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Update: Austrian has since confirmed that it will launch nonstop service from LAX to Vienna on its 777-200, and availability is fantastic in both economy and business class. Award seats are available nearly every day beginning April 10, 2017, with at least six seats open in both cabins.
United MileagePlus members generally have some pretty decent award options to Europe, even in peak season (thanks to generous availability on Lufthansa and now Turkish), but it’s very rare that we see anything quite like this.
You can currently book business-class award seats to Vienna on all of Austrian’s nonstop flights to and from the US. And we’re not talking just one or two seats — there are eight or more award seats available on nearly all of the airline’s flights from New York (and Newark), Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Miami. Awards are available from today all the way through the end of the schedule on July 21, 2017, so this is also a great opportunity to score award flights for travel next summer. There’s great availability for return flights as well.
Thanks to United’s generous stopover rules, you can book a round-trip flight from the US to Europe that includes a stopover for the same price. So you can fly from Miami to Vienna, spend a week in Austria, then fly from Vienna to Paris and spend a week there before returning home to the US. This will also be available as part of United’s “Excursionist Perk,” launching on October 6, 2016.
Here are some examples of what you can book (note, all flights have availability for 8+ passengers):
New York (JFK and Newark) to Vienna for 8 passengers in business class:
Chicago to Vienna for 8 passengers in business class:
Washington, D.C. to Vienna for 8 passengers in business class:
Miami to Vienna for 8 passengers in business class:
Miami to Vienna for 8 passengers round-trip in business class:
Availability like this certainly won’t last, so if you think you might be able to travel, book now and take advantage of United’s 24-hour cancelation policy. You can book these flights for 70,000 United miles or 55,000 Aeroplan miles each way, but note that Aeroplan adds significant fuel surcharges to these awards (while United does not). Austrian’s business class offers aisle access for all seats on the 767, and most seats on the 777. There are economy awards available on these dates as well, priced at 30,000 miles each way.
If you need more United miles, you can transfer Ultimate Rewards points instantly earned with a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Or, you can transfer Membership Rewards points to Aeroplan instantly, earned with cards like American Express Platinum and Premier Rewards Gold.
H/T: One Mile at a Time
Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
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- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards