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

United Polaris Seat

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 many of their 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 discuss how you can United’s 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, you won’t be able to access any of these lounges with cards such as The Platinum Card® from American Express.

If you want access to United Clubs (not Polaris lounges), check out the Chase United MileagePlus® Club Card and the Chase United MileagePlus® Club Business Card.

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

You can book business class flights on United Airlines through their MileagePlus program. All you have to do is find award space online and you can take care of the whole booking process right there.

United Award Chart
Booking business class through their MileagePlus program is an easy way to book award flights.

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 “Business” as your cabin
  6. Select your flight (make sure it is operated by United!)
  7. Review your flight choice

Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer at a 1:1 ratio and is your best option when you need more United miles. Before you transfer your Ultimate Rewards points, make sure there is award space.

SPG Starpoints only transfer to United at an awful 1:0.5 ratio. Save your SPG points for other transfer partners where you can get much more value for them.

There are tons of ways to redeem United miles so make sure you check out the other fun ways United miles can help you travel.

Air Canada Aeroplan

While United is the most obvious choice for booking a business class award, don’t forget to check Air Canada Aeroplan as you might find an even better redemption.

Aeroplan Award Chart
For those with Membership Rewards, Aeroplan could be your go-to for booking business class United award tickets.

You can book United awards online through Aeroplan’s website.

  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

While Aeroplan does hit you with carrier-imposed surcharges, you won’t get hit with these fees if you book a flight on United Airlines. This can really help keep the cash component of your booking to a minimum.

The best way to earn Aeroplan miles is to transfer Membership Rewards points. They transfer almost instantly and at a solid 1:1 ratio.

SPG Starpoints are another transfer partner of Aeroplan and, while they do transfer at a 1:1 ratio, transfers are not instant and can take up to five days to process. However, when you transfer chunks of 20,000 SPG points you will receive 5,000 bonus miles.

Asiana Club

Using Asiana Club to book United award flights isn’t what comes to mind first for many people, but it’s an option that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Asiana-Airlines-Award-Chart
Booking United flights to Europe with Asiana Club can save you some serious points.

Booking award flights on Asiana’s partners requires a call to Asiana. Follow these steps to make booking easy.

  1. Search for award space using United’s site (follow the steps under the United booking instructions above)
  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 agent that you’d like to book an award on United Airlines
  4. Provide your desired 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 can be transferred to Asiana Club at a 1:1 ratio and you’ll receive a 5,000-mile transfer bonus with each transfer of 20,000 points. Keep in mind that transfers can take 10 days to process.

Other Options for Booking United Airlines

As a member of the Star Alliance, you have plenty of options to book award flights on United Airlines. A few other options to consider are ANA Mileage Club, Avianca LifeMiles, or Singapore KrisFlyer.

Great United Airlines Business Class Redemptions

Redeeming United miles for business class award flights on United might be the most common way to book, but there might be some better options. Check out the comparisons below for some redemption ideas.

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 MileagePlus75,000 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 MileagePlus75,000 miles
Air Canada Aeroplan82,500 miles
Asiana Club60,000 miles

Aeroplan doesn’t always provide superior redemption rates but they are very easy to earn thanks to its partnership with Membership Rewards.

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

The best way to get more United miles is to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

Recommended Chase Cards (Personal)

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
#1 - Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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> 49 Best Ways To Use Ultimate Rewards Points
  • 50,000 bonus points.
  • That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through
    Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide.
  • Annual Fee: $0 the first year, then $95
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Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ Card
  • 3X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide
  • Annual Fee: $450
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Chase Freedom®
  • Earn 5% cash back in bonus categories
  • No annual fee
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Chase Freedom Unlimited℠

Recommended Chase Cards (Business)

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
  • Earn 3 points per $1 in select categories
  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Our Review
Chase Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card
  • Earn 5% cash back in select business categories
  • No Annual Fee
  • Our Review

You can also earn United miles directly through one of their co-branded credit cards provided by Chase.

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
United MileagePlus® Explorer Card
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on tickets purchased from United, and 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Card Review
Chase United MileagePlus® Club Card
  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open
  • Includes United Club membership - up to a $550 value per year
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on tickets purchased from United, and 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Fee: $450
  • Card Review
United MileagePlus® Explorer Business Card

To earn need more Aeroplan miles, check out one of the many American Express cards that earn Membership Rewards points.

Recommended Amex Cards (Personal)

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
The Platinum Card® from American Express

Need Inspiration?
> 57 Best Ways To Use Amex Points
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • Up to $200 Uber Savings Annually.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit. Terms Apply.
  • Annual Fee: $550
  • Our Review
Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
  • Earn 25,000 points.
  • 3x points for flights booked directly with airlines.
  • 2X points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and at US supermarkets. Terms Apply.
  • Annual Fee: $0 for the first year, then $195
  • Our Review
The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express
  • Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards® points. Terms Apply.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Our Review

Recommended Amex Cards (Business)

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN

Need Inspiration?
> 57 Best Ways To Use Amex Points
  • Earn up to 75,000 Membership Rewards® points.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit. Terms Apply.
  • Annual Fee: $450
  • Our Review
The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN
  • Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points
  • Get 3x points - Choose 1 out of 5 categories. Terms Apply.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $175
  • Our Review
The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express
  • Earn 2X points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners. Terms Apply.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Our Review

With SPG Starpoints, you have an easy way to earn more Asiana miles which give you access to some solid redemption rates.

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Need Inspiration?
> Here's 45 Best Ways To Use SPG Points
  • Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints®
  • Up to 5x Starpoints® on eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Card Review
Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn up to 35,000 bonus Starpoints®. Offer ends 11/1/17.
  • Up to 5x Starpoints® on eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Card Review

When Should You Search for Award Space?

Business class space can be tough to find on flights with the new Polaris product, so it’s best to start your search early and check back regularly if space is not immediately available. You can start looking for availability 338 days prior to your date of departure.

What Makes This a Great Redemption?

United’s new Polaris business class is a definitely an upgrade from their older business class product. From the Polaris Lounge to the new cabin layout, the experience on the ground and in the air is come a long way.

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!

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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.

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