3 Habits of Frequent Travelers Who Always Fly Business Class

It’s been said that the biggest downside of flying business class is that you’ll never want to go back to economy. That was definitely my experience. After my first international flight in a business-class seat, I wanted to have that every time.

Always flying business class probably seems expensive. These seats usually cost several times more than economy. On international flights, it’s common to see business-class prices of $3,000 or more.

But some frequent travelers are able to do it, without spending a ton of money. They tend to follow a few key habits to make it happen.

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1. They pay for some or all of their tickets with miles

When somebody always flies business class, they’re typically able to do it for one of two reasons: They could have enough money to where a more expensive ticket doesn’t make a dent in their wallet. Or, they’re paying for a lot of their airfare with miles, not cash.

Those expensive business-class seats often get much more affordable when you’re paying in airline miles. For example, earlier this year, my wife and I flew to France. Business-class seats would have cost $3,106 each. They were also available for 77,000 miles plus $262.50 in taxes and fees each, which I happily paid.

If you shop around, you could find business-class seats for 50,000 to 80,000 miles, or sometimes less. Taxes and fees vary, but can be as low as $5.60.

You may be wondering how you’ll earn all those miles. The first step is signing up for a frequent flyer account with any airlines you use so you can earn miles on your trips. But there’s also a way to earn miles much more quickly.

2. They use travel credit cards for their everyday spending

The fastest way to earn miles is with travel rewards credit cards. Instead of only earning miles when you travel, you can earn them on all your credit card spending.

There are a couple of different types of travel cards you can use. Airline credit cards are tied to a specific airline and its frequent flyer program. For instance, if you get a Delta Air Lines card, you’ll earn miles you can use with Delta.

Those cards can be good if you always fly with the same airline. But I prefer travel cards with transferable rewards. These let you transfer your points/miles to the card issuer’s airline partners. With some cards, you’ll be able to send your rewards to over a dozen airlines. This gives you far more booking options, since you can use your rewards with so many carriers.

Several credit card companies offer this type of travel card. The most popular options are cards in the Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, and Capital One Venture Rewards programs.

Flight prices go up and down. The sweet spot for booking is generally one to three months in advance for domestic flights and two to eight months in advance for international flights, according to flight deals site Going.

Whether you’re paying in cash or miles, you’ll have a better chance of getting a deal if you give yourself plenty of time to find a ticket. That’s especially true with business-class seats, since there are fewer of these available.

If you start searching several months in advance, you can set up low price alerts. You can book when you think you’ve found a good deal. And if prices drop later, you can probably cancel your ticket and rebook at the lower rate. One of the advantages of booking business class is that changes and cancellations are often free. Check with the airline you’re using to make sure of that.

It’s easier than you’d expect to get a seat at the front of the plane. If you use travel credit cards, book with miles, and start shopping ahead of time, you could travel in business class more often — or even every time you fly.

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