Fly to Europe in 2021 in Polaris Business Class for Just 45,000 Miles

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The AwardWallet team has been scouting for premium cabin award deals while we wait for travel restrictions to lift. Late last month we stumbled across a bunch of Delta One availability. This month, we've found wide-open business class availability on European routes operated by United.

Even better, a lot of the availability we're seeing is bookable with Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles. This is great news since Turkish Airlines charges only 45,000 miles for one-way awards between the U.S. and Western Europe!

Don't worry if you don't have Turkish Airlines miles yet. Turkish Miles & Smiles is a transfer partner of Citi ThankYou and Marriott Bonvoy points. So, you might still be able to take advantage of this deal.

United Polaris Business Class Seat
United ‘Polaris' Business Class

Low Cancellation Fees

While more and more people have slowly started traveling again, there's still quite a bit of uncertainty about when travelers should take to the skies again. International travel continues to present a lot of questions, particularly when it comes to entry restrictions. This means that making flight bookings naturally involves a bit of optimism.

The good news is that the availability we're discussing today is focused on travel next year when things have (hopefully) returned to normal—or whatever the new “normal” will be.

With that said, it's always good to have an ace-in-the-hole, and Turkish Airlines provides one. If you need to change or cancel your award booking, you're only liable for a $25 fee. In the Miles & Smiles Award Terms and Conditions, you'll find:

The Miles for award tickets, companion tickets and upgrade awards which have had no legs used may be refunded to a member's account for a fee. Refunded Miles will have the same expiration date as when they were first earned. Airport taxes are subject to normal refund procedure. TRY 50 is collected in domestic flights and USD 25 is collected in international flights per transaction.

So if you're unable to take the trip you planned, you'll only be out $25 per person!

Where to Find Availability

The vast majority of the availability we've found through Turkish's website have been on United-operated flights. This means that you should be specifically looking for European routes originating from United's hubs of:

  • Chicago (ORD)
  • Denver (DEN)
  • Newark (EWR)
  • Houston (IAH)
  • San Francisco (SFO)
  • Washington D.C. (IADA)

Some of the European destinations United services are:

  • Amsterdam (AMS)
  • Brussels (BRU)
  • Frankfurt (FRA)
  • London (LHR)
  • Munich (MUC)
  • Paris (CDG)
  • Zurich (ZRH)

Booking these itineraries with United MileagePlus miles costs 60,000 miles + $5.60. That's not a bad deal considering you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards to United at a 1:1 ratio. United also opens more availability to its own loyalty members than it releases to Star Alliance partners like Turkish Airlines.

Using Turkish Miles & Smiles

However, there's an even cheaper way to book. Award flights between the U.S. and Europe Region 1 (Western Europe) is a sweet spot of Turkish Airlines' Miles & Smiles partner award chart. A business-class award will only cost 45,000 miles!

Turkish Miles can be transferred 1:1 from Citi ThankYou Points and 3:1 from Marriott Bonvoy Points (with a 5,000-mile bonus for transferring 60,000 points). Transfers aren't instant. Based on AwardWallet data, it takes an average of 24 hours 49 minutes for Citi transfers and 34 hours for Marriott transfers. If you want to be safe, Miles & Smiles will allow you to put award reservations on hold for up to 48 hours either by calling (1-800-874-8875) or emailing customer service.

Booking Miles & Smiles awards on Star Alliance partners can be a little tricky. Here are the ins-and-outs of searching Turkish Miles & Smiles awards (with screenshots), but to quickly recap:

  1. Start by signing in to your Miles & Smiles account. Create a free account if you haven't already.
  2. Select ‘Miles Transactions' in the dropdown menu under your name in the top right corner.
  3. Click ‘Book Now' for Star Alliance Award Ticket.

New York (EWR) to Amsterdam (AMS)

  • Economy: 30,000 miles (United or Turkish)
  • Business-Class: 60,000 United, 45,000 Turkish

When searching United's website, availability is wide open through the end of the calendar:

Searching on Turkish's website shows a lot of the same availability:

Chicago (ORD) to Brussels (BRU)

  • Economy: 30,000 miles (United or Turkish)
  • Business-Class: 60,000 United, 45,000 Turkish

When searching United's website, availability is wide open through the end of the calendar:

Turkish shows similar availability:

San Francisco (SFO) to Paris (CDG)

  • Economy: 30,000 miles (United or Turkish)
  • Business Class: 60,000 United, 45,000 Turkish

When searching United's website, availability is common through the end of March 2021, then open sporadically through the end of the calendar:

And on Turkish's website:

Houston (IAH) to Frankfurt (FRA)

  • Economy: 30,000 miles (United or Turkish)
  • Business Class: 60,000 United, 45,000 Turkish

When searching United's website, availability is wide open through the end of the calendar:

Searching Turkish's website:

Denver (DEN) to London (LHR)

  • Economy: 30,000 miles (United or Turkish)
  • Business Class: 60,000 United, 45,000 Turkish

When searching United's website, we find availability is sporadic through March 2021:

Thankfully, most of the direct itineraries seem to appear on Turkish's website as well:

Earning Turkish Miles & Smiles Without Flying

As previously mentioned, Turkish Miles can be transferred 1:1 from Citi ThankYou Points and 3:1 from Marriott Bonvoy Points. This means that you can easily earn enough points for a redemption like this through just one sign-up bonus.

