Over the last year I’ve been lucky enough to fly around the world in business class. I’ve been asked alot how I’ve managed to do so many flights in business. Well, let me share with you some of my travel hacks…
What exactly does business class include?
- On long haul flights you’re getting a lay flat bed – so you can have a real sleep. This helps you get over jet lag faster & makes flying totally awesome.
- You’ll get access to the business class lounges at the airport. This usually includes meal buffet, drinks & wifi.
- You can take a shower in the airport before & sometimes after your flight.
- There is a business class check in with a much smaller queue.
- You can board the plane first, or whenever you like – it’s a breeze.
- The service is usually more personalised and the onboard meals are of a higher standard.
- You get additional baggage allowance to check in (2, sometimes 3 pieces per person).
- If the flight is rescheduled or cancelled, you have priority for re-bookings.
When you’re booking a flight, you usually have 3-4 class options including; economy, premium economy, business & first. Most people fly economy as it’s the lowest priced and on most long haul flights the ticket includes all of your meals & an item of checked baggage.
As I knew I was going to flying so much, I sent several weeks researching the best strategies and I’m going to share them with you…
*A disclaimer, as I’m from the UK these are ideal if you live in Europe. If you’re from the US you may want to explore other carriers/ options.
First of all, I researched the lowest business class fares across all of the major airlines. British Airways came out on top – with business class tickets being 2.5 – 4x the price of an economy seat. Not bad.
As BA had the best value business seats, I opted to join their loyalty club ‘British Airways Executive Club’. This is a crucial part of the strategy as I’ll explain shortly. As a member of the club you earn Avios – the club currency. You also build up tier points, which help you build club status.
As I chose BA, which is part of the One World Alliance. I opted for a credit card which provided Avios for every purchase I made. I chose the Lloyds Premier Avios Rewards Card (send me a message if you’d like me to refer you – you’ll score 4,500 avios / free flight in Europe). I now use this card for all of my monthly expenses including; food, travel, accommodation, insurance, clothes, etc. On an average month I’ll score 8-12k Avios. As a guide, in Europe with BA I can get a return flight in economy for 9,000 Avios + £35 taxes. Or, I can buy an economy ticket and upgrade to business with around 7,500 Avios.
Takeaway: Avios = free ticket. You’ll earn Avios when flying, but you can also earn alot of Avios by just using your credit card for every purchase (then clearing it every month).
When you’re booking your travel – remember to stick with the same airline. In this case, I chose BA. The next step was to book Premium Economy seats. They sell for between 1.5 – 2x the price of an economy seat. In some cases, I found their business class seats were cheaper than premium economy! By showing the airline loyalty + going for the slightly more expensive seats, you’ll get upgrades. You may see the upgrade way before you travel on the app, or it may be last minute when you’re boarding the flight.
Key Lesson: if you go for the cheapest seats, the airline will never reward you. The cheapest tickets have such a small margin for the airline. If you check the breakdown on your economy ticket, most will be taxes.
This strategy doesn’t work all of the time – but it sure has worked 50% of the time for me.
As you build up Avios + Tier points, you’ll move through the club and get additional benefits. You can now access the business class benefits whenever you book economy + premium economy seats. Then upgrade your seat with Avios or even book reward seats and just pay taxes.
Happy Travels! ✈️