Why flying international first class does make sense

Yes, I realize I have a tendency to write posts on things I should just leave alone. I believe all my responses to Chris Elliott’s “articles” fall into that category.

Posts that should also generally fall into that category are those about international first class. And that’s not because they don’t have some merit, but because I’ve gone down that road so often before. Back in 2011 I debated my buddy Rick of the Frugal Travel Guy blog after he wrote a post entitled “My Worst Use of Miles: International First Class.”

Anyway, PointsSummary just posted an article in the same vein entitled “Why Flying International First Class Doesn’t Make Sense.” Naturally, I was intrigued. 😉

Let me also say up front that I really like Jamison, so I’m writing this all in good fun.

Jamison writes:

Aside from the rare International First Class mistake fares, I believe that purchasing or redeeming miles for International First Class doesn’t make sense. Ask yourself these few simple questions: Do you really need that Flagship Suite? Do you really need that lay flat bed? Do you really need to take an onboard shower in an A380? Do you really need that Sparkling Dom or Krug as a pre-departure beverage? Do you really need that caviar or handwritten note by the flight attendant? If you’ve answered yes to any of these, then please go ahead and flame me.

I’ll let pictures do the talking.

Do you really need that lay flat bed?

Singapore_Suites_Class

Do you really need to take an onboard shower in an A380?

Emirates_A380_Shower

Do you really need that Sparkling Dom or Krug as a pre-departure beverage?

Cathay_Pacific_First_Class

Do you really need that caviar or handwritten note by the flight attendant?

Singapore_First_Class

Do I need any of those? Well of course not. But I think all of these “need” based questions can also be turned around on someone flying business class. Do you really need a business class seat? Do you really need to sleep on a somewhat flat angle while on an airplane going 500 miles an hour through the sky? Do you really need to have a drink before takeoff? Do you really need to be served warm nuts after takeoff?

And Jamison says he’s perfectly happy with everything in business class, a feeling I totally agree with:

I’m completely satisfied with Business Class where I don’t have that privacy swivel. I’m not allergic to my neighbors. Yes, I might end up in a middle seat in a 2-3-2 configuration in J, but those are #firstworldproblems. I’m actually perfectly happy with an angled flat bed and don’t need a completely lie flat bed. I know some people can’t sleep in an angled flat, but those are #firstworldproblems. I don’t need to take an onboard shower when I can shower at the lounge or hotel before or after my flight. I don’t care about the brand of champagne or wine when I’m flying and I’m happy with the house brand. I’ve never had caviar and it doesn’t even look appetizing. Spare me the handwritten note since it will be thrown away after I sort through my belongings at the end of my trip.

But really, couldn’t the same standards be applied to coach? If the goal is to take more trips, you could certainly fly coach as well. I mean, you can lay down comfortably in your hotel and have decent food/wine on the ground, no?

Of course I’d never pay the full fare cash price for first class, but using miles it’s such a marginal increase that I feel it’s totally worth it. Between the US and Asia United charges just a 10,000 mile premium for first class over business class, while American charges just a 12,500 mile premium. That’s potentially only a quarter of a credit card sign-up bonus, for example.

So in general we’re talking about a really marginal cost increase for what can potentially be an exponentially better product. For example, if you’re taking a vacation to a city, do you dine at the cheapest restaurant because at the end of the day it’s accomplishing the goal of filling your stomach, or do you sometimes splurge on a nice restaurant for a memorable meal? I don’t think this is any different.

My most memorable flying experiences have been in first class. When I think of the most memorable flights I’ve taken I think about the first flight I took with Janesis where she drew me a beautiful card that I woke up to. I think of the number of times I’ve been driven in a Porsche to my plane in Frankfurt, an experience that is any aviation geek’s dream. I think of how much I giggle every time I fly first class out of Bangkok on Thai Airways, and am literally driven through the business class lounge in a golf cart while enroute to the first class lounge. And heck, even though I don’t usually drink much, I think of the time I flew Emirates and put a good dent in a $750 bottle of Hennessy Paradis to the point that I passed out and missed my onboard shower appointment.

