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United Airlines is about to resume its longest flight — for now

Nov. 17, 2021
3 min read
United Airlines is about to resume its longest flight — for now
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Editor's Note

This post has been updated to reflect where United's Singapore-San Francisco route compares to two other long-haul United routes that are not currently operating.

United's longest route is making a comeback in the new year.

The carrier's flight from San Francisco (SFO) to Singapore (SIN) is set to resume four times a week effective Jan. 5. The 8,500-mile journey will be operated using a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner featuring the airline's latest Polaris business class seat and its premium economy product, Premium Plus.

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United's 787-9 features the airline's latest Polaris business class seat. (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

The westbound flight, United Flight 1, will depart SFO at 10:30 p.m. and arrive two days later in Singapore at 7:40 a.m., a 17-hour and 25-minute trip across the Pacific Ocean. The eastbound return flight, United Flight 2, departs Singapore at 10:10 a.m. and arrives in San Francisco at 8:50 a.m., a significantly faster 14 hours and 35 minutes — due to tailwinds.

The route debuted in 2016, and was included in an early wave of COVID-19-related route suspensions that United announced at the beginning of March 2020.

For now, it’ll take the spot as the longest in all of United’s network – taking back the title from the Houston-Sydney route that the carrier launched just in 2018. However, that route was pulled down at the beginning of the pandemic – and the prospects for its return are thought to be shaky, at best. But even that could be short-lived. United's planned San Francisco-Bangalore route will be even longer if it begins as currently planned on May 26. That route was originally slated to begin in the summer of 2021, but has been postponed because of the pandemic.

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As for the relaunched Singapore service, these flights will operate in accordance with the Singapore government's Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) program, which allows travelers to avoid quarantine upon arrival. Before booking, know that these VTL requirements are quite stringent.

More: When will international travel return? A country-by-country guide to coronavirus recovery

Proof of vaccination is required, and not just a CDC vaccination record card. Americans must produce either a digital SMART Health Card linked to their vaccination record, a digital vaccination record retrieved through a state or local public health database or the physical vaccination records and a letter from the vaccination provider attesting to vaccination status. A series of PCR tests are also required: one taken with two days of departure, and another taken on arrival at Singapore. Finally, travelers must present proof of a health insurance policy that is valid for the duration of their stay in Singapore and covers a minimum of SGD $30,000.

Redeeming MileagePlus miles for a Polaris seat on this route will run you 180,000 miles and $5.60 in taxes and fees, round trip. TPG currently values MileagePlus miles at 1.3 cents/mile, and with the equivalent cash fares as high as $5,000, this represents an excellent redemption. A Polaris ticket also gains you access to the Polaris Lounge in San Francisco, which is set to reopen early in 2022.

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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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
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10XEarn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel partner site
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    Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel

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    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.

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Why We Chose It

The revamped Wander Card from Credit One Bank earns cardmembers up to 10 points per dollar spent on eligible travel purchases. With no foreign transaction fees, the card is also great for international travel. However, points earned from this card can only be used at a fixed value, so it may not be the best option for those striving to get maximum value from their rewards.

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Cons

  • While cardholders can earn a significant amount of points on travel purchases, there isn't any way to redeem points from the Wander Card for maximum value (beyond 1 cent per point).
  • Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel
  • Earn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel site
  • Earn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
  • Earn 1x points on all other purchases
  • Redeem your reward points for statement credits, gift cards, merchandise, flights, hotels, and more
  • With $0 Fraud Liability, you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Free Online Credit Score and Credit Report summary, terms apply
  • If you are a Covered Borrower under the Military Lending Act, you may get a different offer
  • See Rates & Fees