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Act fast: United Polaris business class to New Zealand for 80K miles one-way, 120K miles round-trip

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United Airlines has released Polaris business-class award space on flights from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Auckland Airport (AKL), allowing you to book one-way flights for just 80,000 Avianca LifeMiles or 100,000 United MileagePlus miles.

Best of all, award space is also available through All Nippon Airways Mileage Club, with round-trip awards costing just 120,000 miles, as Frequent Miler first reported.

With such an appealing redemption, booking a positioning flight could be worthwhile if you’re not based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The deal

United Boeing 787-9 Polaris business class
Polaris business class on a United Boeing 787-9. KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

Airline: United Airlines
Routes: To and from SFO and AKL
Cost: From 80,000 Avianca LifeMiles plus $64.20 one-way or 120,000 ANA Mileage Club miles plus $87.65 round-trip
Dates: October 2023 through early 2024
Pay taxes/fees with: The Platinum Card® from American Express (5 points per dollar on airfare booked directly with the airline or through Amex Travel, on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year), Chase Sapphire Reserve (3 points per dollar on travel) or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2 points per dollar on travel) for travel protections on the award flight

Sample flights

Accordingly to SeatSpy, there are at least two Star Alliance business-class saver awards on nonstop flights between SFO and AKL on the dates that appear with green circles:

SeatSpy award space SFO to AKL

Theoretically, Air Canada Aeroplan would offer the lowest one-way award rates at 75,000 points one-way. However, in our tests, award space isn’t available on Air Canada’s website. If you’d like to book a one-way award, check out Avianca LifeMiles. You can transfer your American Express Membership Rewards points, Capital One miles and Citi ThankYou Rewards points to your LifeMiles account at a 1:1 ratio.

LifeMiles SFO to AKL

After its spring devaluation, United charges 100,000 miles for one-way saver tickets between SFO and AKL. You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United MileagePlus at a 1:1 ratio.

SFO to AKL United

Although the program only allows round-trip awards, you can book a round-trip flight with ANA Mileage Club for 120,000 miles. You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to ANA Mileage Club, but receiving your miles may take up to 48 hours. Since award space is limited, and ANA doesn’t allow for award ticket holds, if you go with this option, you risk award space filling up before you receive your miles.

SFO-AKL-SFO ANA Mileage Club

Related: Is United Polaris business class worth it to Singapore?

Maximize your purchase

Make sure to pay award taxes and fees with a card that earns bonus points on airfare and offers travel protections. Some cards that fit the bill include The Platinum Card from American ExpressChase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.

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