Despite the recently announced changes to their frequent flyer program that will kick in next year, I’m still a United girl thanks to living near Houston, so I get excited when new routes are announced out of Houston. Over the weekend United announced that they are bringing back the Houston – Santiago, Chile route beginning on December 7th via a two-class 763. The flights will be operated overnight both coming and going. If you were so inclined, there is award availability for 30,000 miles one-way in coach for the inaugural flight. I see some BusinessFirst and coach availability for the return on a variety of dates at a price of 55,000 miles one-way. If you make the trip you can stay at the Grand Hyatt Santiago for just 8,000 points per night!
Hoping on inaugural flights doesn’t usually fit into our family schedule, but it looks like fellow BoardingArea blogger the Wandering Aramean will be taking the trip, so look forward to hearing about it from him. I would love to head to Santiago some time during the Northern Hemisphere summer and head to nearby ski resorts!
Another new route out of Houston will be to Punta Cana year round on Saturdays beginning December 20th, with seasonal service in winter/spring on Sundays as well. If you want to use points to stay at a hotel there, you can try the Westin Punta Cana for 12,000 – 16,000 points per night.
Another tourist route of interest from Houston is the announced expansion of nonstop Houston – Aruba service on United. Currently the Saturday only service runs through August 16, 2014 and picks up again on December 20th. The good news is they announced they will also begin seasonal winter and spring service on Sundays.
A final update of note to Houston folks (or those connecting through Houston) is that the 787 Dreamliner will operate one of the Houston – Frankfurt flights beginning in March 2015. The 787 BusinessFirst seat is a very solid business class seat and I would pick it over the old business seat that Lufthansa typically operates from Houston – Frankfurt in a heartbeat.
You can read more about these upcoming routes on this Flyertalk thread.