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How to use the 2 for 1 Business First benefit of the United Club and Presidential Plus cards

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This article was last updated Aug 24, 2012, but some terms and conditions may have changed or are no longer available. For the most accurate and up to date information please consult the terms and conditions found on the issuer website.

The information related to the United MileagePlus® Club Card and The United MileagePlus Presidential PlusSM Card has been collected by CompareCards and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card. These offers and/or promotions has since changed, expired, or are no longer available.

We get a lot of questions about the ‘2 for 1’ Business First class ticket benefit that’s available to holders of the United MileagePlus® Club Card and The United MileagePlus Presidential PlusSM Card from Chase. We’ll walk you through how to use the benefit, but first a few things to note:

  • You must buy a ‘full fare’ ‘J’ class ticket (the most expensive available) to get the 2 for 1 deal. Sometimes it’s more expensive to buy one ‘J’ class ticket than two discounted business class tickets
  • ‘Business First’ refers to the business class United offers on long haul flights across the Atlantic, Pacific, and to Southern South America (Brazil, Argentina, Peru). This is not eligible for domestic business class flights, except those marketed to Hawaii as ‘Business First’ (Houston, Newark, Denver to Honolulu)
  • There must be availability in the ‘Z’ discounted business class fare inventory for you to be able to purchase the 2nd ‘free’ ticket
  • Your ticket must be booked directly through United
  • The primary cardholder must be traveling on one of the tickets
  • There is no limit to how often you use the feature, but you must use your United credit card to pay
  • And contrary to some rumor, the program is still alive and well, and explicitly mentioned in new member materials for these credit cards

So…here’s how to take advantage of it in more simple terms. You’ll find that the savings can be substantial, but you’re still generally going to be paying $4,000 or more per ticket. Don’t look at this as a way to score business class tickets to Paris for $1,500 each.

First, search for your flight using the usual ‘lowest available fare’ search to see how much it would cost to buy 2 Business First tickets. And click on the ‘fare class’ link on the right to see if ‘Z’ class is available. You’ll need that to show 2 or higher for you to be able to use the 2 for 1 benefit

Then…do an ‘advanced search’ to find what the single ‘full fare’ ticket will cost

Now, scroll down to this section and enter ‘J’ in the fare class selection. That’s the full fare used to calculate the cost of your 2 for 1 ticket.

Now, you’ll see the cost of the full ‘J’ fare, which gets you 2 tickets for the price of 1

In this case, the ‘2 for 1’ costs $8,361 for one ticket, which gets you the second free.

That compares to the ‘lowest available’ of $6,278 for each ticket, or $12,556 for two tickets.

You would save over $4,000 by using the 2 for 1 deal versus buying the lowest available fare.

To book the ticket – call United reservations at 1-800-UNITED-1 and tell them to search using code ‘BF2for1’ and tell them the exact flights you’re looking for.

This program isn’t for everyone – if you are willing to wait and shop around you can often find discounted business class tickets in the $2,000 – $3,000 range, which would cost less than buying a 2 for 1 ticket for $8,000. But using it just once when you need it can lead to valuable savings if you’ve already been buying full fare business class tickets for your personal or work travel.

Remember…the 2nd ticket doesn’t have to be for a spouse. It can be for a coworker or friend, just as long as you are traveling on the first ticket.


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