3 Situations When Flying Business Class Is a Must

Business-class airfare can add quite a bit to your travel costs. Check out when it's worth spending extra (or tapping into your miles) to fly this way.

3 Situations When Flying Business Class Is a Must

Airplane passenger flying business class

Image source: Getty Images

Business class is a huge upgrade over economy. As someone who has flown both, I'd take a business-class seat any day of the week.

There's also usually a huge price difference. Business class often costs thousands of dollars more than economy. In many cases, it makes more financial sense to book an economy seat and save your money.

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But there are some situations when flying business class is well worth it. Here are the top three times when you should consider it, plus tips for booking it for a more affordable price.

1. You're taking a red-eye

When you're taking an overnight flight, being able to sleep is important. It could be the difference between hitting the ground running and spending the first day of your trip feeling like a zombie.

I know there are some lucky people who can easily fall asleep on any flight. If that's you, then flying economy might not be an issue.

For the rest of us, a business-class seat is a lifesaver on red-eye flights. It's more spacious and more comfortable. Many airlines also offer lie-flat seats in business class. Those are the only way I've been able to get quality sleep while flying.

2. It's a long flight

As a general rule, the longer the flight, the more perks business class offers -- and the more you'll be able to take advantage of them. On a two- or three-hour flight, business class may just mean a slightly bigger seat and a decent meal. It's still nice, but maybe not something you want to pay extra for.

On longer flights, airlines offer much more. You may get one of those lie-flat seats, instead of just a bigger regular seat. The meals get more elaborate, and there could be multiple meal services.

Everyone has their own definition of what a long flight is. Some say business class is worth it for flights over four hours. Others say six or eight hours. I'd suggest coming up with your own rule based on how long you're comfortable spending in economy.

3. You have a lot of unused airline miles

It's easier than ever to accumulate airline miles. Many travel credit cards earn miles with airlines or points that you can transfer to multiple airlines.

Most people earn miles, redeem them for a flight, and then repeat the process once they've earned enough miles again. But there are also those who end up with lots of unused miles or credit card points. You could find yourself in this situation if you spend quite a bit on your travel cards, or if you've been reluctant to use your miles.

Airline miles and credit card rewards only have value when you use them. They don't do you any good when they're just sitting around. So if you have more miles than you know what to do with, why not put them toward an amazing trip in a business-class seat?

How to fly business class for less

I realize that business-class airfare isn't in many people's travel budgets. So even if there's a situation where business class is worth it, that doesn't matter if it's out of your price range.

Luckily, it's entirely possible to fly business class for much less -- closer to economy prices, and sometimes even nearly for free. One of the best ways is by using credit cards that earn travel points or miles. A business-class ticket that costs $3,000 may be available for 60,000 miles instead, plus taxes and fees.

You can also find lower business-class prices by shopping around early and setting up deal alerts with your preferred travel booking tool. It never hurts to be flexible about when you fly, either. Many airlines have low-fare calendar tools, and just adjusting your travel dates by a day or two could save you money (or miles).

When you know a few simple travel hacks, you don't need to be rich to occasionally fly business class. And while that's not always a big deal, there are situations where it's the best option by far.

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