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My process for picking flights

One of the reasons I started this blog, was because I wanted to try and "productise" how I think about flights. So this week, I am going to share my travel process, and that starts with picking flights. Airport choice This is largely defined by your carrier choice, but some airlines do operate from multiple [...]

My process for picking a cabin

Once you've picked a flight, choosing your cabin is the next important choice. In this article, I talk about my process for picking a cabin. Cabin choice One of the biggest issues carriers have is the diversity of their fleet. BA, for example, operate Boeing 777 in multiple variants, Boeing 787 in multiple variants, Airbus [...]

My first ever Business Class flight

This is the story of my first ever Business Class flight. I bet you think you know which carrier it was on too, but you'd be wrong. My first ever experience in Business was on Air France. It was a flight from Manchester to Beirut via Paris CDG. I was travelling to the Middle East [...]

Virgin Atlantic & IndiGo codeshare agreement

Virgin Atlantic & IndiGo are today announcing a new codeshare agreement. This agreement will enhance connections between the UK and India. Press release Virgin Atlantic and IndiGo are delighted to announce a new codeshare between the UK and India, offering seamless connections and increased opportunities for frequent flyers to earn more points than ever before. [...]

3 things to do if you can’t find reward seats

So you're on the hunt for reward seats but can't find them... Here are 3 things you can do if you can't find your ideal reward seats. Consider booking a lower cabin If you're looking for seats in Business Class, but cannot find availability then consider booking Premium Economy instead. Sure, it's not what you [...]

Boarding passes – explained

I often talk about upgrades on this blog. One key thing that enables me to find upgrades, is a deep understanding of airline ticketing systems. Did you know that the random lettering on boarding passes actually means something? In this article, I'll explain what those seemingly random letters and numbers on your boarding pass mean. [...]

Are all points equal?

In an earlier article, I talked about how to calculate the intrinsic value of your points. One of the questions I often get is - are all points equal? The simple answer is - no. Explanation Each individual points program has a slightly different base value for a point. This value is usually based on [...]

Lost bags & luggage delays

In my previous article, I covered round-the-world tickets. And in my case, they were too expensive for the travel plans I've talked about in this run of articles. The way I booked my tickets eventually ended up causing me issues with my luggage too... I booked my trip to South America and my trip to [...]

Round the world tickets

In my last article, I mentioned that I had a really good reason for wanting to be in business class for my trip to Bogota. Well, the reason was I had to be in Singapore immediately after this trip and I was going to fly the long way around! In the space of 4 weeks, [...]

Finding deals

Earlier this week, I talked about Open Jaw tickets. They're a great way of finding a deal when you want to hit multiple destinations on the same trip. In today's article, I am going to cover some more tips for the next time you're deal hunting. As my work continued and I flew more regularly, [...]

Why having airline status matters

In my first post this week explaining how I became a frequent flyer, I mentioned a trip to South Africa. This trip was a great example of what happens when you start building your airline status. I’d booked London to Johannesburg and Cape Town to London. Next, I needed to sort the internal flights. At [...]

What is an open jaw ticket?

An open jaw is a return ticket where you book from one starting point out to a destination and fly home a different location to the same starting point. You will have noticed that return flights are always cheaper than buying singles. Well, open jaw tickets allow you to buy single tickets, but at return [...]

How I became a (really) frequent flyer

In today's article, I discuss how I became a really frequent flyer. Through this journey is how I've picked up dozens of tips & tricks for travel. Many of which I intend to share with you. I used to work as the Global Training Manager for a company that whilst relatively small, was at the [...]

Never use points to discount a ticket

Yesterday I talked about how to calculate the intrinsic value of your points. One of the mistakes I often see is that people use points to discount the cost of a cash ticket. This is usually a fatal mistake. Exchange rate The problem with using points to reduce the price of a cash ticket is [...]

Whats the value of your points?

One of the reasons people struggle with spending their points is because they do not understand their actual value. So in this article, I'll talk about calculating the value of your points and how this can help you in choosing the best travel options. Baseline value  Every loyalty scheme works differently. So I will focus [...]

Can you retroactively claim points?

After my trip to Austin, I outlined why you should always check that your points have been credited after a flight. It's quite common to take flights and for some reason, the airline's systems do not credit your points. So, can you retroactively claim points? Yes, you can. For Virgin Atlantic, you will need your [...]

