Business class travel doesn't have to cost the earth if you use a few simple strategies and do some planning. Here's how to get to the pointy end without spending an absolute fortune.
We've discussed situations where investing in business class travel can be worth the money before. Nonetheless, when you're facing a five-figure quote for a trip, it's hard not to suffer from a bad case of sticker shock.
I'm not going to lie to you: you won't be able to score a business class ticket to London for peanuts unless you are sleeping with an airline executive. But there are some clear ways to get there for less. Here are our favourites.
Subscribe to email lists for specials
Sales aren't as frequent for business class tickets, but they're not non-existent. Specials offering two-for-one on business class seats pop up from time to time, for instance. The easiest way to stay on top of these is to sign up for specials emails from your preferred airlines.
Vary your airline choices
Flying business class with your preferred airlines will earn you a lot of points and status credits, but will also cost you a stack of money. Second-tier airlines (especially those which rely on you changing aircraft in their hub city) often offer business class for considerably less. Given that you'll still get most of the perks (lounge access, more room, speedy check-in), it can be worth varying your choice if you want a cheaper business-class option.
Avoid peak periods
As we've mentioned, business class tickets don't go on sale as often as their economy counterparts. However, they do tend to go up in price and down in availability during peak periods (around Christmas, Easter and across the northern hemisphere mid-year break). Avoid those periods to dodge paying more than you have to.
Use your points
If you've got a healthy base of frequent flyer points, spending them on business class tickets represents one of the most effective ways of using them. For instance: a business class ticket on Qantas requires twice as many points as a regular ticket. However, the price gap between economy and business is often much more than double, especially on international flights. So saving your points can be a nifty strategy.
One note: with this tactic, advance planning is vital. On many airlines, there are only a limited number of business-class frequent flyer seats, and at peak periods such as the Christmas break you may need to book as far as a year in advance. Not ideal for business trips (unless you have fixed dates for a conference), but good if you're scheduling a vacation.
What strategies do you use to save money on business class travel? Tell us in the comments.