United Polaris Business Class to Europe For $1,250 — Buying Miles!?

by John Harper

United has been pushing MileagePlus miles sales hard this summer. The airline is back at it as of today, with up to a 100-percent bonus on purchased miles.

This mean’s it is possible, starting with a zero MileagePlus balance, to secure Polaris Business class seating to Europe for $1,250 one-way or $2,450 return. This applies not just to East Coast flights, but to long-haul West Coast to Europe flights, too.

Previously: Saving Money On Airfare by Buying Miles Instead (Actually)

Finding Available Flights to Use This Strategy

With zero miles in a MileagePlus account, and no Chase Ultimate Rewards points to transfer, we’ll need to purchase 60,000 miles for a one-way United business class flight, or 120,000 miles for a round-trip United business class flight.

Given the present bonus, this costs $1,241.63 and $2,257.50, respectively, plus taxes and fees imposed on the award ticket.

United buy miles promotion 100 percentBuy miles bonus deal United Polaris Business Class

To use these miles, we’ll need to find Saver space on United-operated long-haul flights. In off-peak seasons (winter), or at the last minute (within a week or so) this can be fairly easy. Search for open seats on United.com by clicking the ‘Award Travel’ box in the flight search window.

Deal on United Polaris Business class to Europe

Finding Saver level 60,000-mile flights can be hard at times, easy at others.

From San Francisco, it’s even possible to find highly-desirable space on United’s Boeing 777-300ER service to Frankfurt, which features the lastest Polaris seating.

United Polaris Business seats sale to Europe, San Francisco, Frankfurt, Boeing 777-300ER

This flight features United’s newest Polaris seat, recognizable by the uniquely geometric seating pattern.

Polaris Business Class to Europe sale San Francisco, Frankfurt

The United Polaris business class bed, shown here at the launch event, is within reach at 60,000 United MileagePlus miles. Image by Sam Roecker | Point Me To The Plane

Important Tip: Call United immediately and ask to hold the award flight you’ve found before making a purchase. The time required for purchased miles to post to a MileagePlus account is usually minimal, but can vary wildly.

By holding the flight first, you guarantee yourself a seat at the saver rate.

Other Great Values

Of course, this isn’t the only way to take advantage of this mileage sale. It’s possible to get creative with different economy and business class routes. Use a tool like Award Maximizer, or just search in the United.com Award Search tool, to find the necessary miles to travel in economy and business.

Here are just a few examples.

  • U.S. to Australia or New Zealand, Economy Class, Round-Trip: about $1,700
  • U.S. to Japan, Business Class, Round-Trip: about $2,650
  • U.S. to Far Asia, Business Class, Round-Trip: about $2,900
  • U.S. to Europe, Star Alliance Business Class, Round-Trip: about $2,800

Upshot

While its not adviseable to buy miles under most circumstances without a plan in mind, this sale makes it possible to secure sale-like prices on flights, even without any United miles or transferrable Ultimate Rewards points to start with.

Combine this with an introductory credit card bonus on a card like Chase Sapphire or United MileagePlus Explorer, and you can piece together quite the vacation for not a lot of cash.

Those with some United miles already stocked up, or a trove of Ultimate Rewards, could make great leverage out of this best-ever buy miles promotion.

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5 comments
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5 comments

Steve August 22, 2018 - 3:45 pm

whoa… one better put that award on hold before buying miles, lest one have a delay in the purchased miles posting…the best of us have learned this lesson the hard way!

Reply
John Harper August 22, 2018 - 5:09 pm

Steve, great point. Thanks to your comment, I added this note to the post.

Best,
John

Reply
Mick August 24, 2018 - 6:04 am

I didn’t even realize you could put a United award on hold! Just call them up?

Reply
gus August 23, 2018 - 1:39 am

The problem with this is that you don’t get any redeemable or PQM miles for the flight.
Let’s say you’re a United 1k, which means you get 11 miles per dollar spent on a paid ticket. So, a $2257 ticket to Europe in business class would get you about 24,000 miles (taxes don’t count), and probably about 16,000 Premier Qualifying miles (business class get double PQM).
If you actually value UA miles at 1.8 cents a piece (a high valuation), that means that buying these 120k miles and booking these award flights will be the equivalent of $2689 ticket — but still without the status miles, which are worth a lot too – I would value 16k PQM at around $300 bcause I travel UA so much, but it can be worth more depending on where you are in terms of premier qualification! Given that it’s rather difficult to find saver availability of UA-operated flights, I would say you’re much better off buying a $3000 business fare than buying these miles for award travel.
Crunch the numbers and research award routes before doing anything you’ll regret.

Reply
Mick August 24, 2018 - 6:03 am

Also usually you can buy the same flights using lifemiles for 1.35-1.5c. Definitely a worse search engine but to europe and for direct flights like Syd lax it saves a ton of cash.

Eg United or say Swiss to Europe is only $1700 at the lowest rate or first on lh for $2400

Reply

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