Travel hacking has opened the world of lay-flat business class seats for me. Before I started this hobby, I had only flown in business class once. On impulse, I upgraded to business for about $800 to snag a same-day ticket when I was flying home from London. It was AMAZING! Obviously, you will use more miles/points to fly business class than in economy class or economy plus. So, my question is – Are business class seats worth it?
When traveling solo or with my husband, it is totally worth it – especially for international travel. There is nothing like arriving freshly rested and ready to start your trip immediately because you slept well. International travel is long and hard on this old grandma’s body. Business class makes all the difference.
If your travel hacking goal is to travel with your family then you probably won’t be looking at a lot of business class seats for a while. For you, traveling in economy class will let your miles/points go further. However, you have to try a business class at some point. I warn you, it will be hard to go back!
Because I do a lot of International travel, I like to save points for that. If I used 30,000 miles for a domestic round-trip ticket, I might save $500. However, if I use an average of 70,000 miles for a one-way business class ticket, I might save $3000-$8000. I tend to just use a credit card that earns me a lot of points (like the AMEX Platinum or Citi Premier) to pay for that domestic flight.
Here are some of the reasons I save my miles for business class tickets:
In business class you can have some amazing food. I have had some first-class cuisine on many flights and a few so-so meals. I remember the first time Alex flew business class on Turkish Airlines to Greece with me. She was amazed at every turn. We had an excellent meal, complete with little tea lights. We had appetizers, then salad, and then the main course all on nice china served by a man in a chef’s hat. For dessert, they brought out a little trolley with many choices of sweets. It was heavenly!
If you drink, you will get champagne or wine throughout your trip. I don’t drink, but enjoy my cranberry-sprite spritzer every time! I have heard that those who drink alcohol are pretty impressed with the choices in business class! Business class is certainly worth it for the meals and beverages served.
There is nothing like having extra space for yourself. On many flights, you can pick a seat by the window that doesn’t have anyone near you. Even if there is a seat next to you, there is usually a partition you can pull up for sleep or privacy. I love the feeling of more space I get in business class.
Before travel hacking, I often crunched in a seat trying desperately to sleep. I travel to London to visit family often and dealt with debilitating jet lag on many first days there. For anyone who has traveled internationally, this can ruin a trip. Now, I can get 6-8 hours of sleep and arrive in London or elsewhere rested and ready to hit the ground running. I love that on many flights, the attendant will make up my bed for me and I can doze off after a movie and a good meal. I actually try and find longer flights so I can sleep more. A few airlines (EVA for example when I went to Thailand) give out pajamas.
As you all know, I love a good airport lounge. My many credit cards let me use one almost every time I travel. The business class airport lounges take things to another level. One of my favorite airport lounges is the United Polaris Lounge. They are absolutely gorgeous! I can order off a menu and get an amazing meal, rest in a reclining lounger in a darkened cubicle and take a shower in a beautiful bathroom.
When I used the Thai Airways business class lounge, I could have had a spa treatment. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time but that is another great perk in the first or business class lounges. Definitely, their decor and food are a notch up!
My husband doesn’t like to travel as much as I do. That works to my advantage because I can use his and my points/miles and travel in business class more often. The first time he traveled with me in business class was to Dubai. We flew to LAX first and went to Emirates lounge.
There we had a delicious meal that included perfect beef filets. When we boarded our flight, my husband was so impressed with our seats, the meal on board, the bar in the back that served good snacks, and the great night’s sleep we had during a 19-hour flight that would have been horrible in economy. He now is 100% onboard with doing more traveling in business class!
Obviously, I find it valuable to use my miles/points on business class seats. What about first class seats? Honestly, I have used them for domestic first-class seats that are over 4 hours but often just save my points for business class. Having a domestic first-class/business seat isn’t that great because they are usually not laying flat seats. Economy plus works fine for me.
I did travel Cathay Pacific first class from Hong Kong to NYC when I found an unbelievable mistake fare. I was one of 6 people in first class and it was amazing. Seats were a little bigger, with total attention from the flight attendant and caviar as an appetizer. But honestly, I wouldn’t fly first class with points unless I can get into Singapore Suites or Emirates First Class (to use a shower) but those are bucket list options. And the Singapore Suites option is coming up for me!
One of the reasons I travel hack is the opportunity to book business class seats and only pay taxes and fees. For under $100 a ticket (usually), I can get on a plane, enjoy a great meal, watch a movie or two, and settle down for a good night’s sleep. It is the ultimate luxury to travel on a long flight and arrive rested. Even if you want your points to last longer, you owe it to yourself to book a seat in business class at some time in your points and miles journey!
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