As I mentioned here, I earned 9600 United miles and 11,000 Amex points for a trip I took on a cheap summer Business Class fare. I always take a look at the coach fares too, so I have some idea of how much extra I'm actually paying. I the case of my Singapore Airlines flight, I paid an extra $500 for Business and got a boatload of miles on top of getting a much nicer flying experience.
Right now I've been keeping an eye on the Thanksgiving fares because I might end up trying to meet my brother in Prague for turkey day (though I'm guessing in Prague it'll end up being more of a goose day). Unfortunately I won't know until the last minute whether or not he'll be there. As November has gone by, the fares have been slowly creeping up. A month ago I was seeing fares as low as $2300. With the big day just 2 weeks away, it's already crept up to $3600. If I fly only as far as Frankfurt I can get it down to $2900.
I've never really tracked them over time like this, so guess the lesson here is to buy in mid- to late October if you want to get the super cheap business class tickets to Europe. I tried pricing out itineraries to different places, but I didn't want a 4 stop itinerary on a trip that's only going to be 5 days long, so I had to choose cities with direct connections to either Prague or Vienna. London still has $2300 Business Class seats, but ONLY on Kuwait Airlines. After reading a few trip reports, I decided I'd rather not do that.
Another nice budget option for getting to Europe in Business Class is to go on Iceland Air. They have 40" recliner seats, similar to most US carriers' domestic Business Class, but the food, drink, and service are better, plus it comes with access to their awesome First Class arrivals and departures lounge in Reykjavik as well as the BA Galleries lounge at JFK. They have an interesting setup where you land in Reykjavik from the US in the morning and you can then continue on to the continent immediately, or you can go into town or into the famous Blue Lagoon Spa for the day, and then continue on your way in the evening. I've done this before and I swear it's the reason I basically had zero jet lag on that trip!
Unfortunately for me, they don't have flights to Vienna, or Prague (routemap). So for now I'll just wait until I hear more about his schedule and see what's available then. If the prices go high enough ($3000 is my pain point for airfares these days), I might try to use miles or just get him to meet me in Iceland or something :)
|The 8 hour layover at the Blue Lagoon Spa might be the best jetlag cure EVER.|