Today’s United Airlines Big Reveal: More Nonstop Flights to Europe! Here’s How to Get In On It With Miles

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INSIDER SECRET: One way to get access to more United Airlines Saver award seats (the cheapest ones) is by opening a United Airlines credit card, like the United℠ Explorer Card or the United℠ Explorer Business Card.

United Airlines has just announced the addition of 10 new or expanded routes to Europe, plus one to India and one to the Caribbean. With these changes, United Airlines will be serving three new destinations, adding flights on popular routes and starting seasonal summer service earlier than before for some locations.

Currently, United Airlines charges 30,000 miles for a one-way economy award flight from the mainland US, Alaska or Canada to Europe and 60,000 miles for a one-way business-class flights to Europe (70,000 miles one-way for a partner business-class award). But United Airlines is eliminating its award chart on November 15, 2019, so there will soon be much variation in what you pay.

United Airlines is now flying to Palermo, Italy. (Photo by Aleksandar Todorovic/Shutterstock)

Going forward United miles will still be a great option for booking Star Alliance partner award flights to Europe, because the price of business-class partner awards isn’t changing. What makes United such a great option for business-class award flights to Europe is that it doesn’t add fuel surcharges to partner award flights. That can save you hundreds of dollars on business-class awards with Lufthansa, SWISS, Austrian Airlines or other Star Alliance partners.

Right now the best way to stock up on United Airlines miles is with the United Explorer Business card, which currently has an all-time-high sign-up bonus of 100,000 miles after you meet the cards minimum spending requirements. You’ll earn:

  • 50,000 bonus United Airlines miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases within first three months of account opening
  • 50,000 more bonus United Airlines miles after you spend $25,000 total on purchases within first six months of account opening

New United Airlines International Routes

United Airlines is adding these new and expanded routes:

  • New York (EWR) to Nice, France starting May 2, 2020
  • New York (EWR) to Palermo, Italy starting May 20, 2020
  • New York (EWR) to Curacao starting December 7, 2019 (seasonal)
  • Chicago to Zurich starting March 28, 2020
  • New York (EWR) to Amsterdam and Frankfurt starting March 28, 2020 (adding second daily flight)
  • Denver to London starting November 1, 2019 (expanding to year-round service)
  • San Francisco to New Delhi starting December 5, 2019 (expanding from seasonal to year-round service)

United is also extending seasonal service (by two weeks) to the following destinations starting May 8, 2019:

  • New York (EWR) to Athens and Naples
  • Washington to Barcelona

And United’s New York (EWR) to Porto, Portugal routes is resuming one month earlier than before, on March 28, 2020.

This is good news even if you don’t live in any of the cities mentioned because you can connect to any of these flights for the exact same price as a nonstop flight as long as you’re originating in the US mainland, Alaska or Canada.

If you want to book these any of these new flights with points you could open a United Airlines credit card, like the:

Having a United Airlines credit card is ideal for anyone who doesn’t fly enough to earn United Airlines status, because you’ll get perks similar to having status. For example, with any of the above United Airlines cards you’ll get access to more Saver award seats and at least your first checked bag free (for you and a companion) when you pay with the card.

However, if you want to earn United Airlines miles and have the flexibility to transfer those miles to other airlines or hotels, then you should earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Try one of these:

If you have any of the above Chase cards you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United Airlines (and 12 other airlines or hotels) at a 1:1 ratio. Having that flexibility means you can book a United Airlines award when it fits your travel plans, but you’re also not stuck with United Airlines miles when there isn’t a cheap award ticket available on the dates you need to travel.

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