Published On: Fri, Dec 22nd, 2023

Travel expert claims hack helps secure a spare seat next to you for free | Travel News | Travel

In the search for a more comfortable economy class flying experience, Nicky Kelvin, The Points Guy’s editor-at-large, discovered an ingenious travel hack with British Airways.

Leveraging the airline’s tier status program, Kelvin shares a secret to securing a spare companion seat, offering frequent flyers an affordable way to enjoy extra room and relaxation without the need for a business class upgrade.

Nicky toold MailOnline: “I fly for work a lot, and often in economy. I worked hard earlier this year to re-earn gold status in the British Airways Executive Club.

“Alongside the usual benefits of first-class check-in, first-class lounges, extra baggage allowance and more, a largely unknown benefit is that British Airways has a system of blocking seats next to gold members to give them a chance of a free seat next to them, and only releasing those seats when they have to.

Read more: British expats in Spain after Brexit – rights explained

“So, unless a flight is completely full, you will often have a free seat next to you, greatly improving your economy flight experience.”

Despite the perception that such benefits are exclusive to high spenders frequently flying with British Airways for business, there are various alternative routes to ascend the tiers.

Nicky highlighted that acquiring status with British Airways has become more accessible, thanks to initiatives like the double-tier points offer on British Airways holidays.

“It’s become easier to earn status with British Airways these days due to the double-tier points offer on British Airways holidays, which was one of the tactics I used to achieve status quickly,” added Nicky.

“And for those that spend large amounts on credit cards, you can now earn an extra 200 tier points every year by using the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card.”

Using this card for significant expenses, such as weddings or furniture purchases, and paying off the balance each month can be advantageous, allowing you to accumulate points.

The expert also suggested seeking affordable premium cabin flights on British Airways or partner airlines and maximising the number of segments where possible.

“You can often find these cheaper flights by starting your flight in different European airports such as Amsterdam, Oslo, Sofia, or Bucharest,” Nicky added.

Nicky aims to earn tier points at a cost of less than £2 per tier point, which would mean gold status would usually cost somewhere between £2,000 and £4,000.

Considering the average Brit spends £3,418 a year on holidays, according to Trainline, VIP travel doesn’t seem quite so out of reach.

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