Quick review of the United Airlines business class seat you can book to Hawaii for 12,500 miles

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It’s one of the best deals in miles and points. You can book 10 hours in a lie-flat business class seat over the Pacific for the price of flying to Thanksgiving at your grandmother’s house.

And it’s not even complicated. In fact, the process has become much simpler in the past year. For just 12,500 Turkish Airlines miles, you can fly United Airlines’ best seats to Hawaii. You can read our full guide to Turkish miles for everything you need to know about this award. Equally helpful may be my personal experience booking a lie-flat business class seat with Turkish, where I share some pitfalls of the booking process.

Note: If you really want to save miles, you can book one-way in coach for 7,500 Turkish miles.

I’ll quickly review the business class seat you’ll be flying, just to help you understand if it’s something you want to pursue (hint: it is) — and I’ll quickly outline the travel credit cards you can open to effortlessly earn three or more round-trip business class tickets in this very seat.

Flying United Polaris business class to Hawaii

As ever, shout out to King Nicholas for discovering this Turkish Airlines award price. It’s upended the miles and points world.

The airports at which you can score a United’s fancy lie-flat business class seat to Hawaii include:

  • Newark
  • Washington Dulles
  • Chicago
  • Houston
  • Denver
  • Los Angeles
  • San Francisco
(Image courtesy of Great Circle Mapper)

With leisure travel spiking hard, you may need to be ferocious to find the award tickets you want. I checked multiple days per week leading up to my trip, and I actually found my seats two days before my departure date. I booked coach flights with United (easily refundable now that U.S. airlines have largely eliminated change fees), and once I found the business class awards I wanted, I simply canceled my paid seats.

Here’s a quick overview of the seats you can expect to fly when you book United Polaris business class for 12,500 Turkish Airlines miles. I booked the interior seat, and my wife booked the window, so we can contrast the two options.


There are multiple seat maps for United Polaris business class, as these seats make an appearance on United flights all over the world. Our aircraft was a 767-300 with 1:1:1 seating. We flew from San Francisco to Maui.

There’s absolutely no contest when it comes to privacy on this plane. Booking the interior row will expose you to the aisle — though there’s nothing terribly wrong with that. You can see my seat below, 5F.

However, my wife’s seat had all the privacy in the world. Window seats alternate location: Odd numbers are against the window, and even numbers are against the aisle. Her seat, 5A, had its own mini hallway separating her and the aisle.

The flights’ seat map was extremely confusing. As I say, my seat was 5F. But the seat to my right is considered a new row (it’s seat 6L). This seat was away from the window and against the aisle.


United Polaris seats are United’s grand achievement. They don’t fly any lie-flat first class seats that are fancier than Polaris. This is as good as it gets.

Maybe that’s why I was mildly disappointed at the seat width, and the area for your feet which was a bit constricting when the bed was fully flat. The seats are 20.6 inches wide (up to 22 inches wide on some 777 flights), and I just wasn’t impressed with the comfort level.

I also realize that I’m jaded from many business class experiences throughout my miles and points journey. This is a really great seat, and I’m not complaining. Especially for 12,500 Turkish miles, it’s an absolute steal.

Seat “amenities”

Nothing to complain about here. The seats offered plenty of storage (which I never use for fear of leaving things onboard), decent headphones, and a precious electrical outlet. You’ll still find that same old raggedy wired TV remote that first debuted on the Wright Flyer.

The TV was a touch screen, as you’d expect, and it contained tons of inflight entertainment. The seat buttons allowed you to raise and lower your legs and back independently and also had a single rolling dial to turn your seat into a bed and convert it back into a seat for landing.

The seat’s got a height-adjustable armrest, a reading light, an ambient light, and a massive tray table in addition to a big faux marble desk area. You’ll also get to use a Saks Fifth Avenue blanket and pillow. They didn’t feel as fancy as the name might suggest.


Airplane food still hasn’t returned to normal in the wake of coronavirus, but United Polaris wasn’t a letdown. The seats didn’t have menus, but there were a couple solid choices, and the alcohol flowed like water. I could really do without drinking wine from a plastic cup, though.

My wife is an Old Fashioned connoisseur, and I was flabbergasted that she liked United’s pre-mixed Knob Creek offering.

Natural light

If you want natural light during your flight, you’ll obviously want to choose a window seat, particularly an odd-numbered row. Here’s another shot of my wife’s seat.

The reason I bring this up is because the middle seats are surprisingly dark once the cabin lights are turned off. This auto-enhanced picture doesn’t properly represent how little light reached the middle seats — and yes, a lot of windows were open. That’s why I thought it bizarre.

Earning Turkish miles is easy

There are two extremely easy ways to earn Turkish Airlines miles.

The first is with a Citi ThankYou points earning card. The card with the biggest welcome bonus is the Citi Premier® Card, offering 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. That’s more than enough for two round-trip flights in this business class seat — provided you can find availability for your desired dates.

Other cards that earn ThankYou points include:

  • Citi Rewards+® Card
  • Citi Prestige® Card

Also, if you have one of the above cards, you can convert the rewards you earn with the Citi® Double Cash Card to ThankYou points, too.

The information for the Citi Double Cash Card and Citi Prestige has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

You can also transfer Capital One miles to Turkish Airlines at a 1:1 transfer ration. For example, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card comes with:

  • 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening
  • OR still earn
  • 50,000 bonus miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months

If you go for the 100,000-mile bonus, you’ll have 140,000 miles after you meet that large minimum spending requirement. That equates to 105,000 Turkish Airline miles — more than enough for four round-trip business class tickets to Hawaii in lie-flat business class.

Other cards that earn Capital One miles include:

  • Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
  • Capital One Spark Miles for Business
  • Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business

The information for the Capital One Spark Miles for Business and Capital One Spark Miles Select has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Bottom line

For 12,500 Turkish miles, you can revolutionize your Hawaii commute. You can book business class flights for many tens of thousands of miles cheaper than any other airline. It can cost well over $1,000 each way, so it’s a fantastic use of either Citi ThankYou points or Capital One miles.

Let me know if you’ve flown United Polaris to Hawaii, and if you’ve got any tips and tricks of your own! And remember to subscribe to our newsletter for more travel tips and tricks like this delivered to your inbox once per day.

All photos provided by the author.

Joseph Hostetler is a full-time writer for Million Mile Secrets, covering miles and points tips and tricks, as well as helpful travel-related news and deals. He has also authored and edited for The Points Guy.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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