Health & Fitness

The Travel Hack For Massive Business Class Savings

  • Jan 22, 2024
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The Travel Hack For Massive Business Class Savings

Flying long haul to and from Australia is expensive, especially in premium cabins on the best airlines. But… if you’re prepared to fly to a neighbouring country to pick up a long-haul business class flight, you can save serious money.


‘Positioning’ into another airport to pick up a cheaper flight is a tried and true tactic of many hard-core travellers that works for business class and other cabins alike. However, there is a trade-off here: this tactic involves another airport transit and the shorter positioning flight is often in economy class or with a low-cost airline.

On the upside, you can save big bucks, and the longer flight(s) are in premium cabins with all the associated bells and whistles… here’s how it works and the airlines to keep an eye on next time you’re making travel plans.

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Several Southeast Asian cities are known for offering good value business class airfares into Europe. Let’s say you want to fly to Oslo for a few weeks at the end of May, flying out of Sydney on the last weekend of the month and returning three weeks later.

Our friends at Qantas will do you a business class return on Emirates for around AUD11,500, while Qatar Airways is around AUD9,500. However, if you can get yourself to and from Manila, Emirates will sell you the return Manila–Oslo flights in business for just under AUD3,700.

Philippine Airlines, Qantas, and Cebu Pacific all fly the Sydney–Manila city pair. At time of writing, Qantas will get you up and back for just over AUD1,000 in economy (point redemptions start at 25,200 points each way), while Cebu Pacific will do a Sydney–Manila return for around AUD600. Granted, this adds a layer of complexity and time to a trip, but we are talking about savings of up to AUD6,000 here, which pays for quite a bit of fun in Oslo.

Another good Southeast Asian city to position out of is Jakarta. Qantas and Garuda Indonesia fly there from both Sydney and Melbourne. Let’s say you want to fly from Melbourne to Europe, also on the last weekend in May, heading home three weekends later: The excellent Turkish Airlines offers one-stop (via Istanbul) business class flights to key European airports from around AUD3,500 return.

There are some one-stop return business fares between Melbourne and Europe starting at around AUD6,500, but these are on tier-two airlines such as China Eastern, Air India, and Sri Lankan Airlines. The top tier carriers start at around the AUD8,500 mark for return business class flights, depending on what European city you’re flying into.

Again, you’ve got to get between Australia and Jakarta, which you can do for around AUD1,000 (in economy) on either Qantas or Garuda. You can also redeem points for those flights. But we are talking about a 50% saving.

There are no hard and fast rules here: airfares change, so what’s available this week may no longer be on sale next week. But typically, premium cabin airfares out of cities like Jakarta, Denpasar, Manila, and Bangkok are substantially less than you would pay to fly from an Australian airport.

Distance is a factor. An aircraft covers fewer kilometres between Denpasar and Paris than Brisbane and Paris… but the fare difference is rarely proportional to the distance difference. The main reason is the nature of the market. These Southeast Asian cities are big markets but they’re not affluent markets; the airlines have to pitch their fares to what the market will pay.

Usually, Singapore isn’t included in the positioning mix because Singapore is a cashed-up city and a key airline hub. Plenty of people will pay big bucks to fly in and out. But, again, there are no hard and fast rules because you can find some surprisingly good-value fares out of Singapore.

You can often pick up Cathay Pacific return premium economy fares between Singapore and North America from around AUD2,000. The smaller Gulf carriers such as SAUDIA and Gulf Air also offer some very good premium cabin fares out of the Lion City.

Google Flights is a terrific resource and a good place to start investigating positioning flights. You can also talk to a real-life travel agent; they may be old school, but the good ones are worth their weight in gold. However, it’s worth noting the potential pitfalls with positioning flights…

If you’re travelling from City A to City B on one ticket and then travelling from City B to City C on another ticket, be aware that the second airline is not obliged to come to your rescue if you miss your flight because of delays with the first flight.

The simple solution is to allow ample transfer time. However, an overnight hotel stay imposes a time and financial cost. Still, if you save thousands of dollars on the airfare, the few hundred spent on an overnight stay in an airport hotel is chump change.

Positioning flights aren’t for everyone, but if you’re prepared to put in the legwork, they can open up premium cabin experiences at big discounts and vastly improve your overall travel experience.


Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by menshealthfits.
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