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

by on Fri August 24, 2012 • 14 Comments

We get a lot of questions about the ‘2 for 1’ Business First class ticket benefit that’s available to holders of the United Club and Presidential Plus credit cards 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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14 thoughts on How to use the 2 for 1 Business First benefit of the United Club and Presidential Plus cards

  1. Dave

    So, is Denver to Honolulu an exception to the BF2for1 or allowed? United is telling me it is not allowed but I interpret from your language above that it is allowed? Can you clarify please? If it is allowed, can you direct me to the web site that describes this so I can educate my United colleagues? (it will not have been the first time).

  2. Richard G

    So the Mileage Plus Card is really not competitive with the American Express Platinum Business. The American Express is a much better card without all the restrictions and limitations of the Mileage Plus Card when it comes to 2 for 1. It is very simple with AE without the contortions of going on line first!

  3. Betty

    Currently have the presidential plus card. Do you still offer travel insurance. Used it last year to go to Paris. Planning another trip stateside and needed to know if I should purchase travel insurance. I used my card last time. Thanks


      @Betty – Always best to call the number on the back of your card to check your specific situation, but as far as we’ve known the travel protection benefits are unchanged from last year.

  4. akil

    does the “2for1” apply to flights originating from say Asia to n. america ? or do they have to depart from the US ?


      @dillni – Yes it’s still available and documented in their systems – tell the agent you have a Presidential Plus card and want to use the “2 for 1 BusinessFirst” benefit.

  5. Guy Quigley

    Since one needs a passport for the Bahamas. It has to be considered International, thus, can 2 for 1 tickets be purchased from Newark to Nassau return?


      @Guy – For the purposes of this, it needs to be a flight marketed as having ‘BusinessFirst’ service, which involves planes that have flat bed seats in Business Class. Newark to Nassau is not such a flight.

  6. Steve

    I am trying to book a 2for1 on United. The agent is telling me that it has to be an United Airplane (and not one of their partners) to use this. I am trying to get to Athens and they use Lufthansa as their partner. Is this true?

    I don’t think she knows what she is talking about since her first response was only can be used domestic.


    1. MileCards

      @Steve – The agent is dead wrong about only domestic, in fact it’s for international / Hawaii BusinessFirst marketed flights only. But she is right about it having to be an actual United operated flight. You could do a flight to say Frankfurt on United with the offer, then use your miles to get a separate ticket from Frankfurt to Athens, and for that economy is fine – the ‘business’ class on the Frankfurt to Athens flight is the same seat as economy, just further forward in the plane.


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