Wide-open biz awards on NYC’s latest Star Alliance Dreamliner flight
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Airfare deals are typically only available on limited dates. We recommend you use Google Flights to find dates to fly, then book through an online travel agency such as Orbitz or Expedia, which allows you to cancel flights without penalty by 11pm Eastern Time within one day of booking. However, if you’re using The Platinum Card® from American Express, you’ll need to book directly with the airline or through the Amex Travel portal to get 5x MR points (on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year). Remember: Fares may disappear quickly, so book right away and take advantage of Orbitz or Expedia’s courtesy cancellation if you’re unable to get the time away from work or family.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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 photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.
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