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Business Class Award Deals are Abundant Right Now: Here’s Why

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Attention Thrifty Traveler Premium members:

Attention Thrifty Traveler Premium members:

You’ve likely already received these deals. If not, log into your Premium deals hub to see every recent alert we've sent.

Whether you have a honeymoon coming up, a big bucket list trip or you're just hankering for some extra comfort and style on your next vacation, there's no better time to book your lie-flat business or first class seats than right now.

Our team of flight deal analysts has already sent a record number of first and business class flight deals to our Thrifty Traveler Premium members so far this month, and we still have a week left to go in October. We search every day for business class award availability – flights you can book with your points and miles – and alert our subscribers when we find it, but this last month has been more prolific than others. Don't believe me? I'll let my inbox speak for itself.

 

Business class flight deal

 

From flying Air France business class to Paris during the 2024 Olympics to lie-flat seats in Japan Airlines business class to Tokyo from just 60,000 points, this month has been an embarrassment of riches for travelers looking to fly business class this year or next. And this screenshot was taken before we sent a deal flying Delta One Suites nonstop to Europe, too!

So what's going on here? Let's dig into the perfect storm of factors making this the best time of the year to book a business class flight.

 

Summer 2024 Flights Are Already on Sale

Am I here to brag about how good our Thrifty Traveler Premium service is? Kind of, yeah…but there's more here to consider: Why has this last month been so fruitful for business class flight deals?

From what we can discern, there are three main reasons we're seeing such so many business class awards right now:

  • Summer 2024 flights are now on sale but still 9-11 months away
  • Airlines are rapidly adding new routes
  • Travel demand is much lower in the winter months

First, let's look at summer 2024. Airlines sell flights at least 11 months in advance, meaning you can book flights right now for next summer all the way through Labor Day. And because summer is still many, many months away, your desired business class seat might still be available…but not for long.

Finding lie-flat business class seats you can book with your points and miles can be tough as there aren't many of those seats on every flight, especially compared to economy. But most airlines release a handful of award tickets on every flight right when the calendar opens, 11-plus months out.

Take the 2024 Summer Olympics, for example. Everyone's heading to Paris between July 26 and Aug. 11 next summer for the games. but this week, we found nonstop business class award availability flying to Paris next year, including during the Olympics!

 

France Olympics business class deal

 

Rather than paying $3,000 or more for these tickets,  55,000 to 70,000 Air France/KLM Flying Blue miles could be enough to get you into one of these luxurious seats. However, every day that goes by dwindles your chance of securing these. Book these seats while the summer calendar is still fresh. You're much less likely to find them in a few months, a few weeks, or even a few days.

 

Tons of New Routes

The second reason why award availability has been so good lately is because airlines are announcing brand-new routes like crazy.

When an airline announces a new route, the plane starts out completely empty, including all the business class seats onboard. Airlines want to fill those seats, so it's not usually too long after that we find some incredible deals on those upcoming new routes for our Thrifty Traveler Premium members.

It's the main reason why I'm obsessed with new route announcements: It's one of the best, most surefire ways to book premium airplane seats and a tried and true budget travel strategy.

Here are two perfect examples. First, German carrier Lufthansa announced two brand new routes from Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) and Raleigh (RDU) to Frankfurt (FRA) starting next summer. As soon as the flights went on sale, we found tons of business class availability on both routes!

 

Lufthansa business class

 

Not long after, Italian carrier ITA Airways announced a brand new route of its own, this one flying between Chicago (ORD) and Rome (FCO) starting next year. I think you know where I'm going with this…

 

ITA business class

 

Winter is Coming

Business class award availability is easiest to find when travel demand is low, and winter is right around the corner.

Airlines will often release award availability – flights bookable with points and miles versus cash – either regularly throughout the year or in bunches. And when a bunch of award seats are released all at once, it's usually because the airline is trying to fill seats during a period of lower demand.

In the northern hemisphere, that's typically the winter months of January and February when most people aren't traveling as often. What that does, however, is lead to some great deals for budget-conscious travelers.

Let's look at this spicy Delta One Business Class flight deal we sent to our Thrifty Traveler Premium subscribers a few days ago. Delta One seats are hard to book unless you have infinite SkyMiles or money. But every once in a while, Delta One seats to Europe are made available to book through Virgin Atlantic for just 50,000 points each way.

