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February 2016

IN THIS ISSUE: Hot Ticket: United’s New Domestic First Class Upgrade Scheme Changes Game for Elites and Loyalty-Free Agents; Fare Sleuth: New Transcon Business Class Fares Now Require Less Planning; High & Inside: The SkyTeam Playbook for Summer 2016 Business Class to Europe (a chart that sets out the options for elites and non-elites); The Suite Spot: How Anyone Can Save Up to 90% on Cathay Pacific’s First Class; 150-Day First & Business Class Fare Alert; Seat Beat: Lufthansa Completes Business Class Seat Rollout (plus routes with “Sweet Redeems,” plus Lufthansa is often in FCF’s fare alerts); FCF Report Card: Comparing Domestic U.S. Mileage Upgrade Awards on American, Delta, and United when Booking 7 to 30 Days in Advance (for the leisure traveler, elites not willing to gamble on an upgrade, and business travelers able to plan ahead); American Pre-Devaluation Parachutes: Many Routes Between the U.S. and Asia Offer Availability Right Now for AAdvantage Sweet Redeems; and The FCF Worldwide Mileage-Seat Locator: When Spending Miles Is Relatively Easy.

January 2016

IN THIS ISSUE: High & Inside: FCF’s Upgrade Crystal Ball for 2016 (and how to surf the ever-changing Upgrade-Opportunity Waves); Fare Sleuth: New Special First Class Fares to Hawaii Starting at $798 R/T; State of the Elite Union: Elite Status Nears Final Descent (great for the airlines, delusional for most); South American Mileage Burner: 13 Routes Between the U.S. and Argentina, Brazil, and Chile with Good First and Business Class Award Availability Right Now — on American, Delta, and United (For Amex, Chase, Starwood, AAdvantage, MileagePlus, and SkyMiles members); FCF Report Card: Rating First Class Oneworld Award Program Pricing Between the U.S. and Europe; Loyalty Program Lens: What American’s 2016 Loyalty Program Changes Mean for Premium Travelers and How to Delay the Inflation a Year; 150-Day First & Business Class Fare Alert; and The FCF Worldwide Mileage-Seat Locator: When Spending Miles Is Relatively Easy.

December 2015

IN THIS ISSUE: Hot Ticket: Low-Fare Routes to Mexico that Offer Free and Low-Cost Upgrades Right Now; Fare Sleuth: Last Call for Holiday Business Class to Europe Starting at $1,609; High & Inside: When First Class Mileage Upgrades Work to Asia, and Don’t; Mileage Upgrade Pro: Many Delta Routes Between the U.S. and Asia Have Great Availability Right Now—For Amex, Starwood, and SkyMiles Redemptions; Seat Upgrade Strategy: How to Land Delta’s International Seats on Twelve Domestic Routes to Net Free “In-Class Seat Upgrades”; FCF Report Card: Best and Worst First Class Star Alliance Award Programs Between the U.S. and Europe (and why having the right credit card(s) makes such a big difference); The A380 Watch: 20 Routes on the A380 on Which Anyone Can Save Up to $29,308 on First and Business Class; and The FCF Worldwide Mileage-Seat Locator: When Spending Miles Is Relatively Easy.

November 2015

High & Inside: How the Latest New Transatlantic Business Class Fare Category Impacts The Upgrade Mindset; Domestic Fare Trends: American Matches Delta and United’s Already-Deeply-Discounted First Class Fares to Hawaii; Hot Ticket: British Airways’ New Flat-Fee Cash Upgrade; The Suite Spot: How Anyone Can Save Up to 86% on All Nippon’s First Class Suite; FCF Report Card: Best and Worst Oneworld Award Programs Between the U.S. and Asia for First Class; Fare Sleuth: Holiday Business Class to Europe from Canada Starting at CA$2,623 / US$1,999; Mileage Upgrade Pro: Business Class Loopholes in Oneworld, SkyTeam, and Star Alliance Loyalty Programs, U.S. to/from Southern South America; The Dealer: How to Combine an Old Deal with Some New EasyUp Fares to Bring Business Class to Europe Down to Unbelievable Levels; 150-Day Business Class Fare Alert; and The FCF Worldwide Mileage-Seat Locator: When Spending Miles is Relatively Easy.

October 2015

IN THIS ISSUE: High & Inside: United Joins EasyUp Fare Revolution with New First Class Fares Slashed to South America with built-in fare upgrades for $400 + Rough Guide to the World’s Best First Class Fares U.S. to South America; Seat Upgrade Strategy: Getting United’s International Seats on 24 Domestic Routes (where to find free “In-Class Seat Upgrades” through little-known aircraft-deployment anomalies); Hot Ticket: Fly Deluxe for Fewer Bucks the World Over with Alaska Airlines’ 14 Partners (Up to 85% off on First and Business Class through the airline’s loyalty program loophole); Fare Sleuth: Just In: New Seasonal EasyUp First Class Fares on United to South America Starting at Up to 46% Off; FCF Insider: Transatlantic First Class Fares Take Another Dive on American, Cabin-Extinction Questions Raised Again; The Suite Spot: How Anyone Can Save Up to 87% on Emirates’ First Class Suite; Transcon Update: Premium Transcon Fares Hit Some Choppy Air; FCF Report Card: Best and Worst Star Alliance Business Class Award Programs Between the U.S. and Asia, and why having the right credit card(s) makes such a HUGE difference; and The FCF Worldwide Mileage-Seat Locator: When Spending Miles Is Relatively Easy.

