Flying first class might seem like a dream, but it can become a reality with just a little extra work ― for a fraction of the regular cost.
One of his main tips? Buy points, don’t earn them.
“Paying for tickets in loyalty points is often cheaper than with actual money, and there are two ways to amass points: by spending money on credit cards, or flying with a certain airline,” he told the Daily Mail. “But there’s a third way and that’s to just buy them directly from the carrier. Every few months, airlines sell off their points in promotional sales which means you can purchase air miles without actually flying anywhere. You can then use them to book trips in upper class for significantly less.”
For example, a deal with United Airlines can let you fly first class from Hong Kong to Sydney for 40,000 points, which you can purchase for about $1,092. Booking this seat the standard way would cost a staggering $6,108.
How does it work? You can buy points at any time from most airlines by simply Googling “buy XYZ airline miles” to purchase directly from the airline, Ott explained to HuffPost. However, he says it’s best to do this during promotional events, otherwise the cost might not make sense.
“During certain promotions, like buy one get one free, where you get double the miles for the same price, it can all of a sudden make a lot of sense,” he said via email Monday. He suggested following travel blogs and setting alerts to know exactly when these deals are happening. “So the key is to follow blogs, which highlight those sales, and also to not shy away from airline marketing emails, since they occasionally contain gems.”
Sometimes, Ott will take hotel points and turn them into airline miles with airlines he isn’t actually going to fly. He then uses those miles with airline partners he’s interested in.
Convoluted, yes, but worth it.
“It’s madness, but if you do your homework it’s amazing.”
Ott said the best upgrade he has gotten happened back when he only flew economy and received a random bump to business class on a Delta flight. It showed him what he had been missing.
“It was the most meaningful because it was eye opening to me at the time,” he told HuffPost.
Some of Ott’s other travel hacks, including “missing” your last flight on purpose and booking yourself onto over-sold flights, can be found over at the Daily Mail.