At the end of day this whole hobby is full of first world problems. And for that matter complaining about service or food in coach is even a first world problem, since most people outside of the “first world” will never in their lives step foot on a plane, let alone in a premium cabin.

But I think the crux of the issue (and probably the first thing he should have mentioned in the post) is that while Jamison is savvy and redeems plenty of miles for business class, he admits this:

I’ve never flown in International First Class and will probably never will in the near future (unless I get op-upped).

Jamison, next time you redeem American miles for travel to Asia I challenge you to burn an extra 12,500 miles and fly first class on Cathay Pacific. If you still feel the same way I’ll send you a bottle of Krug. Actually, make that Korbel, since brands don’t really matter. 😉

To those of you that have redeemed miles for both first and business class, was the premium worthwhile?

Comments

  1. Have flow CX J and F. Premium for F (12000 AA miles)is worth it for the experience, Krug and J Walker Blue. But if all you can get/ afford is J then it is great too.

  2. Sorry Ben, I’m with Jamison here. My travels are all about the places I’m *going* not the time spent in the air. Maybe you value the airtime more than I? But also point balances are not infinite, and because of that alone it is not worth it to me. Buying a single F seat for a trip doesn’t seem all that bad–but do it for you + 1, and R/T as well, and pretty soon that caviar and 5 minute shower cost you 50,000+ more miles. That’s nearly a J award US-South America. I don’t want to get too boring with numbers, but the value just isn’t there.

  3. Last I checked, Four Seasons and Ritz were doing pretty good with paying customers. And Mercedes and BMW are not exactly asking for government bailouts.

    What he is really saying is that it’s not worth it to HIM. I get it. But to most of us, it’s all about the experience and some of those FC flights have truly been memorable!

  4. If the flight is over 8 hours than absolutely, positively, yes it is worth it. In my opinion the premium pays for itself as I am better rested, more productive, & I no longer become ill thus missing days at the office. (For some reason I would always catch a cold on a long haul flight when travelling coach.)

  5. Lucky and Jamison,

    Why not fly together on the CX flight? It would make for two interesting trip reports.

  6. I think the issue is that although UA/AA may charge only trivial amounts of extra miles for F, those of us in European programmes tend to get stung for much much more by way of increase – certainly that’s what has put me off previously. F looks nice, but when you’re looking at many tens of thousands more miles it starts to look not really worth it. Don’t even get me started on these jammy Asia via Europe redemptions you have access too!! The only upside we have over here is being able to access lots of European countries for only £35 and a very small number of Avios.

  7. I’m in the midst of trying to redeem some AA miles from the USA to BKK.

    When you’re talking about the extra 12,500 miles to Asia, are you referencing each way? The business class I’m looking into is 110K RT, so you’re talking about the 135K RT first class, right?

  8. I totally think it’s worth the extra few thousand miles. As a comparison, I flew Cathay Pacific J and F and the service is so much better in F. The J seats may be newer, but the F seats are so much more comfortable and spacious. I finished the whole bottle of Krug and that alone for me is already worth the extra 12,500 AA miles.

  9. also depends heavily on the F product.

    110K AA miles for CX J vs. 135K AA miles for CX F ? totally worth it.

    70K BA avios for CX J vs. 105K BA for CX F ? slightly bad value but potentially justified.

    60K BA for AA J vs. 90K BA for AA F ? wasteful of miles.

    The best incremental value ? 60K one-way UA miles for UA J versus 70K UA miles for LH F.

  10. There are a lot of variables that go into the equation for everyone. If you have millions of miles in the bank, then why not go F? But if you are more miles-poor then there’s a much bigger decision to be made.

    I think destination/length of flight makes a difference too. If it’s a 7 hour flight to Europe then C is perfectly fine. If it’s a 17 hour flight to Asia then I want F. But obviously the products themselves make a difference too. If it’s old C with less space and privacy and comfort then you choose one way. If it’s new C with your own little suite and flat bed then it’s much easier to pick C rather than F which is only marginally better to me.

