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How To Fly Business Class For Free Using Credit Cards

It isn’t as difficult as you think, let us tell you why.

 

This article was first published by Cheerfulegg.

Frequent flyers have a common saying: “Once you go flat, you can’t go back.

No, they’re not lamenting about their car troubles, but about the amazing experience of sleeping on a lie-flat Business Class bed. Because once you’ve done it, it’s very hard to go back to flying Economy Class.

I first flew on First and Business Class in my previous job, and I’ve been yearning to do it again ever since. Aside from the 28-inch wide lie-flat bed, Business Class offers a whole host of other awesome benefits:

  • Priority check-in, more baggage allowance, and priority boarding
  • Lounge access (with free beer!)
  • A stylish ergonomic seat
  • Better food served to you on real cutlery
  • An awesome 18-inch wide HD screen with noise-cancelling headsets

Part of living a rich life means giving yourself permission to indulge in experiences like these. There’s no point in waiting till you’re old and wrinkly – I doubt you’ll enjoy it as much.

But most of us can’t afford to shell out a couple of thousand dollars for a Business Class ticket. But if we’re smart about it, we can experience it… for next to nothing.

Let’s Get Specific

SIA's biz class lounge in London HeathrowIn my previous post, I showed you how a seemingly unattainable dream of travelling the world can be very feasible if we get specific. By crunching the numbers and doing a bit of research, we can have experiences that 90% of your friends can only dream about.

Let’s apply this principle to flying Business Class.

First, let’s get specific: Where should we fly to? Which airline should we take? How much will that cost us?

To keep things simple, let’s assume that we want a one-way Business Class ticket from Singapore to Tokyo on Singapore Airlines on 15 Mar 2017. Why?

  • SIA has, in my opinion, THE best Business Class product out there
  • A Tokyo flight is 6h 45mins, which gives us enough time to thoroughly enjoy the experience
  • A one-way ticket is good enough for us to experience the product. We can settle on Economy Class for the return trip
  • Booking a midweek flight almost a year in advance will give us a higher chance of getting a seat

Tokyo fare screenshot

A one-way ticket will set us back by a whopping $3,364 SGD. Since that’s waaaaaaay beyond what most of us are willing to pay, let’s turn to the next best alternative: miles.

Checking out the Singapore Airlines redemption chart, we see that we need 40,000 miles to redeem a one-way Business Class Saver ticket to Tokyo. But we also get a 15% discount if we redeem it online, so let’s set our target at 34,000 miles.

Tokyo miles screenshot

This might seem like a crazily high hurdle, but we can achieve it quickly with a little bit of ingenuity. In fact, we can earn those miles without ever stepping into an aircraft. Here’s how:

Step 1: Open A Krisflyer Account

Krisflyer is the loyalty programme of Singapore Airlines. Your Krisflyer account will serve as your air miles “bank account” where store and redeem all your miles.

Even if you don’t plan on flying anytime soon, everyone should have one so you can start collecting miles through different channels like flights or shopping. It’s also free to open – I’m boggled at how so many people don’t actually don’t know this.

Step 2: Apply For These Credit Cards

Air miles credit cards award you with miles for every dollar you spend on them. For example, the DBS Altitude Visa Signature Card gives you 1.2 miles for every dollar spent.

Singapore has like a gazillion air miles cards, but I specifically chose these 4:

pjimage

Now, trying to earn 34,000 miles on the earn rate alone is tough. If our card gives us 1.2 miles per dollar, we’ll still need to spend $28,333 in order to get the miles we need.  Owtch. But don’t worry – there’s a better way to do this.

You see, I chose these 4 cards specifically because they are currently offering some awesome signup bonuses, which we can use to shortcut the process. Which brings us to…

Step 3: Get Your Signup Bonuses

Wtheck is a signup bonus? These are large blocks of miles that cards will occasionally give out to attract new customers and get them to spend more. As long as you meet the minimum spend, you’ll earn the signup bonus for that card.

So! I added up the  minimum spends from each of these cards, which gives us a total spend of $5,600 SGD. This gives us:

  • 26,333 miles in signup bonuses
  • 7,773 miles from the earn rate of each card

Here’s what our results would look like:

Comparison table bonus miles

Want the Excel file for this? Sign up for my travel hacking email list at the bottom of this post.

That gives us a total of 34,107 miles – enough to redeem a one-way Business Class ticket to Tokyo worth $3,330 SGD (plus taxes and fees of $34).

Simply transfer these miles from your credit cards to your Krisflyer account, redeem your flight online, and get ready to sip some pre-flight champagne.

This Isn’t As Hard As You Think

Obviously, don’t be a dumbass and spend $5,600 on purpose just to get those miles. But if you’re creative, you can easily hit this minimum amount on things that you’d already be spending on:

  • Do you have any large expenses coming up, like car payments or a wedding?
  • Can you pay for dinners/holidays on behalf of your family members or friends?
  • Can you “front load” the cost by purchasing Starbucks cards or Amazon gift cards?

I intentionally kept our assumptions conservative by limiting our goal to just a one-way Business Class ticket to Tokyo. Wanna do a round-trip? Wanna fly to Europe? Wanna upgrade your experience to the famed Singapore Airlines Suites?

All these – and more – are within reach. All you have to do is:

Stop Dreaming. Get Specific.

4872078106_e561c918a5_zA quick caveat: These bonuses don’t last forever.You’ll notice that many of them are only valid if you sign up for the cards by a certain date. In fact, they might have ended by the time you read this. But don’t worry, promotions are like pretentious hipster cafes: When one closes down, another one will rise up to take its place.

In addition, things could change. Credit cards can change their T&Cs. Airlines may make it more difficult to get the flights you want. But no matter what, there’s always a way to get what you want if you’re willing to put in the work and exercise some creativity.

So don’t focus too much on the details of this post. I just used this as an example to illustrate this very basic principle: Get specific about a goal, systematically deconstruct it, and find ways to get what you want.

That’s way better than spending your time staring wistfully at some travel blogger’s Instagram account.

Remember though – it’s a slippery slope. Because once you go flat, you can’t go back.

P.S: I’m experimenting with blogging a lot more about travel: Figuring out the miles game, cool experiences, and airport/airline hacks. If you liked this post and last week’s one, sign up below to get more smart travel strategies delivered straight to your inbox.

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