When do Virgin Atlantic release reward seats?

Up until recently, Virgin Atlantic didn't have a guarantee of reward seats like British Airways does. But they did announce a new feature for Gold members recently which essentially guarantees reward availability in a similar fashion to BA. We covered it in more detail here. Virgin reward seats can appear at any time from when [...]

When do British Airways release reward seats?

I often speak to people who collect Avios and their biggest issue is finding availability. Usually, they leave things too late and by the time they realise they want to do a trip, the availability is slim. But, British Airways are pretty consistent with releasing reward seats. So there isn't much reason to get caught [...]

How do people end up with millions of points?

I've met quite a few people who've had in excess of 1 million points at their disposal. Sometimes it's multiple millions. But how do they do it? A lot of flying!? To have a balance in excess of 1 million points, you'd have to do a lot of flying. Realistically, you'd probably be doing it [...]

What is a status match

Ever wondered how points hackers gain Gold status on multiple airlines in a year? Sometimes they legitimately get it by flying, but getting top-tier status on one airline is hard, multiple means A LOT of travel. What most people do is status match. This is the process of going to an airline that you don't [...]

Six tips for booking reward flights

Last night I was thinking to myself, what are the top tips I can share for booking reward flights. I often talk about all the other elements around this, but truth be told, the real know-how that most point hackers have are the rules around the booking process. So here are my top tips for [...]

Best seats on Virgin Atlantic – Upper Class

Yesterday I shared my favourite seats in Premium across each aircraft in Virgin Atlantic's fleet. I'm lucky enough to have spent a fair chunk of time in their Upper Class cabin too. My most recent experience was my trip to Austin. So, today I'll share my seat picks for Upper Class. There are two vastly [...]

Best seats on Virgin Atlantic – Premium

Yesterday I shared my favourite seats in Economy across each aircraft in Virgin Atlantic's fleet. I've spent a great deal of time in their Premium cabin (my favourite Premium Economy product on the market). So, today I'll share my seat picks for that cabin. One of the reason's it's my favourite Premium product is because [...]

Best seats on Virgin Atlantic – Economy

In today's article, I'm going to discuss the best seats in the Economy cabin for each Virgin Atlantic aircraft. I'm sure you find it shocking that i've flown Economy, but it is true. In this article, I will be covering the Virgin Atlantic Economy cabin, specifically the Economy Delight ticket type. Let me start by [...]

London to Austin, TX trip report – part two

After a fantastic conference event and a brilliant stay at the Fairmont Austin, it was time to head home. If you haven't read part one of this trip report, you can find it here. The return flight from Austin was scheduled to leave at 18.20 so I headed over to the airport mid-afternoon with plenty [...]

I always sit on the left-hand side

This week I'm writing all about seats. To start with, I thought I'd talk about one thing I do on every long-haul flight. If I am on a widebody aircraft, I always sit on the left-hand side. Boarding Whenever you board an aircraft, have you ever noticed the jet bridges are always on the left? [...]

The tale of a short runway at Florence

London Gatwick to Florence, on Vueling. The tale of a short runway. The trip I was sent to attend a conference in Florence by my company, and since I knew plenty of other people that we're going to the same conference we all agreed to get the same flight. The flight we chose was from [...]

London to Austin, TX trip report – part one

I was lucky enough to fly out to Austin Texas on only the second flight Virgin Atlantic to the state. I was attending a conference in town and that was as good an excuse as any to visit such a cool city. The whole trip was a bit of a masterclass in not only upgrades [...]

Virgin Atlantic launch new A330-900neo

This evening Virgin Atlantic launched their new A330-900neo aircraft replacing the A330-300 aircraft currently in the fleet. The new aircraft feature brand-new interiors, extended connectivity and increased fuel & noise efficiency. The Airbus A330-900neo will feature the latest generation Upper Class cabin, including its iconic social space and new innovation, The Retreat Suite Increased connectivity [...]

Lounge hopping

Let's talk about lounge hopping, so what is lounge hopping? When you get to a large airport that has multiple airline lounges, if your ticket or status allows, you can hop between them. This neat trick allows you to sample multiple lounges on a single trip. Where can I do this? It tends to be [...]