    As some one who doesn’t drink alcohol, I couldn’t care less about the champagne or wine selection or other liquor. I’m also no gourmand so all of the foo-foo food is lost on me. I prefer a simple meat and potatoes kind of meal over something aspiring to Michelin.

    So, there’s a lot that goes into a decision like this. I know people who only fly Y so they can travel more. But given the limited amount of travel time I (and most other people) have, I’d much rather travel in comfort.

  11. The reason I fly F as opposed to J is because:
    A) I have more miles than I have time to travel, so why not?

    and

    B) Given that I don’t have tons of time to travel, if I can make the travel part of the vacation, then I just extended my vacation by ~10% without really doing much.

  12. even on shorter trips, I would say worth it at least on cx. My wife and I did Vancouver to JFK in business and return in first. First was definitely worth small avios premium.

  13. I’m with you on this Lucky, for the small premium of miles required, I will always fly F over J when available.

    I’ve had some of the best flights of my life in F and very memorable experiences. I’ve had pleasant flights in J but never anything truly memorable. I think it’s hard for Jamison (I do like his blog) to judge when he has not flown one of the true superior F products, SQ, CX, LH, NH, etc. If he flies one and still feels the same, I’ll send him a bottle of Dom.

  14. My philosophy at the moment is this: Flights to Europe, South America, and anywhere in North America I pay for economy. Flights to Asia, Australia and Africa (Though I haven’t been to Africa) I would want to redeem for either Business or 1st. Whether I spring for 1st over business depends upon the airline and the seat offered.

  15. with AA miles last year cx first lax/bkk/lax

    year before AA miles for same route cx business

    once I close my eyes, there is no real difference.

  16. – If it’s all about the destination, then fly coach – end of story. Fewer miles per trip ==> more trips. But if you’re reading this blog (or any of it that Lucky links to) then obviously you care at least a little bit about the journey too.

    – Seriously, it’s something like 10k extra miles. Try it once in a while at least.

    – Stop with the #firstworldproblem nonsense. Seriously everyone, just stop. It is beyond condescending.

  17. @Sam Simon – I have to disagree with you. Longhaul flights especially are often a big part of the time taken up for vacation. Why, if you can, would you NOT want to enjoy that time in the most luxury you could afford?

    I agree that for short hops or even some business trips its a waste, but you can’t seriously suggest that sitting in the middle seats in Y on a UA B747 across the Pacific is an enjoyable part of your trip to OZ!

  18. To add to the factors that can lead to purchasing F: for the last 3 award trips I have booked, there has been F availability but no J on the days I wanted/needed…so to me the small premium is absolutely worth it. Not simply because of the LH First Class terminal, but because it provided the flexibility to travel when I needed.

  19. Just get a G650 (or more affordably G150) and get over with it. Stop the air hosteling and start air hoteling.

  20. @Sam Simon – I’m with you on that one. I just want to be flown where I need to be, I can survive a handful of hours of my life in Y or whatever. Unlike Lucky my life isn’t about spending time on a plane to generate reviews, it’s about seeing the actual world where I go to.

    Of course bloggers with luxury award booking services will have their own reasons for pimping luxury cabin travel, so take this blog post for what it is.

  21. I’m a regular reader of this blog and have learned a lot from it, for which I’m appreciative.

    Yet, my travel preferences are far different from yours. I’m fine with travel in coach. Yes, I’ve traveled 1st on occasion, but I just don’t value the things, luxuries perhaps, that you find so valuable. Perhaps it’s a reflection of our vastly different ages and life experiences. I just want to get from point A to point B, be it by plane, bus, train, or car.

    Furthermore, I have no interest in staying at large luxury hotels. I find it boring, not luxurious. I prefer smaller centrally located properties with a more local feel to them. I’d think I made a poor choice if I encountered a lot of other Americans in the hotels where I stay during my travels.

    That’s me. I generally don’t read the reviews of things I don’t care about, and am not angered or bothered by them. Everyone makes their own choices and values things differently.

  22. Luck FTW – Traveling in first enhances the entire travel experience. And at such low redemption rates (+10K MP) it is worth it.

