How someone got a $60,000 first class flight for $300
Most of us aren’t going to fly first class any time soon, the cost difference between cattle class and first class is astronomical. First class suites are meant for people like Brad Pitt and The Queen, not plebs like us.
However, thanks to a cheeky loophole, Sam Huange flew Emirates (its economy is amazing, never mind first class!) in a first class suite for only $300 (£197), instead of the standard $60,000 (£39,300). Yep, people have that kind of money to spend on a flight.
A lot of people manage to get upgrades by signing up to airline loyalty programmes and flying a lot. However, Sam Huange isn’t a frequent flier, in fact, he doesn’t fly much at all.
What he did, was sign up to a load of credit cards (HOLD UP - before we go on, and you get ideas in your head, here in the UK you have to have a really good credit score to get an air miles credit card, which you probably don’t have being a student. Don’t go applying - credit cards are for people who are financially stable and can pay them off in full every month).
Huang signed up to credit card from Bank of America, which has an agreement with Alaska Airlines, which is a Mileage Plan partner with Emirates. There are limitations as to how often you can get reward bonuses, but here is where Huang was particularly tricksy - so tricksy, it took him a year to figure out!
“I met somebody while I was abroad and he told me he was traveling for free using miles, and I was skeptical. I went back home and I researched it a bit, and I started getting into it.”
He signed up to about 15 credit cards, reaching a minimum spend to get the points - which racked up the air miles.
He then had to book the actual flight with all the air miles (while panicking someone was going to tell him no).
Huang said, “So most airlines, when you book a trip, they have a thing called routing rules to stop you from doing a crazy round the world. Basically Alaska’s computers until recently didn’t have routing rules. If you wanted you could nest a layover.” Nesting a layover means adding a stop in a city along the way, which is possible on many tickets as long as the stop is no more than 24 hours.
“So I just started typing different city combinations. I nested a lot of 24-hour layovers - [in the computer] it looks like Singapore to New York.”
So sure, you’re not going to be able to do this, but being young and beautiful, you’ve got as good as a chance as anyone to blag a free upgrade. Do it without the credit cards kids.
Here's a picture of Huang having fun to make you sick with jealousy.