United Airlines has been on a mission to reconfigure its diverse fleet of aircraft with its Polaris business class product. Today, United no longer offers an international Global First product — Polaris is the new flagship.
Not to worry, though, because Polaris business class is much better than what was previously offered — the sooner it can complete its Polaris rollout, the better.
Let’s take a look at how you can book United’s new Polaris business class product with your points and miles!
A Look Inside United Airlines Polaris Business Class
For years, United Airlines‘ business class product was considered subpar — at best. With the launch of its Polaris business class product in 2016, though, its reputation has changed for the better. Currently, United is in the process of retrofitting a number of its older aircraft with the new product.
You’ll find Polaris on select 767-300s, select 767-400s, select 777-200s, 777-300ERs, 787-8 Dreamliners, select 787-9 Dreamliners, and 787-10s. The 767-400ERs will be retrofitted by summer 2023.
Keep in mind that these planes are deployed on the airline’s premium/flagship routes, so you’ll need to confirm that the brand-new Polaris product is available on your particular flight when searching.
Unlike United’s old business class product, all Polaris seats are lie-flat with direct aisle access, making your long-haul flight much more comfortable.
Hot Tip: If you’re 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.
Polaris Lounges are found in several of the airport’s largest hubs. If you aren’t departing from a location with a Polaris Lounge (such as Chicago O’Hare), you can still access United Clubs and other Star Alliance business class lounges.
These lounges have showers, blazing-fast Wi-Fi, hot food options, à la carte dining service, and so much more! It’s a big step-up from the United Club experience, so you definitely don’t want to skip out on this.
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to access any of these lounges with cards such as The Platinum Card® from American Express. However, various United co-branded credit cards offer access to “regular” United Clubs.
How To Fly United Airlines Polaris Business Class Using Points
Star Alliance has 26 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 its MileagePlus program. All you have to do is find award space online and you can take care of the whole booking process right there.
This is our top way to book United Polaris business class flights because you can access the largest swath of award availability. Other partners only have access to a fraction of the total award tickets available.
You can book your flight online by following these steps:
- Visit United’s website.
- Sign in to your account.
- Select Search for award travel.
- Select your travel dates and your desired route.
- Select Business as your cabin
- Select your flight (make sure it is operated by United!).
- Review your flight choice.
Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer at a 1:1 ratio and are your best option when you need more United miles. Before you transfer your Ultimate Rewards points, make sure there is award space.
Hot Tip: 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.
Earning United MileagePlus Miles
United MileagePlus is a 1:1 transfer partner with Chase Ultimate Rewards, and transfers are processed almost instantly.
In addition, you can transfer Marriott Bonvoy points at a 3:1.1 ratio to United MileagePlus. If you transfer 60,000 Marriott points at once to United, you’ll get a bonus of 5,500 United miles! Finally, you can also use any of United’s co-branded credit cards to earn United miles directly.
Recommended Chase Cards (Personal)
Business Owner? Read our article on the best Chase business cards that earn Ultimate Rewards.
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 uses a hybrid award chart with regions, distance bands, and more. The price you’ll pay depends on the route you’re flying, the distance you fly, and the cabin class you book.
Here’s the award chart for flights between the U.S. and the Atlantic region (including flights from the U.S. to Europe):
And here’s the award chart for flights between the U.S. and the Pacific region (including flights from the U.S. to Asia):
You can book United awards online through Air Canada’s website.
- Make your way to Air Canada’s homepage.
- In the top-right corner, click Sign in by hovering over the button that says Sign in.
- Log in using your Aeroplan number and password.
- On the homepage’s search box, remember to toggle the slider that says Points.
- Select Round-trip or One-way for the trip, fill in the search box, and click Find.
- Find a suitable flight, redeem your Aeroplan points, and use a credit card to book your United flight.
Aeroplan doesn’t impose carrier-imposed surcharges. This is great news, especially if you book a flight on United Airlines to Europe. This can really help keep the cash component of your booking to a minimum.
Hot Tip: Aeroplan allows you to add a stopover for 5,000 miles extra, so you can actually spend a few days in an intermediate destination before proceeding to your endpoint! You’ll want to call Aeroplan directly at 800-361-5373 to book your itinerary with a stopover.
Earning Air Canada Aeroplan Points
Air Canada Aeroplan is transfer partners with Amex Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards, Capital One Miles, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Marriott Bonvoy.
Amex, Bilt, Capital One, and Chase transfer at a 1:1 ratio almost instantly. Marriott Bonvoy points transfer at a 3:1 ratio in around 5 business days. When you transfer 60,000 Marriott points to Aeroplan, you will get a bonus of 5,000 extra Aeroplan points!
Recommended American Express Cards (Personal)
Business Owner? Check out our article on the best Amex business cards that earn Membership Rewards.
Hot Tip: Check out our Aeroplan region definition guide to find out how many points you need to book your award.
Using Asiana Club miles 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.
Booking award flights on Asiana’s partners requires a call to Asiana. You must reserve and have your ticket issued 3 days prior to departure, which prevents snagging last-minute awards.
Follow these steps to make booking easy.
- Search for award space using United’s site (follow the steps under the United booking instructions above).
