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Surprising Find: First-Class Tickets Can Be Cheaper Than Economy Seats

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Unexpected Deals with Airline Miles

Believe it or not, sometimes the cost of a first-class ticket is less than an economy seat. While this can happen with cash fares, it occurs more frequently with airline miles. Surprise pricing redemptions often occur on popular travel routes and dates where demand for economy seats is high, but first-class seats are typically unused.

Example: Los Angeles to Salt Lake City

A perfect example of this is the flight from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) on December 1, 2023. An economy seat on Delta for this two-hour flight costs a staggering 32,000 Delta SkyMiles one-way. However, you can fly in domestic first class for just 26,000 SkyMiles on the 11:45 a.m. flight. For a family of four, this saves about 24,000 Delta SkyMiles.

15% Off for Select Delta Cardmembers

It's worth noting that select Delta cardmembers receive an additional 15% off the point cost of the ticket, making the first-class option even more affordable.

Another Example: Atlanta to New York

Here's another route with the same phenomenon. A direct flight from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) has first-class tickets priced at 35,000 miles, while economy seats cost 43,000 miles. Not only is first class cheaper, but it's also a direct flight on a high-demand route.

Less Common, but Still Happening

In the past, this kind of pricing discrepancy was more common, especially around the holidays. However, as airlines have transitioned to more dynamic award pricing, it happens less frequently. Nevertheless, it still occurs, so it's worth checking first-class award prices before booking your holiday flights or 2024 vacations.

Don't Overlook First Class

Next time you're booking a flight, don't overlook the first-class award prices. You might be surprised to find that they are sometimes cheaper than sitting in the back of the plane.

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