Every day millions of passengers hit the sky, mostly in coach. Flying coach has become worse as time moves forward. The seats are getting smaller, more seats are crammed together, and service at McDonald’s is better than in coach.
On the other side of that curtain are the people who have the unbelievable joy of flying business class or first class.
The airlines are in constant competition to improve their premium seats with so many added luxuries such as flat seats, private suites, meals served on real china and an overall atmosphere of total relaxation and comfort.
As airlines pack in more flyers, the chances of getting that golden opportunity to get a random upgrade to first class or business class is becoming slim to nil!
There are experts in the travel industry that believe it is possible to get in business class without selling your firstborn child! It will take a great deal of leg work and time, but it will be well worth it when you are enjoying the amenities that come with those seats.
Here’s how it works:
Most airlines still offer great upgrades for their passengers that put in thousands of miles each year in flying.
Obviously, the best way to earn an elite status is through their frequent-flyer programs.
That said, all the airlines have credit cards that will give you great sign-up bonuses and reward miles for purchases.
If this seems like a good option, dig deeper into credit cards that will let you accrue “elite quality miles” (EQMs). EQMs will let you earn elite status to that perfect seat on your next flight.
Delta offers their Platinum Delta SkyMiles American Express card. It awards 5,000 EQMs and 35,000 bonus miles after you have spent $1,000 within the first three months of having the card. If you spend $25,000 a year, you will earn another 10,000 EQMs and 10,000 bonus miles.
You Can Buy Upgrades.
If you have tons of miles that do not qualify for elite status, you can still get a business class ticket for less than the regular fare.
Experts believe this is the best way to spend your miles.
As an example, if you book a flight from Dallas, TX to New York City, you could upgrade a $400 coach ticket for a business class ticket that is worth $4,000 or approximately 30,000 flyer miles.
Keep in mind, airlines will charge you a cash fee and the miles to upgrade.
At the time that you book, if you do not see this option, check back with the airline 3 or 4 days before your flight. This is when they put the upgrades back into the system.
At The Last Minute.
Airlines do offer upgrades at a discounted rate, at the last minute, if they have vacancies.
On an average, these offers are available about 6 hours before a flight takes off. When checking in, pay attention to these opportunities.
Alitalia offers upgrades on board their planes so if seats in business class are available you can buy them, on board, for a fraction of the cost.
The Competition Among Domestic Carriers.
Competition has always been a staple among domestic carriers but thanks to JetBlue, lowering fares on transcontinental flights has dropped drastically.
A flight from New York to Los Angeles in business class was over $2,400, and now it’s closer to $1,000.
To get these great deals, you need to keep your eyes open for cabin fares that go on sale.
Consider signing up for the First Class Flyer newsletter that costs $197 a year and publishes important information about sales for business and first class seats.
If you prefer to do it on your own, stay on top of airlines that send out offers through emails and even standard mail about fare sales.
Read also: The Difference Between Cash Back and Travel Rewards Credit Cards
Discover When Business Travelers Fly & When They Don’t.
This is a great way to get a really good deal on business class seats.
As a general rule, business travelers do not travel on weekends (Saturday and Sunday). They also rarely fly on Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Watch For Airlines That Are Selling Miles.
This is actually an around the barn tactic for selling tickets, but it can work. American Airlines offers to buy miles opportunities.
As an example, if a company has a sale for 100,000 miles for $1,300, it might sound like a lot, but consider this: a round trip first class ticket from coast to coast normally costs $5,000. You can redeem the miles you bought from the company for the same trip.
Read also: 6 Ways to Make Air Travel Less Painful
If you are willing to be bumped off a flight, it might give you good leverage to request and upgrade to a better deal.
Travelers willing to give up their seats for a later flight are few and far between. The airline is in a pinch with too many passengers and not enough seats, often they will work with you. At least it’s worth a shot!
What other tips for finding business or first class flight deals do you know about?