How to Fly Business Class for Less

Business class travel really is the business. Champagne, gourmet food, attentive service, comfy seats that stretch into beds. You know longer dread that long haul flight because it’s a genuinely pleasurable experience. Instead of arriving at your destination worn out and feeling grubby, you’re refreshed and ready to go. There is a reason people pay more for business class travel.

But… I’m not about to pay mega-bucks for any flight! I’m a smart traveller who likes to walk onto a plane knowing I paid the least amount possible for my seat.


So, how can you fly business class for less?

There are two main ways you can fly business class for less:

  1. The old way – Earn enough miles so that you’re not paying cash for you business class seat
  2. The new way – Learn a few little tricks to make your business class seat cheaper


The Old Way – Earning Miles

You can either earn enough miles to pay for the cost your ticket in full or simply use the miles to upgrade an existing economy class ticket. You need to do the math to see which way is the most cost effective. Work out what it costs you in dollar value to earn each mile either though flights, purchases or hacks. Calculate the fare in points per dollar value so you know which choice is best.

Here are some ways you can earn miles:

Buy a Stick to one airline or one airline network. This is a great choice if you’re a business traveller going back and forth on the same route often. You can rack up miles and get elite status on your chosen airline’s frequent flyer program. Once you have elite status, you earn even more points for each flight you take making it quicker to get you to enough points for a free business class seat.

Earn miles through daily purchases on your credit card. By choosing the right credit card and paying all your bills and living expenses through it, you can quickly earn miles for business class travel.

Earn miles through travel hacking. This is a more complicated strategy of earning miles but if you have the time and effort to put in, it will pay you back ten fold. You need to sign up to multiple credit cards that give sign up bonuses in miles and make purchases which will give you bonus miles. On the whole it’s pretty complicated but there some great sites and forums that will teach you how to do this properly such as The Points Guy and Flyer Talk.

Get your family and friends to donate their miles to you. If they don’t fly often, they probably won’t be able to make use of their miles so scoop them up from them whenever they purchase the odd plane ticket.


The New Way – Tricks to Flying Business Class for Less

Auctions for business class upgrades. An increasing number of airlines are offering you the option to upgrade your economy class ticket via a blind auction before flying. You select what you’re willing to pay for the upgrade and the highest bidders win on the day. Usually you only find out if you won the auction a day or so before the flight. For detailed instructions on how auctions for business class upgrades work have a look at this post on my other blog Flashpacker Family. Here is a list of airlines that offer auctions for business class upgrades.

Hire an expert. If you just want to have the experience of flying business class without doing hours of research and earning miles, find an expert to do the legwork for you! Sites like FlightFox give you access to industry experts who will plan your trip for the least amount of money possible. These experts know of plenty of tricks for finding cheaper business class fares but they often include strange things like only flying with carry-on or routing through countries you’ve never heard of.


Feature photo credit: caribb via photopin cc


One Comment

  1. I think people really underestimate the time it takes to “work” the frequent flyer programs and learn all the tricks. I think I’d rather do what you do. But, I’m pretty short so traveling coach isn’t too bad for me. I think I’d only want business class if it was a 15 hour plus flight. Then I might be willing to pay!

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