  23. Hey Ben

    Since you have flown so many F at your early age….. do you think you can never go back to J? I used to travel on EY until I found this blog. I have learned A LOT of tips from you guys (Thanks!!) and been able to use miles to travel on J since 2011. Now I can’t fly on EY when travelling solo or internationally. (EY+ for domestic trips with friends/ family). With that said, I don’t dare to try F because I may not be willing to fly J again.

  24. Actually I love articles like these… convincing people to not redeem in First, leaving more availability for the rest of us 🙂

  25. I just flew CX F and MH F for our ten year wedding anniversary with my husband. I have flown J in the past, happy and content, but this was a truly special experience that we will never forget. Having dinner across from each other in CX F was awesome. The Cabana was spectacular. There is comfortable, and there is special and we had a set of memories that will last us the rest of our lives.

    That said, it would not be worth it if I was traveling alone. The FAs seemed to love that we were a couple traveling together, and the soloists in the cabin just looked like the regular glum 1%

  26. I only travel first or business , no economy on any international flight over 6 hours, short local flights i book economy and i am always upgraded to first as a US Airways chairman .

  27. I like the idea of a Lucky + Jamison joint trip report in CX F, reported on each blog, since you both seem to accumulate and burn through AA miles like water. I’d definitely read that (although admittedly, I’ve read just about ever trip report on this blog).

  28. Having completed my first set of international F flights, I can say I am hooked. It is a LUXURY, which means it is something you don’t need to do but you want to do. And by using miles, which really have no value other than what you decide to use them for, I feel like I am getting a steal of a deal; in this case, something that formerly only those with significant excess of disposable income could afford. That said, LH vs. UA F was an eye-opener. UA F was no better than some DL J experiences I’ve had, but LH F was fantastic. I could see trying for CX or Singapore or Emirates F in the future.

  29. The way I look at it, the F experience is full of perks I don’t really need, even though I enjoy some of them a lot – LH’s F terminal, car ride to the plane, a full bed next to my seat, caviar (but I don’t like caviar), more expensive wine and better food (but it tastes different in the air), and always extremely pleasant service, from check in to deplaning.

    Business class, on the other hand, is the minimum standard of comfort for arriving at your destination well rested and with little hassle (boarding first, few if any long lines, etc). It’s perfectly fine, even for very long flights.

    So I’d say that as long as I’m earning miles at a good clip, I’d never redeem miles for economy awards. I happily redeem for business class, and if F is available, the premium is low enough that it adds significantly to enjoyment of my vacation without feeling I’ve wasted points.

  30. @#20 (Andrew C) “Seriously, it’s something like 10k extra miles. Try it once in a while at least.” – see post #13 by Patricia – sadly for many of us you’re talking about 50% extra in points than J (way more than 10k) which changes the equation quite a bit! If it only cost me 10k extra I’d be jumping at it…

  31. I should clarify–I’m not advocating Y class travel. I book my awards in C. There is a legitimate benefit to sleeping in a comfortable business class seat and hitting the ground running. However my issue is with the difference between C and F, and the premium you pay for it. It is a novelty, and something that isn’t worth the difference to me.

    I’d argue that when you have to try to get your money’s worth of Dom/Krug and JW Blue you’re subtly advocating against F class travel (and towards C) as well.

  32. Andrew C pretty much hit it on the head, especially the “Stop with the #firstworldproblem nonsense. Seriously everyone, just stop. It is beyond condescending.”

    What is that anyway? Who is everyone apologizing to? Why do people feel the need to justify First Class Trip Reports or experiences with that jarring caveat every time? The fact is, your paying for the experience, whether it is in miles or cash. That alone gives you the right to analyze, review, and if necessary, critique. So amen to Andrew C on that note.

    Other than that, the reason I book in F is simple: **When I book F, the vacation starts at the airport, or, better yet, when I booked EY F (with the free xfer), when you leave your home.**

    When you book Y, though, the vacation starts when you land (if you’re lucky(!) and not suffering from serious jet lag which may push off the start of your vacation for hours if not a couple days).

