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United Woos Frequent Flyers With Elite Dining Experiences

Aug. 17, 2018
Loyalty Programs, Travel
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In an effort to woo foodies with special dining experiences, United Airlines said Aug. 13 that it’s the new airline partner of Michelin Guides USA, the organization that evaluates restaurants globally.

As part of the MileagePlus Exclusives deal, participants of United’s frequent flyer mileage program have a chance to bid their miles to attend five foodie events in four of the carrier’s hub markets: Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. The move seems popular; only four of the five events in the upcoming months are available. So If you want to participate, you’ll need to act fast and bid your United MileagePlus award miles.

Here’s what you need to know about the program

You’ll get a Michelin experience: Dining events include tasting stations and cocktails at fancy places by some of 2019’s selection of Michelin chefs. Each event is a launch for the annual Michelin city guide. The Sept. 13 event in Washington, D.C., is at the French ambassador’s residence.

You have to bid with at least 10,000 award miles: You can bid in 1,000-mile increments, but the lowest winning price already is at 10,000 miles, thanks to flyers who started bidding early. That 10,000 miles can be equivalent to half the cost of a domestic round-trip ticket, but this is potentially a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for foodies. If you don’t win, you can consider booking a trip on your own to get a taste of the restaurants of the Michelin chefs.

Bidding for each event closes on a different day: The closing date for bidding on the San Francisco event is Nov. 29, while bidding for Washington, D.C., closes Sept. 13. However, don’t let these dates deter you from bidding early. The Matter of Taste event in New York City is sold out even though bidding is scheduled to close in November.

Consider plane tickets and other travel expenses as part of the total cost: Unless you’re lucky enough to live in the guide cities you’re bidding for, don’t forget to also think about the cash or mileage cost of plane tickets and hotels. As soon as you officially win, you’ll want to make your travel plans. Always look for how to get the best deal on travel by comparing what is offered by mileage, travel credit card and hotel travel programs. Depending on the price of hotel rooms, it might be better sometimes to use flexible rewards on a hotel instead of buying plane tickets.

» Learn More: Find the best airline credit card for you

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