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How To Find Swiss Business Class Award Availability With United Miles

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Finding award availability in Business Class for three people can be difficult. Throw in the fact that we were looking for three Business Class seats in Swiss, and we had a problem finding what we were looking for. But after careful searching, we ended up with three Business Class seats in Swiss on our preferred dates.

Step One: Know Swiss Routes

The first step to finding availability from or to the U.S. with Swiss is to know what routes that fly. They fly to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, New York (JFK and EWR), Montreal, Chicago, and Boston.

You can see all of their routes through this website here.

Step Two: Find Availability

I first searched for 3 seats on Expert Flyer. I searched using Swiss availability but quickly realized Expert Flyer shows Swiss’s Miles and More availability and United doesn’t have access to all of this availability. I called United and asked for the flights Swiss showed availability, but United couldn’t find the award space. So I moved on to the next approach, brute force.

I checked all of the routes on my preferred times with United’s website. After a bit of searching I found two routes that had consistently more availability and on my preferred dates as well. The first one was the Montreal to Zurich route. I was able to find three award seats in Business Class on selected dates. Ultimately I didn’t go with this route, but it is good to know the availability exists.

The second route was the Zurich to Miami flight. I was able to find three award seats in Business Class on this route as well.

Booking The Award

Once I found the award space I had to get United miles into my account. I had plenty of Chase Ultimate Reward miles which transfer at a 1:1 ratio to United. Since I recently signed up for the Chase Ink Plus card which came with a 50,000 Ultimate Reward bonus (25,000 after signup and 25,000 after meeting the spending requirement.) and combine travel spending on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, I was able to transfer enough miles into my United account to book the three Business Class one-way awards on Swiss.

I booked the award online at United’s website. Quickly received a confirmation that my reservation was processing.

Then about 10 minutes after the confirmation, I received a receipt of confirmation which provided my ticket numbers.

Bottom Line

The one-way Zurich to Miami award in Business Class cost 50,000 United miles plus $61.40 in taxes and fees per person.

If you are looking to try out the new Zurich Business Class, be flexible with your flight options and you may find what you are looking for.

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Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed on this site are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

About the Author

About the author: The Weekly Flyer is writes about travel from a business traveler perspective. He travels the world every week accumulating points and miles along the way. Feel free to reach me at theweeklyflyer@gmail.com

{ 3 comments… add one }

  • Matthew November 10, 2012, 6:10 pm

    Good post. Next time, just be sure to put your reservation on hold before you transfer the points, just in case the availability changes.

  • omp November 10, 2012, 6:11 pm

    the jfk-gva route has decent availability on mondays and tuesdays.booked some for next spring a little while ago….

  • The Weekly Flyer November 10, 2012, 6:16 pm

    Hi Matthew – That is good practice. However, in this case it wasn’t required. Chase transfers the miles instantly, and my backup was a United flight or a Luthansa flight, so I felt pretty safe going ahead with the transfer without a reservation on hold. But yes, that is generally the best approach.

    Hi OMP – That is a great route as well. Glad you snagged some award space.

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