Though I’m not much of a Starwood loyalist myself, Starwood Preferred Guest aficionados do tend to rave about SPG Moments, whereby you can bid on certain items up for auction using the points in your SPG account.
A certain 25-year-old boy band fanboy we all know and love is, for instance, attending a One Direction concert in London in a Starwood suite thanks to SPG Moments (he’s even bringing ten of you readers along – hurry, if you care about that sort of thing!).
Anyway, right now SPG is auctioning off two business class seats on the inaugural Emirates A380 flight between Orlando (or as I call it, “the Dubai of the South”) and Dubai (or as I call it, “Orlando, but more tasteful”), as well as 3 nights at the Sheraton Grand Dubai. The trip is from September 1-5 of this year.
Specifically, SPG’s website notes:
On 1 September, Emirates will launch the first direct flight from Orlando to Dubai, connecting the American city with the rest of Emirates’ global network. SPG® and Emirates give you the opportunity to experience the new route in Business Class comfort. Enjoy your lie-flat seats, award-winning gourmet dining experience, ice Digital Widescreen entertainment system and complimentary chauffeur-drive service. You will stay at the stylish Sheraton Grand Hotel, Dubai, with picturesque views of Dubai skyline. Visit the extraordinary Dubai Mall and experience the thrill of being a pilot of the world’s largest aircraft with The Emirates A380 Experience.
The Emirates Orlando–Dubai Inauguration Route package includes:
-Two (2) Emirates business class tickets on the inaugural from Orlando (USA) to Dubai (UAE) departing on 1 September Dubai, returning on 5 September to Orlando
-Three-night (3-night) stay for two (2) at Sheraton Grand Hotel, Dubai, including breakfast
-Two (2) passes for the Emirates A380 Experience at the Village, Dubai Mall
Currently, the high bid is at 130,500 Starpoints. Since bidding will remain open through August 13, the high bid will undoubtedly increase, but keep in mind that:
- If you wanted to book this flight in business class yourself using miles, you’d spend 290,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles for two tickets (145,000 miles roundtrip per person in business class) on Alaska’s partner Emirates
- Or, alternatively and perhaps more germane to this discussion, you could transfer 235,000 Starpoints to Alaska Mileage Plan to do the same (since you get a 5,000 point discount on every 20,000 points you transfer); and
- The Sheraton Grand Dubai is redeemable at 16,000 Starpoints a night, so a total of 48,000 Starpoints
In other words, at face value this trip is “worth” 283,000 Starpoints, so if the high bid on this auction spirals much north of 250,000 Starpoints it may not be such a screaming deal. That being said, award availability on those flights is not good right now (it may open up closer to September), so if this inaugural journey is important to you, you should bid!
Although Starpoints do (in theory) transfer directly to Emirates, given the redemption rates and taxes and fees charged by Emirates’ native program, it’s not worth transferring directly to Emirates — go through Alaska instead.
Of course, before you get too excited, keep in mind this is Emirates’ less-than-heralded (but by no means uncomfortable!) business class cabin, and you’re staying in a Sheraton (but a pretty nice one). So, nice all around, but not oh my god luxurious.
But maybe you’re just one of those people who like visiting soulless desert dystopias in the middle of summer! (This may be a welcome change of pace from the soulless swampland dystopia from whence you departed, to be fair.)
I’m also not sure what sort of traffic will end up flying the Orlando-Dubai route, since Dubai is basically Disney World already, albeit with a lower communal BMI.
However, a note to one of Orlando’s more famous residents is in order: to be culturally sensitive, Donald Duck should wear pants when disembarking into the UAE.
(Tip of the hat to Lars)