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Have you ever walked by the Business Class section, looked lovingly at the massive seat/bed, and thought, “I wish I were rich enough to fly business class.” We have all seen the outrageous prices airlines charge for business class. Wouldn’t it be nice to fly business for less than the economy?
One day I researched the topic and read an article that showed me how it’s all possible. Spoiler alert, it’s all about the points. I am sure there are people out there that are just blowing actual dollars on a business-class seat, but from what I read, most people are doing it from the points.
How To Fly Business Class For Less Than Economy
If you want to fly business class with points, you will need 2 things!
- Good Enough Credit to Qualify for an Airline Credit Card
- Discipline to pay your cards and some bit of creative trip planning
I will share with you my personal formula on how to achieve the business class flight for nothing more than just paying the taxes.
Finding Your Airline to Fly Business for Less Money
- Step One– Pick a major airline, and learn their alliances. I chose United Airlines. United Airlines offers the United Explorer Credit Card, and it comes with various introductory point awards. They typically offer 40,000 miles when signing up if you spend $3,000 in 3 months.
You will need to be disciplined and aggressive when using the card for ALL your expenses for the first 3 months. I would even offer to pay for dinners and other activities with my card and then get reimbursed by my friends or family.
You must pay off what you are often spending so you don’t rack up debt. I planned to pay no interest; hence I used the card as a debit card. I made a weekly online payment for all my purchases.
Another option to get more miles is simply to buy them! United has sales on miles all the time!
Getting a Second Rewards Card
- Step Two: Once you have completed your 3 months and accumulated your 40,000 miles, you can put that card aside. Now it’s time to get the Chase Sapphire Rewards Card. Repeat the process with their introductory offer.
This card is special because you can transfer the award points to United Airlines Miles and a few other airlines. This card also gives you a $300 annual travel credit, free TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry application fee, 3 times the points on dining and travel purchases, and 5% foreign transaction fees.
Learning All The Card Programs
- Step 3: The final step to really increase your United Airlines Miles is the United MileagePlus X Program. Get double, triple, and up to 5 times the points for dollars you spend at very common retailers. Many very well-known brands, such as Home Depot, Starbucks, and Overstock.com, participate in such schemes.
This method can help you earn the miles you need very quickly. Get that morning latte with a side of triple airline miles! It’s a winner for sure, and I highly recommend such tweaks to receive more points!
If you are thinking, wow, this sounds like a lot of work! It really isn’t, you need to put effort into staying on course and put your mind to getting these miles. It’s all worth it when you fly long-haul flights and are fully reclined in your airline bed.
Follow these steps, and you will be Flying Business for Less Than Economy in no time!!
More Tips on How to Upgrade to Business Class
Upgrading at the airport
There are a few more ways to upgrade to that business class ticket without paying the full fare. One is straight up paying to upgrade at the airport.
I use this method from time to time. You can’t rely on it always being an option, though. If the seats are full, then you are out of luck.
If you are interested in upgrading this way, see the travel agent at the check-in desk right when they open. Ask if there are any upgrades available. If there are empty seats, they usually offer an option to upgrade. The prices of the upgrades vary so much it is hard to say what they could be.
Upgrading online line
Sometimes, but not always, an airline will ask you to bid on an upgrade ticket. This happens if you purchase an economy ticket and the business class seats are not all full. The airline sends out emails asking you to name your price to upgrade to business class.
There is always a minimum you must pay in this scenario. If I go that route, I usually just pick the lowest or a little bit above. Please don’t bid more than you are willing to pay. 9 times out of 10 I always end up getting the seat.
Best Travel Planning Guides
Tips for Business Travelers Loung Access
Lounge access is one of the major perks of upgrading that economy ticket to business class! And till a few years ago, I thought you needed to have a business class seat to use the business class lounge!
Luckily there are many ways to access lounges and still hold an economy ticket!
I should also mention not all lounges are created equal. At least not in the United States. Research the lounge you are interested in visiting to see if it’s worth spending time there. For example, Los Angeles LAX airport has a much better lounge than other US airports.
Here is a list of how you can get into lounges!
- Buy in! Lounge Buddy has a great site and app to help you find a lounge that will let you pay to stay.
- Annual Passes with your credit card! If you are an airline credit card holder, chances are you are awarded two passes annually.
- Get a membership to Priority Pass! This is more of a commitment, unlike Lounge Buddy, where you can get a one-time pass. Priority Pass is for the frequent flyer!
Now that you are ready to Fly Business for Less Than Economy, it’s time to choose a Destination!
Tips for Finding Cheap Flights
1. Use Search Engines and Flight Comparison Websites:
When I am looking for cheap flights, I use websites like Skyscanner, Kayak, and Google Flights aggregate flights from various airlines and booking websites, allowing you to compare prices at a glance. Many of these tools offer options to view prices across an entire month, enabling you to identify the cheapest days to fly.
2. Book at the Right Time:
Generally, booking your flight several weeks or even months in advance can save you money. The exact timing can vary, but many experts suggest booking domestic flights 1-3 months in advance and international flights 2-6 months in advance. Keep in mind that last-minute deals can sometimes be found, but they’re typically more of a gamble.
3. Sign Up for Fare Alerts:
Many travel websites and apps offer fare alert features, where you can set your desired route and be notified when prices drop. This way, you can book when prices are at their lowest without having to constantly check various sites.
4. Consider Alternative Airports and Flexible Dates:
If you can be flexible with your travel dates or departure/arrival airports, you may find cheaper options. Some cities have multiple airports, and flying into a smaller or less popular one might save you money. Similarly, flying on weekdays or adjusting your travel dates by a day or two could lead to significant savings.
5. Incognito Mode or Clear Cookies:
Some users have reported that flight prices can increase if you repeatedly search for the same route. While this is a debated topic, using your browser’s incognito mode or clearing cookies ensures that your previous searches aren’t affecting the prices you see.
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