All of the major U.S. frequent flier programs now let you book one-way tickets with your miles for half the price of a round trip. If you have a stash of miles, consider using them one way and buying a return ticket that originates outside the U.S. Thanks to the strong dollar, there are many fares below $2,000 round trip to the U.S. this summer, like Copenhagen to New York for less than $1,400 and Dublin to Chicago for less than $1,600.
And no, we don’t mean turning up at Stansted as the Blues Brothers. Leave the tracksuit at home and dress as if you’ve just been browsing the FT in the exec lounge – either full-on formal or business casual (pink herringbone shirt, beige chinos, tan brogues) does the job. Having gained a business class upgrade with her boyfriend to South Africa, Talent Acquisition Coordinator Fiona Nimmo advises “looking good, wearing your Sunday best and smiling”. For more holiday fashion tips, follow our guide on what to pack for every kind of trip.
All those people collecting points are not part of some fringe movement of travel lunatics. Other than paying for it, points are the only sure fire way of getting an upgrade, and booking it long enough in advance that you can get excited for your trip for months. Here’s a list of airlines that let you upgrade international plane tickets, and how many points you’ll need. It’s super important to remember that earning points doesn’t require travel. You can earn points from your daily latte spend, amongst many other things. When it comes to using them…
How to book it for less than coach: As one Air France flight attendant told me on a recent trip, “There are no upgrades to la Première.” The airline doesn’t make it easy to get it free by using miles, either, but it is possible. To do so, you can use only Air France’s Flying Blue miles—and solely if you have elite status with the airline. The good news is, you need only a basic level of elite status to be eligible, so frequent fliers can credit a few weeks or months of travel to Flying Blue and they will be set. Flying Blue also transfer partners with American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Citi ThankYou Rewards, so it’s easy to pad your account with points from other programs.
The second upgrade tip is to check the upgrade availability frequently. Although upgrade seats may not be available at the time you purchased the coach ticket the inventory for upgrades is constantly changing, right up until the time of departure. You can check with your airline every day or several times a week or you can use an alert service from some online services such as ExpertFlyer.com. ExpertFlyer.com now offers Flight Alerts, a service that allows you to program your actual flight or series of preferred flights for an upgrade or award. Flight Alerts will automatically search for open availability and notify you immediately once it locates a seat. The notification can be sent to three (3) different addresses including personal or work email, cell phone or PDA so no matter where you are or what you're doing, you will be notified the moment Flight Alerts finds the Premium seat you're looking for. Flight Alerts, or a similar notification program, can also assist you in finding seats using only awards miles.
For international trips, book a cheap coach ticket to a gateway before spending more for international business class. For example, fares to Europe from the Midwest or East Coast can be as much as $1,000 cheaper than similar itineraries from the West Coast. New York tends to have the most frequent discounted business- and first-class fares to Europe, so if you can get there economically, you can then fly the rest of the way up front.
She continues, “Once you meet your minimum spend, which is usually around $3,000, think about getting a second card for your business, spouse or even yourself, especially one with transferable points like American Express Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards. The Chase card offers 40,000 miles on sign-up so that would be enough when combined with a 50,000 mile bonus on an airline card for one first-class round-trip ticket to London or Paris.”
Ask your travel agent. My own travel agent has a relationship with certain airlines that let her book her customers into preferred seats that are not released to everyone (usually toward the front of the plane, in exit rows and the like). She can also see upgrade availability fairly quickly, and many agents can add comments to your reservation that increase your chances of being chosen for an upgrade. Ask about these the next time you talk to your travel agent.
The menu on First Class flights is above and beyond those of Economy and Business Class. As well as having access to a wide variety of premium food and beverages, First Class travellers can often choose exactly when they want to eat, as well as having meals freshly prepared by an on-board chef in some cases. Premium beverages, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, are included in the fare and available any time with some airlines offering couple seating during the meal service.
Also, ask about availability at check-in, particularly on international flights, where the check-in agents sometimes have more control over the seating chart. Then, if seats appear to be available, check in again at the gate. The final, “miracle” upgrades always happen at the last minute, when all passengers are checked in and any remaining availability becomes clear. Make sure you are within earshot of the gate desk, although hovering over agents is not recommended.
ASAP Tickets is a service embracing 650 more travel agents, which provide the best flight deals for their customers. The ASAP Tickets offer discount airfares, group travels, round-trip/one-way/multi-city flight deals and many other useful features. In addition, the customers may find any information related to the air travel such as hotel booking, car rental, visa information, and organization of business meetings and conferences. Here you can find first class air tickets to Europe for $3050 only!
Complimentary black car chauffeur transfers, exclusive airline lounges, priority check-in, boarding and baggage handling, free checked luggage and extra frequent flyer points are all just a tip of the iceberg. Redefine your travel experience with comfort fit for royalty; succulent made-to-order meals designed by Michelin-starred chefs, hand-picked wines from the world's top wineries and decadent desserts to die for - all ready when you are. Unwind with a sky-high massage, an in-flight shower or a signature cocktail at the bar or simply recline in your seat with countless hours of five-star seat-back entertainment.