From lay-flat seats, elevated cuisine (and drink), as well as premier service, the experience in the front of an airplane can be one of complete luxury. However, those lavish travel accommodations (read: business and first-class seats) come thanks to some serious dough—and after the wedding, dishing out top dollar for a plane seat to your honeymoon destination might not be in the budget.
What if we told you there are ways to cut corners and score business class flight seats for a cheaper price. Keep reading as we unpack six tricks of the airline trade that may lead to a serious upgrade for your honeymoon travels.
Unless your mindset is one hundred percent, ‘I’m not flying economy on my honeymoon.’ Or you successfully budgeted anywhere from $5,000-20,000 to fly to your destination, don’t buy business class tickets right away. There’s no downgrading after that and it’s better to explore your options before committing to such significant spending.
Usually, the bulk price of the business class seat includes the price of an inflated (standard economy) flight ticket. So, instead of finding the most expensive economy seat and tacking on the extra charges for business class, flip the logic.
Find the cheapest economy fare flight and work backward to upgrade that ticket to business class. Why? The price difference to upgrade an existing ticket to business is substantially less than purchasing a business class fare upfront.
Note: For this exercise, avoid buying flights on third party sites like Booking.com or Expedia. Oftentimes airlines do not work with third-party vendors to upgrade the ticket, and legally the tickets are not theirs to manipulate.
Airline points (or miles) are like a magical currency to exchange for the vacation of your dreams. So, they’re perfect for upgrading your honeymoon travel. If you are loyal to a certain airline or travel rewards program, be sure to ask if they take points for seat upgrades.
Of course, each airline handles the process differently. So, you’ll want to be aware of your airline’s particular policy ahead of time. This way, you can start accruing points/miles early on and reach a more elite status that’s more likely to lead to an upgrade.
Not sure how to collect or redeem points? Read How to Use Points to Save on Your Honeymoon.
Imagine playing, ‘what are the odds’, but instead of a silly dare, you’re bidding on how much you’re willing to pay to fly business class on your honeymoon? Believe it or not, it’s a real thing, and airlines like United (and their partners), Hawaiian Airlines, and Virgin like to take part in it.
Here’s how it works: After you purchase a flight ticket directly from the airline, you’ll get a ‘bid an upgrade’ email a few weeks later. The email will basically ask how much you’re willing to spend to fly business class.
While this might sound fun and exciting—and it really can be effective—there are a few drawbacks. First, this doesn’t guarantee a ticket for both you and your partner. Second, once you bid a price, there’s no way to go back and alter your number. If the airline accepts your bid, your money is taken directly from your account or credit card on file. So, be sure that you’re sure about your amount and that you have the money available to front the cost if you do get lucky.
If business class is looking a little lonely, airlines may dramatically dip their prices for flight tickets. In the company’s mind, a flight is taking off whether or not business class seats are filled. To hopefully avoid the sunken cost, though, airlines will sometimes reduce the price of business class seats to earn some extra money last minute.
Check your flight’s seat availability (on the seat option map) and then also check ticket prices for the open business class seats on that same flight. An upgrade may only mean a small (relatively speaking) fee.
There are a few downsides to checking just 24 hours ahead of takeoff. For one, it doesn’t guarantee business class seats at all. Alternatively, you may only be able to upgrade your seat and not your partner’s. It’s possible that you can only score business class one way or leg of your journey (instead of round trip).
If you’re really in it for the thrill (or just really don’t mind economy), you can try asking for an upgrade at the gate. If upgrades or seats are available, you could get a business class seat for a fraction of the original price (or even for free, depending on your status with the airline).
To help your case, check-in early and in person. Business-class upgrades are typically awarded to loyalty members in the order they check-in.
When it comes to travel logistics, it pays (literally) to learn the savvy tricks that can earn you and your partner perks like business class seats. So relax, lay-flat your chair, and enjoy the start of a fantastic honeymoon.