- Call Asiana at 800-227-4262 (the U.S. call center is open on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 12 a.m. and weekends/holidays from 8 a.m. to 12 a.m.).
- Tell the phone agent that you’d like to book an award on United Airlines.
- Provide your desired travel dates and flight numbers.
- Once you confirm space, you’ll be prompted to provide your credit card information for any necessary taxes and fees.
Earning Asiana Airlines Miles
Asiana Airlines is a transfer partner of Marriott Bonvoy. Marriott Bonvoy points transfer to Asiana at a 3:1 ratio and take around 3 business days to process. If you transfer 60,000 points at a time to Asiana, you’ll get a bonus of 5,000 Asiana miles.
Recommended Marriott Bonvoy Cards
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 Polaris 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 Aeroplan have similar redemption rates if you want to fly from the West Coast to Hong Kong.
|San Francisco (SFO) to Hong Kong (HKG) One-way|
|United MileagePlus||From 90,000 miles|
|Air Canada Aeroplan||75,000 points|
|Asiana Club||67,500 miles|
However, Asiana Club sets itself apart if you want to book business class from the East Coast to Tel Aviv.
|Newark (EWR) to Tel Aviv (TLV) One-way|
|United MileagePlus||From 90,000 miles|
|Air Canada Aeroplan||70,000 points|
|Asiana Club||60,000 miles|
Here are some other exciting United Polaris routes and their associated redemption prices:
|Frequent Flyer Program||Chicago (ORD) to Tokyo (HND and NRT)||Houston (IAH) to Buenos Aires (EZE)||Newark (EWR) to Johannesburg (JNB)||San Francisco (SFO) to London-Heathrow (LHR)||Washington, D.C. (IAD) to Accra (ACC)|
|United MileagePlus||From 80,000 miles||From 60,000 miles||From 90,000 miles||From 70,000 miles||From 80,000 miles|
|Air Canada Aeroplan||75,000 points||60,000 points||85,000 points||70,000 points||70,000 points|
|Asiana Club||60,000 miles||35,000 miles||60,000 miles||40,000 miles||60,000 miles|
Asiana Club offers the best redemption rates, but with how difficult it is to earn miles, the more realistic options might be United MileagePlus or Air Canada Aeroplan.
How To Earn Enough Miles for United Polaris Business Class
United Polaris class is a great way to fly in comfort around the world. That said, it’s much easier to book this if you have lots of United miles.
If you’re a deal seeker, you can try to find partner-level availability, but this is extremely difficult for its ultra-long-haul routes. If you find partner-level availability, you can redeem Aeroplan points or Asiana miles to book a ticket.
Here’s the transfer partner summary:
- Amex Membership Rewards is a 1:1 transfer partner of Air Canada. Transfers process instantly.
- Bilt Rewards is a 1:1 transfer partner of Air Canada. Transfers process instantly.
- Capital One Miles is a 1:1 transfer partner of Air Canada. Transfers process instantly.
- Chase Ultimate Rewards is a 1:1 transfer partner of United MileagePlus and Air Canada. Transfers process instantly.
- Marriott Bonvoy points transfer at a 3:1 ratio to Air Canada (in 5 business days) and Asiana (in 3 business days). Marriott Bonvoy points transfer at a 3:1.1 ratio to United MileagePlus. Transfers are complete in 3 business days.
In general, it’s rare to see transfer bonuses, but we have seen 10% to 20% transfer bonuses offered from Amex Membership Rewards to Air Canada.
When Should You Search for Award Space?
United’s award availability is sporadic. We recommend searching as soon as you have an idea of your travel dates. But flexibility is your friend here, especially if you’re looking to book flights for more than 2 travelers.
In addition, United may release more award seats closer to departure (around 1 to 4 weeks before the flight date). There’s no golden rule, but we recommend checking regularly if you don’t initially see good availability on your flights.
If you have little flexibility, we encourage you to book with United MileagePlus, as you might be able to access better availability if you’re willing to redeem more United miles.
What Do You Get With United Polaris Business Class?
Now, let’s talk about all the best aspects of United Polaris business class!
United currently has United Polaris Lounges at Chicago O’Hare (ORD), Houston (IAH), Los Angeles (LAX), Newark (EWR), San Francisco (SFO), and Washington, D.C. (IAD).
The airline is expected to open the following additional locations in the next few years:
- Hong Kong (HKG)
- London-Heathrow (LHR)
- Tokyo-Narita (NRT)
From the choice of food at the buffet to the bar with an extensive selection of beer, wine, and spirits, Polaris Lounges are a fantastic place to spend time before a flight. You can even freshen up with a shower and enjoy a gourmet meal with waiter service.
As a business class passenger, you have access to United’s Arrivals Lounge in both San Francisco (SFO) and London-Heathrow (LHR). This is a great perk — after a very long flight, you might like a shower before a day of tourist activities or a business meeting.
United has made drastic improvements to its business class product.
While many business class flights do not have the new Polaris seat and Polaris Lounges are concentrated at its largest U.S. hubs, we look forward to these improvements being expanded.
If you can find availability with points, you won’t regret booking a ticket in United Polaris for your next long-haul journey!
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of American Express® Gold Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, click here.