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One of the tough calls many traveling miles and points families have to make is whether to use extra miles to have the whole family fly in business class, or bite the bullet and sit in coach. This decision gets tougher as the number of kids in the family increases, not to mention availability in a premium cabin can be tough for a family of five. A good compromise between coach and business class can be a premium economy class where everyone has more room to spread out without having to shell out as many miles (or dollars) as business class.
United has a pretty cool and family friendly option of buying a subscription to get unlimited access to their E+ (Economy Plus) seats that have more legroom than the standard coach seats. I get E+ seats for myself and up to 8 in my reservation thanks to my elite status with United, but it isn’t realistic for many families to obtain elite status, and this can be a cheaper alternative if you are going to be flying a good amount with your crew.
In fact, I got an email from a Mommy Points reader named Anita who has gotten tremendous value from her E+ subscription for her family of five. They were debating using extra miles to upgrade on a flight to Brussels, but instead they decided to buy a global E+ subscription for their family for $1099. That is a bunch of money, but for it they flew the five of them in extra leg room seats on over 34 total segments including some long haul trips to Europe and Hawaii. Her 15 year old is already about 6 feet tall, so the family appreciated the extra legroom for sure.
If this sounds interesting to you, here are some details on the annual United Economy Plus Subscription Options:
You can use the benefit for whatever companions are on your reservation, so if you took one trip with your family, then one with friends, and then one with coworkers you can get all of them in roomier seats if they are on your reservation. Another tip that Anita shared is that the benefit seems to work for one year for your reservations, which means that you can get E+ seats at the time of booking even for flights that will happen after that one year mark. To put it another way, they actually got almost two years of upgraded seats by buying this subscription.
Obviously spending this much for extra legroom for a year (or two) isn’t for everyone, but if you have a large family who may have been planning to upgrade to E+ on one or two flights anyway this might be a way to secure the extra legroom seats for all your United flights for a period of time for a lower fixed price than paying for each one individually.