Many of us have "champagne" taste, yet are restrained by an orange juice budget. When it comes to flying, I think we all deep down have business class or better taste. Oh well. Whatever socio-economy position you find yourself in, chances are you thoroughly enjoy a great deal. After all, savings on airfare can translate into a bumped up hotel, a fine dining experience or enough room in the budget for a nice glass of champagne. On a non champagne budget, I manage to find myself sipping champagne on an airplane far more often than concentrated orange juice, I've developed a few tricks of the trade along the way...
Business Class Deal Hunting Sites
Here's a one sentence, "stop reading" tip for flying business class on a budget: pay economy prices. I'm not kidding either. Airlines are very competitive. When one airline wants to corner a market they often drop business fares to prices bordering economy, which naturally triggers another airline to match or beat that price. From time to time, prices are truly less than economy or at least competitive enough to make you take the jump. To become a deal hunting wizard you'll want to stalk the FlyerTalk Premium Fare Forum, which occasionally requires some translation, provided here. I don't post every great deal on the site, but I post the very best. Follow us on twitter where I regularly post deals I do not write up on the blog.
BUY IN BULK
This is one I struggle to remember, but it's extremely important. Sometimes sales have very limited dates, other times, you can pick just about any calendar day. When it's the latter, it's important to think about your year in travel, right that instant. If you know you're planning to visit home for the holidays, vacation in the spring, and have a work trip in the fall, look to lock in the best deals while they're there. Remember, with most airlines, you have a full 24 hours to cancel a flight outside of seven days away with no penalty, receiving a full refund.
COLLECT TRANSFERRABLE POINTS
For obvious reasons, not every deal is on the same airline. It's great to collect miles, and it's essential to collect at least a point or mile for every dollar you spend, but collecting transferrable points is the real bread winner. With transferrable points, which are collected from using an America Express, Chase, Citi, Tesco, Heathrow Rewards or Diners Club card, you can instantly create points on an airline you've never even flown, allowing you to take advantage of a great free flight, or put miles towards an awesome deal with more than twenty airlines. In a recent deal you could fly business class from the US to Europe and vice versa for $680 + 30,000 miles. Without the miles the ticket was running around $1,400, which while extremely cheap for flat beds, lounges, fast track and all the good stuff, was still a bit too rich. Fortunately, if you had transferrable points you could instantly create miles with the airline in question, British Airways.
When Buying Economy, Find Instantly Upgradeable Flights...
Instant satisfaction can be wonderful, especially when it comes to upgrading a long flight. Sure, you need miles to do this but with ten ways to earn miles without even flying, it's easy to get started. There is a tech savvy approach and fool proof, completely UN tech savvy approach. Either search upgrade space online, or simply pick up the phone and ask if your flight has space to upgrade, before you actually press purchase. I have an entire separate post on international upgrades, which offers a bunch more detail regarding which fares and how many miles.
These guidelines will without a doubt lead to more time turning left. As you know, there's no sure fire easy trick to any of these things. The rewards can be huge but as such they require diligent work. I think about every purchase from dining to christmas shopping to see which card will get me the most points, I scour the internet every day for deals and I always research what options I have to upgrade before I buy. The more you do, the more champagne.
As Always, Get In Touch: GodSaveThePoints@gmail.com