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On Jan. 7, 2019, United will begin flying its first Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner on the Newark (EWR)-Los Angeles (LAX) route. With no upgrade or saver award space, business-class seats on this very first flight did not go cheap — still, they’re almost completely sold out.

The inaugural is scheduled to depart LAX at 8:15am on Jan. 7, arriving in Newark at 4:19pm — if you don’t mind ponying up the cash or miles, you can still book a lie-flat seat for the princely sum of $3,151 or 60,000 miles for the one-way flight.

Alternatively, you can travel onward from Newark and save quite a bit — adding a segment from Newark to San Juan (SJU) brings the total cost down to a more manageable $1,868 — but you should only do that if you actually plan on taking the flight.

Another option is to bid miles for United’s MileagePlus Exclusives auction — currently, bidding has reached 468,000 miles, worth a whopping $6,550 based on TPG’s valuations.

Winners will get to travel in business class on United
Winners will get to travel in business class on United’s first 787-10. Photo by Zach Honig.

The package includes the following:

  • Two round-trip tickets in United business class (worth up to 240,000 miles)
  • Access to the United Private Suite at LAX, with private security screening, food and drinks and a BMW ride to the plane (worth up to $700 round-trip)
  • Two-night hotel stay in NYC (worth up to $1,000)
  • $200 toward dinner at Classified
  • $200 ground transportation allowance

Subtracting the 240,000 miles you’d otherwise need to redeem for these round-trip flights, the net package cost is 228,000 miles for $2,100 worth of perks, although it’s difficult to calculate the exact value of the two-night stay in NYC. Assuming a generous value of $1,000 for the hotel, that’s not a fantastic return, even if you’re able to utilize the United Private Suite on both departure and arrival at LAX.

While you can still bid until 1pm ET on Wednesday, I’d rather scoop up those remaining award seats for 60,000 apiece, and book a hotel stay — and perhaps even a visit to the Private Suite — separately.

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