Longest domestic flights in the world

It's safe to say, I'm one of the crazy people in the world that enjoys long flights as long as I am at the front of the plane. In today's article, we talk about three of the longest domestic flights in the world. #1 Paris to Reunion & Paris to Tahiti - France The world's [...]

What rising fuel prices mean for flights

Fuel is one of the largest variable costs that face an airline, closely followed by staff. So with all the talk in the news about inflation and rising fuel prices, what does that mean for flights? Well, airlines saw this coming months ago and the changes have been underway for some time. Airlines operate more [...]

3 tips for spending your points

So you've got a nice points balance, what are you going to do? This post will give you three simple tips you should consider when spending your hard-earned points. Maximise their value You can do some things with points that rarely result in good value. Here are some examples: Trading the points for vouchers. Buying [...]

London to Singapore trip report

Guest article by Chris West, One World frequent flyer.  London to Singapore, via Helsinki on Finnair, a One World member airline, in Business Class, June 2022. The route Before I tell you about the trip, I need to tell you about the route. Why did I choose this route? It simply came down to cost. [...]

Always check your points balance after a flight

Anyone who reads these posts will know I am a points geek. So if there's one thing that annoys me, it's not having the points I earned credit automatically after a trip. Today's article is about why you should always check your points balance after a flight. Things always go wrong Given how long points [...]

British Airways American Express Companion Voucher

British Airways has made changes to the rules around the American Express companion voucher. The voucher is earned with qualifying spending on the British Airways branded American Express cards. Previously, the 2-4-1 voucher you received upon meeting the earnings threshold of the cards required two passengers to travel. The voucher enabled you to book two [...]

Guaranteed reward seats on Virgin Atlantic flights

Yesterday, Virgin Atlantic announced the Gold reward feature for Flying Club Gold members. This represents a big change to how reward flight availability will work going forward. There will now be at least 12 guaranteed reward seats on all Virgin Atlantic flights in the following format: Two seats in Upper Class Two seats in Premium [...]

What it’s like flying in a post COVID world

I took my first flight since 2020 two weeks ago. I got to fly to Austin, TX on Virgin Atlantic. To say I was excited about this trip would be an understatement given how long it had been since I'd been on a plane. I thought i'd document some of the experience here. Departure experience [...]

Project Sunrise makes another step forward

Australian carrier Qantas has taken another significant step in Project Sunrise. The goal of the project was to allow for direct flights from Sydney to London. When originally announced, there was no commercial aircraft in the world capable of this route. Achieving this goal was a mammoth undertaking given the first-ever commercial London to Sydney [...]

Why a points upgrade is fantastic value

If you've read any of my posts, or know me personally, you will know that I am a huge fan of airline upgrades. I mean, who isn't though!? There's a very good reason for my fanboy behaviour though - and it's not just that I like seat 1A (although that is a thing). Upgrades present [...]

What is a points devaluation?

In some of my posts, I've talked about making sure your points don't expire worthlessly or get devalued. But what is a points devaluation? Points have value In one of my earliest posts, I wrote about how points actually operate as a virtual currency. So the first step to understanding a devaluation is first acknowledging [...]

Top tips for finding reward flight availability

Today's post will explore the four key tips to help you find reward flight availability. I am constantly looking out for these things. They apply to full reward flights and upgrades on existing flights. New routes New routes can often throw up opportunities for reward tickets or just nicely priced cash tickets. Airlines have to [...]

Why you shouldn’t wait when booking a flight

Time is your enemy when booking flights. In this post, we’ll talk about why you shouldn’t wait when booking a flight. This is true whether it’s a cash or points ticket. Cash tickets If you’ve read posts of mine before, you may have heard me use the term 'fare bucket'. That’s the technical term for [...]

Maintaining a points balance

In my recent three things to consider post, I discussed keeping a small slush fund of points to use when an attractive situation presents itself. Today I'll talk about how to maintain a points balance and give you some tips on how to go about it yourself. Make sure your points credit This may seem [...]

Three things to consider when spending your points

When you come to spending points, there are a few things to consider. Having a plan before you begin the transaction is an advantage for you. Spending points blindly without considering the consequences usually results in a bad value trade unless you're a pro. Make sure you ask yourself these three questions before trying to [...]

Should you purchase points?

