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Deal Alert: Fly United's new routes to Europe with wide-open business class award space

Oct. 14, 2021
7 min read
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For those looking to fly business class across the Pond — with miles, of course — award availability is wide open on many of United's newly announced routes. This even includes peak summer 2022 travel when finding award availability — especially in business cabins — is typically sparse. And if you are looking to travel with family members or friends, many routes even have multiple seats available.

Here's what you should be looking for.

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The deal

Airline: United Airlines
Routes: EWR-PDL, EWR-BGO, ORD-MXP, DEN-MUC, IAD-BER
Cost: 120,000 United MileagePlus miles roundtrip and around $52 to $130 in taxes and fees
Dates: Starting May 2022
Pay with: The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x on airfare booked directly with the airline or through Amex Travel, on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year), Citi Premier® Card (3x on air travel ), Chase Sapphire Reserve (3x on travel), American Express® Gold Card (3x on airfare when booked directly with the airline or through Amex Travel) or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on travel).

Open award space on United's newest European routes

(Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

Here's a look at award space on five of United's newly announced routes to Europe. Note that the award space shown here isn't exhaustive and you may find seats on other dates as well. Further, the award space shown below is for one passenger but many dates have space for 2 or more passengers.

Newark (EWR) to Bergen (BGO) for 120,000 United miles round-trip

United's newly announced nonstop route from Newark to Bergen marks the resumption of service between the U.S. and Norway's second-largest city. The route starts May 20, 2022, and will be operated three times per week by a Boeing 757-200, with 16 lie-flat business-class seats (just note that these aren't the airline's flagship Polaris ones).

(Screenshot courtesy of United.com)

Newark (EWR) to Ponta Delgada (PDL) for 120,000 United miles round-trip

There are very limited options to fly to the Azores, but starting May 13, 2022, you'll be able to fly from non-stop Newark to Ponta Delgada, Portugal on a Boeing 737 MAX 8. Unfortunately, this means there are no lie-flat seats offered in business class -- these will just be recliners.

(Screenshot courtesy of United.com)

Chicago (ORD) to Milan (MXP) for 120,000 United miles round-trip

Even though this route starts May 6, 2022, we aren't seeing business-class availability until July, when there's award space daily.

(Screenshot courtesy of United.com)

Denver (DEN) to Munich (MUC) for 120,000 United miles round-trip

If you want to beat the summer rush, you can fly from Denver to Munich as early as April 23, 2022. On many of these days, as many as five business-class award seats are available. This route will be operated by a Boeing 787-9.

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(Screenshot courtesy of United.com)

Washington-Dulles (IAD) to Berlin (BER) for 120,000 United miles round-trip

Starting May 6, 2022, you can fly from Washington-Dulles to Berlin on a Boeing 767-400ER. Some dates have as many as four business-class award seats available.

(Screenshot courtesy of United.com)

How to book

If you are looking to use your United miles, there are no special tricks or special codes needed to find these fares. You'll just go straight to the United website, plug in your desired cities and dates and search for availability. If you find availability that works, you can either just book, or top up your MileagePlus account by transferring points from your Chase Ultimate Rewards account and then book the ticket accordingly.

And remember, many flights can now be canceled or changed for no fee when using award miles.

Using partner airlines to book

Instead of using United miles to book your flight, you can also use partner airlines' miles to book a United-operated flight.

For example, Aeroplan is a United partner, where they have a fixed redemption chart for flying partner airlines. Depending on the distance of the specific flight you book, expect to pay 60,000 to 70,000 Aeroplan points for United business class one-way between the U.S. and Europe. If you want to add a stopover, you can do so for just 5,000 more points. For a round-trip itinerary, you can add up to two stopovers.

The other advantage is that Capital One is a transfer partner to Aeroplan — but not United — so you can transfer your Capital One miles to Aeroplan at a 1:1 ratio and then book a United-operated flight from your Aeroplan account (note: Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer to Aeroplan on a 1:1 basis, too). This is helpful if you have a stash of points earned from the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.

Avianca LifeMiles is another United partner, where you can transfer points into your LifeMiles account from American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One and Citi ThankYou Rewards at a 1:1 ratio.

Related: How (and when) to book United awards through partners

Maximize your purchase

Don’t forget to use a card that earns additional points on airfare purchases, such as The Platinum Card from American Express (5x on airfare booked directly with the airline or through Amex Travel, on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year), Citi Premier Card (3x on air travel), Chase Sapphire Reserve (3x on travel), American Express Gold Card (3x on airfare when booked directly with the airline or through Amex Travel) or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on travel).

Featured image by (Photo by Zach Griff/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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TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
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.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    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.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023