Airline miles constantly devaluing and becoming more difficult to redeem. On top of this, credit card companies are restricting sign-up bonuses and making it more difficult to earn miles via manufactured spending. Luckily, there are alternatives for those who want to fly in premium cabins without paying through the roof for the privilege.
Lots of airlines offer cheap business class fares to Asia (see Hainan Airways) and Europe (Virgin America, British Airways). This works out great for folks who either don’t mind paying for these fares out of pocket or intend to cover the cost with miles from the Barclay Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard. So what are some of these cheap premium cabin fares you can take advantage of? Here are just a few of the best deals out there:
1 – TAP Business Class CPH – MIA/JFK/BOS for $1,032 RT.
If you’re headed to Europe this springs, TAP has you covered with a pretty incredibly roundtrip business class fare: $1,032 roundtrip between Copenhagen and Miami, New York or Boston. Keep in mind this is a roundtrip originating in Copenhagen, so you’ll have to get yourself to Copenhagen first. ~$1,000 is cheap even if you only fly one-way. Plus, you’ll have incentive to return to Europe (not that anyone needs much incentive to do that)!
2 – Unlimited Business Class Pass With Atlasglobal.
George Clooney’s character in Up in the Air is pretty much the envy of everyone in this hobby. The guy gets to travel around the country, practically living on airplanes, and fire people for a living. Basically, he’s the President of the United States. 😉
Atlasglobal has an unlimited Business Class Pass for all of those wanna-be Ryan Binghams out there. For $3,500 travelers get unlimited business class travel throughout Europe for 8 months (beats that backpacking trip you took in college, doesn’t it?). Sure, $3,500 is pricey, but if you live in Europe and are frequently traveling for work, this might be worth it. Or perhaps you’re a “digital nomad” who just wants to fly around aimlessly. In either case, you can really milk this if you use it right.
The down side? You still have to pay taxes and fees on flights. And Atlasglobal is a Turkish carrier, which puts them off-limits to American travelers. But the minute that travel restriction is over, I would ask my boss for permission to work remotely for a few months and milk this pass for all it’s worth.
3 – Turkish Airlines CAI – JFK Business Class $1,349 roundtrip.
“Chaos is a ladder” said the smartest/most evil man on Game of Thrones. When the world falls apart, savvy consumers hungry for unique travel experiences win. That’s precisely the case with Egypt, where tourism took a serious beating following the Arab Spring. Want to see the Great Pyramid or the Temple of Karnak in Luxor? The days of crowded tours and long lines are over. Moreover, travelers report that with the country’s hunger for tourism, scams have died down and the Egyptians are particularly welcoming of their presence.
If that’s not enough incentive to visit Egypt, perhaps the low fares are. Do a quick Google Flights search and you’ll find incredible business class fares between Cairo and various U.S. Airports. One of the best deals I found was a $1,349 Turkish Airlines business class fare for August 28 – September 6. This far is actually pretty common – do your own search and be sure to share any noteworthy deals in the comment section.
4 – Cheap Business Class Fares to Beijing This Fall.
At the moments, there are tons of cheap business class fares to Beijing, out of various U.S. airports. Want to get away during Thanksgiving week? ANA has a $2,584 roundtrip fare to Beijing out of LAX on China Eastern has fares as low as $2,045. If you want to travel in October, there are fares as low as $1700 roundtrip on Sichuan Airlines during the last two weeks of the month.
5 – Air Canada, Swiss Air, Lufthansa Business Class ~$3,000 roundtrip SFO to DEL.
Heading to India next April? Air Canada, Swiss Air and Lufthansa have some pretty great roundtrip fares ranging from $3,090 – $3,123. These fares are available on many dates in April, May, and even September. If ~$3,000 sounds like a lot of money, it’s actually a bargain when redeeming Arrival Miles. It takes just $142,500 worth of manufactured spending to earn these miles. Compare that to the $160,000 you’d have to put on a card like the United MileagePlus Explorer in order to earn the 160,000 miles required for an award redemption. Plus, you’ll earn miles on these paid fares. It’s a win-win!
There are tons of great business class fares for year-round travel around the world. My favorite way to find these deals is through a simple Google Flights search. I type in my departure city, dates, then click on the world map for the cheapest destinations. Or I choose my destination and simply check the calendar for the lowest fare. Give it a go and be sure to share your own deals in the comment section!