How To Buy Business Class Tickets Without Breaking The Bank

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.


Comments

    Check for sales and hackie threads on Flying forums like Australia Frequent Flyer and Flyertalk

    After my first visit to Australia long ago, I went back to the UK via Cathay Pacific.
    All of a sudden the 2nd leg of my flight me and 8 others got a free upgrade to bizniz!
    It was the best 13 hour flight of my life :). Still wonder why we got the upgrade, I didn't do nothing special. I even remember the lady at the check-in desk hatin', thought it was a computer error and did not want to actually give me the ticket. Then when she eventually had to from her supervisor she told me the ppl at the gate might not let me on the plane because I wasn't 'dressed for business class'.
    Later that flight, I was like this :))))))))

    Don't confuse Club Europe on British Airways with business class. Club Europe means business class as it was 25 years ago, ie no movie selection or screen anywhere your seat, no preflight drinks, limited drinks and seats where your knees touch the row in front. Less space than premium economy. I would take premium economy if offered. I don't know how they offer it as a business product.

    A very simple trick - as discovered elsewhere and tested lately - is to clear your browser cookies before purchasing your ticket.

    It is surprisingly & sickeningly common for airlines (particularly budget ones) to retain session information which boosts up the ticket price if you return. For instance, if you search for flights on a Monday, confirm with your friends on Tuesday and book on Wednesday, the tickets may be more expensive under the pretense of availability. But try and book them from another browser or phone and they'll be a fair bit cheaper!

    So don't search for flights while logged in to a user account on the site, clear your cookies before returning to sites and if possible search with one device/network connection and book with a separate combo (or do the research yourself and then get your friend to book it!).

    Especially for businesses, there are some amazing companies like iFlyFlat.com.au who use points to save businesses heaps on premium travel. Managed to get tickets for less than half the original price, and works amazingly well!

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