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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 summer availability on other carriers can be difficult to come by.
Earlier this month, we wrote about wide-open award availability in business class to Europe on Star Alliance partner Austrian Airlines. Now we’re seeing some decent availability on United’s own metal from both Chicago O’Hare (ORD) and Newark (EWR) to select European cities. While United’s current (non-Polaris) business-class seat isn’t as desirable as Austrian’s or other Star Alliance partners, the airline charges just 57,500 miles each way for a ticket in business class versus 70,000 miles each way on partners. We’re seeing availability mostly in July and August during the peak travel season to Europe. Even better, each example city pair has availability for 4 seats, so you can treat the whole family to the business-class experience.
When traveling on United awards, 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 Chicago to Brussels, spend a week in Belgium, then fly from Brussels to Paris and spend a week there before returning to the US. This is available as part of United’s “Excursionist Perk,” which launched on October 6, 2016.
Here are some examples of what you can book:
Chicago (ORD) to Brussels (BRU) for 4 passengers in business class:
Chicago (ORD) to Dublin (DUB) for 4 passengers in business class:
Newark (EWR) to Paris (CDG) for 4 passengers in business class:
Newark (EWR) to Amsterdam (AMS) for 4 passengers in business class:
Availability like this almost 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. In addition to booking these flights for 57,500 United miles each way, you could also use 55,000 Aeroplan miles. Note that for some of these flights you can also book economy awards for 30,000 miles each way, if you don’t mind flying in coach.
If you need more United miles, you can transfer Ultimate Rewards points instantly earned with a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Or, you can transfer Membership Rewards points to Aeroplan instantly, earned with cards like The Platinum Card from American Express.
Know before you go.
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