Tower, we’re going to ground. Sadly, ground is where I have been for the last couple months for very good and important reasons. Fortunately, my wings are no longer clipped and back to the sky, where I belong, I go. I started this blog because I successfully managed to elevate my travel, travel more often and have a f**king blast at every step without changing my relatively low income. Sometimes seeing what others are doing is the best way to apply tips and ideas to your own travels. I hope this helps turn your pain into champagne, free champagne.

a woman lying in a bed

OpenSkies Newark To Paris Round Trip

We paid less for business class than the lowest available coach price at the time. OpenSkies, a subsidiary of British Airways offers a unique business class product across the Atlantic and the only direct flight from the New York area to Paris Orly. BizBed by Open Skies is marketed somewhere in between Club World and First and offers a flat bed and enhanced serviced. We were able to snag two round trip business class tickets for $1167 per person in one of the best business class flash sales ever. I posted extensively on the topic at the time and many fellow readers took advantage. If you didn’t get in on time, THIS is your first resource to hunt down these deals.

a sign in a building

British Airways Club Europe Paris to London Round Trip

After a refreshing stopover in Paris we’ll head to London, our final destination, on this very short flight. Tickets generally run in £300 range and above, but I thought this would be an excellent time to cash in miles earned from referral bonuses. Each time you refer someone for a mileage earning credit card you can earn between 5,000-18,000 miles. A couple readers were kind enough to ask for my referral on some great cards and thanks to our mutual interest, I netted about 20,000 miles, more than enough for a free round trip short haul. In this instance, since I am attending my wedding ceremony, business matters because of the baggage allowance which as you can imagine… is larger than usual. 

a woman sitting at a bar

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class New York to London One Way

I’ll take a bar on a plane over snakes on a plane any day. I was really excited to fly Virgin Atlantic’s new Dreamliner in Upper Class to the wedding, but when the insane business class deal, which simultaneously netted me enough miles for another new free flight came about, I cancelled my ticket for a later date this fall. I have exactly 40,000 Virgin Atlantic miles. I received 20,000 as a sign up bonus with no spending requirement for their credit card and I took advantage of an American Express to Virgin Atlantic points transfer bonus where I transferred 15,000 miles from my Platinum Card sign up and received 20,000 Virgin Atlantic Miles. All told, 40,000 miles, exactly enough for a one way in Upper Class for the fall. These days, with solid discounters offering really cheap flights to Europe, I don’t mind flying coach on the shorter leg (NY>LON) and going Upper Class all the way home.

a seat in an airplane

Cathay Pacific Business Class New York to Hong Kong Round Trip

Cathay Pacific has been a Skytrax award contender every year and their business class experience is among the best in the game. Put it this way, even after the luxury five course meal service, you can request noodles with duck at any point to compliment your fine wine. I’m sold. We are thrilled to explore Asia in style and we used a hell of a lot of miles to do it. We redeemed 280,000 British Airways Avios (pre April 28th devaluation) for two round trip tickets on Cathay Pacific’s direct flight New York to Hong Kong in business class, the tenth longest flight in the world. We accomplished the feat of collecting 280,000 British Airways miles without flying British Airways by signing up for their Visa card in the US carrying a 50,000 mile bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card carrying another 50,000 point bonus and taking advantage of another American Express transfer bonus, this time to British Airways where there was a 40% bonus allowing me to convert 29,000 Amex Points, again from my Platinum sign up bonus, into 40,000 British Airways miles. To find the space I used one of my favorite sites AwardNexus which helped find availability for two people for our ideal dates. 

a plane flying over a runway

Thai Airways Business Class Hong Kong to Thailand Round Trip

If you’re going to take the tenth longest flight in the world you might as well make the most of it. During our stint in Hong Kong we will take a quick round trip from Hong Kong to Thailand in Thai Airways internationally configured business class, which we found by comparing flight schedules with SeatGuru. When searching from the United States for these flights on standard online travel sites prices were coming out at a ridiculous $1,200 per person, something I would never pay for a short flight. By changing our purchase location to make the search a local transaction we were able to knock the price down to $400, only fractionally above the $300-350 commanded for coach. We will easily make up the $50 in airport priority access, drinks in the lounge and of course meal on board.

a row of seats in an airplane

The WildCard: Our family is flying La Compagnie London to New York Round Trip! 

I suppose this doesn’t count as “our travel” but we helped to find promo fare seats for Laura’s family from London to New York for early august. This was another amazing situation where virtually every economy option offered during this peak season was fetching $1300-1600 per person. For ECONOMY! Oh well, I guess summer is the season for price gouging. Anyway, we were able to find La Compagnie seats for only $1233 per person. La Compagnie is a bit of a wild card to me and I have commented on them negatively for not being more aggressive with their product. With that said, they offer nearly flat beds, a nice meal service, excellent champagne and airport lounge access. When these amenities are going for lower than coach, i’ll take the wild card. No brainer. 

an aerial view of airplanes at an airport

There are enough techniques discussed in this post to keep you flying for free or cheap for years. Our income is nowhere near a level where we would expect to take multiple business class long haul flights in a year yet with some elbow grease (and a hint of expert knowledge) we will be taking to the skies on a regular basis in a way that I only dreamed of as a child (and child like adult). We will always do our best to make sure you do the same : )

As Always, Get in Touch:

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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