Yep, it's true. You can fly in the lap of luxury for a fraction of an economy class ticket. If you're like me, sleeping on a plane to Europe is necessary to function like a normal human being when landed. And, if you're even more like me, you CANNOT sleep sitting up straight. Hello business class! Your lie flat seats, Bose noise canceling headphones, and amenities pouches are true lifesavers for the traveler who struggles with traveling. This is the second time I've booked business class seats with miles. Ok, ok so here's how it's done.
FIND THE BEST CREDIT CARD OFFER
Credit cards aren't for everyone, but if they are, every month credit card companies release bonus sign up offers that are worth your while. In 2015, I joined The Points Guy's newsletter and discovered Chase was offering a 100,000 miles sign up bonus for their Chase Sapphire Reserve card. There were several other offers at the time but this was the best because Chase partnered with 11 airlines, which made finding a business class flight much easier. Additionally, the card offered benefits like access to 900+ airport lounges across the world, Global Entry, and a $300 statement credit for travel expenses. This card was a no brainer!
DO THE RESEARCH
This is the hardest part and can be time consuming but it's worth the effort. Before you sign up for a card, make sure the airline(s) associated with the card offer business class flights on your travel dates. This can be easily checked with most airlines by searching your dates and clicking reward/award/miles etc. I also find it helpful to look at the monthly calendar option for each airline if my dates are flexible. You might find your business class seat a day earlier, later, or even in a different month. Here, I searched JFK (New York) to CDG (Paris) on June 13th but found award saver business class seats in July for 70k miles and only a $17.40 surcharge.
Finding the ideal flight takes time. JFK offers the best outbound flight options, but some of us don't live anywhere near New York City. No worries, business class flights can be found from most major airports. I'm from Dallas and recently flew business class from DFW on Lufthansa for 70k miles. Finding that elusive flight took a couple months of research, though. At first, I couldn't find any business class flights from DFW with only 1 stop (nonstops from DFW are even more elusive). I ended up booking a flight from YUL (Montreal) to PMI (Palma de Mallorca) with a stop in FRA (Frankfurt). Since that was the best option at the time, I booked it and planned to book a separate flight from DFW to YUL and spend a day or two in Montreal. But I didn't give up on DFW. Even after booking the flight, I kept searching DFW to PMI. A month after booking the Montreal flight... BAM! A flight from DFW to PMI opened up with business class seats with only one stop in FRA. There was a $75 change fee per ticket, which wasn't ideal, but it saved us airfare to Montreal plus hotel. Worth it!
If you absolutely can't find a flight out of your local airport, search other airports. While searching flights from your local airport, keep an eye on where the planes are connecting. This could be a good place to start for searching other airports. For example, if there is a business class flight from DFW with 2 connections (not ideal!) in JFK and CDG before arriving in PMI, try searching DFW to CDG or JFK to PMI. Both of these options would require booking separate flights and rechecking in to the airport but you could add the destination to your trip to break up the travel time. A night or two in Manhattan or Paris wouldn't be so bad! If this is an option for you, search airports where you wouldn't mind staying a night.
BOOKING THE RETURN FLIGHT
So you found the perfect one-way business class flight but WAIT! Before you book, search your return flight options. Even with 100,000 miles, you'll likely have to book the return flight in economy. I know, whomp whomp. You might have found a business class flight for 65k or 70k miles but the return flight may be 45k+ and you either won't have enough miles or you'll have to buy miles. Buying miles isn't the worst plan but it can be costly if you need 10k+ miles. I often find economy tickets for 30k miles. Use the same tactics from above and you'll be set!
Business class flights allow you access to the airline's lounge before the flight. Lounges vary but they typically offer complimentary food, beverages, and alcohol. Score! Also, if you book business class and you are gluten free, be sure to reserve your GF meal at the time of booking or anytime before the flight to guarantee they have the meal for you.
Lufthansa Business Class - Airbus A330-300 V2
In my next post, I'll be talking about how to make sure the flight you're booking is a good plane. Not all award travel seats and planes are the same. Don't get stuck in a business class seat that doesn't fully recline! Until next time.