For award currencies that transfer to Turkish Miles&Smiles, here are some of the best sign-up bonuses available:

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card
Annual Fee$95
Welcome Bonus Limited Time Offer! Earn 100,000 Bonus Points after spending $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card!
  • Limited Time Offer! Earn 100,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • 1 Free Night Award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary.
  • Earn 6X Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy™.
  • 2X Bonvoy points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Automatic Silver Elite Status each account anniversary year. Path to Gold Status when you spend $35,000 on purchases each account year.
  • 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Earn unlimited Marriott Bonvoy points and get Free Night Stays faster.
  • 6X Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 7,000 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels
  • 2X Bonvoy points for every $1 spent on all other purchases

Final Thoughts

There are two things to consider when searching for availability:

  • First, these are only example itineraries that you could book. Many of the origins/destinations overlap, so be sure to check whether United offers an award between your home and your desired destination before writing it off. For example, instead of Chicago to Brussels, you could also fly Chicago to Amsterdam.
  • Second, if you don't have Turkish miles (or Citi ThankYou points or Marriott Bonvoy points), but you do have United miles (or Ultimate Rewards), you shouldn't balk at the 60,000-mile price-tag to book with United. That's still a pretty good price, and the booking process is simpler.
  • Additionally, some of this availability also appears when searching through Avianca LifeMiles. These same awards cost 63,000 LifeMiles (transfer partner of Amex, Citi, Capital One, and Marriott) if available.

This is a jackpot of business class availability to Europe. While United's business class product doesn't offer the bling of Emirates or the privacy of Qatar QSuite, it's still a comfortable way to cross the pond—particularly on aircraft equipped with the true ‘Polaris' product. If you need something to look forward to, a business class trip to Europe could be just what the doctor ordered.

Are you going to book United business class for 45,000 miles?

H/T: Frequent Miler

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Comments

  • Urfa Zaki says:

    Good deal. Can we buy remaining miles as well? and at what rate?

  • Buenos días, leyendo la completa guía aquí publicada, me queda una duda:
    Busco esos billetes, los veo en la web, con sesión iniciada, y mi saldo en MileagePlus, pero no logro conseguirlos a ese valor. ¿Puede que se hayan terminado? O yo me estoy salteando algún paso?
    Gracias!
    Nori

  • Glad to see some lower amounts of miles available but that will change soon enough I’m sure. I’d have to keep with United. I can understand why to transfer to Turkish, etc. but I just don’t like having all of those different accounts. I know I have AwardWallet to keep them all organized but my eyes would get tired. lol!

  • What a good offer !! Hopefully more of these offers will appear. 2021 will find me in Paris, if everything goes well

  • Now if only United would add this Polaris cabin to their HNL flights….I guess I can dream for now.

  • Polaris Business Class is available on italian destinations?

  • Good deal, but would be better if transfers from partners were instant

  • What’s the best way to find these deals without waiting for articles?

  • This is a good deal, especially the low cancellation fee. Unfortunately, one never knows what the future might be, with second waves of covid being expected at some point. So it’s good to have a safety measure in place just in case.

  • Good deal – but with what has happened this year worried if disruptions happen you are stuck with a pile of Turkish miles you may not be able to use as efficiently.

    • That’s always a risk. Not quite apples to apples but I now have 12,000 Hyatt points in my account for this very reason and I’ve yet to stay at a Hyatt in my life. I hope that’s changing soon but we’ll see.

  • Laura Murphy says:

    Just started earning with Chase Sapphire Preferred. Hope to take advantage of a deal like this soon.

  • terry kaiser says:

    I’ve booked turkish awards many times however searching united I see plenty of bus class sfo to fra however nothing for under 115K on turkish.
    What am I doing wrong. I sign in click award ticket and check months of dates?
    Thanks
    Terry

  • That’s definitely an award sweet spot but bummed it’s not applicable to Chase or Amex cardholders.

    Separately, and I think I know the answer, but to use the excursionsist perk, you have to book with United miles correct?

  • starboul says:

    I think (or I hope) we’ll see soon more good deals like this one. It’s a perfect deal for me – I need to visit London in first months of 2021. Booked

  • I wonder why UAL isn’t doing this within their MP system.

  • I wish TK had more transfer partners.

  • Any updates on the Polaris lounge at Dulles? (I’m not making that up, that’s a thing right?)

    • It sure is! I haven’t seen an update recently, but it was scheduled to open in 2020. United lists the IAD lounge as “under construction” while the London, Hong Kong and Tokyo lounges are “in planning”

  • Wow. Roughly 75% of the miles needed to use the Smiles program over United miles. Crazy!

  • Turkish Airlines is not currently offering refunds, until 2 months after the pandemic is over. Whenever that is. So just be careful regarding the apparent flexibility, as far as it goes for getting back your taxes and fees anytime soon should you need to cancel.

  • Good deal, and availability looks pretty strong. Will be sad to see this go

  • I want to yell clickbait – even though that’s not even close to the truth – because you need a Citi setup for this. lol Great article though, thank you. And please do tell of amazing deals like this when you see them. If it happens often enough, that may be another reason to push me to get a Citi card.

  • Juan Ignacio says:

    Good deal, not only for the quantity of miles to redeem but flying with TK we can enjoy the tourISTanbul: If you have a connecting international flight in Istanbul with a layover between 6-24 hours, you can make use of our free Touristanbul service to discover Istanbul.

  • Great deal!!! hope I can take advantage of this…

  • ilia khan says:

    This is a solid deal. Wish I was more bullish on accumulating United points so I could redeem this as a trip for the family.