The Problem With Polaris and How Lower Credit Card Fees Will Affect Miles

I receive compensation for content and many links on this blog. Citibank is an advertising partner of this site, as is American Express, Chase, Barclays and Capital One. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by my advertising partners. I do not write about all credit cards that are available -- instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same). Terms apply to the offers and benefits listed on this page.

News and notes from around the interweb:

  • The Hotelion shared an experience using the Chase Sapphire Preferred roadside assistance benefit (something I bet you didn’t even know you had).

  • United’s Polaris business class product – which features Saks Fifth Avenue bedding including a duvet and throw blanket and two pillows at each seat — is on display at the store’s flagship 5th Avenue location across 14 storefront windows.

    Credit: United Airlines

    The challenge right now, as evidenced by the scores of emails I’ve gotten from readers, is setting appropriate expectations. I have to argue over and over with customers that they aren’t getting the new seats on their upcoming flights over the next few months. “But the confirmation says Polaris” they tell me and I have to explain that this simply means they get the new soft product, and it will be years before more flights have the new seats.

  • Bali, beautiful one day, administratively opaque the next

  • The new sit down dining menus in the Chicago United Polaris lounge

  • How banks are responding to a law that will limit interchange fees starting July 1 in Australia. Lower interchange fees will come to the US, if not by law then by competition from new technologies.

    And of course we’ll be watching the Supreme Court’s ruling in Expressions Hair Design v. Schneiderman, a case that was argued this week on whether laws allowing cash discounts but not credit card surcharges limit retailer first amendment rights.

  • Alaska Airlines redemptions on Aeromexico are no longer merely unavailable the award charts for Aeromexico travel are gone.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »

Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of advertisers Citibank, Chase, American Express, Barclays, Capital One or any other advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.


  1. @Gary, gotta ask, with the new Polaris being only soft product right now, is a one-way saver to Asia for 80k United miles “worth it” over 40k econ? I’m struggling to see the value beyond more leg room, couple hours of lounge access in Washington and Tokyo, and some cheap wine served in a fancy flight presentation.

  2. @James : all UA long-haul is 100% flat bed, none of that slanted crap BS. I guess that means nothing to you.

  3. @henry wouldn’t say it means nothing, just looking for justification to dole out an extra 80k for two of those tickets. That helps, thanks!

  4. @henry A lay-flat seat means nothing if you can’t fall asleep in it. I personally can’t fall asleep without privacy, so 2x4x2 lay-flat might as well be 2x4x2 slanted.

  5. @James – I guess that depends, it’s still a flat bed. Maybe San Francisco – Tokyo I could see the argument for saving 40,000 miles each way [though I have tons of miles, I’d still spend them] but hard to imagine not having the flat bed Chicago – Hong Kong.

  6. @James IAD-NRT on NH in J is worth it… They have staggered lie-flat seats, which were quite fine for me. I wouldn’t “pay” that for UA anymore. The Polaris soft product was abysmal for me last week.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *