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[No longer available] United business-class award space to New Zealand and beyond for 60,000 miles

April 20 2022
6 min read
United Airlines Polaris business class on a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
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Update 4/21/22: This deal is no longer available. Congratulations to anyone who was able to take advantage!

As New Zealand will be opening to vaccinated tourists from the U.S. on May 1, now is an exciting time to be planning a trip to Middle Earth.

Right now, United is offering flights to cities throughout New Zealand for 60,000 miles one-way in business class with widespread availability. Of all the destinations, Wellington has the most availability.

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But this isn't just a sale to New Zealand. You can also find open award space at that same 60,000-mile price to other really interesting destinations throughout Asia, Europe and the South Pacific, including Athens, Greece; Dubai; and the Maldives, according to Dan's Deals and our own searches.

Note that, at least for now, this deal is specifically for those who already have a large United MileagePlus balance.

The award space is not available through partner airlines and Chase Ultimate Rewards is currently experiencing issues with point transfers both online and over the phone.

Let's take a closer look at this award space.

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Deal basics

United Polaris lounge at San Francisco International Airport (SFO). (Photo by Kyle Olsen/The Points Guy)

Airline: United Airlines.
Routes: Many U.S. cities to New Zealand (Christchurch, Queenstown and Wellington) and various cities across Asia and Europe.
How to book: Search and book on united.com.
Price: 60,000 miles plus about $50 in taxes and fees one-way.
Travel dates: May 2022-March 2023.

Related: How to get to (and stay in) New Zealand on points and miles

Sample flights

Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to Wellington International Airport (WLG)

(Screenshot from united.com)

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Christchurch International Airport (CHC)

(Screenshot from united.com)

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Queenstown Airport (ZQN)

(Screenshot from united.com)

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) to Dubai International Airport (DXB)

(Screenshot from united.com)

Chicago's O'Hare International Airport (ORD) to Velana International Airport (MLE) in the Maldives

(Screenshot from united.com)

Washington, D.C.'s Dulles International Airport (IAD) to Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK)

(Screenshot from united.com)

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) to Athens International Airport (ATH)

(Screenshot from united.com)

As you can likely tell from the examples, these 60,000-mile deals typically involve a connection on a partner airline, so may not be the most direct routing in some cases. Also note that the partner segments may be in economy on some of the itineraries, which likely isn't a big deal for the shorter segments but it is something to be aware of. In the case of the Maldives example above, the segment from Istanbul to Male that is displayed in economy is an eight-hour flight.

Additionally, while many of the New Zealand flights connect through Sydney, you, unfortunately, won't be able to snag a one-way from the U.S. to Sydney for 60,000 United miles.

One-way flights from the U.S. to Sydney start at 92,500 miles in business class if the miles are coming from a Premier Platinum or Premier 1K member or 200,000 miles if the miles are coming from a non-Platinum/1K account. And even if you're a Platinum or 1K member, the 92,500-mile award space (in the IN fare class) is extremely limited.

There are fantastic booking opportunities for long-haul travel in business class; just be sure you are paying attention to each segment to be sure that routing works for you.

How to top off your United MileagePlus account

(Photo by Kyle Olsen/The Points Guy)

If you're short on United miles, you have several options to top off your account. Given that timing is of the essence, I will obviously exclude MileagePlus cobranded Chase credit cards because it takes time to earn and receive your sign-up bonus. (Though it's a good idea to earn some miles so you are ready for a future booking opportunity.)

Here are some ways that you can build up your MileagePlus balance a bit faster:

  1. Buy MileagePlus miles with a bonus available through April 30. More information here.
  2. Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to MileagePlus at a 1:1 ratio. Transfers are usually instant but several TPG staffers reported issues transferring points Wednesday morning, so keep checking back if you need to go this route.
  3. Transfer Marriott Bonvoy points to United MileagePlus at a 3:1.1 ratio, though this can take three days based on our experiences so there's no guarantee availability will still be present at the current rates.

Related: The best credit cards for United Airlines flyers

Maximize your purchase

When paying the taxes and fees on your award ticket, be sure to use a credit card that earns additional points on airfare and offers travel protection in case anything goes wrong.

Cards that fit the bill include The Platinum Card® from American Express, Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.

Bottom line

Although you can't use this 60,000-mile business-class deal to go to Sydney as a final destination (even though you'll be transiting through the airport), we're thrilled to see United offer these well-priced business-class award tickets to a variety of cities around the globe. This deal is sweetened because United doesn't have fuel surcharges, so you'll only need to pay around $50 or less in taxes and fees for most of these bookings.

If you're booking a round-trip or multicity award flight, consider using the Excursionist Perk to get a "free" flight so that you can visit multiple places on one ticket.

Most importantly, book now and figure the rest out later. These 60,000-mile business-class seats won't last long.

Featured photo by United Airlines Polaris business class on a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (Photo by Kyle Olsen/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

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    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

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    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

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  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping
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  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees