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United’s once again offering fantastic business-class award availability on its nonstop flight from San Francisco to Auckland, with nine or more seats open for redemption on a handful of dates next summer. These flights are operated by the airline’s 787-9 with its most up-to-date business-class seat — however, it won’t be United’s latest and greatest by the time you travel in 2017. Still, this is an excellent opportunity to fly your family and friends to New Zealand in comfort on the cheap.

To search, head to and enter your origin (SFO) and destination (AKL), select your dates (availability runs throughout July and August) and check the box for an award ticket search. You can search for up to eight seats at a time, but there are nine or more available on some dates (more on that below).

Here’s what we’re seeing from San Francisco to Auckland for eight passengers (….. dates have business class saver awards, while — dates have economy saver awards):

Screen Shot 2016-09-20 at 11.22.29 AM

And here’s for two:

Screen Shot 2016-09-20 at 11.23.22 AM

Then, for the return, here’s for eight passengers from Auckland to San Francisco:

Screen Shot 2016-09-20 at 11.24.49 AM

And even better availability if you’re searching for just two seats:

Screen Shot 2016-09-20 at 11.24.16 AM

If you turn on United’s Expert Mode and perform a revenue ticket search, you can see if there are even more seats available.

If you’re an elite member you’ll be able to book “IN” inventory, while everyone else can access “I.” Meanwhile, if you’re an elite or United MileagePlus Explorer Card cardholder you can book “XN” economy award space, while other MileagePlus members can only access “X” inventory — while business class is only available on some dates, economy awards are wide open throughout the summer. As you can see, “R” instant upgrade seats are wide open as well, which is the norm when business-class awards are available to book.

Screen Shot 2016-09-20 at 11.21.21 AM

If you’re interested in booking these awards, you’ll get the best deal with United miles — 70,000 each way for BusinessFirst, or 40,000 miles for economy. Taxes and fees are less than $75 round-trip. Don’t forget that you can transfer points instantly from Chase Ultimate Rewards, earned with cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred, making it possible to snag these awards even if you don’t have enough miles in your United account.

H/T: View from the Wing

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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.

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More Things to Know
  • 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®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
16.49% - 23.49% Variable
Annual Fee
Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

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