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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.

(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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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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  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
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  • 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.
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  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees