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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.
Last month, we saw great availability on United metal to European destinations from the airline’s hubs in Chicago (ORD) and Newark (EWR). Now, we’re seeing solid availability on UA partner Aer Lingus on flights from its West Coast gateways in Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO) as well as Chicago (ORD) to Dublin (DUB). One-way tickets can be had for 70,000 United miles — note, too, that United won’t charge you any more miles to connect to a destination beyond Dublin, as long as you’re not traveling beyond Europe.
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 Los Angeles to Dublin, spend a week in Ireland, then fly from Dublin to Paris and spend a week there before returning home to the US. While stopovers are no longer permitted in the traditional sense, this type of routing is possible 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 Dublin (DUB) for 2 passengers in business class:
Los Angeles (LAX) to Dublin (DUB) for 2 passengers in business class:
Note that you’ll also find plenty of availability on Ethiopian’s fifth-freedom route between LAX and DUB, but Aer Lingus’ business-class product is far superior.
San Francisco (SFO) to Dublin (DUB) for 2 passengers in business class:
We selected the option to only display nonstop flights, but in some instances United’s site also returned itineraries that included stops.
San Francisco (SFO) to Paris (CDG) for 2 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. If you’re short on United miles, you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points, earned with cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
You can also book using British Airways Avios. There’s currently a promotion going on that gives you a 35% bonus when you transfer hotel points to BA, so booking these awards would cost you only 46,000 Starpoints, due to the 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 Starpoints transferred and the 35% promo bonus. Note, however, that it’ll take about five days for your Starpoints to transfer to BA.
Aer Lingus has a great-looking business-class product on board its A330s, and is rated as one of TPG’s top ways of flying to Europe in a premium cabin. The seats are arranged in a staggered 1-2-1 front-facing layout with all-aisle access. Each seat is 22 inches wide and has a full recline length of 78 inches, plus a 16-inch IFE screen as well.
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