Travel is beautiful… It imparts new vigour to the mind. It changes the way you see the world, and how you think about your own small world in daily life. To think outside, where no box is required. Like moving postcards, we become a complex interactions with the world, the meeting of realities from our wildest dreams. We travel because we want to break free and naturally discover.
For my own journey, distance and difference is my secret tonic of creativity. I still marvel at the technology of strapping into a flat metal bird and soaring into the upper troposphere… When I escape the great land of Aus, my mind breathes fresh ideas and vision.
As a travel marketer with a passion for airlines since childhood, I’ve always wondered and marvelled at the design and innovation of air travel. The fashion, the aircraft livery and the branding of airlines are something I love to keep close to.
For all that flying is to the birds-eye wonder, being on an airplane for hours on end draws to mind the un-glamorous side of flying… Economy! I’m no special to escape, in fact I fly economy all the time. I have my favourites when it comes to the cattle crush class; Cathay Pacific being number one (their staff are incredible).
For my next journey, however, I wanted to experience the ‘real point of flying’ – as my friend Steve Hui would say.
So here I am, sitting on my 2 metre sky-bed typing away on the generous sized laptop arm, sipping a late night Penfolds and indulging in a post-dessert snack (almond rice pudding with glazed peaches and praline to be specific!).
Business class, you are beautiful.
It certainly isn’t for everyone, but everyone should at least experience the pointy end of the plane. While business class seats are expensive outright, the truth is almost anyone can fly for free… Keep reading as I explain.
Why Qantas business class?
We all have a different reason for wanting to be up the front, and it’s important to begin with the end in mind as I help you too get to the dream seat. Look back to the beginning of this blog and think about your “why” to travel statement. When you understand how travel brings you most value, you can then begin the journey with the right mindset. Far too many people I talk to have the wrong mindset about business class.
Business is different for everyone, because everyone has a different metric of value. For me, travel creates creativity and new vigour to my mind. For this journey specifically, however, I wanted to share something special with my girlfriend, and that’s where business class brought me the most value.
It wasn’t the fancy food or spacious seating, it was the wide smile on her face.
And that, is why I will continue the pursuit of flying flat. Not because I am obsessed or not humble to ride the economy rollercoaster, but because my mind is set on the highest level of travel experience.
I’m passionate about the innovation of flying, the brand and marketing, the points hacking, the intrinsic details of in-flight design – down to the choice fabrics and amenities. The ability to talk to incredible staff with over 30 years experience, and the opportunity to meet the pilot and step into the captains chair. These are just some of the ways this business class trip has had me on the edge of my seat (when it’s not in 180deg sleep mode!).
So why do you want to travel business? For those who actually own or work in a business; it could mean the difference between feeling rubbish or stepping off refreshed and ready. Time is money, and in business class you certainly can get good work and good rest done all at once.
“end of the day it’s just all about empowering the journey”
I encourage you to dream of business class in a holistic view of travel. On the surface, it’s gossiped about as a magic world in itself – but at the end of the day it’s just all about empowering the journey – whatever that looks and feels like to you.
That’s the why – what about the how?!
You’re probably wondering how I took myself and my girlfriend from Sydney to Shanghai in the brand new Business A330 Suites, so here it is in a nutshell.
I used points!
It’s quite simple, the ticket cost outright for both of us was $8,246 – per one freaking-way-only. Screw, that! I don’t yet own an empire to fork out that kind of money, but through simple planning and the right mindset about frequent flyer points I managed to acquire enough QFF points to fly us both there for no extra cost to our ticket.
The nitty gritty details…
To clarify, we already booked a round return trip to China. The SYD to Shanghai was just part of our flight route. Because of changes in our trip and busy travel period we had to pay extra money and change fees – and we felt pretty screwed by Qantas. Luckily, I had been saving points all year! The points became our escape to boosting the value of our pre-booked flight.
The business ticket to be technical was a Classic Request Upgrade from a saver fare to business. The required points for this is 48,000 points each (total 96,000 points). If you book a business class as a Classic Reward in full you will receive better value per points – it all depends on your strategy and goal. I was happy with my points value redemption because the value was placed in sharing the experience with Larita (remember your WHY!).
If we were to upgrade from our base ticket of $691 economy in cash; we would of had to pay a whopping $3,432 each! Now, take that number and double it for my girlfriend accompanying me and you get a savings of $6,864! And if we bought the whole ticket in business class outright, the number reaches $8246 (and can easily go higher based on dates and fare types).
Total savings = over $6000 cash upgrade or over $8000 outright
Throw in the value of incredible service, beautiful qantas lounges and the feeling of being refreshed and looking forward to the long 10 hours flight (not dreading it) – business class exceeded all my expectations for a perfect journey.
It took me about 11 months of patiently saving points (without even really trying!) and with that my ROI was saving between six and eight thousand dollars. But the biggest benefit, was sharing that experience with Larita.
So, that’s why I get passionate about business class. If you are now thinking “Lachy that’s me” then here’s some quick questions I get asked answered below to start your journey of flying flat.
Q: “So how do i earn that many points?!”
A: I wrote an entire guide recently click here to read it!
Q: “Don’t you need to earn or spend a lot to get points?”
A: “Not really. I don’t earn a high wage, I’m 22, and my friends would describe be as a moderate but wise spender with my money. I don’t waste, and I don’t go into debt.”
Q: “Doesn’t owning a credit card instantly ruin my credit rating?”
A: “False. If you own a credit card and pay your bills onetime your credit rating usually goes up! I simply used my credit card to pay for stock-standard expenses such as car insurance, fuel, groceries, subscriptions, gifts and donations. – everything was maximised for points, without even trying.”
Q: “How can I plan out my journey and how many points do i need?”
A: “There’s lots of great websites like pointshack or iflyflat that have calculators or can help advise the number of points needed. I suggest you also do some research for routes and use seat map tools to find out what you will be flying in before booking. The best thing about redemption points is they don’t change, unlike airfares that fluctuate all the time within one route!”
Q: “What’s the best and worst way to use points?”
A: “Buy something dumb like a MYER gift card on the Qantas store, or some golf clubs! Your value of point per dollar ratio will be under 1c if you are lucky! Alternatively, you could use your points for a classic reward flight and get thousands of dollars of value for a average 7x increase in value of points”
Q: “What’s some of the unexpected things about business that makes it do good?”
A: “The personal touch of the experience cabin crew really made an impact. They know your full name off by heart by the time you take your seat. The small details also surprise me, such as the ASPAR amenities, Australian label wines, or the beautiful wood finish used in the cabin design surface.
– Get your vision of “why” you want to fly business (seriously!)
– Read my blog about earning qantas points
– Download my printable PDF journey planner for points
– Research the best credit cards for you
– Check out websites such as pointhacks, the expert flyer, qantas calculators and iflyflat
– Follow AusTraveller on facebook and twitter for more content in 2016!
Remember business class is far more than free drinks of comfy seats, it’s about the journey at large. The narrative you write of your complex interaction with this beautiful and bold world.
We can all experience it, so what are you waiting for?
PS – We’re giving away Qantas Pj’s and amenity kits! Click here