First-class expert and occasional SmarterTravel.com contributor Matthew Bennett recently published the first in what looks to be a series of upgrade guides. The London Flight Guide is geared towards travelers looking for low business- and first-class fares from the U.S. to London. It's packed with information, but it's not cheap. At $89, it's not a buy for the merely curious.
The 74-page guide covers seat comfort ratings, credit cards that give you business class for the price of coach, buying premium travel with purchased frequent-flyer miles, mileage upgrades, loyalty programs, when to buy your flight for the best price, how to get the best published fares, maximizing your chances for an award seat—the chapter list goes on and on. Plus, there are top-10 strategy and fare lists organized by U.S. departure city that are highly relevant for people who fly to London from any of the 12 listed cities.
The guide may seem a little narrow in focus until you consider just how important London is as a world hub. Even if you're headed elsewhere in Europe, it's often easiest and most economical to fly into London first. Passengers also benefit from a wide choice of carriers serving the city's airports. Whether London's position as a Euro-super-hub will change when the U.S.-Europe open skies agreement goes into effect next spring and opens up more direct U.S.-Europe routes remains to be seen, but for now, it's certainly worth a guide of its own.