Getting cheap business class flights has become something of a preoccupation for us over the last few years. It all began in 2016. Qatar Airways were offering £650 business class return fares from Oslo to Singapore. Before this, I’d always assumed travelling in anything other than economy would be beyond my means.

Qatar Airways Qsuites B777

The truth is, business class isn’t reserved for people who have thousands sitting in the bank. While it is, of course, possible to pay thousands, it’s just as possible to travel on a budget. In fact, I don’t think I’d enjoy business class any more if I was paying anything other than the cheapest possible price. There’s something quite nice about enjoying the various perks, knowing it hasn’t broken the bank. But how can you get cheap business class flights?

Tip #1: Be flexible about where you want to go

Sometimes, this can’t be done. But often it can. For example, if you’re looking for a trip to Southeast Asia, don’t just limit yourself to a couple of airports. Flights within Asia are cheap. I’m not embarrassed to admit that on a number of occasions I’ve deplaned from the comfort of business class to catch an onward connection with Air Asia. This is because if I’m wanting a trip to Southeast Asia I’m happy to fly to any airport in the region. Usually, Bangkok is the cheapest option in business class, but it can vary. From Bangkok you can reach major destinations in under 2.5 hours. These include Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Phuket and Ho Chi Minh City.

In a similar fashion, in South America flights to Buenos Aires and Santiago in business class are typically more expensive than to Brazil. In this scenario, it can be worth flying to São Paulo instead. Afterwards you have the option of catching an onward connection to somewhere else. Flights from São Paulo to Santiago are typically cheaper than to Buenos Aires. But in this situation, search for other travel hacks. For example, we saved €100 each by flying from São Paulo to Foz do Iguaçu. We then crossed over to Argentinian border town of Puerto Iguazú and took a flight to Buenos Aires from there. Indeed, it even made the trip much more enjoyable since we had time to see the world-famous Iguazú Falls.

Tip #2: Be flexible about where you fly from

Don’t just look for flights from your nearest airport or city. Often, by taking a cheap flight to another airport that’s not so far away you can save £/€100s. This works especially well in Europe where it’s possible to find cheap flights fairly easily. For example, on one flight to Brazil we saved €500 each. We did this by flying from Brussels with a connection in Madrid. This was far cheaper than flying direct. We just purchased a cheap flight to Brussels to start the trip.

Likewise, last year, we wanted to go to Southeast Asia from Spain. There were no cheap business class flights from Spain. But instead, we found €1,100 return flights from Marrakech to Bangkok with Qatar Airways. A cheap flight to Morocco cost us €50 return. As a result, we saved over €1,000 each compared to a flight starting in Spain. Such trips can also provide a nice opportunity to visit another destination as part of the trip, even if it’s just for a night.

Usually, flights in business class from Europe to Asia can found for the cheapest price if you depart from Scandinavia.

If you’re in the UK, explore the ‘Inverness option’. Inverness Airport is exempt from Airport Duty. This means especially on British Airways, you can often find flights to North America for a far cheaper price than if you were to start your journey from another airport in the UK. Both easyJet and British Airways often have cheap return fares to Inverness, so even factoring these into your budget you’re likely to end up with a significant saving. And, hey, you then have the perfect excuse to schedule in a short trip to the Highlands (I’m Scottish, so of course this comes highly recommended).

Tip #3: Be flexible about when you travel

If you want to travel in business class for a cheap price, it’s really crucial to try and be flexible about when you’re prepared to travel. As you can probably imagine, if you’re searching for cheap fares during school or national holidays, it’s going to be far more difficult. We usually never travel anywhere longhaul between June and the middle of September. It’s just never really affordable.

Tip #4: Play around with Google Flights

I regularly check Google Flights, even when I’m not planning a trip. This is how I find the majority of the cheap business class flights I end up booking. It takes trial and error and a degree of patience. Search some random departure and destination cities. Use the calendar feature to see the cheapest fares, then explore with what you find. Our guide on using Google Flights can be found here.

Tip #5: Create Google Flight alerts

Leading on from this, consider creating some Google Flight price alerts. Choose some routes you’re interested in and decide what dates would be good for you. Once you’ve set up a price alert, you’ll automatically receive an email when there is a change to the price of the flights. Sadly, for this you’ll need some patience as it’s best setting up a few different alerts.

Cheap business class flights

Using the ‘Track Prices’ feature you’re able to choose up to 3 departure airports, and then up to 3 destination airports. If you then get an alert that prices have decreased, it can indicate an airline sale, or some movement on prices. Use the information to then check from other airports and with other dates.

Tip #6: See if you can get a cheaper flight using an OTA

Online travel agencies, or OTAs, have their plus and minus points. You can see our article about them here.

But to keep it simple, often you’ll be able to save up to 10% on a long-haul business ticket when you use an OTA instead of booking directly with the airline. The easiest method is to find the cheapest flights you want on Google Flights and then to head to Momondo or Skyscanner and search there with the same dates and routes. Often you’ll get a cheaper price.

Tip #7: Subscribe to cheap flight alerts

Consider subscribing to some cheap flight alerts. This way, you’ll always be alerted whenever there’s a cheap business class fare going. It means you don’t have to be constantly checking Google Flights, but you can still benefit from the latest cheap business class flights.

We cover any cheap business class deals from Europe. If this is something you’re interested in, you can sign up for a free email notification whenever we post something new here:

This means you’ll also be alerted as soon as any ‘mistake fares’ happen to be available. For example, in March we booked business class flights to Colombia for just €499 return.

Tip #8: Consider booking an airline package

This tip is particularly relevant for British Airways. Often, you can save money by booking a package which includes flights, and then either a rental car or hotel. BA Holidays also allows you to choose how long you’d like to rent the car for, or how many nights you’d want to be at the hotel. This means you don’t have to book for the entire duration of your stay. Often it activates substantial discounts, which mean you actually pay less than you would just for the flights, and get the bonus of an added extra thrown in. Remember too, with BA Holidays you only pay a deposit when you book your trip. Currently you pay the final balance just 3 weeks before departure.

Tip #9: Get a mileage credit card

Of course, paying in cold hard cash isn’t the only way to score a seat in business class. Consider researching credit card options which are available to you and see if you can obtain one which will result in mileage accrual This way, you’ll be closer to having enough points to be able to make a points redemption in business class.

Sign-up bonuses for these sorts of cards can also be a quick way to accumulate enough points to be able to book something exciting. A couple of years ago I signed up for an Amex Spain Gold Card. I received 20,000 Amex MR points (worth 1 avios each). I then referred Tiago, which meant I received another 10,000 MR points on top. This meant between us we received 50,000 points. This was enough for us to then book 1 return in business class to São Paulo with Iberia when they were having a 50% off Avios redemption offer.

Tip #10: Pay with points

Leading on from the point above, consider finding cheap redemption offers. It’s almost always better value using any airline points you have to fly in business instead of in economy. For example, if you’re based in the UK and accumulate Avios with British Airways, consider transferring your miles to Iberia and booking a flight with them instead. You can take a look at our article about how good value this can be.

Tip #11: Look at upgrade options

Sometimes you’ll decide to book a ticket in a cabin other than business, but this doesn’t mean you can’t upgrade. For example, if you book a flight with British Airways in Premium Economy, you can then upgrade that flight to business class using your Avios points.

Likewise, airlines often offer upgrade deals closer to departure. British Airways often offer these through the ‘Manage my Booking’ feature. Other airlines such as Cathay Pacific, Malaysia Airlines and TAP Portugal allow you to make an upgrade bid before your flight. Generally though, these don’t actually work out cheaper than just booking a business class flight to begin with. In addition, an upgrade is never guaranteed. As such, I’d always encourage you to adopt the viewpoint that if you have an economy ticket, you’ll probably travel in an economy cabin.

You should also take the time to consider frequent flyer upgrade perks more generally. This is mainly applicable if you’re flying with an airline based in North or South America. American Airlines, Aeromexico, Delta and LATAM, among others, all offer free upgrade perks for frequent flyers. They’re based on seat availability so again can never be guaranteed, but it’s something worth exploring. Last year I applied for a status challenge with Delta. I had no intention of ever flying Delta. But by becoming ‘Gold Elite’ in their frequent flyer programme I was able to obtain a free business class upgrade with Aeromexico.

Likewise, LATAM offer upgrade coupons if you have Gold. Platinum or Black status. Last year we obtained a free upgrade to Santiago as a result.


You really don’t have to spend thousands to be able to travel in business class. It is possible to find cheap business class fares. You just need to be flexible, and follow some fairly simple strategies. I have never paid more than €1,300 to fly in business (and I never intend to). In fact, my average for a business class long-haul return is well under €1,000.

There are few better things in travel than catching a flight in business knowing you’ve paid far less than you’d have imagined to sit there.

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