One of the benefits I get from having this site is that I get to talk to a lot of my friends & colleagues about their travel plans. One of my friends recently asked me whether it made sense to purchase some points to help him achieve the trip he was planning. It's been a [...]

Watch out for the YQ

Before we get into this... What's YQ I hear you ask!? It is airline ticketing slang for "carrier-imposed surcharge". This surcharge is a tax that the airline adds to boost its bottom line. It's particularly evident on points tickets. As I discussed in my post about the secret benefits of points tickets, airline ticketing is [...]

How to stop your points expiring

Stopping your points from expiring is a related topic that came up in yesterday's post about transferring points to somebody else. Most points programs have a time period whereby if there is no activity on your account, you will lose your points balance or a portion of it based on a rolling period. This is [...]

Can you transfer points to someone else?

I had an interesting question from a reader last week. Can you transfer points to somebody else? As with most things points related, the answer is something like this - "Um, not really.. it's complicated". The terms of each loyalty program are different. But generally, points are non-transferable. However, there are some things to know [...]

How to find out if you’re flight is upgradable

We all want an upgrade, right? The process for getting an upgrade begins at the moment you are looking to purchase a ticket. If you buy the wrong type of ticket when you book your trip, you could end up in a position where getting an upgrade is completely impossible. As I've mentioned in other [...]

The return of supersonic flights

I was born too late to really experience the Concorde era. But Concorde, along with the Space Shuttle, have always fascinated me as examples of remarkable machines the human race has been able to engineer. Concorde had many issues that led to its retirement, not least the horrific crash resulting in the loss of 109 [...]

Secret benefits of a points ticket

Each ticket an airline issue is governed by two key things. Fare conditions and the airline's standard conditions of carriage. Remember an airline ticket is like a contract between the airline and yourself. I discussed why this concept is important in my previous article - why you can't book more than a year in advance. [...]

Why you can’t book a flight more than a year in advance

Ever wondered why you can't buy a flight more than a year in advance? There are a couple of reasons for this. Risk management Airlines are constantly managing their risk. When you buy a ticket, it's a contract between you and the airline. You agree to pay X and they agree to take you from [...]

Three things you should spend your points on

After the overwhelming success of last week's blog post covering four things you shouldn't spend your points on. I decided to write a post covering the other side - things that are great value! Long haul premium cabin bookings It's no secret in the frequent flier community that one of the best ways to get epic [...]

Why flexibility is key to points spending

Sometimes spending your Avios or Virgin Points seems downright difficult. In fact, I know a lot of people who simply don't bother because they anticipate it's going to be hard and therefore don't begin. It's true, there can be an element of difficulty, but thousands of people use points for travel every day. Probably the [...]

Four things you shouldn’t spend points on

I know so many people who go to the trouble of collecting points, being loyal to a certain carrier or alliance and then waste the points they earned on un-efficient purchases. The source of the problem is that most people think of points as throwaway when in fact, they are just another form of virtual [...]

How to find cheaper flights

The single biggest trick to finding cheaper flights is called the Saturday Night Rule. It's very easy to understand, simply have a Saturday night stay as part of your trip and you stand a much better chance of getting a low fare. What is it? The Saturday Night Rule is how Airlines determine whether you [...]

Frequent flier miles are actually a virtual currency

Frequent flier miles, one of the greatest loyalty myths of all time. Everybody thinks miles and points are about loyalty and there's an element of loyalty, but there is more to it. The marketing strategy cannot be called anything but successful. Fly x times and earn a "free" flight. Seems like a good deal given [...]

Whats the point of concierge?

Well, the point is simple really... do you want the hassle of doing all the research every time you take a flight, wondering how to spend the points properly? Are points even the best option for this trip? Most people don't have the time, nor knowledge to do this effectively. In fact, that's one of [...]

Are you getting a good deal?

One of the thing's i've been doing during my flying career is trying to work out the on the fly value of my points. It's not the simplest thing to do given the value of them changes almost month to month. But understanding a rough value goes a long way to helping you earn and [...]

Why am I doing this?

First post ever on buymyupgrade's blog. I suppose it should explain why this site exists in the first place. Over the year's, i've spent many hundreds of hours on planes travelling for business & pleasure. During this time, much like other serious points geeks, I got to learn a lot about how these programs work. [...]