How I Flew for Free: Business Class to Berlin With United MileagePlus Miles

Mar 22, 2019

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This entrepreneur used extra miles to spring for business class when flying from New York to Berlin in summer 2018.

The cardholder

Name: Daniel Foster

Age: 28

Occupation: Founder at Cosmo (sleep aid)

Home: New York

The trip

Route: Newark Liberty International Airport to Berlin Tegel Airport

Date of travel: August 2018

Airline: United

Class of service: Business

Q: Did you visit a lounge at the airport?

A: Yes, I visited the new United Polaris lounge at Newark. This is the part of the trip I looked forward to most. The new lounge is a significant step up from the typical airport experience. It features a sit-down dining experience, nap room and private showers, among other amenities. I arrived two hours before my departure and was able to enjoy a two-course meal paired with wine. Afterward, I took a hot shower, which was a nice way to wind down before a long overnight flight.

Q: Did you travel alone or with someone?

A: I traveled alone for business. The seats on this flight were United’s older style and placed in a 2-1-2 configuration. I chose one of the single seats in the middle section so that I would have direct aisle access and no stranger beside me, though I don’t mind meeting new people on planes.

The card and loyalty program

Q: What card did you use to get a free trip?

A: I used a sign-up bonus from the United Club℠ Infinite Card to book the trip.

Q: How long were you a cardholder at that time?

A: Approximately nine months.

Q: How long were you planning this trip?

A: I booked the trip a month in advance and was lucky to find Saver award space.

Q: What's your favorite perk of this card?

A: One unique aspect of Chase United credit cards is they provide expanded access to award availability normally only visible to elite members. So you’re more likely to find last-minute award space not visible to most United MileagePlus members. United waives the $75 close-in booking fee for holders of this card as well.

Redemption and booking

Q: Did you take advantage of promotions while earning points for this trip?

A: I received a sign-up bonus.

Q: Where did you book?

A: The United MileagePlus website.

Q: How many points/miles/rewards did this cost?

A: 57,500 MileagePlus miles.

Q: Did you book in conjunction with a promotion or deal?

A: No.

Q: Any surprises?

A: The nap rooms and shower suites in the Polaris lounge are usually fully booked, according to the attendant, with a waitlist of up to several hours. I was lucky to find a shower available before my flight. Put your name down early if you wish to use either amenity.

What's your next travel rewards goal?

I actually have too many miles right now and am trying to use them before acquiring more. I am on my way to Berlin via Madrid in Iberia’s premium economy. I booked the one-way flight with British Airways Avios earned from a promotion and paid 42,500 miles.

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