One of the best parts about using airline miles is getting the chance to go to places and experience things that you would never otherwise get a chance to. In my last post, I wrote about some of the most adventurous and off-beat destinations you could go to with American miles.
Another great use of airline miles is to treat yourself to a flight in Business class, a premium experience that would otherwise unaffordable for most people.
What’s so great about Business class?
1) Flat bed seats
Many airlines now offer completely lie-flat seats in Business class.
That means that you can recline the seat back a full 180 degrees and lay down in a natural sleeping position like you would on your bed at home. This is a huge upgrade from Economy, in which you are forced to contort yourself to all kinds of weird angles in order to find a comfortable position to sleep.
Many airlines have also now gotten rid of the old recliner-style seats in Business class in favor of mini-pods that give you more privacy and the ability to recline your seat as much as you want without intruding into another person’s space.
For more of a taste of what flying in Business class is like, you can check out One Mile at a Time’s review of his flight on American from New York to London and The Point Guy’s review of an Alitalia flight from Milan to New York.
2) Access to lounges
Premium cabin passengers also get access to airport lounges before departure and (sometimes) after arrival. These lounges usually offer a small buffet of complimentary food and drink, free wi-fi, some computers you can use, and more comfortable chairs to sit in while you wait for your flight. Definitely a nice perk when you have a long layover between connections.
3) Other benefits: priority lanes, better food, and amenity kits
Business class also gives you access to priority lanes for check-in, boarding, and sometimes through immigration as well. That can definitely save a lot of time and energy when you are flying through busy airports such as LAX or Heathrow.
Meal services in Business class are typically pretty elaborate, with several courses served on real plates and complimentary wine, beer, and champagne. You are also usually given a small amenity kit with branded toiletries, eye shades, etc.
Flying in Business class does not have to be expensive
While all the benefits of Business class are great, unfortunately the cost of paying for a Business class flight outright is way out of reach for most people.
Thankfully, by using airline miles, we can get the same exact Business class experience for a fraction of the price of a regular paid fare.
For example, let’s say you wanted to go to Australia.
A Business class flight on Qantas from Los Angeles to Sydney next year would cost $7,600 one-way!
However, we can book that same exact flight for only 62,500 American miles and $27 in taxes!
We are paying a fraction of the price to get the exact same premium experience. Only having to pay $27 out-of-pocket to get the chance to fly in Business class is a spectacular deal.
Now let’s say we wanted to go from New York to Brazil next month.
A flight in Business class on American Airlines in September would cost nearly $3,000!
However, we can book that same exact flight for just 50,000 American miles and $2.50 in taxes!
Paying $2.50 in cash to fly to Brazil on American Airlines’ new world-class Business product is a pretty unbelievable opportunity.
How many miles do you need for Business class?
Even better, earning the miles you need to fly in Business class is easier than you may think.
For example, a one-way Business class flight from the United States to Europe would cost 50,000 American miles.
|Miles Required From US||American||United||Delta|
|Australia / New Zealand||62,500||67,500||75,000|
|Middle East / India||67,500||60,000||60,000|
While that may sound like a lot, it is actually quite simple to earn those miles, even if you are not a frequent flyer.
I recently signed up for a Citi AAdvantage Visa credit card (not my link, here is the Flyertalk thread discussing the card) that gives a sign-up bonus of 50,000 American miles after meeting the minimum spend of $3,000 in 3 months.
That means that simply by getting this card and then spending money I was going to spend on my day-to-day expenses anyway, I will earn enough American miles to get a free Business class flight to Europe or South America!
Of course, you should always think carefully about your own personal financial situation before signing up for any credit. (I will discuss the benefits and pitfalls of earning miles through credit card sign up bonuses in a future post)
Business class offers a lot of benefits over flying in coach, including a seat that turns into a lie-flat bed, access to lounges, priority lanes, and better food. By using airline miles, we can book a Business class flight for a fraction of the regular price while still getting the exact same premium experience.
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Disclosures: I receive NO financial benefits or commissions from any of the airlines, hotels, or credit cards mentioned in this post, so you can rest assured that I have no conflicts of interest.