This blog post was updated on June 6, 2022.

Picture this: You’re waiting to take off on your next flight, lounging comfortably with tons of extra leg-room while you sip complimentary champagne. Sound too good to be true? Well, it doesn’t have to be.

While normally you probably prefer to save as much as you can for your vacays, maybe you’re looking to splurge for your best friend’s destination bachelorette party, or want to make your next anniversary trip extra special! And it may not be nearly as expensive as you think.

Believe it or not, there are ways to get that first-class ticket without breaking the bank. Although booking first-class tickets will never be the cheapest option, here’s a few ways to fly first class without spending a fortune.

Take Advantage of Airline Credit Cards

Cheap First Class Tickets

This one’s best for people who move a lot for business, or just travel frequently. If you have an airline you love, check out their co-branded credit card and special offers the next time you want to book cheap flights. Many of these cards offer big discounts to those who spend a certain amount in a short amount of time.

True, most have annual fees, but selected ones also include rewards that make them worth it. And think of all the ways you typically spend a decent amount of money: paying your mortgage, eating at restaurants, or even going to the doctor’s office. This way, you spend the same amount of money you’re already spending, but you’re also earning miles toward your next big vacation!

Know When to Go

Cheap First Class Tickets

Booking your trip at the right time is paramount to getting the best deal on first-class tickets. For example, savvy business travelers usually fly during the week, so getting a first-class ticket for the weekend — think early Sunday morning — may be the way to go. Also, the earlier in the day you fly, the better your chances of scoring a first-class seat and a less-than-first-class price. You’re also more likely to get cheap first class tickets if you’re flying domestically in months when there aren’t as many holidays. If you’re traveling internationally, just remember to check whether it’s a holiday in the country you’re traveling to!

Grab “Easy-Fare Tickets”

Cheap First Class Tickets

Otherwise known as Y-Up fares, these handy little tickets are among some of the best-kept secrets when it comes to buying airline tickets. Many times, airlines can’t sell all of their first-class tickets. So, rather than having empty seats, they sell them for a discounted price. Essentially, you’re getting first-class tickets for a coach ticket price. These are great for special occasions, business travel, or last-minute emergency travel.

“Why have I never heard of this?” you may ask. Well, most of us aren’t looking for first-class tickets when initially booking, so we rarely see them. But they are in fact out there! They’re not always the cheapest option available, though. Think of them more like full-fare coach seats or regular, last-minute tickets. However, you’re still going to score a solid deal on first-class ticket prices. Normally, these tickets are exchangeable and can be refunded if needed; they’re also usually one-way tickets. So, what’s the catch? Well, you may have to dig around a bit and do some research to find them. But the digging might well be worth it!

You may also like: 7 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Chances of Getting Upgraded to First Class 

Join Airline Reward Programs

Cheap First Class Tickets

Join your airline’s loyalty program! Eventually, you’ll be able to add up your miles or points, and maybe even get to first class ticket free of charge. You can also receive cool perks like access to a private airport lounge or upgraded seats. Just make sure that you check that your points haven’t expired. Whether you’re constantly on the go or are more of a once-a-year traveler, flying with your favorite airline consistently can pay off in the long run.

Just Ask!

Cheap First Class Tickets

When you first get to the airport, do a quick check to see if there are any discounted first-class upgrades available, or ask the desk attendant how much it would cost to upgrade. Normally, upgrades will be much cheaper at the last minute because the airlines are trying to make whatever money they can before the flight takes off.

Lastly, remember that, even if you’ve already boarded the plane, you may spot a few empty first class seats. You could always ask the flight attendant if you could move. You might score an awesome seat without paying first-class airfares! It never hurts to try, right? The worst they can say is, “No.”

Got any more tips on how to fly first class on a budget? Let us know in our comments section below!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

About The Author

Gabby Teaman is a content writer who loves writing (of course!), editing, food, and the Oxford comma. When she’s not writing for Fareportal, she can be found Snapchatting videos of her puppy, blasting show tunes, or watching Netflix, all while trying to read everything in sight.