We just booked 2 one-way first class flights on United Airline’s new Polaris first class product for just 160K points and $62.80 to Auckland, New Zealand! New Zealand and Australia are both on our list to travel this year and we’ve been stalking United’s website for a week now. United has some good availability right now for travel during November and December for trans-pacific flights and we were lucky enough to snag seats from Nashville to Auckland with a layover in San Francisco.


united first class availability dec 2017


United recently had a plane switch to a 777-200 for routes from San Francisco to Auckland which opened up a lot of First Class Saver awards. These awards will cost you 80k points  and $31.40 per person. That is an incredible deal for a first class flight from the U.S. to Oceania! A regular first class United award will run you 195k points and $31.40 for a one-way trip. That is extremely expensive points-wise. There is no Business Saver awards open though but who cares when you have First Class Savers open for 80k. In comparison, Economy will cost you 85k. Only a dummy would choose that over the First Class Saver award.

united first class award nashville

One thing to note is that our flight is Mixed Cabin. That means we’ll be flying from Nashville to San Francisco in economy and San Francisco to Auckland in first class. That is a sacrifice we would make 100% of the time to have a nice flat bed seat on a 13 hour red-eye flight!  We also are excited for the layover in San Francisco because of the new Polaris Lounge that will be opening late this year. Per The Points Guy, United will be offering sit down service in it’s new Polaris lounges! Fancy s’mancy!


How to Get 160k United Points

If you don’t fly United Airlines regularly, you probably won’t have the needed points to book this award flight. Fortunately, there are other ways of accruing the 160k points. We are huge fans of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program and have built up a decent stock of points using the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Freedom Unlimited, and Chase Freedom cards. United Airlines is a transfer partner of the Ultimate Rewards program allowing transfers at a 1:1 ratio. The Chase Sapphire Reserve card gave us an instant 100k points after spending $4,000. Sadly, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card ended the 100k point offer this week and the offer is just 50k.

Even though you can’t get that 100k offer from the Reserve card anymore, you can still build up the needed points with a combination of the credit cards. United also offers it’s own MileagePlus credit cards that can give you up to 50k points if you need more options.


How to Book the First Class Award Flight

We transferred 160k points from our Chase Ultimate Rewards straight into our United Airlines MileagePlus account. There were already 20k points sitting in our account giving us a total of 180k points. We already had The transfer took about an hour to post but after that we were good to go.

We are not regular flyers of United so we did not have any frequent flyer status. Fortunately though if you are a Marriott/SPG Platinum member, you can automatically get Premier Silver status which is why we have status but no miles earned in the image above.

Once you have the points, searching is easily done on the United website.

united airlines new zealand search


United allows you to book flights up to 338 days before departure. Airlines don’t really tell us how they release the award space so you’ll have to be flexible on which days you travel. A great tool to use in scoping out availability is ExpertFlyer. We didn’t use ExpertFlyer this time around since we were searching on the edge of when United allows you to book flights but it could be useful. We were looking for dates on December 12, 13, or 14. Lucky enough, we found a good flight on the 12th. After finding the flight we wanted, booking was simple.


united airlines new zealand award summary


In contrast if we were to pay cash for these flights, it would have costed us at least $7,542 just for business class! Although the cash flight is only showing the business class fare and not the first class fare, we have to assume that it would be a minimum of $7,542 for two tickets.

united airlines new zealand cash option




First class awards from the U.S. to New Zealand for just 80k points and $31.40 are just plain ridiculous! It would have been stupid of us not to book this. These award flights will not last so if you have the points, you need to jump on this! The next thing we need to do is book our flight from New Zealand to Australia as well as find a flight back home. We’ll definitely keep you all posted on how we do this. New Zealand, here we come!


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