Emirates Is Now Selling First Class Lounge Access In Dubai

There’s no denying that the Gulf carriers are under financial pressure, and are trying to find ways to generate additional revenue. It looks like the latest move in that effort involves lounge access in Dubai. Emirates is now selling access to both their business class and first class lounges at Dubai Airport.

Emirates-A380

Here’s how the new offering is described:

If you’re an Emirates Skywards Blue member, you can now pay to access Emirates lounges at Dubai International airport regardless of your class of travel, and so can your family and friends who are travelling on the same Emirates flight.

If you’re a Silver or Gold member who already enjoys complimentary access, you can invite guests who are travelling on the same flight to join you for an additional charge – even if they’re travelling in Economy Class. And to make your journey extra special, you can purchase an upgrade to the First Class Lounge in Dubai.

If you’re a Platinum member, you can now pay to invite even more guests to join you in any of our eligible lounges in Dubai.

So basically:

  • If you’re a non-status Skywards Blue member you can pay $100 to access the business class lounge or $200 to access the first class lounge when flying economy
  • If you’re a Silver or Gold member, you can invite guests to join you in the business class lounge for $100, or if you have access to the business class lounge anyway, you can pay an additional $100 to access the first class lounge

In both cases you need to be flying on an Emirates or Qantas codeshare flight in order to take advantage of this offer. You can find the full terms & conditions here, and the FAQs here.

This is certainly on the high end when it comes to lounge pricing, so I actually view this as a positive move. Emirates’ lounges in Dubai are the furthest thing from crowded (at least in the “A” concourse), so they might as well generate some additional revenue from them. Furthermore, this is good news if you’re traveling with friends or family but can’t guest them into a lounge, since there’s now an option to pay to do so. It sucks when you’re traveling with two people but can only guest one person into a lounge, an then just end up skipping the lounge altogether.

I think the pricing is high enough so that we won’t see too many people taking advantage of this deal as well.

Whether or not it’s worth buying lounge access (or upgrading your lounge access) really depends on what you’re looking for. I’ve reviewed both the Emirates “A” Concourse First Class Lounge and Emirates “B” Concourse First Class Lounge, so see those posts for context on what you can expect.

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Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai

I also recently visited the business class lounge for the first time, and frankly didn’t find there to be that much of a difference between that and the first class lounge, aside from the lack of a la carte dining.

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Emirates Business Class Lounge Dubai

Bottom line

Some people will view this as Emirates trying to crowd their lounges, though personally I don’t think we’ll see many people take advantage of this offer. I appreciate the added flexibility this affords, as the pricing is high enough so that it won’t crowd lounges, but low enough that some people will find this worthwhile.

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Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai entrance

$100 for access to a business class lounge is definitely on the high side (especially since they’re limiting stays to four hours, at least on paper), and I’m not sure the $100 fee to upgrade from the business class lounge to the first class lounge is worth it. But some will find value in this, no doubt.

What do you make of Emirates’ new paid lounge access options?

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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Comments

  1. I wouldnt necessarily say “Emirates’ lounges in Dubai are the furthest thing from crowded”. The business class lounge (even in the A380 terminal) can get quite full around midnight and I’ve had a few instances where I couldnt find a table to sit at to eat. In the first class lounge, the quite rooms fill up quickly and if you get there too late you often wont find a lounge chair to sleep on.

    Though, I do agree that Emirates seems to have priced this well. I doubt it will do much to increase crowds in the lounge. If I were flying coach I can think of much better ways to spend 200 bucks instead of using it to buy in to the F lounge.

  2. I recently used the B First lounge for the first time on a Sunday morning in mid-December and while it wasn’t packed full, it was definitely crowded. Well over half of the dining tables were occupied and it was a bit hard to find a section of seats to yourself (since most seats are in groups of 6-10 so just one or two people sitting there kind of “occupy” the whole set).

    Still, this is a nice-to-have feature.

  3. The picture of the First Class Lounge matches my recollection to a T. We camped out in the lounge overnight between (Qantas First) flights and it was empty (far more staff than lounge guests from what I could tell). The napping room and showers were definitely nice features.

    The Business Class Lounge looks like it was designed to pack more people in.

  4. I think airlines should allow second tier elites on almost full to fully flex business class tickets free access to first class lounges.
    Honestly I feel that this is a very disappointing development, allowing economy passengers to buy access to the first class lounge; rather than letting only business class passengers pay for it, but I’m assuming very few economy passengers would want to pay for it anyway.

  5. With all the money problems the gulf carriers have when oil price is low it would seem that the best way for the Big 3 US carriers to fight is to support the North American oil production…no?

  6. This is very disappointing. A colleague mentioned the same for regional outposts too – were they misinformed?

  7. Paying for access with miles would make it more interesting for me. Especially at midnight the lounge can be crowded.

  8. Ben you’re highly mistaken in thinking that this won’t lead to crowding in lounges. While it won’t lead to overcrowding in Business class lounge because people travelling in economy won’t find it valuable to pay such a high fee to access business class lounge. On the other hand someone paying thousands of dollars to fly business class would most definitely pay 100 dollars to access a better and less crowded lounge Even if just for the novelty factor and pride factor if not actually for the comfort and better amenities factor.

    Your point of view is perhaps from the angle of a av geek or someone who flies majorly to review airlines as part of their job. On the other hand there are tons and tons of business class flyer who fly casually or occasionally or because first class is just a little out of their reach financially. There are also many business class flyers who’s travel is paid for by their companies and they wouldn’t mind splurging just 100 USD to access a slightly more premium and upscale lounge. All this sort of mentality is even more present in South Asia. I’m based in India and fly roughly 160,000 – 180,000 butt in seat miles annually and all of this is exclusively on just Emirates so I pass a lot through DXB and am well aware of the casual as well as the frequent flyer on emirates, particularly from South Asia.

    I was extremely sad to hear about this offer. The tranquility and sanctity of my beloved EK First lounges will be gone, and it will be felt even more so in concourse A.

    SAD !!!

  9. Too high. I regularly do a round trip steerage haul from England to New Zealand on EK and usually have about 2 hours between 7 and 15-hour steerage class flights. Lounge access would be great but not at $50 an hour.

  10. Is there another way to report broken links? I mentioned them above, but maybe Lucky doesn’t check his old posts.

    Thanks …

  11. Why would anymore want to pay either $100 or $200 to access a lounge for a maximum of two hours while waiting for your flight?? How much can someone eat and drink in that space of time??

  12. Emirates provide a free hotel stay to F J & Y if they have a forced stopover of more than 6 hours for F & J and 8 hours for Y if there isn’t a connecting flight earlier where they transport you to a nearby hotel, which I think they are the only ones that use it as you can’t book it online, provide you with a decent enough room and you get vouchers for meals appropriate to the time of day you are there. Given the lounge is limited to 4 hour stay for the price I don’t think too many Y would pay $200 per couple for 4 hours when they can get a proper rest at a hotel nearby. I think there are also other lounges at the airport where you can purchase entry for a much lower price..

  13. You can now buy access at EK’s lounges worldwide (with the exception of some locations), not just DXB.

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