My post on a woman sneaking up to business class on my Singapore Airlines flight caused quite a stir, with many indignant about me calling her out. But she could have avoided the embarrassment of being marched back to economy class if she just had frequent flyer miles.
Miles And Points As The Antidote To Sneaking Into Business Class
I’ve never been one to argue that frequent flyer miles are free or that you can “fly the world for free” with the right credit card. There is an opportunity cost to collect miles and the barrier to entry is high for many. The lucrative sign-on bonuses and promotions that are commonplace in the United States stand out against the rest of the world where more conservative bonus offers make it far more difficult to amass miles and points.
But I don’t think telling someone to “get frequent flyer miles” is like telling a financially poor person to “just make more money.” Even in nations in which credit is harder to obtain and bonuses are not as lucrative, there are still rewards-based cards, transfer bonuses, and the chance to earn more points and miles through everyday spending.
I’m not a manufactured spending person (maximizing credit card spend to earn rewards in a manner that creates a cycle of points without hurting your bank account), but still rack up a fair amount of miles with my monthly expenses.
Let’s say the woman on my Singapore Airlines flight had used a Capital One Venture X credit card to purchase her $8,000 Hermes leather handbag. She would earn 16,000 points that could be transferred to Singapore Airlines.
Business class upgrades start at 15,000 miles one-way for short-haul journeys. My entire ticket from Bangkok to Singapore to Los Angeles in business class cost 95,000 miles. Placing purchases on the right credit card instead of paying with a debit card or cash are key to earning miles.
Do it for family members too as long as they can pay you back. It not only allows you to earn more points, but provides purchase protections (well, unless you buy handbags…). It also builds your credit.
I speak from personal experience: in most cases I am not going to buy a longhaul premium cabin ticket with hard currency…I don’t consider that a wise use of money. But miles have allowed me to explore the world in premium cabins. You don’t have to sneak into business class if you cannot afford it: just be wise in earning miles.