cabin that caters to frequent travelers in that class. 
  • Due to the abundance of business class and first class seats on wide-body aircraft, such as the Airbus A380, it is more likely that these sections have plenty of seats available. 
  • The details of the aircraft will be there when you book your flight online.
  • Check out the flight information one more right before your departure date, but don’t really book the same flight. 
  • You’ll be able to see how many seats in the first class and business class cabins are still available. 
  • Your odds of getting an open seat increase as there are more available seats.

Give Up Your Seat For This One

Emirates usually overbook their economy rate sectors in order to accommodate no-shows and late cancellations. Provided the aircraft you’re on is overbooked – 

  • You can volunteer to be “bumped” to the next one in return for an upgrade.  
  • Be kind and let airline personnel know you’re fine with a lengthier wait if they need to accommodate someone else, and you might be rewarded for your good actions.
  • Booking a flight on a busy flight at a busy time will increase your chances of receiving a bump upgrade. 
  • Nevertheless, be sure to check the seat availability for a later departure
  • However, flights that take off very late at night or in the early morning are less popular.
  • Wait for a flight that departs late at night so you can stretch out and sleep comfortably.
  • This is where you get an Emirates free upgrade to Business Class. 

In the end

I’d contend that Emirates Skywards upgrade scheme is one of the most lucrative even though most airlines offer some form of upgrade options with points. Before your trip, you can request an upgrade. If it can’t be confirmed right away, it can be placed on a waitlist until 48 hours before departure, at which time it will be canceled.

If it doesn’t work, the real secret to getting an upgrade is to request it once more on the day of departure, either at the airport or on board. 

You can not only upgrade award tickets, but you can also book last-minute availability, which is generally not permitted by airlines other than Emirates.

This is an excellent strategy given that Emirates business class award availability is frequently straightforward but Emirates first class award availability might be challenging, even when the cabin is completely empty. 

By using this method, you can earn enough miles to secure even the final seat in an Emirates first-class cabin.

Frequently Asked Questions – (FAQs)

How much to upgrade the

Economy of the Business Emirates?

The cost of the upgrade might range from 250 USD to over 2,000 USD depending on the route and time of the flight.

How to upgrade to first class on Emirates?

Learn about the Emirates upgrade program that helps you calculate the cost of your upgrade in cash or Skywards Miles, or register for notifications and automatic upgrades:

1. Enter your flight information to see how much it would cost to upgrade to Emirates Business Class or Emirates First Class using an online payment method.
2. To see if you qualify for an upgrade, use your Emirates Skywards Miles.
3. Set up automatic upgrades so that when available, your Skywards Miles will be used to automatically promote you to the next cabin class.
4. If an upgrade becomes available for your flight, sign up for ‘Emirates upgrade with miles’ alerts so that the airlines can notify you via email or SMS.

How much to upgrade to Business Class on Emirates?

There are far too many variables to provide specific upgrade costs. Emirates periodically provides discounts. Emirates upgrade to business class cost may vary depending on the airfare, class of service, the time and date of travel, and even availability. Here’s how you can anticipate the cost – 

How many miles are required to switch to Emirates Business Class?

Upgrades are subject to the terms of your original economy ticket (saver, flex, or flex plus). For instance, upgrading a one-way ticket (Dubai to NewYork) from Business to First Class costs 70,200 miles for a saver ticket, 62,100 miles for a flex ticket, and 54,000 miles for flex plus ticket.


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A seasoned content writer with a passion for storytelling, who loves creating content that engages the audience, builds trust, drives results, and solves problems related to travel assistance and travel news

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