September 2015

IN THIS ISSUE: Hot Ticket: The 28 Domestic Flights That Offer Free “In-Class Seat Upgrades” (Getting an international seat through little-known American Airlines service anomalies); High & Inside: American and United Wave the White Flag on First Class Fares to Asia (new upgrade fare program from $500 to $2,000) + Rough Guide to the World’s Best First Class Fares U.S. to Asia; Fare Sleuth: Ongoing Domestic Transcon Fare Evolution: First Class Upgrade on American Starting at Only $2 Round-Trip; Mileage Upgrade Pro: First Class Loopholes in Oneworld and Star Alliance Loyalty Programs for Travel Between the U.S. and Europe (anomalies net up to 56% off); Tel Aviv Spotlight: Two Deals to Tel Aviv at Up to 60% Off; The Suite Spot: How to Get Asiana’s A380 First Class Suite Now; FCF Report Card: Best and Worst Business Class Oneworld Award Opportunities U.S. to/from Southern South America; Card Sharp: The King of Cards, Starwood, Just Got Better (two new benefits make the best better); and The FCF Worldwide Mileage-Seat Locator: When Spending Miles Is Relatively Easy.

August 2015

IN THIS ISSUE: High & Inside: Two New Transatlantic Fare Versions Just Discovered, 31% to 72% Off, Business and First Class (What mindset adjustment do these momentous EasyUp Airfare changes demand?) + Rough Guide to the World’s Best Business & First Class Fares U.S.-Europe; Domestic Upgrade Mastery: How the Lack of Parity in Domestic First Class Pricing Impacts the Cost of Loyalty (Locked-in loyalists get fleeced); Hot Ticket: How to Save Up to 67% on United Business and First Class Flights to Australia, South Pacific; Fare Sleuth: Business Class Fares Starting as Low as $639 to the Caribbean; Mileage Upgrade Pro: Current Loyalty Program Anomalies to Net Business Class for the Price of Coach Between the U.S. and Europe; Mileage Mastery: Getting Around Obstacles to Buying Miles (Leveraging one of the best ways to get in the upgrade game almost instantly); and The FCF Worldwide Mileage-Seat Locator: When Spending Miles Is Relatively Easy.

July 2015

IN THIS ISSUE: Hot Ticket: Master Delta’s Six-Tier Upgrade Scheme for Domestic First Class and Upgrade for Peanuts; Fare Sleuth: Special First Class Fares to Hawaii (starting at $798 r/t); High & Inside: How New Fine Print in Premium-Airfare Anomalies Influences When to Search for the Easiest-to-Book and Lowest-Cost Upgrades to Europe; Domestic Deals: New Transcon Route Change Nets Wide Open Business Class Availability; FCF Report Card: Best and Worst First Class Star Alliance Award Programs Between the U.S. and Asia (How the major Star Alliance mileage programs compare—and why having the right credit card(s) makes such a difference); Low-Cost Upgrading 101: No Miles? No Points? No Problem. (FCF’s A-list of the major airlines that are best for the person who has few or no miles, but wants to get in the upgrade game overnight); and The FCF Worldwide Mileage-Seat Locator: When Spending Miles Is Relatively Easy.

June 2015

IN THIS ISSUE: Fare Sleuth: Ongoing Domestic Transcon Published First Class Airfare Evolution (Upgrades on American for Only $400); Hot Ticket: Fly Deluxe for Fewer Bucks the World Over on American Airlines and Its 26 Partners (Up to 85% Off First and Business Class through loyalty program anomalies); High & Inside: Domestic Transcon Published Business Class Airfare Evolution + Domestic Upgrade Strategy Deep Dive (you don’t have to live in or travel to Los Angeles, New York, or San Francisco to leverage the opportunities offered to those who connect to them from cities like Monterey) + FCF’s Business Class Stopover Loophole Strategy (SLS) + Package Strategies; Low-Cost Upgrading 101: No Miles? No Points? No Problem. Part 4 (How major Non-Alliance airlines rate for the person who has few or no miles but wants to get in the upgrade game overnight) + FCF’s Rapid Miles Accumulation Ratings; New Seat Opportunity: How to Get a Free “In-Class Upgrade” on Lufthansa Between the U.S. and Europe (by knowing which routes and aircraft have the carrier’s new seats) + See for yourself the Lufthansa routes that have Business and First Class Sweet Redeems; FCF Report Card: Best and Worst Business Class Award Programs for Travel Between the U.S. and Asia with Oneworld (How the major oneworld airlines mileage programs compare—and why having the right credit cards makes such a difference) + Why Starwood is King; and The FCF Worldwide Mileage-Seat Locator: When Spending Miles Is Relatively Easy.