 

Delta One business class seat

 

Departing from New York (JFK) and heading to Brussels (BRU), Frankfurt (FRA), or Zurich (ZRH), these fares could actually be booked for just 39,000 points thanks to a 30% transfer bonus from Chase to Virgin Atlantic!

These popular summer routes are much less popular in the winter months. With winter coming fast, Delta decided it was worth making these seats available to Virgin to make sure they got still some revenue out of them. The end result? Award fares like this one flying to the Swiss Alps in mid-January. Attention, skiers!

 

JFK-ZRH Delta ONe

 

All of these ingredients are the perfect recipe for tons of business class deals, but these things tend to be a little random, too. Business class award availability is often released sporadically throughout the calendar, and the last dump of available business class seats might just happen to coincide with some of these other factors.

Frankly, it's exactly why a flight deal alert service like Thrifty Traveler Premium is so helpful. We're monitoring these seats all day, every day, and alert you in your inbox when we find something worthwhile. So unless you have another team of ten flight deal analysts working around the clock to monitor business class award space for you, a service like ours might just be the best way to book these seats.

 

Our Other Best Business (& First!) Class Flight Deals This Month

It's time for the “show” part of show-and-tell.

Some of the deals we've sent this month are what the Thrifty Traveler Premium team calls “sizzlers” – deals that make us pause and check our own points and miles accounts to see if we can book these flights for ourselves. (We do this all the time, by the way! We're our own biggest fans.)

We'll start with one that I know one of our Thrifty Traveler team members booked:

 

New York City to Tokyo flight deal

 

Flying nonstop to Tokyo in Japan Airlines business class sounds like a pretty sweet ride, especially if you're flying all the way from New York City, too! Just 60,000 American Airlines AAdvantage miles would secure you these seats.

Christmas in Dublin, anyone? That's exactly how some of our subscribers will be spending the holiday after booking this Aer Lingus business class flight deal that included rare availability over the Christmas holiday this year.

 

Aer Lingus business class

 

Then there was this sweet deal flying lie-flat in United Polaris business class to either Brussels (BRU) or Geneva (GVA) this winter. Bookable for just 45,000 miles one-way with Turkish Airlines, it included travel dates over the holidays and during peak ski season in the Swiss and French Alps if Geneva was your final destination.

 

Polaris business class flight deal

 

What about something more rare, though? That's exactly what we found with Cathay Pacific opened up award availability to Hong Kong (HKG) next year in both its business class and first class!

 

Hong Kong business class deal

 

Flying nonstop to Hong Kong from Los Angeles (LAX), New York (JFK), San Francisco (SFO), and Toronto (YYZ), you could book these seats from 84,000 Cathay Pacific Asia Miles in business or up to 125,000 miles in first class.

Let's do one more – and it's a fun one!

At Thrifty Traveler Premium, we give our subscribers the ability to sign up for something we call “Nerd Alerts.” Nerd Alerts are business or first class flight deals that are especially unique or strange or that never even touch U.S. or Canadian soil. It's a little something for the people who we affectionately call “sickos” like ourselves.

This recent Nerd Alert could help travelers get aboard one of the craziest experiences in the sky: Etihad Apartments.

 

Etihad apartments

 

As you can see, the Etihad Apartment is kind of exactly how it sounds: it's a little apartment in the sky. The fully enclosed room at 35,000 feet is one of the coolest aviation experiences out there. And for 63,000 American Airlines miles, you could book the only route in the world where the Etihad Apartment flies: On the Airbus A380 between London (LHR) and Abu Dhabi (AUH).

Departing from AUH is the best way to book this flight as Etihad's First Class lounge is supposedly spectacular.

 

Bottom Line

Over the last month, Thrifty Traveler Premium members have been treated to dozens of business and first class flight deals. It's the craziest stretch of business class deals we've ever seen and that's because of a few interesting factors that have made the market ripe for award availability flying some of our favorite lie-flat seats.

Whether it's because the summer 2024 calendar is newly open, because the airlines are adding new routes like crazy, or because airlines are trying to fill seats in the winter months, the last month has been the perfect time to secure your lie-flat seat for a trip this year or next.

 

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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