    J is somewhere in the middle, but it certainly doesn’t excite me like a good F product has and will.

    The marginal premium I pay for (i) the memories, (ii) the experience, and (iii) starting the vacation early, more than justify the minimal added cost.

    LLFC (long live first class)

  33. The loyalty programs I use don’t even work with SQ or EK so those photos don’t mean squat to me. I can (and do) pickup Dom and Krug at the local liquor store so no biggie there either. I’ve already had the “OMG I’m taking a shower while moving!” experience for 15K points on 2V so big whoop. To be perfectly honest I don’t enjoy having my ass kissed so save the card for another passenger who can’t tell the difference. Oddly enough I’m left feeling that coach class comes out on top by the end. I’m also find all the #firstworldproblem bashing rather curious. It seems to me that you’d have to have some level of internal conflict to care enough to ask people to stop talking about it. Otherwise why would you bother?

  34. I’ve been really lucky to fly a lot of Business and First for work. Usually, the best part of First is the smaller cabin/privacy/quiet.

    Lately, most Business hard product is as good as you need. Or as I need. Bed, space, lounge, etc.

    All that said, if I had the miles, I’d do F in a heartbeat.

  35. I find this nonsense about “First World Problems” absurd. I live in the First World. If I lived in a one room mud hut on a $1 a day, it would be different. But thankfully I don’t, and I don’t feel guilty about it either. Fortunate, yes, but not guilty.

    Let’s put Jamison’s arguments in a non-travel context. Do you really need indoor plumbing instead of an outhouse, since you only spend a few minutes a day using the toilet? Why would you ever waste money going out to a restaurant, since you have an stove and a refrigerator full of food? Who needs color TV when you can see the program just as well in black and white?

    Does he really need to go by the name Jamison, when Jim would work just as well? 🙂

    Indoor plumbing, central HVAC, HD color TV, dining out just for the enjoyment of it, fancy first names…first world problems perhaps, but why would I want to give them up?

    AS for saving miles by going J, I suppose that depends on how often you fly. If you fly as much as Lucky, the difference would be significant. But we usually just do one T/A flight a year. Saving that 25K miles R/T would mean getting one extra trip every fourth year.

    Getting an extra 25K miles a year is so doable with cc apps and M/S, why would I give up a relatively private flat bed that allows me to arrive fairly well rested after a 10 hour flight? Do I really need to be able to sleep on a longhaul overnight flight? Yes, I do. If I had to go regular economy on those long flights, I would probably decide not to take the trip at all.

    Both my wife and I just got our 5th AA card a few weeks ago, on a short term offer Citi was running {sadly now over}. That sign up bonus of 50K miles each, with the first year fees waived, and minimum spend covered for one card free with Amazon payments, will make up the difference between J and FC for our T/A trips the next two years.

  36. I’m one of those weird ones who sleep better sitting up than in a bed, so I fly F/J more for the better food, better padding seat, in seat power, and things like that.

    I do tend to use my miles though more for flights that I can’t get for good value on the cpm scale, like flying to Australia/NZ or most places in Europe. Singapore tends to be one of those I’ll usually pay for to rack up the qualifying miles.

  37. Just to be clear, the programs I use do technically work with the top first class airlines like SQ and LH and maybe even EK, but not for first class seats. At least, not in a way that most of us can plan for with our limited schedules and time off. If we had millions of points and endless flexibility and didn’t really care where the plane was going or how long it took or if we could bring anyone with us then sure we could always travel in first and it would make perfect sense. But how many readers are in that situation? Not to mention that the number of rows, aircraft, and airlines providing first class comforts are dropping by the day. This whole issue will eventually become moot regardless of how many points you have.

  38. Lucky, the post you linked to as your first flight with Janesis links to a post with a flight attendant named Wong Chin. Did you mean to link to a different one?

    Also, how do you pronounce Janesis? (Same syllabic emphasis as Genesis or different?)

