Brussels Airlines award space now displays on United.com! Brussels award space was previously bookable using United miles (and other Star Alliance miles like US Airways), but no Brussels flights would display when searching United’s site.
This development should make getting to Europe on United miles much easier, but might degrade the once reliable award space since it’s now much easier to find and book.
What does availability look like on the transatlantic routes? What is flying Brussels like? Why is Brussels such a valuable Star Alliance partner?
How did you previously search for Brussels award space?
We wrote about United.com failing to display Brussels availability this post and detailed how searching the ANA tool was the easiest way to verify Brussels award space. The Aeroplan search tool also displayed Brussels space, but I prefer ANA from a reliability standpoint.
Which US destinations does Brussels fly?
Brussels only flies to New York-JFK and Washington-Dulles from their eponymous hub. As of writing, premium cabin award space is relatively predictable for both routes in both directions.
Generally speaking, the nonstop from Washington-Dulles to Brussels has two business class seats on Tuesdays and Saturdays. For the reverse from Brussels to Washington, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays have by far the most availability.
Wednesdays, Thursday, and Sundays are the best days for the New York-Brussels route. There are even scattered dates during the peak summer travel season with 2 business class award seats.
For the reverse from Brussels to New York, Tuesdays, Wednesday, and Thursdays are the best days for award space.
Space really opens up in the fall and early winter months, though. Check out the incredible amount of dates with two business class seats in October and November below.
What is flying Brussels business like?
Though I haven’t yet tried them, I’ve booked many Award Booking Service clients and even my own significant other on the Brussels to Washington D.C. route. The Star Alliance carrier flies an Airbus A330-200 on the flight to Washington D.C. and a A330-300 on the New York-JFK route.
It’s certainly a comfortable seat with a throne-like feel, but some find the small cubby hole for your feet restrictive when the seat is in fully-flat “sleep mode.”
How many miles does it cost to fly Brussels Airlines?
After the United devaluation, flying Brussels between the US and Europe costs 70,000 United miles oneway in business. This represents a 12.5k miles premium over the cost of flying on United metal. Brussels does not have an international first class product.
Because both United and Brussels feature fully flat bed seats across the Atlantic, I would opt to fly United and pocket the 12.5k miles for another fun trip.
Don’t forget that you book Brussels award space with US Airways miles until March 30, 2014 when US Airways leaves the Star Alliance. You can book up to 11 months out at only 100k miles roundtrip in business class.
Why is Brussels such a useful Star Alliance airline?
Their North African route network is unparalleled! Check out Wikipedia for a comprehensive list of African nations that Brussels services. They have coverage (and great award availability) to some cities with normally scarce availability whether paying cash or miles.
And when booking an Aeroplan award on Brussels, there are no nasty fuel surcharges like you would pay to fly Lufthansa. At only 45,000 Aeroplan miles one way per person, Brussels represents a good value for business class travel.
What’s the drawback to this announcement?
Previously “hidden” Brussels flights are now easily bookable with a simple United search. Prospective award bookers might be dissuaded by the difference in miles between United flights, but they will likely be gobbled up more quickly than in the past.
Sometimes relatively obscure award space is a boon for those in the know (like MileValue readers!)
Brussels Airlines award space now displays on United.com. Previously you had to search the ANA or Aeroplan tools, but now can search United’s site which is a bit easier to navigate.
Flying Brussels across the Atlantic will cost 12.5k more United miles than flying United metal, and I’m not really sure it’s worth the premium, especially on their (relatively) short flights from the East Coast.
If Africa is the goal, Brussels could be extremely useful in composing an award itinerary. They have excellent award space to many African destinations that are tough to book with points or cash otherwise.