There are often only a few cheap first-class fares per flight. Instead of flying round trip on a single airline, you may find better prices by flying one way with one airline and returning with another. (On domestic flights, it’s now rare that one-way trips cost more than half of a round trip.) On some domestic routes, first-class fares can be as little as $100 more than coach seats.
Another way to join is to get a BA American Express card, which automatically lets you in. It's also one of the best-paying reward schemes on the market, paying points for normal spending on the card, and if you hit a certain amount, giving a free 'companion flight' on top. Always set up a direct debit to pay it off in full each month – otherwise it's 22.9% representative APR. See the Airline Credit Cards guide for more details.
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If you use various air carriers, you should tie your credit card to a point accumulating program. Such programs as Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest and many others enable you to transfer points from different airliners. The credit card options have gainful earning structures even despite the barriers of some air carriers to accumulate miles.
Modern technologies give us numerous perks. In particular, when it comes to searching for cheap first class deals – there’s probably no more convenient and fast way. Sign up your airline’s newsletter to monitor sales and receive attractive proposals on your email. Besides, there are some newsletters and forums (like FirstClassFlyer.com and FlyerTalk) providing the latest info about premium class fares.

There are often only a few cheap first-class fares per flight. Instead of flying round trip on a single airline, you may find better prices by flying one way with one airline and returning with another. (On domestic flights, it’s now rare that one-way trips cost more than half of a round trip.) On some domestic routes, first-class fares can be as little as $100 more than coach seats.
The first upgrade tip is to consider using your accumulated miles for flight upgrades as far in advance as possible (flights are often posted up to 330 days prior to scheduled departure). Even this far out the airlines will usually make available at least a couple of seats for mileage upgrades but not for awards. This is important to understand. Consider purchasing an inexpensive coach ticket and use your miles to upgrade. An additional benefit to doing this is you will earn qualified miles for the paid coach ticket (you receive zero credit on a Premium seat using miles exclusively). If you want or need to use your awards miles for securing a ticket (without an actual ticket purchase), you should follow the same rules of checking the availability as far out as possible.

Many First Class carriers also have high-end electronic entertainment systems with large screens that offer movies, games, TV shows and music on demand. You will also experience express check-in and boarding through a dedicated area. Some first class airlines provide a pre-boarding lounge that offer amenities such as food, drinks and internet access.
When it comes to flight upgrades, the airlines are caught in what is viewed by many to be a real Catch-22. Like any business, the airlines have an obligation to maximize revenue and make money for the company. Part of this revenue is generated from the outright sale of tickets in their Premium cabins - First Class and Business Class. However, they also have an obligation to their best customers, namely the frequent flyer and more specifically the Elite flyer to offer flight upgrades and other incentives. Maintaining, and even growing, the base of frequent flyers of an airline depends almost entirely on the "value" of their frequent flyer programs, especially for Elite members. The value of most programs is often judged by the number of seats an airline allocates for either free or mileage upgrades in the very same Premium cabins they are obligated to sell. Hence the Catch-22.
Sure, added benefits like amenity kits, pyjamas, china crockery, fine wine and starched linen serviettes are lovely. The real difference, however, between travelling in the front or the back of the plane is your arrival condition. Business class passengers step from the plane refreshed, relaxed, their clothes crisp and prim, hair and makeup immaculate.
First Class cabins seek to create a home away from home (especially if your home includes round-the-clock attentive service!) Optimal comfort is delivered by sumptuous seats that convert to luxurious fully-flat beds with Egyptian cotton bedding. The seats have power outlets and there are wider screens to enjoy a vast range of entertainment options. It truly is a different world up here.
How to book it for less than coach: Transfer agreements with American Express Membership Rewards, and Citi ThankYou Rewards make it feasible to book even the Apartment as an award ticket. All you have to do is shuffle points into an Etihad Guest account and redeem directly through the airline’s website. Redemption rates vary by destination, but a one-way award ticket from JFK to Abu Dhabi costs roughly 136,500 Guest miles, plus $275 in taxes and fees. A similar ticket between Abu Dhabi and London costs far less: about 88,000 miles, plus $235 in taxes and fees.

Airline branded credit cards are another way to accrue points on purchases that can eventually be exchanged for flights. These are particularly handy if you’re a business owner using a credit card to manage large transactions. Many will also offer attractive point bonuses on sign-up, often enough for domestic flight, so it pays to shop around for the best deal.

We went on this train trip on the Orient Express in Asia after I had my last baby. My husband and I both love trains and everything old fashioned, and this was a really special trip: You get to sleep on the train for two nights as it goes from Singapore to Bangkok. It was so romantic, and everybody dressed for dinner. The dinner car was like something out of Downton Abbey. The train itself was gorgeous, of course, but the tracks are very old, narrow gauge and the train rattles around on it like God knows what. Walking down the narrow corridors, there would suddenly be a jolt and you’d be thrown against the wall. But a friend of mine in England had already warned me that it was a bone-rattler and suggested I pack Arnica for the bruises.

And once you get to the gate, don't bother those agents with upgrade requests. Most larger airports have gates with screens that show where travelers are on an upgrade list, and most times, the premium cabins check in full. It's better to assume that if your airfare does not entitle you to an upgrade, you probably aren't going to get one. It may happen every once in a while but not often enough to have surefire ways to get upgraded for free every time you travel.
Airline branded credit cards are another way to accrue points on purchases that can eventually be exchanged for flights. These are particularly handy if you’re a business owner using a credit card to manage large transactions. Many will also offer attractive point bonuses on sign-up, often enough for domestic flight, so it pays to shop around for the best deal.
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