Thank god for safety flights

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🐶 Bark, known for their monthly dog goodie bags, launched Bark Air, luxury flights for dogs between NYC-LA and NYC-London starting May 23, accommodating 10 dogs and owners in super nice seating, operated by Talon Air. I like dogs... but this... feels like a lot. Anyways, you can read more about it here.

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🐶 Bark, known for their monthly dog goodie bags, launched Bark Air, luxury flights for dogs between NYC-LA and NYC-London starting May 23, accommodating 10 dogs and owners in super nice seating, operated by Talon Air. I like dogs... but this... feels like a lot. Anyways, you can read more about it here.

Good morning and welcome back to Daily Drop, the Swiss Army knife of newsletters.

It's versatile, always there when you need it, and occasionally surprises you with a corkscrew of a travel tip you never knew you needed. 😉

Speaking of travel tips…

✈️ Let’s talk about safety flights

Safety flights are one of the ways I am able to fly in business class all the time without breaking the points bank.

The concept also can be used to give yourself an extra insurance policy when you have really important travels.

I just used safety flights to book a business-class flight to Tokyo yesterday, so I thought it would be a good time to have a little refresher.

So let’s have a little chat about booking safety flights.

Safety Flights hero image

A safety flight is a flight that you book with the intention of finding something better and canceling it before your trip.

Doing this can serve various purposes:

  1. You can keep your options open when it comes time to travel and can choose which one you actually take.

  2. Since business and first-class award seats often open at the last minute, you can use safety flights to book a “placeholder” while you search for the more challenging flights to book.

  3. If you have a firm commitment at your destination, having a safety flight ensures that you have multiple chances to get there in the event of something going wrong.

A couple of years ago, I was traveling in Quebec City (lovely place, by the way).

I had a music gig in Toronto that, by contract, I NEEDED to be at, but could only fly there on the day of the performance.

I was scheduled to fly early in the morning on Westjet, but since the stakes were high for me, I used points to book a safety flight on Air Canada a few hours after my Westjet flight.

Since my award flight allowed me to cancel for a free refund, I would simply cancel the booking as soon as my Westjet flight got me to Toronto.

Aeroplan Cancellation fees chart

However, in the event that something went wrong with Westjet (i.e. the flight was delayed or canceled), I knew that I had another flight to get me back home for my important engagement.

Because of the free cancellation, there was no extra cost to me to do this, but a HUGE potential upside.

That brings us to a very important point:

Only book safety flights with programs that allow free cancellation (or make sure you’re okay with paying the potential cancellation fee, if any).

Thankfully, many airlines let you cancel your ticket for free when using points and miles to book.

Here are some programs that offer free changes and cancellations on award flights:

  • Delta (except Basic Economy)

  • United (except Basic Economy)

  • American

  • Alaska

  • Hawaiian

  • Southwest

These policies change frequently, and some airlines have caveats such as where your flight originates from, so always be sure to read the fare policy before you finalize a booking.

The main reason for booking safety flights, however, is to use them as a “placeholder” flight with the intention of later flying in business or first class.

Let’s look at an example:

Next month, I’m flying to Tokyo. Because I feel like it.

Sadly, everybody else also feels like it - and business-class prices are just out of control…

So here’s what I did:

I booked a cheap flight on American Airlines, using the few miles I had lying around (since there are many ways to earn them without flying).

American Airlines Award booking from YYZ-HND

I wasn’t SUPER thrilled about flying economy for 18 hours, but for 35,000 AA miles, it’s one of the better deals I can get from Toronto.

Thankfully, however, I kept tabs on award flights from Toronto to Tokyo.

Just yesterday, I saw this MUCH better deal open up from Toronto to Tokyo in business class for just 71,000 Aeroplan points (normally, these flights would cost 87,500 in business class, so this was a steal).

Aeroplan booking from YYZ-HND in business class

YYZ-ORD is in economy, but ORD-HND is in business, hence the good price

In this scenario, you can (and should) just book it right away. Since American Airlines lets me cancel for free, I got my miles (and money) back and was able to fly the same route on the same day in a much more comfortable way.

There are a number of reasons that booking business class at the last minute tends to be easier:

  1. Many airlines release more award seats as the travel date approaches (within two weeks or so)

  2. People who have speculatively booked flights cancel them as the travel date approaches, so those seats go back into inventory (sometimes)

That, my friends, is the magic of safety flights. As you might guess, it helps if you have a stash of points and miles to be able to book these placeholder flights.

Thankfully, there are plenty of credit card offers that can give you all the points you need (and more) to be able to book some once-in-a-lifetime trips, so check out our Top Cards page if you need some inspiration. 😉

🤓 Travel Trivia Tuesday

Can you name the rarest passport in the world?

Ok, so trick question... it's not from a country…

It's from a centuries-old religious order called the Knights of Malta.

Knights of Malta passport photo

With only about 500 left, these passports are like gold.

The Knights of Malta have been around since the Crusades, doing everything from caring for sick pilgrims to fighting battles. Today, they're based in Rome and still going strong.

Their passports aren't your average travel document. They're crimson red, symbolizing the blood of Christ, and grant access to over 100 countries - pretty cool for a group without a country of their own!

If you're interested in learning more about the Knights of Malta, you can read up here.

Want to help Daily Drop take over the world? Share our newsletter with your friends/family/pets/colleagues/enemies and win some rewards in the process!

Sign up for Daily Drop to grab your referral link!

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…or you can just buy these prizes from our website if you want to keep us all to yourself. 😉

That’s all for today, my lovely people.

I hope the tip on safety flights helps you to book some aspirational flights without the stress of waiting until the last minute - I know it’s a tool I use all the time myself.

Have you ever booked a safety flight?

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Have a wonderful day ❤️

Mike Dodge
Head Writer, Daily Drop

52°22'35.4"N 52°15'17.4"W

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