How I redeemed my United miles on three companions for 25+ hours in a lie-flat seat

How I redeemed my United miles on three companions for 25+ hours in a lie-flat seat

The most effective perks of United Airways Premier 1K standing is incomes 11 miles per $1 spent on United base fares. That is in comparison with the 5 miles per $1 that normal MileagePlus members earn.

If you happen to regularly fly on United or spend loads on a MileagePlus Chase cobranded bank card, chances are high you’ve got constructed up a wholesome stash of United miles.

Whereas it is but to be formally introduced, it is virtually sure that United will not be honoring its identical lowered PQP standing necessities subsequent yr. Since you may’t earn PQP on award tickets, that implies that if I’m going to requalify for Premier 1K standing subsequent yr, I am going to need to fly — or extra precisely, spend — loads in 2023.


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Since I’ve already requalified for my standing this yr, 2023 shall be all about spending to earn PQPs. So, I am taking the remainder of this yr to concentrate on redeeming the MileagePlus miles I’ve accrued over the yr.

Let’s check out my largest United redemption of the yr: utilizing 198,000 miles for over 25 hours in enterprise class this December.

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Choosing the proper airways

Swiss is likely one of the many Star Alliance airways. KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

MileagePlus members can redeem miles on the 26-member airline Star Alliance community, plus United’s non-alliance companions like Aer Lingus.

Sadly, United raised the value of companion award bookings by 10{687a1d65c3d8cb3a3753b49ffbba05dbe85f193c7c7fdbb58d08e27f611dd474} within the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. Regardless of this, I made a decision to fork over the extra miles wanted to journey on the Star Alliance companion airways fairly than United metallic.

Whereas United’s Polaris enterprise class cabin presents a cushty 1-2-1 configuration, the service and meals aren’t the identical as when the product first launched in December 2016. On the time, Polaris passengers loved considerate wine tastings, a particular predeparture beverage service, teddy bears and paper menus; none of those facilities are supplied these days.

So for my journey to Asia, I appeared to the “Gold commonplace” in ANA’s enterprise class. Whereas I could not discover award area on the Boeing 777-300ER with the latest product, I used to be nonetheless pleased to snag an ANA flight from the East Coast.

The Excursionist Perk

I am trying ahead to some Thai meals on Thai Airways. JAVIER RODRIGUEZ/THE POINTS GUY

Since I’m redeeming my miles on flights from the U.S. to Southeast Asia and again, I leveraged the Excursionist Perk so as to add a free stopover. If you happen to’re unfamiliar with it, I recommend trying into our full information on the Excursionist Perk and a few pattern itineraries the place you should use it.

However briefly, the Excursionist Perk is giving me a “free” 3-hour flight from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) to Manila’s Ninoy Aquino Worldwide Airport (MNL) on Thai Airways’ Royal Silk Enterprise Class.

My itinerary


My first leg, clocking in at 99,000 miles, takes me from Washington’s Dulles Worldwide Airport (IAD) to BKK through Tokyo’s Narita Worldwide Airport (NRT) on ANA in enterprise class. The connecting flight from NRT to BKK is in financial system class, however I’ve set a business-class award area alert on (owned by TPG’s guardian firm Purple Ventures). If a business-class award seat turns into accessible, I will be notified by electronic mail and I can name United to improve my ticket. Since I’ve already spent 99,000 miles for this flight (the value of the entire approach in enterprise class), there will not be any extra miles required to maneuver as much as enterprise class.

As I already mentioned, the second leg is “free,” due to the Excursionist Perk.

And lastly, for my flight house to California, I’ve opted for a comfortably scheduled flight on Asiana Airways by Seoul’s Incheon Worldwide Airport (ICN). In contrast to most flights that go away Manila earlier than the morning time to North Asia earlier than connecting to the USA, this one permits for a leisurely morning with time within the lounge. Just like the flight there, it clocks in at a price of 99,000 miles one-way.

Backside line

Though 198,000 United miles — which TPG values at round $2,400 — isn’t any drop within the bucket for a round-trip, business-class flight to Asia, I am happy to be spending lower than $100 spherical journey in taxes and costs, since United would not cost gasoline surcharges, in contrast to some Star Alliance packages.

I additionally understand that subsequent yr, I am sure to return to the “hamster wheel” of United standing — incomes standing yr after yr with out sufficient time to spend redeemable miles. So since I’ve already requalified this yr, now’s the time to spend these miles.

Because of my United miles, I will be touring on what would have been an out of attain, multi-thousand-dollar, business-class ticket. And is not that why we’re into the factors and miles recreation within the first place?

Paul Valeud

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