  39. I tell my friends/clients the same thing every time. First is great, but if you’re looking to conserve miles, business is (almost) just as good. You can still find lie-flat seats; you can still get multi-course meals; you can still get (somewhat) decent wines/champagnes; you still get (fairly) attentive service – and a better cabin/crew ratio than in the back. Overall, I pay the difference in miles because I appreciate the added privacy, service, etc… That said, I do see a valid argument in saying “it’s just not worth it for me.”

  40. Depends on length, product and mileage program.

    Examples length – JFK-LHR. Too short to make much difference.

    Example product – AA 77W with fully flat business VS AA F fully flat little more space.

    Example Mileage program – BA Avios 50% premium definitely not worth it for JFK-LHR.

    Sometimes depends on the flight too. I find F on some carriers there is too much space. Flying Emirates in F on a 7 hour daytime flight with my wife, I found it too hard to have a good conversation with her even though we were sitting side by side. So I just ignored her and watched movies. Flying a daytime flight with my dad on AA on a 767 with angle flat seats was actually more enjoyable because we could easily talk.

    In some cases, I would actually choose say AA’s business 77W with fully flat business, and WiFi to a AA 777 with F and no wifi.

    Lufthansa – old J VS F. Absolutely worth it as Lufthansa’s J sucks but there F is pretty good in old F, and very good in new F.

    To sum up, F is not always preferred over J. You must consider the other variables as well.

  41. @lucky

    Wait till you have family of 2, or 3, or 4 tickets redemption, then you’ll realize F is almost impossible, then you’ll settle for C/J, or even worse, Y

    Would you do 4 Y every year, or 4 J every OTHER year, to take your family out for fun?

    I envy you in First class all the time, as a bachelor though 😀

  42. It’s worth it 110%! After flying over 50 years, I have seen coach become like flying in a bus. Okay for a short hop, but who wants that for 6 – 12 hours for such a small difference in miles, especially when you can really get some sleep and wake up refreshed?

  43. I earn my miles flying in the back on trips to many of those places in the world I want to visit (I earn a miniscule number of miles on credit cards or from other sources so I spend a lot of time in the air) so when I am redeeming those miles, I want to pamper myself (and my companion) with the creature comforts of First Class, including fine dining and wines/whiskies in lounge dining rooms between or before flights. There really is a difference and putting in the hours many of us do in economy, even business seems like cattle class on 13-hour flights. This aside from in huge value proposition for a marginal increment in mileage.

  44. It’s worth it beyond!!!!! The experience and hassle free airport experience is just on another level. I will continue to do this as long as I can.

  45. Something I noticed is that around half of Lucky’s total points poll respondents probably couldn’t even afford a single seat in international first class. Of the folks who have enough for at least one seat in international first how many do you suppose have one or more people they’d like to take with them? The first-trumps-everything examples given in this post might only apply to a tiny fraction of the readership. Not to mention that even the most ardent defenders have yet to endorse actually paying for first class out of pocket. If First Class only makes sense if you have a “95% off” points coupon with you then this isn’t much of an endorsement in the grand scheme of things.

  46. I’ve only flown Int’l First a few times. The best memory I have of any flight was on a United 747, either SFO to LHR or FRA (or maybe coming back). I had slept for a long while. Woke up and used the lav. Probably 2.5 hours before landing at this point and I knew I wasn’t going to fall back to sleep. Before heading back to my seat, I popped my head in the galley and asked a flight attendant (whom I had never even seen before that second) if there was any coffee already made and could I have a cup. He replied “Mr. JK-SFO, I’ll make a fresh pot and bring it to your seat right away” – which he did. Didn’t expect him to know my name like that. It just stays with me as such a level of attention that I have never received in Business Class (which I do travel in pretty often).

  47. I would say it’s not worth it to him also. I have been flying International F on points for years. My friends and family always ask me “how is this possible”? Well for one they don’t hang out on flyertalk or read this blog. To me it does make a difference, but as others have pointed out it’s route dependent.

    Just yesterday I booked yet another Cathay F award for 67,500 to Jakarta from Chicago. You simply cannot beat this. I did pay for Emirates F Jakarta Dubai Houston in June. Ticket was little over $5800 one-way but I found this as a good value. EK business class seats non A-380 just are not that good.

