MileValue is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as CreditCards.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Note: Some of the offers mentioned below may have changed or are no longer be available. You can view current offers here.


Update 10/23/14: Commenter Jeremy finds the award space now on aeroplan.com, and I can confirm that the space on these Ethiopian flights is now bookable and is still excellent! (None of the rest of the post has been updated to reflect this information.)

Ethiopian Airlines will begin flying Los Angeles to Dublin to Addis Ababa in June 2015 with a 787 Dreamliner. Ethiopian will have fifth freedom rights, meaning you will be able to fly any single segment of the flight, including Los Angeles to Dublin.

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 9.37.36 AM

This is an exciting addition to the Star Alliance’s transatlantic routes, especially if the route has awesome award space, since direct award space from the West Coast to Europe is tough to find. (Solution: route via Canada.)

The flight will be bookable with United miles and any other Star Alliance airline’s miles. Crucially, with United miles, you can connect Los Angeles to Dublin with the rest of Europe by using United’s non-alliance partner Aer Lingus.

Right now, Los Angeles to Dublin is showing 4 economy seats and 2 business class seats in both directions from June 2015 and beyond. But there’s a problem…

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 7.59.58 AM

  • What are the flight times?
  • How is Ethiopian Business Class?
  • Where does Aer Lingus fly within Europe?
  • What is the problem with the award space on united.com?

Flight Details

The new Los Angeles to Addis Ababa will operate three times per week in each direction.

ET504 Addis Ababa to Dublin departing 11:00 PM arriving 5:30 AM (+1 day)
ET504 Dublin to Los Angeles departing 6:30 AM arriving 9:30 AM (same day as take off in Dublin, +1 day from take off in Addis Ababa)

ET505 Los Angeles to Dublin departing 11:30PM arriving 6:30PM (+1 day)
ET505 Dublin to Addis Ababa departing 7:30PM arriving 6:00AM (+1 day, +2 days from take off in Los Angeles)

Ethiopian’s Dreamliner has economy and Business Class. Business Class is angled lie flat. Here is a full trip report from One Mile at a Time.

Cost of Award

United charges 30k/70k miles each way in economy/business between the United States and Europe on partner flights. You can connect to Aer Lingus flights in Ireland to the rest of Europe for zero extra miles on a United award. Aer Lingus flies to the following cities from Dublin:

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 10.02.48 AM

If you fly all the way to Africa on the Ethiopian flight, United charges 40k/80k miles each way in economy/business. From Addis Ababa, you can connect to the rest of Africa. The Star Alliance has the best network in Africa with Egyptair, Ethiopian, and South African.

Award Space

Award space looks perfect on united.com. Four economy seats and two business seats basically every day the flight operates in both directions.

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 7.59.58 AM

Unfortunately every time I tried to select a flight with award space on the new route, I got this error.

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 10.06.48 AM

I called United to see if I could book the space by phone. The agent said her computer said the flights were “cancelled.”

I searched on ANA and Aeroplan and found no award space on the new Ethiopian route in any cabin.

It looks like united.com is showing phantom award space. Hopefully award space really will be bookable soon and will be as good as the phantom space on united.com at the moment.

Another Option

Until the Ethiopian flight is bookable, you can use United miles on Aer Lingus’ new flight from San Francisco to Dublin with connections to the rest of Europe.

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 10.12.02 AMScreen Shot 2014-10-22 at 10.11.41 AM

Flight taxes are super cheap out of Ireland, so a roundtrip is only 60,000 miles + $54.

Eventually this flight will feature fully flat beds in Business Class too.

Our best offer ever! Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Just getting started in the world of points and miles? The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best card for you to start with.

With a best-ever bonus of 100,000 points after $4,000 spend in the first 3 months and 2x points earned on dining and travel spend, this card truly cannot be beat for getting started!


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

The comments section below is not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all questions are answered.