I spent $910 for a roundtrip United flight from Newark to London - and it was worth every dollar when I got my first upgrade to Polaris. Here's what the business class flight was like.
- I've been a member of United's Mileage Plus program for 31 years and have flown 479,533 miles with them.
- That puts me just shy of halfway to my goal of earning lifetime gold with United by flying one million miles.
- In August, I flew from London Heathrow to Newark, New Jersey.
- This was the first time I had ever been upgraded to their Polaris Business Class.
- The experience was so good that I did not want to leave the plane. Having your own personal area and being able to lay flat made this the best flight I have ever been on.
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As United recently reminded me, I've been a member of its Mileage Plus program for 31 years.
Mileage Plus is United's loyalty program that allows you to accumulate miles, all while earning different status levels each year. There are three status levels: Silver, Gold, Platinum or 1K. Members of the program must fly at least 25,000 Premium Qualifying Miles (PQM) and spend $3,000 each year to be a Premier Silver level member - and that's the lowest recognized premier level.
While these status levels only last for one year, United has a lesser-known million-miler program that will earn you a lifetime status once you earn 1 million miles.
Over the summer, I traveled to London Heathrow. I spent $910 on my roundtrip flight from Newark, NJ. As a planner, I try to book flights far in advance to get the best deal, but I delayed on booking this flight as I was traveling with my boyfriend and schedules were up in the air until a few weeks before. I spent about $200 more than I typically would have - but it worked out to my advantage because I was upgraded to Polaris Business Class for the flight back to Newark.
Here's what it was like to fly on United's Polaris Business Class - and why it was worth every extra dollar.
I'm on a personal quest to hit one million lifetime miles with United. That will earn me lifetime gold with the airline.
In August, I flew roundtrip from Newark New Jersey to Heathrow London. I paid $910 for the flight, which is more than I usually would — but as I would quickly discover, the extra $200 paid off when I was upgraded to Polaris for my flight home.
When I was booking my flight, United congratulated me on my long-standing loyalty with the airline: I've been a member for 31 years.
At the airport, I took advantage of the United Club that was close to the gate. Their food selection had every pretty much every type of cuisine you could want, from pasta to curry. Knowing there was more food headed my way, I limited myself to just one plate but managed to try a little bit of almost everything.
The Polaris section on the plane was quite large. There were 16 rows totaling 46 seats on this Boeing 767-300. A pile of goodies welcomed me on the plane: pillows, blankets and complimentary toiletries.
And the bonuses didn't end there: The seat had a small locker complete with a bottle of water and premium headphones to use while in flight.
A cute little light made the pod feel extra cozy.
The flight attendant came around to each person, introduced himself, welcomed us by name, and took orders for our dinner entree. The menu offered four selections for main entree: beef, chicken, fish or pasta. I went with the beef.
Once we were in the air, it was time to relax. I reclined my seat and put up my footrest. The legroom was fantastic.
The selection of movies was the same as in economy, but the screen was much bigger.
Not too long into the flight, the meal service began with an offering of warmed nuts and a beverage. I chose Champagne — living my best, upgraded life over here!
Then came the first course: Caprese salad and mixed greens. They offered three types of bread — pretzel roll, sourdough, and garlic bread. I went with the garlic bread.
When it was time for the main course, I switched to red wine to pair well with the beef short rib entree.
The options for dessert were an ice cream sundae or cheese plate. I wasn't in the mood for anything sweet, so I went with the cheese plate. It also came with a glass of port. It was the perfect way to end the meal.
The plane's lavatory had some nice items to make you feel refreshed — face wash, toner and hand lotion.
With the upgraded amenities in the bathroom, it was time to check out the amenity kit that was waiting for me back at my seat. Everything was branded with Polaris — I'm talking eye mask, earplugs, toothbrush, tissues, and even a small pen all had the Polaris logo on it.
After all the eating and drinking, it was time to get some sleep. The seat came with two types of pillows and blankets for ultimate comfort.
As I lowered my seat to the lay flat position, I snuggled up with the Saks Fifth Avenue comforter. I was asleep in no time.
After a few hours of sleep, it was again time to eat. The final meal before landing was an option of pizza or chicken ragout with gnocchi and mixed vegetables. I picked the Gnocci; while it wasn't as outstanding as the short rib, it was quite flavorful.
An hour and a half later, we touched down in Newark. I really didn't want the flight to end.
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