Is United Polaris (hard product) bookable as a Saver Award

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That’s the question. There’s been a lot of hype about United’s Polaris product. United’s marketing of the product’s rollout wasn’t clear to many, to say the least. For this reason many have booked a premium class ticket only to find out that what they’re flying is only the soft product; so no new seats. This was magnified by manufacturer delays which caused new planes to sit in storage while the new seats were available to be installed in the planes. So for a while, United had just a few of their new Boeing 777-300ER’s flying. These new planes are the ones getting the new seats primarily, though there are plans to retroactively outfit 777-200’s and 767-300’s. Fortunately however, delay appear to be a thing of the past, and now United has announced additional 777-300ER routes in the coming months. But is it possible to find Saver Award availability?

United Polaris Routes

  • SFO-HKG (started 3/25/17)
  • EWR-TLV (started 5/5/17)
  • SFO-NRT (started 6/14/17)
  • SFO-TPE (starting 8/1/17)
  • SFO-PEK (starting 9/6/17)
  • SFO-FRA (starting 10/5/17)
  • EWR-NRT (starting 10/29/17)

ORD being my home airport, I’m bummed that United is flying the ER’s in/out of SFO and a handful in/out of EWR.  I’d be happy with just one.  We’ll see…  But it does make sense, as the 777-300ER’s are meant to replace the soon to be retired 747-400 fleet.  Recently, United ordered more 777-300ER’s which now total 18, between delivered and ordered.

Saver award availability however has been everything but available. The only Saver availability I’ve been able to find so far has been on the SFO-TPE route, which actually had some people confused as to why United selected that route for an ER, given that there are other routes in need of more capacity.  I’ll keep track of availability as best as I can, but I don’t expect much to change. It’s actually similar in other United regions anyway. United tends to open partners’ premium cabin substantially more than its own. In the meantime, there’s always Taipei, though I’ve heard a few reports of availability in a few other routes, but they seem to be quite sporadic and rare.

A Standard Award to Europe, for example, is 150,000 miles! In my mind no product warrants that many miles. Hence the importance of Saver Awards. Have you found Saver Award space in a route other than SFO>TPE?

Give me your thoughts