May 2015

IN THIS ISSUE: Hot Ticket: Seven Great First and Business Class Upgrade Opportunities to Consider Now Including EasyUp Business Class Fares to Europe Starting at $1,700 + Three Deals that Net Business Class for Little More than the Price of Coach to/from Europe and to/from Asia Via Amex Rewards, Citi ThankYou, or Starwood (with Air France, Japan Airlines, KLM, and Lufthansa) + Published First Class Anomaly Fare to Asia Nets Free Upgrade to First from Business + Low Cost Business Class Fare Routes to North Africa Starting at $1,786; The Transconnoisseur: First Class Transcon Fares Plunging Again; High & Inside: Little-Known Star Alliance Upgrade Opportunity Saves Up to 69% Between U.S. and Asia With Air Canada’s Aeroplan or United MileagePlus (the hidden, low-upgradable-fare routes, combined with the lowest-upgrade-cost programs, together with solid availability, and other remarkable upgrade and elite tools for savvy travelers); Fare Sleuth: Transcon Trend Event: Business Class Fares Take Another Nose-Dive; Flights of Fancy: Ultimate First Class Suite Experience Between the U.S. and Europe; and The FCF Worldwide Mileage-Seat Locator: When Spending Miles Is Relatively Easy.

April 2015

IN THIS ISSUE: Hot Ticket: Surpass First Class Comes to the U.S. (Plus Emirates A380 First Class Suite between Europe and U.S.; save 66% on Etihad’s Surpass First Class Apartment); Fare Sleuth: Business Class Starting as Low as $599 to Mexico; High & Inside: Seven Reasons to Consider British Airways Despite Its Program Devaluation; Latest Loyalty Losers & Winners: Reflections on Delta’s SkyMiles Soap Opera; The Transconnoisseur: More Transcon Routes Get Flatbed Seats (How to Save Up to 51% on United and Up to 52% on Air Canada); The Suite Spot: How to Save Up to 84% On Asiana’s A380 First Class Suite to Asia; The Route Scout: New Upgrade Opportunities—For Up to Four Passengers (American to/from Europe; Air France West Coast to/from Europe; Emirates First Class Suite and Business Class; and Etihad’s First Class Suite & Business Class); Low-Cost Upgrading 101: No Miles? No Points? No Problem. Part 3 (How the major Star Alliance airlines rate for the person who has few or no miles but wants to get in the upgrade game overnight); and The FCF Worldwide Mileage-Seat Locator: When Spending Miles Is Relatively Easy.

March 2015

IN THIS ISSUE: Hot Ticket: Delta and United Domestic First Class Fares Dip Below Premium Economy (some are now not much more than coach); Fare Sleuth: Special Business Class Fares Expand Beyond Europe & Now From Canada to Africa and Asia; High & Inside: FCF’s Play Your Cards Right Cribsheet and Play Your Cards Right Calculator for the Premium Air Traveler; The Suite Spot: How to Save Up to 87% on Japan Airline’s New First Class Suite—for One or Two Travelers; Airline Spotlight: Aer Lingus—Why the Irish Airline Can Be a Smart Choice to Europe; The Route Scout: New Upgrade Opportunities—For Up to Four Passengers (Asiana’s A380 First Class Suite, and United Business Class to South America); and The FCF Worldwide Mileage-Seat Locator: When Spending Miles Is Relatively Easy.

First Class Flyer Alerts

Prof. Thomas Y. Levin
Princeton University

"FCF is not only totally legitimate, but invariably creative and often ingenious".

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Prof. Michael Beckerman
New York University

"Bennett's FCF is not only the most informative newsletter of its kind, but it's a genuinely fun and interesting read whether you're actually looking to fly first class or just dreaming of it. I always get great ideas from it."

~

Mike Sweeney
Kansas City Royals
5-Time All-Star

"Bennett is in a league of his own".

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Ari Fleischer
Former WH Press Secretary
CEO, Fleischer Sports

"Everything went perfectly… Bennett definitely knows what he's doing… is outstanding at how he does it."

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The New York Times

"Bennett is an authority premium travel ticketing strategies…"

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Paul Haggis
Two-Time Academy
Award Winner

"I can't say enough about Matthew, his team and his program - it's great".

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Kiplinger's

“Mr. Upgrade shares his secrets for flying first class at economy fares…”

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The Wall Street Journal

"A newsletter for people who fly up front."

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Bud Collins
International Tennis
Hall of Fame

"I trust Bennett to improve my odds of occupying one of those desired seats in the front of the aircraft".

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The New York Times

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Departures Magazine

"The insider site."

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Tod Cohen
Vice President
& Deputy General Counsel
eBay Inc.

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Los Angeles Times

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Four Seasons Resorts Magazine

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Lawrence Pass, MD
Heart Surgeon
Nashville, TN

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Condé Nast Traveler

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