How to be smart when booking business class
For me, travel is as much about the journey as it is about the destination. That’s why I always try to fly business class when I need to take a long-haul flight. But a “business class” rating doesn’t always guarantee a top-notch experience. Here are some tips to elevate your business class travel.
Find your airline, plane and seat
No matter how you pay for your trip, you need to do some research beforehand if you’re going to make the most of it. Everything from the airline to the seat design can make a big difference in how much you enjoy your flight.
Newer/updated planes are better
Commercial aircraft can remain in service for decades. But while the mechanical stuff is (hopefully) always maintained, the interiors can get old and worn out if they’re not updated. That’s why it may be worth trying to reserve a seat on a newer — or at least recently updated — plane.
Each flight listing will include the aircraft type. Conducting a search for the airline and aircraft type will display aircraft specifications, seat maps, and even reviews to help you find the best option.
*I said “try” here because you can’t always control the plane you get. Airlines can (and often do) switch planes for any number of reasons, which may affect the type of seat you end up in.
Avoid inaccessible aisle seats
There are dozens of different types of business class seats. Some are better than others. For example, a suite will provide a lot of space and privacy. But the one thing I would warn everyone about is to be careful about your access to the trail. As it is, not all seats offer direct aisle access, and it can be a problem when your colleague is asleep and you need to use the toilet. Planning sites, like SeatGuru, can tell you what type of seats and how to arrange them for a particular plane or airline.
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Don’t rule out the “soft product”
In travel parlance, the parts of the experience that have been repaired are called the “hard product.” This includes things like seats and the cabin you’re in. Other parts of your experience — such as meals, amenities packages, and service — are called the “soft product.”
Your seat absolutely matters. Cabin layout is very important. But they are only part of it. If the in-flight meal is bad, it can tarnish your entire business class experience. Same with service. (A bad amenity kit doesn’t ruin a trip, but a great amenity kit can definitely improve your overall experience.)
Do a little research online about your destination airline before booking your flight. You can find plenty of great reviews covering both the hard product and soft business class product for any airline, giving you a good idea of how your airline handles the full experience.
Use points when possible
I cannot stress the importance of this enough. Business class travel, especially internationally, can cost a fortune. For example, a quick search on Google Flights showed that the average flight cost from Boston to Dublin is $3,000 — that’s One Way a ticket.
I won’t argue about value; If I had money to burn, I would 100% prefer to fly business rather than train. But if you are trying to maintain your… Complete vacation Costs Under $3000, spending that much on a trip there for one person is ridiculous.
It’s especially silly when just one or two credit card welcome bonuses can get you (almost) the same ticket entirely with points (usually some small taxes to pay out of pocket). Here are some examples of my favorite travel rewards cards:
- The Platinum Card® from American Express: You can find very high welcome offers for this high-end travel card that are more than enough to get you a business class seat at least one way, if not two (if you find that elusive 150,000 points welcome offer). Amex Membership Rewards can be transferred to 17 different airlines. The current welcome offer is 80,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $8,000 in the first 6 months. Conditions apply. See prices and fees.
Apply now To obtain the Platinum Card® from American Express.
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Even the standard welcome bonus of 60,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months can be enough for a one-way business class flight to Europe, but keep your eyes peeled for one of the higher bonuses you get a few times every year. Chase Ultimate Rewards can transfer 1:1 to 11 different airlines.
Apply now For the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.
- Capital One Venture XRewards Credit Card (See rates and fees): You can sometimes find high welcome offers for this card, but the current offer of 75,000 miles when you spend $4,000 in the first three months can still be enough for at least a one-way ticket. Transfer Capital One Venture Miles to 14 different airlines. The Capital One Venture
Apply now For the Capital One Venture
- City Premier® Card: Your typical welcome offer for this card tends to be lower than some other cards, but it can still get you a one-way seat if you’re careful. Currently offering 60,000 ThankYou® points when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months. Citi ThankYou points transfer to 14 different airlines.
Apply now For the Citi Premier® Card.
Watch out for mixed trails
This applies to all those travelers who, like me, are not lucky enough to live near a major centre. If you’re booking a business class itinerary that includes a layover, check this all The leg of your flight is business class or first class.
When you depart from a regional airport, you will likely first take a positioning flight; It is a flight that takes you to the hub where you can board your final international flight. On a good business class itinerary, your positioning flight will be in first class.
However, I have often seen mixed grade itineraries where you are stuck on the bus during your positioning trip. (This is especially common on award itineraries.) While it’s not the end of the world — these flights are usually shorter — having that sophisticated experience from start to finish really makes a difference.
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