It’s no secret that Alan and I prefer luxury travel — on the ocean, on land and in the air. We don’t mind paying for that luxury, but like any smart traveler, we look for value to stretch those dollars as far as they can go. Using loyalty programs, purchasing international airfare from gateway cities, and traveling during shoulder season are three of our favorite strategies. But we stink at finding low-cost business airfare. That’s why I’ve joined First Class Flyer.
I hear what you’re thinking. “Donna and Alan travel all the time, don’t they have plenty of frequent flyer miles to use?”
Since our active travels include domestic and international trips, we don’t earn as many miles as you might assume. And, when it comes to air travel, loyalty programs don’t get us very far anymore. It’s partly due to flying out of a second-tier (maybe even third-tier) airport like Missoula. However the quality of our Montana lifestyle is worth that inconvenience.
The second reason that air loyalty programs aren’t getting us very far is because frequent flyer miles are increasingly difficult to use. Have you tried redeeming them lately? Not only are awards tickets harder to redeem, but jumping through the hoops to find them requires more and more time.
Several years ago, Alan and I tired of playing the frequent flyer miles game. We chose a different route—paying for business class airfare ourselves. Now we’re not locked in with a particular airline and can look for business class air from major gateway cities such as Los Angeles, Seattle, Minneapolis or Salt Lake City (the closest/cheapest domestic tickets from Montana). Our strategy includes using a cash-back credit card, then depositing the end-of-year check into a Business Class fund at the bank. Of course it doesn’t earn enough to pay for an entire ticket—with the exception of travel, we’re not huge spenders—so we also contribute additional money to the fund.
However researching business and first class airfare (or upgrades) takes tons of time, too. I don’t know about you, but my time is precious to me. Now that I’ve joined First Class Flyer, I’m putting my time, money and miles to much better use.
Matthew Bennett, publisher of First Class Flyer, has over 20 years experience showing readers how to find luxury travel in the air. Through daily alerts and a monthly newsletter, readers learn about little known business and first-class deals that are currently available. The advice even comes with codes to give to your travel agent or that you can try using yourself (I recommend a good travel agent). And, yes, you’ll learn how to maximize those frequent flyer miles—First Class Flyer calls them “Sweet Redeems.”
Boomer travelers who have the flexibility to travel on a whim will appreciate the Bucket List Alerts for world famous events such as Wimbledon or the Daily Alerts. I especially like that the Daily Alerts are distinctly labeled as to:
- when they were found
- what type of deal: anomaly fares, discount upgrades, sweet redeems or buy-miles strategy
- which region of the world
- how they stack up: a star rating that ranks the deals
- how much money you’ll save on the fare
Would a diligent boomer traveler find this information on his or her own? Perhaps. If trolling the Internet for hours on end is how you want to spend your time, more power to you. I’d rather let an expert do the searching. Then I’ll do the work of putting the information into action, whether that’s by purchasing a ticket or making the most of frequent flyer mile upgrades.
I believe in the old saying “you get what you pay for.” And it’s the same for finding the best luxury travel deals for business or first class airfare. Matthew Bennett’s time is worth something too. You can’t expect him to develop this kind of insider information and give it to you for free.
First Class Flyer offers three yearly subscription levels depending on how in-depth you want to go. But you’re not stuck with signing up first to find out if the information is worth it. You’ll enjoy a 14-day trial period before your credit card is charged. This gives you time to receive daily alerts and download the monthly newsletter to decide about the value for yourself. I recommend the Gold level as it provides access to the archives (as does the Platinum level).
Click to see how First Class Flyer can make it happen for you.
As Matthew Bennett says, “Flying up front isn’t a matter of luck, it’s a matter of planning.” I like the way he thinks.
Disclosure: My Itchy Travel Feet is a First Class Flyer affiliate.