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Best Ways To Book United Business Class Using Points [Step-by-Step]

United Polaris Seat

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The last few years have been tough for United Airlines. Beyond the controversial exit of a CEO and multiple failures of their online platform, United’s business class product has received lower marks than some competitors.

Now, United is in the process of phasing out their Global First product and upgrading their business class cabin. Their new Polaris business class product is much better than what was previously offered; the sooner more of United’s aircraft are outfitted with Polaris, the better!

When you consider that United’s first class product has been lacking, moving to a nice business class product could be a welcome improvement in value.

Let’s dig into how you can book a flight on United in their new Polaris business class.

A Look Inside United Airlines Business Class

United Polaris Cabin
United’s new Polaris seats are all lie-flat with direct aisle access. Image courtesy of houstonchronicle.com.

For years, United’s business class product has been considered subpar. With the launch of their new Polaris business class product, though, their reputation is changing for the better. Currently, the only flights with the new Polaris seat are operated on the Boeing 777-300ER (also known as the 77W).

Unlike United’s old business class product, all Polaris seats are lie-flat with direct aisle access to make your long flight more comfortable. If you are traveling alone, odd numbered seats by the windows will give you the most privacy. If you are traveling with someone, even numbered seats in the middle section are your best bet.

United Polaris Lounge
United is stepping up their game with the Polaris lounge. Image courtesy of united.com.

United is also revamping their business class lounge experience by introducing Polaris lounges. If you aren’t departing from a location with a Polaris lounge, you can still access United clubs and other Star Alliance business class lounges.

Unfortunately, cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express do not offer entry to any of these premium lounges. However, the Chase United MileagePlus® Club Card and the Chase United MileagePlus® Club Business Card do provide access to Polaris lounges.

How To Fly United Airlines Business Class Using Points

Star Alliance has 27 member airlines, which means there are plenty of programs you can use to book a United flight.

United Airlines MileagePlus

One of the easiest ways to book a United flight is through their own MileagePlus program. It’s a simple process using their online award booking platform.

United Award Chart
United’s own MileagePlus program can provide some good redemptions for business class.

You can book your flight online by following these steps:

  1. Visit United’s website
  2. Sign in to your account
  3. Select “Search for award travel”
  4. Select your travel dates and your desired route
  5. Select your cabin of choice
  6. Select your flight (make sure it is operated by United!)
  7. Review your flight choice

You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards at a 1:1 ratio if you need more United miles for an award booking. Transferring SPG Starpoints to United is a terrible value since 1 SPG Starpoint only gets you 0.5 United miles. Don’t waste your SPG Starpoints on United!

Make sure you confirm award availability on United’s site before you transfer Ultimate Rewards.

If you’re looking for some other fun ways to travel, check out our article on the best way to redeem United miles.

Air Canada Aeroplan

Before you jump in and use United miles to book business class, check out Air Canada’s Aeroplan program. You might find it provides a better deal.

Aeroplan Award Chart
If you have Amex Membership Rewards points, Aeroplan could be your ticket to business class.

The booking process is simple and can be done online. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  1. Visit Aeroplan’s site
  2. Log into your Aeroplan account (you’ll need your account number)
  3. Under “Use Your Miles” select “Travel”
  4. Select your travel dates, cities, and class of service
  5. Select your flight and complete your booking

Aeroplan passes on carrier-imposed surcharges for many partner award bookings. Luckily, United is exempt from this so your out-of-pocket cost will be more reasonable.

If you are short on Aeroplan miles, you can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points at a 1:1 ratio. Transfers are almost instant.

You could also transfer SPG Starpoints at a 1:1 ratio, but these transfers can take 5 days to complete.

Asiana Club

Finally, while it may not be the most well-known program, Asiana Club can be a great way to book United business class.

Asiana-Airlines-Award-Chart
Asiana Club provides a great redemption option to Europe.

To book a United flight, you will need to call Asiana since they do not allow partner bookings online. Here’s how it works:

  1. Search for availability using United’s site (see above for the steps)
  2. Call Asiana at 1-800-227-4262
    • The U.S. call center is open between 8:30am-5:30 pm PT (Monday-Friday)
  3. Tell the phone representative you’d like to book an award with their Star Alliance partner United
  4. Provide your travel dates and flight numbers
  5. Once you confirm space, you will be prompted to give your credit card for any necessary taxes and fees

SPG Starpoints also transfer to Asiana Club at a 1:1 ratio. Transfers can take up to 10 days, so there is a chance your desired flights won’t be available once the points transfer.

