What’s Your “World Travel Style”? More Trips In Coach, Less Trips In Premium Cabins?

Apologies for my lack of contact over the weekend.  I took Michelle and our daughter, Catherine to Paris for the weekend.  I’m trying to get that all worked out into a series of posts for a trip report and I kept coming back to a question I’ve asked many times.

Is it better to travel more places using your miles and points by traveling in coach so you can see more of the world?

Or is it better to travel in premium cabins, so as to enjoy the “getting there” part of the journey and arrive well rested.

I’ve had this debate on Milepoint before but I throw out the question to you, faithful reader.

I’ve got some United beverage vouchers that I plan to hand out to a few thought-provoking replies.

Look for more on Paris in the coming days as well as part 2 of my Italy trip planning dissection.

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  1. It depends on different things every single trip..
    Cost, in terms of fatigue, hours of travel, connections, time in layovers, actual dollars, need for pampering or robustness at time of travel. Available time. Purpose of trip. Need to arrive extra fresh, or is a bit / a lot tired & crumpled ok.

    Sometimes a transition time from leaving home to arriving at destination is important. I would prefer to arrive at a fabulous destination fed, watered & pampered. And slept. Rather than hungry, dehydrated, rumpled & under slept.

    Other times the shortest fastest route is best. And I just have to sit up in coach & read a book for 9 hours, & look forward to the destination. The only consolation is it didn’t cost too many miles, & I have more miles left to use for other things …

  2. I think miles can take you very far and help realize dream trips. Most of the time business class will involve 50% to 100% more miles, and so I would prefer to take my wife along rather than travel in class on my own. Personally I do not value business class all that much – I would not even pay 100$ for an upgrade on a 10-12 hour flight. All I want is to get to my destination safely and on time.

    Having said that, many like to travel alone and also are showered by credit cards sign-up bonus miles in a way that makes spending 50% more miles a very reasonable choice.

  3. Coach on the way and premium on the way back. Too excited on the way to care and too tired on the way home that we want comfort.

  4. To me it simply comes down to available time vs amount of available points. I don’t have enough vacation time to burn the points I have so I prefer to fly premium on the vacation I do get. Also I am 6’5″ so I fit premium much better than coach.

  5. As comfortable as you can make it given what you have to work with. If you are running short of can’t get the availability, coach. If you have the miles to spend and availability is there, premium. Mix and match the whole life through. 😉

  6. In my view it is largely about time. If you only get 2 weeks of vacation then maybe you should spend your miles on permium cabins. I take 4 months off every year to travel. I would much rather take 2 or 3 or 4 flights in coach and see many places then just one location in a premium cabin.

  7. One of the problems I have with the idea that it’s important to fly premium class over coach is that it ignores that we have very short-term memories. Here’s an example if I was on Ed’s trip this past weekend:

    “I was in Paris for the weekend! Yeah! Took my family for 2.5 days of spontaneous fun 4,000 miles away. We saw the and did the and omg it was awesome.”

    You tell that story a year from now, or five years from now, or a lifetime later, and what you don’t talk about (and most of the time don’t remember) is that you sat in coach and it was cramped and kinda bad at times.

    Is premium class better? Oh hell yeah. Do I fault anyone for wanting to maximize their travel opportunities in premium class? Of course not. I do that all the time. But in the question presented, passing up opportunities to make life memories just because it means flying in steerage is not, in my opinion, wise. To turn Ed’s blog’s tagline around, Life is too short to worry about flying in coach.

  8. Since I am just getting started with collecting and using miles for travel, put me in the “go more places” column.

    Though I can see the day when I will choose “fewer places, nicer flights to and from” to make that part of the trip nicer.

  9. When you travel with someone who has anxiety about flying, burning the extra miles for them to be comfortable makes a huge difference in getting them to agree to the trip! Beside, our DS can only miss so many school days before we get expelled.

  10. With my job, I can barely keep up with burning the amount of miles/points I earn. When I do get to take my few big trips each year, I have enough to fly premium cabins and stay at nice hotels. Would I trade these in to fly in coach, stay at low-end hotels, and travel more? In a heartbeat!

  11. As we get older and our bodies more stiff, the idea of spending six hours in coach grows less and less appealing (and heaven forbid 12 hours or more!). We’d prefer fewer, longer trips, and pay the up charge (with miles, of course!) for biz.

    Looking forward to your Paris report – we’re planning a trip over Thanksgiving.

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