As someone who spends way too much time thinking about how I can get the most bang for my time spent on airplanes, I was excited to find a few new tools to help me out. When I fly, I want to find a flight with the best, most comfortable seat at the lowest rate. After learning that partner airlines don’t all give full credit I also want to get everything I can from the deal (I once flew a KLM flight operated by Malaysia Air from Kuala Lumpur to Amsterdam and got 0 credit). Here is my current process:
- www.seatguru.com – Find the best seats on the plane, see if they are still available. If the agent can’t book it, get on the phone to the airline soon after ticketing to get the seat. You could also use SeatExpert.com or SkyTrax
- www.seatcounter.com – See how many seats are available for each of the classes. This will help determine how likely an upgrade is.
- www.MileCalc.com – See how many miles you will earn versus how much you know it will cost to upgrade. You could also download FlyingFish for an offline solution to this.
- www.MileMaven.com – Are there any additional bonus miles you can earn for this trip. This links to deals from each airline.
From all this, I made sure that I got an upgradeable fare (didn’t cost any more), got full credit on the Lufthansa leg, confirmed an upgrade to Business Class most of the way to Melbourne, am waitlisted for an upgrade for the second half but my chances are pretty good, have great economy seats where I have no upgrade (exits with no blocking doors or bulkheads, etc). And I got all that while saving the company 8000 euros on the entire route. It takes a little bit of effort, but nothing sucks more than being cramped in a middle seat for 20 hours!!!
The accomplishment I was really proud of last year was earning 55000 flight miles (the kind that qualify you for elite status) for one round trip to Auckland. That was enough for Premier Exec. And I saved the company a few thousand euros by taking that route.