Other Options for Booking United Airlines

You can also book business class flights on United with ANA Mileage Club, Singapore KrisFlyer, or Avianca LifeMiles.

Great United Airlines Business Class Redemptions

While your first instinct might be to use United MileagePlus miles to book business class flights on United, that might not always give you the best deal. Let’s look at some of the best options for booking different routes.

Asiana Club and United have very similar redemption rates if you want to fly from the west coast to Hong Kong.

San Francisco to Hong Kong (one-way)
United MileagePlus70,000 miles
Air Canada Aeroplan75,000 miles
Asiana Club67,500 miles

However, Asiana Club sets itself apart if you want to book business class from the east coast to Tel Aviv.

Newark to Tel Aviv (one-way)
United MileagePlus70,000 miles
Air Canada Aeroplan82,5000 miles
Asiana Club60,000 miles

While Aeroplan might not provide the best redemption rates compared to the United and Asiana, it’s a great program to use if you have lots of Amex Membership Rewards points.

We’ll keep an eye out as United adds more routes with the new Polaris product.

How To Earn Enough Miles for United Business Class

To top off your United MileagePlus account, you can transfer points from cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards or cards that earn United miles directly.

Loyalty ProgramCredit Card
Chase Ultimate Rewards Program ReviewChase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ Card
Chase Freedom®
Chase Freedom Unlimited℠
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
Chase Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card
United Airlines MileagePlus Frequent Flyer ProgramUnited MileagePlus® Explorer Card
Chase United MileagePlus® Club Card
United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card
Chase United MileagePlus® Club Business Card

If you need more Aeroplan miles, you have plenty of cards to choose from that earn Membership Rewards points.

Loyalty ProgramCredit Card
American Express Membership Rewards Loyalty ProgramThe Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express
The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN
Gold Card from American Express
Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
American Express® Green Card
Business Green Rewards Card from American Express OPEN
The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN
Blue from American Express®
The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express
Mercedes-Benz Credit Card from American Express (review coming soon)

Finally, if you need to earn some Asiana miles, SPG Starpoints are the way to go.

Loyalty ProgramCredit Card
Starwood Preferred Guest Loyalty ProgramStarwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
 Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express

When Should You Search for Award Space?

United releases award space 338 days prior to the day of departure. As business class space can be tough to find on flights with the new Polaris product, it’s best to start your search early and check back regularly if space is not immediately available.

What Makes This a Great Redemption?

While this isn’t a luxury experience, a comfortable seat on your long-haul flight might be all you need. Additionally, you’ll have a solid experience on the ground.

Polaris Lounge

United Polaris Lounge Bar
Wait for your flight with a fine cocktail and something to eat. Image courtesy of usatoday.com.

United has already launched the new Polaris lounge at Chicago-O’Hare. They are expected to open 8 more locations in the next few years at Houston International, Los Angeles International, New York-Newark, San Francisco, Washington-Dulles, Hong Kong, London-Heathrow, and Tokyo-Narita.

From the choice of food at the buffet to the bar with an extensive selection of beer, wine, and spirits, the Polaris lounges are getting great reviews so far.

Arrivals Lounges

As a business class passenger, you have access to United’s Arrivals Lounge in both San Francisco and London-Heathrow. Even with the new Polaris seat on the Hong Kong-San Francisco route, it’s a very long flight and you might like a shower before a day of tourist activities or a business meeting.

Final Thoughts

United is in the midst of a big shift with their business class in-flight and lounge offerings. While many business class flights do not have the new Polaris seat and only one Polaris lounge has opened, we look forward to these improvements being expanded.

With only 2 routes operating the new Boeing 777-300ER with the new Polaris product, award space won’t always be easy to find, but the experience will be much better if you can find it!

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FAQ

What’s the best way to book business class on United Airlines?
United’s own Mileage Plus program is a great way to book. Asiana Club often has the cheapest redmeption rate. Don’t forget about Aeroplan or one of several other Star Alliance programs.

What credit cards can help me earn miles to fly United Airlines business class?
There are several credit cards you can use to earn the miles and points necessary to fly business class on United.

First, you need to decide which program you are going to use.

Here are the credit card programs that have partnered with some of United’s partner airlines:

United MileagePlus – Chase Ultimate Rewards

Asiana Club – SPG Starpoints

Air Canada Aeroplan – American Express Membership Rewards, SPG Starpoints

What do I get when I fly business class?
When you fly United’s new Polaris business class product, you can enjoy a nice meal paired with wine or beer. You can even start the flight with a little champagne before takeoff.

During your flight, you will also have a lie-flat seat complete with Saks Fifth Avenue bedding. Each seat also has direct aisle access.