How to Score Business Class Flights for Less
On most airlines, flying business class is the next best thing to first class because of the large seats, additional legroom, and a limited number of passengers per row. It gets even better on certain international flights where business class passengers sleep on lie-flat seats and enjoy restaurant-quality meals.
Although business class flights are typically much more expensive than economy class, that does not always have to be the case. Here are four ways that passengers can score business class flights for less.
1. Remember to Redeem Points
Most airlines award miles or points based on a combination of ticket prices and membership status. One of the best ways to use those points is toward the purchase of a business class flight. Although business class flights require more points than economy class, the benefit-cost ratio may be more favorable. For example, a business class flight that is normally four times the price of an economy flight might be purchased for only twice the number of points.
Airline websites typically display the number of points required to purchase business class flights. For instance, American Airlines’ flight award chart shows that a business class flight within the 48 contiguous states can be purchased for as little as 15,000 MileSAAver miles.
Many credit card companies also offer reward miles or points based on the type and amount of purchases. Not all cards are equal in that regard. While some cards only offer a one-for-one match, others offer as much as five points per dollar spent.
Several airlines offer their own credit cards, many of which include bonus points when certain conditions have been met. When necessary, it might be possible to purchase additional points or miles in order to complete a purchase.
2. Check out Flight Deal Websites
Flight deal websites, such as Travelocity, usually offer deals that may lower the cost of a business class flight. To get the best rates, they may combine a flight with a hotel or rental car. They may also offer last-minute deals when the airlines are having trouble filling seats.
In most cases, it is possible to sign up for emails that announce such deals. This works best when the emails can be tailored to particular airlines and flights of interest.
While most flight deal websites cover all types of flights, some specialize in last-minute deals for business class flights. Lastminutebusinessclass.com, an online company rated five-stars on Trustpilot, offers business class flights discounted up to 70 percent. SkyLuxTravel offers discounted business class fares to Asia, Europe, Africa, Oceana, India, and the Middle East. Most of the business class fares shown on their website range from around $1,800 to $2,500 for a round trip.
3. Bid for Business Flight Upgrades
It may be possible to get a good deal on a business class flight by bidding on an upgrade. Many airlines are now using this technique to fill their most expensive seats in order to increase their revenue. The bidding process is very similar from airline to airline because more than 50 airlines use the same platform to conduct the bidding and award the winning bid.
The process is blind, meaning that a bidder cannot see other bids, and minimum per-person bids must be offered during specific windows of time. Although bidders are required to enter their billing information, they are only charged if their bid is successful.
Not all types of tickets are eligible for upgrades. While this varies from carrier to carrier, lower-priced economy tickets are typically not eligible for bid upgrades, especially to business class. Also, tickets purchased from a third party instead of directly from an airline may not be eligible for an upgrade.
To score a successful bid, it is best to avoid business routes and book flights on larger planes that have more business class seats to fill.
4. Choose the Upgrades That Matter to You
It may be difficult to determine how much to pay for a business class flight because not all upgrades are worth the extra cost. This determination is pretty simple during a bid process because a person can simply bid what they think the upgrade is worth. Otherwise, it might make sense to only upgrade long flights or return trips after a successful business venture or an exhausting vacation. It is also important to know what other benefits come with the upgrade. For instance, does the upgrade include access to a VIP lounge?
Business travelers may have a different perspective when it comes to valuing an upgrade to business class. If the time schedule is tight and passengers are expected to arrive in a rested condition, ready to immediately attend a negotiating session or pitch a product, the extra cost may be worthwhile. Families flying overnight with small children might think it is worth the extra cost for their children to get a good night’s sleep, so the following day is less stressful.
Over the past few years, airlines have boosted their revenue by increasing flight densities. This has resulted in less creature comfort for passengers in the economy section due to smaller seats and more passengers per row.
However, by following the above guidelines, it is still possible to score a more comfortable business class flight without breaking the bank.