Three tips for cheaper and swankier flights

Airlines, Travel
Now may be your chance to fly in style. Photo credit: Getty

A professional flight hacker has shared his advice to people wanting to play the airfare game in order to get business and first class trips for cheaper.

Gilbert Ott is a professional traveller who blogs about travel, points and air miles.

In a recent interview with the Daily Mail, he shared tips on how you can fly up the front of the plane, for less.

Buying air points

Mr Ott says using air miles to pay for flights is usually cheaper than using actual money.

Instead of earning miles off credit cards and promotions, buy them directly from the airline, he says.

"Every few months, airlines sell off their points in promotional sales which means you can purchase air miles without actually flying anywhere," he says.

"You can then use them to book trips in upper class for significantly less."

According to the Daily Mail, a deal with United Airlines can get you on a first class flight from Hong Kong to Sydney for just 40,000 miles. Those miles can be directly purchased for just over $1400.

Booking a first class flight the normal way would cost more than $8100.

Price tracking

Deals come and go and usually sell-out before you can get a look-in.

Mr Ott's tips are to download price tracking apps that notify you when prices drop in economy, business and first class.

"Many flash sales or crazy promotional fares like this expire within hours," he says. 

"But you can set alerts for them for free using Google Flights or Kayak, so if there's a sudden drop on a route you're interested in, you'll be the first to know about it.

"And don't be afraid to set trackers for premium or business class too, since sometimes premium or business class seats will randomly be cheaper than economy ones, especially over peak summer travel periods."

Hidden city ticketing

Another trick in the book is known as "hidden city ticketing" and involves a lay-over and changing your flights origin.

"Hidden city ticketing is an opportunity to save money on flight prices by booking travel via a city you don't want to visit - which for whatever reason is pricing out cheaper than the place you do really want to visit," Mr Ott explains.

His example is a flight from London to Los Angeles with one airline costs $940 return in economy.

However for $847 you can fly from Stockholm in Sweden to Los Angeles via London in premium economy.

While this method adds flight time and you'll have to get to Stockholm first, which is an extra $50, it gets you an upgrade and at a cheaper price.

When it comes to getting a free upgrade, Mr Ott says your best chance is by booking yourself in economy onto oversold flights.

He says their prerogative is then to compensate you for the "inconvenience."

"This has worked for me quite a few times, on quite a few different airlines around the world, and for the traveller without miles or status, it really is one of their only hopes, "he told the Daily Mail.

"The good thing with oversold flights is that at the very least, you're owed compensation, which can make for a free future trip."