How to Beat the System: Fly First Class

By on May 14, 2014

fly first classIf you’ve always wanted to fly first class but never had the money to make it possible, it’s actually more in reach than you might think.

I am far from wealthy, and I’ve flown first class internationally a few times from using a variety of methods like the ones below:

1. Churn credit cards.

Churning credit cards is when you sign up for credit cards just to get the points. People actually make a hobby out of it and use a variety of different methods to collect points and perks along the way.

Just recently I got a free companion pass on one airline where my husband can fly free alongside me as many times as I want in a year. All of that was just from doing a little bit of research and getting certain credit cards during specific reward periods.

This method is not well suited for people who are in credit card debt or who are not the best about paying bills on time. Credit card points often require that you spend a certain amount in the beginning, sometimes as much as $3,000-$5,000 in the first 2-3 months. So, if you can’t work it in to a regular part of your monthly spending, it might cause more harm than good.

On the other hand, if you are organized and responsible with your credit cards, there are an immense amount of airline points to be had that you can use to fly first class all over the world.

2. Air Your Grievances

Let’s face it: flying can be a real drag sometimes. Bags get lost, planes get delayed, and a slew of other issues can pop up every time you set foot in an airport.

Instead of complaining loudly or giving someone behind a desk a hard time, instead try to air your grievances in a nice way. You can always ask, “Is there any way you could put me on an upgrade list for my next flight to make up for the inconvenience?”

I’ve always found that speaking kindly and being nice to the desk agents gets you way further than getting red in the face and yelling at them for something they don’t have a lot of control over. You never know: if you try this method, you could be sitting back and drinking champagne in first class on your next flight.

3. Do the math.

Don’t you hate how airlines started charging for checked bags a few years back? It’s kind of ridiculous how much extra you have to pay just to get on the plane.

Instead of being burdened with fees, try doing the math. The last time I flew, my husband and I had three bags each because we were moving from out of the country back to the United States. We had all of our earthly belongings with us, and frankly I’m surprised we had only six bags between the two of us! When booking our flight, we noticed that it was actually cheaper to fly first class, which offered free checked bags than it was to fly coach and pay for each individual piece of luggage. We had a great time, especially on that long international flight.

So, the lesson is not to automatically assume that first class is for the rich and famous. You can fly it anytime you like as long as you use some of the tricks above.

About Catherine Alford

Catherine Alford is a personal finance writer who received a B.A. from The College of William and Mary and an M.A. from Virginia Tech. When she is not writing for other websites on all topics frugal and fabulous, she enjoys sharing her adventures on her blog, Follow her on Twitter @BudgetBlonde or like Budget Blonde on Facebook.

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