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Where to Find Premium Airfare Deals on First Class and Business Class

Most frequent travelers know that to find flash sales and other great deals on economy-class air tickets through alerts, you don’t have to look far: Our sister site AirfareWatchdog, for example, is a leader in the field. Lots of online travel agencies and metasearch systems offer up standard airfare alerts—but finding one that will flag premium airfare deals requires a little bit more insider knowledge, and some cash.

If you’re interested only in evading the main cabin, you won’t find any deal alert services that don’t charge a fee. A bunch of free information sources can help you hunt down your own deal, but no premium airfare service is as automatic as Airfarewatchdog.

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Why Are Premium Airfare Deals Difficult to Find?

One reason for the lack of a simple premium airfare system is that, for many travelers, premium flying is inextricably bound to frequent flyer programs. The best way to get into a front cabin is often by using frequent flyer miles. And for some, the game is to apply for a bunch of credit cards that offer huge initial bonuses if you meet an exorbitantly large monthly charge threshold for the first few months. So the problem of finding outright premium airfare deals isn’t easy, but it’s not insurmountable, either.

Where to Find Premium Airfare Deals

Still, premium deals are available. Airlines offer flash sales and special promotions in premium cabins just as they do in economy. A few years ago, I found (and bought) a round-trip business class ticket to Asia for just $1,500—which was less than half the nominal first-class rate.

How to Find Premium Airfare Deals

First, set yourself up for success on your hunt for the best premium airfare deals by following these booking tips.

Set Up Fare Alerts

Ideally, you’d be able to monitor every booking site at all hours of the day, ready to pounce on the best deal as soon as it goes live. Unfortunately, few of us have the time to spend hours sifting through fares. This is where airfare deal alerts come in handy. Many top flight search sites allow you to track certain itineraries and will send you alerts when fares drop on your preferred travel dates. Expedia’s “Price Tracking” and AirfareWatchdog’s “Deal Alerts” are among the best options. Setting up multiple alerts on multiple travel dates increases your chance of scoring a great rate.

How to Set Up Flight Price Alerts: Flight search sites make it easy to set up fare alerts. Oftentimes it’s as easy as searching for the route you want and toggling a switch on the flight results page. From there, you’ll be prompted to enter your email or create an account so the site can send you the latest fares. On our sister site, Airfarewatchog, all you have to do is click “track this route” to be alerted to price drops and great deals to your destination. 

Listen to the Data

Some flight search sites use predictive analysis and historical booking data to let travelers know when the best time to book a certain route may be. Momondo’s “Our Advice” section on their flight search results page offers recommendations for when travelers should buy and predictions for future price changes. On a flight search for business and first class fares from Los Angeles to New York, Momondo let me know that I should buy now and that “prices [were] unlikely to decrease within 7 days.”

Travel on Tuesdays

While there is some debate about whether Tuesday remains the peak day to fly, it can’t hurt to take into consideration. According to NerdWallet, airfare can be roughly 24% lower for flights departing on a Tuesday. This applies across fare classes, so try snagging a business or first class airfare deal.

Book on Off Days and During Off Season

If traveling during a high air traffic season, like around Christmas or spring break, booking flights on less popular travel dates can lead to better fare deals. According to Hopper, international flights that departing on Christmas Day this past holiday season saw airfare up to 17% lower than flights departing the previous Friday. Additionally, travel during your destination’s off season will see cheaper fares across the board.

Shoot for an Upgrade

Gone are the days when free upgrades were (relatively) easy to obtain. However, for those willing to do their due diligence there’s still hope. Follow our guide on how to really get an airline upgrade to try your luck.

Expand Your Horizons

Traditionally, the most luxe fares were business and first class and the rest of the cabin was stuck in coach. But recently, the emergence of fares like premium economy have made it possible for a budget traveler to fly in comparative style. Expand your search to include these alternate classes to get the same benefits at a much lower price.

Paid Services to Find Premium Airfare Deals

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If managing your own fare alerts and flight searches sounds daunting, don’t worry. There are services dedicated to doing the legwork for you.

First Class Flyer

First Class Flyer is the gold standard for finding deals on premium airfare, for both performance and membership price. The minimum Silver level costs $97 per year, and gets you a daily bulletin that covers special deals for both cash payments and use of miles. Higher levels of membership cost $197 and $297 per year and add on a bunch of additional information that’s useful, but not essential, if you’re just looking for flash sales.

MightyTravels

MightyTravels’ premium option is $69 per year and offers daily bulletins on economy class deals from your home airport. Their Premium Pro ($199/year) membership includes bulletins on economy, premium economy, and business class deals from your home airport, including unpublished and “mistake fares”, while Premium Max ($159/year) adds on additional tiered benefits, such as Travel Concierge Assistance.

Going

A membership with Going—formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights—works similarly to those listed above, however the first two membership tiers are less expensive than the either MightyTravels or First Class Flyer. A Limited Membership is free and gets you access to economy deals within the continental United States from your home airport. The Premium membership is $5.99 per month ($69 annually) and unlocks both domestic (all 50 states) and international economy deals. The Elite tier is where you’ll find premium economy, business class, and first class airfare deals, for just $16.58 per month ($199 annually). Both Premium and Elite members have access to points and miles deals, mistake fares, and custom destination alerts.

Free Blogs to Find Premium Airfare Deals

A handful of free blogs also cover the full gamut of airfare deals with a minor focus on premium cabin options. All or most of the free blogs often find the same deals—so you’re probably ok finding one you like and sticking with it. Options include AirfareSpot.com, Godsavethepoints, No Mas Coach, One Mile at a Time, The Points Guy, and View from the Wing. There’s a lot about credit cards, hotels, and other stuff in them, too, but they do dig out some good premium deals.

FlyerTalk also has an online forum on premium flying. It’s not organized for easy search, but it’s especially good for deals that originate outside of the U.S.

So unless you spring for the First Class Flyer or MightyTravels paid services, you’ll have to do your own digging through blogs and websites. But that’s a lot easier than spending hours on a metasearch engine, yourself. The amount of money you’ll save warrants a bit of extra effort, anyways.

Some of the links featured in this story are affiliate links, and SmarterTravel may collect a commission (at no cost to you) if you shop through them. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

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