When all other factors are equal, it is easy to choose business class over coach. But unless a third party is paying for our tickets, there are many things that travelers must consider before booking a business class ticket.
For a long time, I was opposed to business class tickets. According to my reasoning, I would rather use my precious points and miles for more coach trips rather than fewer trips in business class.
But then a few things happened to change my perspective. First, I actually got to try business class. My wife and I were returning from our honeymoon in Brazil, and the airline had so royally messed up our itinerary that when resolved, they consented to our requests for a free upgrade. The seats were nice, and the service was acceptable at that time back in 2005. But in the years since, business class has only gotten better as coach seats have gotten worse. These days, business class is the new first class as most carriers feature lie flat beds and food from celebrity chefs. In short, airlines are trying to lavish their business class passengers, whether they paid with their tickets with dollars or miles.
Next, I realized that using my credit card to book business class awards was a bargain. For example, most airlines were offering coach awards to Europe for 60,000 miles round trip, while a business class award worth 2-4 times as much only costs 100,000 miles. So essentially, passengers are receiving 2-4 times the value from their credit card rewards.
And finally, I learned that a business class ticket was much more than just a big seat. Passengers enjoyed priority check in, security, lounge access, boarding, and a much larger free baggage allowance. These services save time on the ground, and can save money when you are enjoying a free meal and a shower at the lounge between flights.
Don’t leave the continent in coach
I find economy to be acceptable on flights of less than four hours, and I don’t mind sitting in coach for a flight to Mexico, Canada, or the Caribbean. But when I travel to Europe, South America, Hawaii or beyond, I no longer consider coach flights. I have taken too many flights in coach where I arrived exhausted, that I now realize that I was not having fun on my hard earned vacations. I begun to dread flights in coach, and that is no way to take a vacation.
When you realize all of the ways to earn points and miles with credit cards, there is no reason that any reward card holders should not be taking their next trip overseas in business class.