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Wide-open biz awards on NYC's latest Star Alliance Dreamliner flight

Feb. 03, 2021
4 min read
LOT 787-9 Dreamliner Business Class Review
Wide-open biz awards on NYC's latest Star Alliance Dreamliner flight
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Come May 2, 2021, New York-JFK will have a new 787 Dreamliner flight, with Star Alliance member LOT Polish Airlines re-launching nonstop service to Krakow, Poland.

The carrier last offered regular service between the two airports in the summer of 2008, according to information from data and analytics firm Cirium. LOT also offers regular service between Krakow (KRK) and Chicago O'Hare (ORD).

As Routes Online notes, LOT's latest long-haul flight is available to book through Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021 (with the final return on Oct. 25), though the schedule is of course subject to change, especially given the uncertainty around demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.

There's great news on the award front, though — LOT is currently offering economy and business-class awards to Star Alliance partners on almost every single date the airline plans to fly.

Screenshot courtesy of United.

I was able to quickly pull up award seats on United's website — economy seats are bookable for 33,000 miles, while business class is consistently available for 77,000 MileagePlus miles each way. I flew LOT's Dreamliner business class in 2018 — while the seats aren't especially private, they do lie-flat, and I had a very good flight, overall.

Screenshot courtesy of United.

The once-weekly flight departs New York City on Sunday night — you'll arrive Monday morning, missing out on an extra weekend in Europe. While the flight is timed well for business travelers, it isn't ideal for someone looking to maximize their time off across the pond.

Instead, I might consider piecing together a road trip through Poland. Warsaw, Lodz, Wroclaw and Krakow all have points hotels, for example, and you can book Hilton stays at award rates ranging from 10,000 to 30,000 Honors points (worth $60-$180) per night.

Screenshot courtesy of Google.

The flight times are much more reasonable, too. LOT flies at least once a day between the New York City area and Warsaw, so you can work two full weekends into your trip, returning home on the new Krakow nonstop on a Monday.

Screenshot courtesy of United.

Or, you can piece together a multi-country Europe trip using United's "Excursionist Perk." For example — you can fly United business class from Newark (EWR) to Munich (MUC), spend a few days in Munich then fly Lufthansa on to Prague (PRG) and drive through the Czech Republic and perhaps Slovakia en-route to Krakow for your LOT flight home.

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Screenshot courtesy of United.

That trip, entirely in business class, will cost you 137,000 MileagePlus miles — with the Excursionist Perk, for the flight within Europe, you're only responsible for the taxes and fees.

You might also consider booking awards via another Star Alliance carrier, given that United's rates aren't especially competitive. Air Canada's recently relaunched Aeroplan requires 70,000 miles for the same one-way biz award, for example:

Screenshot courtesy of Air Canada.

Personally, I still recommend booking through United MileagePlus, even if you don't plan to use the Excursionist Perk. If award flights end up getting canceled — as is a possibility here, given uncertain demand during the pandemic — United has been known to open up availability on its own flights, making it likely that you'd be able to move to a one-stop flight through another city in Europe, including a United Polaris flight across the Atlantic.

While LOT's cabin is a bit outdated, business-class flyers get a lie-flat seat. (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

If you're flying economy, meanwhile, you might even want to book with cash. The airline is charging just $273 for a one-way flight between JFK and Krakow at the moment, or $498 for a round-trip. Business-class flyers will be better off redeeming miles, though — currently, both one-way flights and round-trip bookings cost about $3,400, a hefty price to pay for a lie-flat on LOT.

Featured image by (Photo by Zach Honig/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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  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
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Best premium travel card for value
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 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
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  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

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  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • 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
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Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more