Anyone who knows me will tell you that I love a good deal. Ok scrap that, I love a GREAT deal! I get genuine thrills from finding incredible travel related bargains and get particularly excited if the words ‘heavily discounted airfare’ fall into the same sentence. Over the last few years, I’ve picked up some great tips on finding business class deals because I love to travel in style but without the hefty price-tag! Read on for my top 5 secrets to finding the best business class deals.
Error fares can quite literally save you hundreds and sometimes thousands $£$£!! If you haven’t come across this term before, then all you need to know is that the price of an airfare has been incorrectly published.
An error fare will be classed as such until the airline notices and amends the price back to what the flight should cost. Sound too good to be true? Yes it does but I promise you, they do exist and they will forever remain a great tip for flying business (or economy) for less!
You don’t need to spend hours crawling through airline websites to try and find those lucrative airfares. There are websites out there that do the hard work for you! My favourite go-to website is www.secretflying.com. All you need to do is select the region you live in, i.e. Europe and wait for the latest error fares to show up.
Here’s an example of a recent error fare published by Virgin Atlantic from Manchester to Boston in early April. If you scroll down and read the small print, you’ll see that departure dates are restricted to April and May 2017. Different error fares have different terms but these are updated on a daily basis, so make sure to add this to your favourites as there are some amazing business class deals to be had!
Change Your Departure Point
As crazy as it sounds, some airlines do penalise you for flying out of a popular hub like London. Take British Airways as an example. If you do a search on their website for a return business class flight from London to Hong Kong, departing in two months time, the price that comes up in the search is £3,611.47.
But if you change your departure point for a less popular airport hub like Berlin, then the price of your business class airfare reduces to €2,116.28! In today’s exchange rate, that equates to £1810.3o – an £1800 saving!
The only downside is that you’ll need to fly to Berlin beforehand but there are cheap flights to Berlin if you book in advance, so this shouldn’t pose too much of a problem from a cost perspective. Not only will you save yourself a ridiculous amount of money, you’ll also get additional airmiles and tier points to use in future.
Become an Airline Loyalty Member
Subscribing to an airlines frequent flyers programme means you’ll automatically be one of the first to hear about any upcoming sales or one-off promotions.
Airlines such as Etihad and Qatar run business class promotions a few times a year which include ‘Buy One Get One Free’ Business Class deals. These promotions are short-lived and tend to only run for 48 hours but it’s a great way to fly in luxury for less.
Last Minute Upgrades
If an airline hasn’t sold out their business class cabin in the hours leading up to a flight’s departure then nine times out of 10, they will offer passengers a last minute upgrade at a heavily discounted price.
As an example, my parents flew out to Lima last year with KLM. When they arrived at check-in at Manchester airport, they asked if there were any last minute business class deals available. Their question was met with a resounding yes along with a price-tag of £250 per person!!
Needless to say they didn’t think twice about upgrading! In total, their flying time hovered around the 16 hour mark, so having the additional comfort of flying business class was totally worth the price tag!
Another fabulous secret to flying business class for less is through credit card offers. Virgin Atlantic and British Airways offer credit card holders the chance to earn a companion voucher if you spend a certain amount of money within the space of 12 months.
I subscribed to the British Airways’ American Express Credit Card a few years ago as I travel with the airline a lot. The benefits are great and you earn avios for every pound spent. Once you’ve earnt your companion voucher, you can then use it book a flight to most destinations operated by the airline using avios whilst your companion flies for free. All you need to do is pay the taxes and have enough Avios to purchase an airfare.
I’ve only ever used a Companion voucher to travel Business or First Class but they can also be used for economy or premium economy tickets. Also, if you don’t have enough AVIOS, then you can purchase additional avios to bring you to the total amount that you need for the fare of your choosing.
Do you have any business class travel hacks that I haven’t already mentioned?