We all seek viable opportunities to make our travels more comfortable. Unfortunately as points have become more accessible (hello, credit card)- methods for keeping costs in both points and cash have seemingly disappeared. There’s one strategy offering a combination of cash and points, which can be made from almost any credit card points program- to save thousands versus the business class sticker price.

Paid Premium Economy + Miles Upgrade On Select Airlines…

If you can comfortably shell out the 125,000+ miles required for a round trip in business, by all means- go for it. But most people struggle to do this repeatedly. Finding premium economy deals (as low as $500 round trip) on airlines with generous upgrade programs- and then using credit card points, or miles to cover the (minimal) mileage cost to upgrade to business class, for as low as 10,000 points- is far easier. After all, let’s not forget you EARN quite a few miles by booking premium, making “rinse and repeat” a real possibility. And hey, Premium Economy is nice

Singapore Airlines Is A Star In This Regard…

Singapore Airlines regularly publishes some of the lowest premium economy fares- and you can even purchase them one way without being penalized. For roughly $1200 round trip or $600 one way, you can upgrade a US to Europe (or vice versa) flight for 21,000 Singapore Airlines miles each way off peak (New York to Frankfurt & vice versa). Since you can instantly create Singapore Airlines miles from Amex, Citi or Chase- this provides ample opportunity to stock up. The same applies for Singapore’s US or Europe to Asia routes as well, though you’ll pay more like 40,000 miles each way to upgrade. And yep, you’ll earn quite a few miles as a rebate.

British Airways Is Also Great, Especially From Europe To US…

Earlier this year we illustrated a perfect example of this concept working out even better than “just” using miles. British Airways often sells extremely cheap premium economy fares from European cities like Stockholm and Oslo, to most destinations in the US. In these deals you can pay as little as $682 round trip for Premium Economy, and then upgrade for roughly 20,000 points each way. The cost to upgrade in points can be calculated here. This represents amazing value, where you’ll once again earn miles while using a fraction of those required if only using miles.

Virgin Atlantic Is Incredible For India, Asia And South Africa …

Virgin Atlantic upgrades from Premium Economy to Upper Class (review) represent absolutely incredible value. The airline offers fantastic fares from throughout the US and Europe to South Africa and Asia, including India. A round trip upgrade from Europe to India requires just 37,500 points round trip. Virtually every destination in the Virgin Atlantic range requires less than 57,500 points round trip, meaning you can turn a ticket less than $1000 into business class, with a fraction of the usual points involved. Again- you’ll earn miles on these too.

Same Logic Applies For Air France, And Many More Airlines Whose Points You Can Create With Credit Cards-Instantly…

Quite a few airlines offer lucrative premium to business class upgrade offerings. Air France for example can run just 10,000 when upgrading a premium economy ticket to business class, though most fares will be 30,000 round trip from Premium to business. The key with these specific airlines is that you can amass great quantities of their points from your everyday spending, thanks to your lucrative credit card programs. Now, about finding those “cheap” premium economy fares…

Cheap Premium Economy Fares Really Do Exist…

We find most of our Premium Economy flight deals using Google flights (and the helpful tricks if you click the link). It can be worth originating or finishing in a city nearby the city you actually wish to visit, since savings can be half or less the cost from another nearby city. In the US most major savings are found in hub cities, like: New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, Atlanta, Chicago and others. In Europe, the best deals are often for travel originating: Oslo, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki and select Italian cities. It’s easily worth using a few additional points or a cheap flight to position yourself for one of these deals- especially if business class is on the table.