Yeah, but How Does a Commoner like Me Fly Business Class?

emirates business class

Note: I receive no kickbacks or have any kind of affiliation with the credit card(s) touted in this article. This is purely to help you get radass flights for (almost) free.

I realized something this morning. I can’t remember what it was, but I know I realized something. I was walking along Calle Libertad, and I thought, “That’s it! That’s the secret to life!” I think it might’ve been something about eating more tamales. I’ve found some delectable ones by the neo-gothic church sometimes referred to as El Expiatorio. I get at least one everyday now. They have corn tamales, acelga (I think this might either be seaweed or cheese), rojos, verdes, pollo, and a few others. They cost 17 pesos.

Ah, I remember what I realized now. That this blog needs to be more useful. That I need to talk about myself less. So that’s why today’s post is about how you can fly business class for free within the next few months.

Some of you might remember this dynamite post from two weeks ago about the pleasures of business class. Bu some of you might have also wondered, “Yeah, but how do I fly business class? I don’t have the cash for that.”

But you don’t need cash. You need MILES. Lots of them. Fortunately, when you sign up for new credit cards, airline companies rain miles upon your person.

For example, the kind folks at Delta just emailed me this promotion the other day about 50,000 bonus miles when I sign up for their Amex card. Will I do this? Probably not right now. Because honestly with the way things are going I don’t know if I could spend the $1,000USD in the first three months that’s required to get the bonus miles. But you people, I know you people have good jobs, and live in economies where this kind of spending is not only regular, but required. If you live in the United States of America and don’t live in a hut in southeast Utah with 16 wives and a pet raccoon named Jake, it’s easy to spend $1,000 in three months. It would be hard not to.

So, you spend the $1,000 in the first three months, and then what happens? Well, once you pay off those miles — and this is critical, because they will not send you your miles until you’ve not only spent $1,000 on your C-card but also paid it off with money from your savings or checking account — they send you the miles. They SAY it takes up to six weeks or so for this to happen. But in my experience it’s usually within a week, two at the most.

Also, for this Delta card, and for a lot of cards offering promotions, there’s no annual fee for the first year. Which means you get your miles, you fly your free business class flight, and then you cancel the card. Please don’t think that this canceling of your card will destroy your credit score. It won’t. Doing it ten times a month might, but as long as you always pay your cards off, your credit score will be fine. I’ve churned many a credit card, and my score is still somewhere in the 700’s.

Once you’ve got your miles, you go to the website and look for flights. You have 50,000 miles to burn, and you want to go somewhere exotic. How about Bogota, Colombia? You have a girlfriend who went there and she said it was, like, totally awesome. And oh my God, it’s not dangerous at all. She, like, never felt unsafe. And there’s such cute cafes and bakeries.

Well that’s wonderful. I think that’s wonderful. You SHOULD go to Bogota. And you should fly business class. Unfortunately, you’re only going to be able to fly business class one way. Because flying business class to Bogota costs 40,000 miles + around $40 cash. But come on, who wants to fly roundtrip when they go to Bogota, anyway? I mean, when you fly to Hawaii, do you fly roundtrip? No, you fly one way, stay for 20 years, forget your “mainland name,” and start eating pineapple all day and saying the word “Brah.” Same thing with Bogota. You don’t fly roundtrip. You fly one way, get a job teaching English, start taking bachata lessons, and stay forever. And using miles encourages this, because you won’t have enough to get back.

Once you’ve booked your flight, get prepared for the business class experience. DO NOT wait in the main line going through security. That’s for the plebs. Go through the priority line. DO NOT wait in line getting on the plane. Also for the plebs. Get in the priority line. And once you get on the plane kick back and relax, put your feet up and rest your weary head. Because, men: 50 of you going to Bogota today. And 25 of ya ain’t comin’ back!


A special thanks to Lauren Colton for supporting this “blagh.”

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The Pleasures of Business Class

business class

I flew business class this trip to get down to Guadalajara. I love flying business class, which may seem obvious, but I think I think I love it an inordinate amount. Sometimes I fall asleep dreaming of armrests the size of football fields. You put your elbow there expecting to run into someone else’s, but all there is are acres of space and comfort. A veritable Ohio cornfield for your arm. In coach I always find myself fighting for armrest space. If I’m in the aisle I generally cede the middle armrest, since I pity he who has a middle seat. But if I’m in the middle seat I’m like a full-grown hippo prowling the edges of a watering hole, protecting what’s mine.

The thing I love most about business class, though, and I’m not exactly proud of this, is the way people look at you when they get on. They’re generally tired, harried, stressed out, and as they walk by business class they look at you like, “What the hell did you do to be able to sit there?” Meanwhile you’re reclined in a seat that’s more La-Z-boy than airplane seat, sipping an orange juice with oranges freshly imported from somewhere outside Jacksonville, wondering what movie you’re going to watch.

(Actually, orange juice on planes, regardless of class, is crap.)

Before this trip I’d flown business class several times. The first was a United/Copa flight to Medellin, Colombia. Then I flew business class back from Santiago, Chile, to the US, significant because it was my first experience with a nearly lie-flat bed. Sleeping on a transcontinental flight? I’d never dreamed of such opulence.

But one thing you don’t want to do is fly business class too much. You don’t want to get used to it. Because then all the sudden it’s not special anymore. This happened to me on probably business class flight #3 or #4. I boarded a domestic flight to somewhere like Sacramento or Houston, and as I usually do stuck out my ring for the flight attendant to kiss and expected her to pick up the bottoms of my robe so they wouldn’t be sullied by the airplane floor. But she didn’t kiss my ring. She said, “Welcome aboard, sir, please take a seat,” as if that would somehow suffice. There and then I learned complacency is the number one enemy of the business class traveler.

My favorite thing about business class is something people wouldn’t expect: the hot nuts. This is because I always forget about them, and suddenly a flight attendant is in front of me, thrusting a tiny tray of heated almonds and cashews into my hands. It’s the simple pleasures, after all. Hot nuts in hand I recline my seat back as far as it will go and usually put on some kind of bad movie, like Pitch Perfect 2. And just as my eyelids start to flutter closed, or comfort turns to boredom, they come by with dinner. Dinner is always served on business class flights, and it’s usually decent. The biggest worry becomes whether or not to sit upright to inhale my cheese enchiladas, or continue reclined at a 45 degree angle, spilling salsa all over my shirt as I groan in ecstasy.

One thing I still haven’t done is fly first class to Europe or Asia. This is the big leagues. In fact, this is in a different league altogether. Etihad first class is actually little compartments with bench seats where you can sit across from a friend and chat, and Emirates first class has showers a and loung/bar on the plane.  Can you imagine showering on a plane? I can.  It would probably be like showering on ground, except this time you’re 35,000 feet high.

In the end, though, I don’t need my own first class compartment to be happy. As they say, “He is richest who wants least,” which is why I like to think that even when I’m able to fly business class all the time, I’ll continue to fly coach just to keep things in perspective. Because let’s face it: when they give you that tray of hot nuts, perspective flies right out the window.


Have you ever flown first class to Europe or Asia? What was it like?

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