Fly to London, Tel Aviv, Tokyo and other cities with unprecedented United Polaris award availability
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
The coronavirus has caused demand for travel to basically evaporate. Though now’s not the time to travel, we at TPG definitely encourage you to starting planning your next vacation for sometime later this year into next.
Fortunately, United’s made trip planning really easy since the carrier has released an unprecedented number of saver award seats for some of its most popular routes in Polaris business class. When we crunched the numbers last month, we found a nearly 1,400% jump in business-class award availability on United. And that still holds true today.
Redeeming points for United Polaris represents a fantastic value, so let’s dive into some of the award space we’re seeing.
United’s nonstop to London
Fancy a visit to the queen? Well, you can get there in style — and on points — with all the United award space we’re seeing.
Let’s look at Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) to London-Heathrow (LHR). There’s just three days in 2021 that doesn’t have Polaris availability for four passengers. Many dates have up to nine seats if you’re looking to bring the extended family!
It’s typically very hard to get from the west coast to Europe in business class on points. But, that’s not the case for the rest of 2020 into the first three months of 2021.
All the dotted lines above indicate dates that have Polaris award availability for nine from Los Angeles (LAX) to London-Heathrow (LHR). You’ll note that there’s just two dates in 2021 that don’t have space.
United’s nonstop to Tel Aviv
Newark (EWR) to Tel Aviv (TLV) is one of United’s most flagship routes, and one that I fly with quite a bit of frequency. Scoring award or upgrade space on these flights is like finding a needle in a haystack. But now, that’s totally changed.
From Jan. to March 2021, there’s only a handful of dates that don’t have Polaris award space for four passengers. That’s right — almost every single date that’s bookable in 2021 is available as an award for an entire family!
Take a look at the calendars above. Every date that has a dotted line indicates Polaris availability for at least four passengers.
Plus, this insane amount of award availability isn’t limited to just Newark to Tel Aviv. It’s also available in the reverse direction — and on United’s other flights to Israel to/from San Francisco (SFO) and Washington-Dulles (IAD). Though we searched for four passengers, many of these flights actually have space for up to nine passengers!
We’re even seeing these trends beginning in August 2020, though that may be too soon to begin traveling internationally.
United’s nonstop to Tokyo
What about Asia? Well, United’s got you covered there too. There’s still a ton of Polaris award availability, though it’s a bit less than to Europe and Israel.
The dotted lines above indicate dates that have Polaris awards for two passengers from San Francisco to either Tokyo-Haneda (HND) or Tokyo-Narita (NRT). We’re also seeing similar trends to Asia from other United hubs as well.
How to redeem miles for United flights
As a member of Star Alliance, you can book United awards with quite a few partner programs. I’ll list the best options below and their associated credit card transfer partners, and then discuss why now’s actually a good time to book with United directly.
- Air Canada Aeroplan — transferable from American Express Membership Rewards and Capital One Miles
- Avianca Lifemiles — transferable from American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One Miles and Citi ThankYou Rewards
- Singapore KrisFlyer — transferable from American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One Miles, Citi ThankYou Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards
- Turkish Miles & Smiles — transferable from Citi ThankYou Rewards
Why booking through United MileagePlus makes sense
Though you could transfer credit card points to any of the above programs, it makes sense to redeem through United MileagePlus, especially if you’re booking flights in 2020.
Taking a look at calendars above. You’ll see that there’s even more award space available if you carry a United card!
Another reason to book with United is because the carrier is waiving all redeposit fees for award ticket cancellations made more than 30 days before departure for the remainder of this year. That means that you can lock in the award space now and then cancel it later on for a full refund if it’s still unsafe to travel.
Finally, booking with United may allow you to utilize the carrier’s Excursionist Perk to effectively add a stopover. For example, if you wanted to visit Europe in February, you could include time in both London and another European city. By booking a multi-city trip — with time in both London and, say, Frankfurt before returning to the U.S. — the intra-Europe flight prices at 0 miles.
As you can from the above example, you’d enjoy two, long-haul flights in United business class and a free flight within Europe for 120,000 miles and less than $200 in taxes and fees — and these screen shots show availability for four passengers.
As you’re looking to plan travel for the end of 2020 and into 2021, there’s no better place to search than with United. We’re seeing unprecedented amounts of Polaris award availability on some of the carrier’s flagship routes. Plus, with the ability to redeposit awards for the remainder of 2020 without a fee, there’s no better time to lock-in your award.
All award space available at time of publishing. All photos by the author.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees