Folks Really Do Pay $10,000+ for Airline Tickets!

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Emily and I use miles and points to travel First Class, but there are some people who actually pay to fly First Class!

Folks Really Do Pay 10000 For Airline Tickets
British Airways First Class

No One Pays Retail?

In trip reports from our $32,000+ honeymoon in Paris for only $2,000, our Second Honeymoon in Bora Bora, our Spring Break in Maui, and our Second Anniversary to Italy we listed how much money we saved using miles and points.

Sometimes readers will comment that hardly anyone pays retail price for Business or First Class tickets.

Many Businesses Pay Full Price

Some businesses pay for Business or First Class tickets for their employees because it means an opportunity to network and generate new sales, as this article from the Huffington Post explains.

Folks Really Do Pay 10000 For Airline Tickets
Flying Business Class Could Bring Networking Opportunities

Other companies allow for Business Class tickets if a flight is a certain length as discussed in this thread on Flyertalk.

Universities Sometimes Buy Business Class

Some universities allow for Business Class tickets to accommodate medical disabilities or special needs or if “the time and convenience of the traveler and time away from the University” play an important role in needing to fly in Business Class.

Certain Government Officials Fly Business Class on Long Flights

The government allows employees to travel in Business Class for a variety of reasons such as if the total flight time is longer than 14 hours or if the government would save money.

Some Individuals Splurge for Special Occasions

Some individuals are willing to pay for Business and First Class tickets.

This thread on Flyertalk focuses exclusively on good deals for Business and First Class tickets.  Since it has 222 pages of discussion, more than a few people are buying Business and First Class tickets.

And there are threads like this each year.  For instance, San Francisco to London in First Class for $3,633 or $2,455 for Business Class.

Folks Really Do Pay 10000 For Airline Tickets
Business Class From San Francisco to London for $2,455

1.   Luxury Travel

In my interview with Debbie from Traveling Well For Less, she and her husband paid for Business Class tickets for a trip to Australia and Tahiti.

2.   Honeymoon or Anniversary Travel

Other people will splurge and buy Business or First Class tickets on their honeymoon or anniversary, especially to places like Paris.

Folks Really Do Pay 10000 For Airline Tickets
Honeymooners Want to Fly in Business or First Class to Paris

3.   Comfort Or Medical Need

Brian, The Points Guy, frequently mentions that he prefers to travel in Business or First Class because of his height.

Things to Consider

People often confuse the price they would pay with the value they would get.  At some point I’ll write a series on it, but for now we’ll just cover a few basics.

1.   Value You Would Get

You shouldn’t calculate how much you saved based on what you’d be willing to pay because that’s not a good indicator of the true “value” you’re getting.

In other words, there is a DIFFERENCE between the cost of an item and the value of the item to you.

A better indicator of savings is to calculate the cost if you had to pay and what it cost you with miles.

If you want to buy a Mercedes E-Class Coupe that sells for $52,200, but you are only willing to pay $48,000 and a dealer will sell it to you for that price, is your savings $0 since $48,000 was all you wanted to pay?  No, your savings is $4,200 because that’s the difference between what it cost and what you paid.

Some folks think, “I would never pay $50,000 for a car.  I’d pay $25,000 tops.  So I’m not saving any money!”

But then they would never get to experience a Mercedes E-Class Coupe.  Meanwhile the rest of us are having a $50,000 Mercedes experience for less than the price of your Hyundai. The same can be said for using miles instead of cash for airline tickets.

Let’s say you want to go to Brussels this summer.  A First Class round-trip ticket in August would cost 160,000 United Airlines miles.  And there are lots of ways to earn United Airlines miles!

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You’ll Only Pay 160,000 United Airlines Miles and ~$55 in Taxes & Fees for a Round-Trip First Class Flight From Chicago to Brussels, Belgium

But what if you had to pay for your First Class flight?

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The Same Flight Will Cost You a Whopping ~$8,630 in Cash!!!

You’re saving ~$8,575 in cash by using miles!

2.   Price You Should Redeem At

Emily and I rarely, if ever, pay for airline tickets.  Instead we use our miles and points.

When deciding if you should use miles or points vs. paying cash, it helps to know what price you should redeem your miles for.  Ask yourself if you’re getting a good value for the miles and points you’re using or would you be better off paying cash?

You could pay ~$27,500 to fly in First Class from New York to Auckland, New Zealand.

Folks Really Do Pay 10000 For Airline Tickets
First Class From New York to Auckland for ~$27,500

Or you could use 225,000 American Airlines miles to fly First Class on Cathay Pacific.   There are also plenty of ways to earn American Airlines miles.

Cathay Pacific doesn’t release their First Class award seats until closer to travel so I can’t show you a screenshot of availability.

By redeeming 225,000 miles instead of paying $27,487 for a First Class ticket, you’re getting a value of ~12 cents per mile ($27,487 / 225,000).

The Same Idea Also Applies to Hotels

As mentioned earlier, Paris is a popular honeymoon destination.

The Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome’s makes it extremely appealing.  And the suites are spectacular!

You Could Treat Yourself to 2 Nights of Luxury at the Park Hyatt Paris – Vendome
Emily and I Used Our Hyatt Points to Stay at the Park Hyatt Vendome-Paris for Free!

Paying for your room at the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome could cost ~$1,000 per night!

One Night at the Park Hyatt Paris Vendome Costs ~$750
One Night at the Park Hyatt Paris Vendome Can Cost ~$1,000!

Because the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome is a Category 7 hotel, it costs 30,000 Hyatt points per night.

So I’d much rather use my Hyatt points to stay for free, than pay $1,000 for 1 night!  Especially because there are so many ways to earn Hyatt points!   

Bottom Line

Believe it or not, there are some folks who pay for Business and First Class airline tickets.

Some companies pay for Business Class tickets so their employees have networking opportunities.  Universities and the government will pay for business class travel if it’s medically necessary.  And other people are willing to pay for Business or First Class tickets because it’s a special trip or they want the extra comfort.

The value you get from using miles isn’t the same as the “price” you should redeem your miles.

The value you get from using miles isn’t only a price tag, it’s a memorable experience you wouldn’t otherwise be able to get.  And it’s extremely valuable for those of us who want Big Travel with Small Money!

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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