  48. Dax,

    Did you ever stop and think how those points for F class were accumulated? They didn’t grow on trees. Even with all the ways to get more points on the different airlines and programs, with less spending, you still have to spend real money. Add up the spending and many of us could afford to fly F several times a year if we had to.

  49. I mean in terms of pure dollars to miles values, F is always a “better” deal. For example, I just looked at a roundtrip ticket from LAX to HKG on CX for late October. In J it prices out at $6292, in F the same flight costs $15,659. So in one way you are essentially getting a $9000 value for the extra 25,000 AA miles, essentially 37 cents per mile for the difference (or thought of another way, you could see the CITI AAdvantage mileage bonus as being worth $18,000 if used to upgrade two CX US-Asia flights from J to F). On the other hand, very few of us here would ever pay $15k+ for an F ticket so those numbers aren’t really relevant to our personal value.

    That said, personally, I usually start looking to burn miles for flights when they cost around $400-500ish or more roundtrip. So say I value the 25k at about $500. I can easily polish off a $200 bottle of Krug each way and am willing to spend the extra $100 for better sleep, service and food.

  50. Here. Lucky’s post reminded me of a segment of a British documentary series about India. It wasn’t on YouTube so I’ve just uploaded it (complete with a bumper heading for Lucky himself).

    The video profiles a couple in India (retired airline pilot and his wife) who do something very, very kind for dozens of their area’s residents who, like Lucky mentioned, will never step foot on a real flight.

  51. I love the amenities of better food, better liquor and better service along with the flat bed service. But the bottom line is this: I spend too much time away from home for work that accumulates these miles. When I use the miles for 1st or Business it is to take my wife and daughter on vacation. They deserve the experience. My way of saying thank you for the time you are home alone. It simply adds to the overall experience for a memorable vacation.

  52. I’ve never flown first, but I want to do it once for the experience. I love this blog because I’ll be able to pick the best one to fit my needs. I can’t imagine saving all my points to do nothing but first class, life is all about experiences. Dan, from Dans Deals, posted about using SPG Points(I think) to “Steal Second” at a baseball game. That’s a crazy experience that’d most people probably wouldn’t (or couldn’t since I don’t think that’s always for sale) pay for, but it’s a cool experience that we can use our hobby for.

    Also, Lucky and Jamison should fly one-way in first and the other in coach and then write trip reports.

  53. I say go First class as much as you can, the party won’t last too long and there will be more airline restricting access to FC just like Swiss and SQ, as time goes by. Enjoy it while it last.

  54. On the plus side, sweeps week for Ben means getting an F/C/Y debate going…… which is a lot better than going all Mylee Cyrus on us!!!!

  55. @Hobo13 – in all fairness, Ben’s and Jamison’s articles this year (along with 10 or so 2011 blog posts I’d read) have been very professional and non-inflammatory.

    Commenters are sometimes worse but, by and large, we are all adults that understand that different people have different needs or preferences.

    Also, this isn’t an iOS/Android or Xbox/PlayStation debate where something can be gained, theoretically, by convincing people to join your side. If people want to use their miles differently from you, not only it is their prerogative but it decreases competition for award seats.

  56. I don’t have much to add to this discussion, other than to say that, if you think that your supply of miles is somehow scarce or finite, you’re not doing it right. There are ample opportunities to amass basically unlimited miles, if you’re willing to put in the work.

  57. I’d also suggest for SQ,LH,CX,EK that the premium over J is easily justified by the quality of food and beverage. For UA/AA the premium only goes for the seat, maybe not as worth it.

  58. One more thing, the best reason to splurge for F is that the secular trend is for those cabins to disappear eventually. Better use it now while you still can.

  59. I truly didn’t think F could be THAT much better than a top of the line J, especially the window seat in CX and BR.

    Just took CX F last week for the first time and I was DEAD WRONG. I’ve never slept 10+ hours on a plane before this, well worth the 10k+ miles, especially factoring in the ground product at hkg.

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