Please note this site has financial relationships with American Express and this post may contain affiliate links. Read my Advertiser Disclosure policy here to learn more about my partners.
Yup, that’s what I am doing. If I am lucky, in the very near future I will have booked some award seats at the front of the plane for my husband, myself, and our toddler. Is it a little bit outside the bounds of how we normally travel? Yup. Am I super excited about it anyway? Yup. So here’s the story, you may remember that we will be taking a very exciting “Christmas in New York City” trip next winter. I hesitate to say it is a “trip of a lifetime”, because I hope we do it more than once, but it is that exciting for us. My mom and dad will also be going, so it should be really awesome to have the five of us in NYC to see the city in all its Christmas glory. To make the trip even more special, I am planning to book my family of three seats in Continental’s Lie Flat BusinessFirst seats for the flight from Houston to Newark. My parents will be flying on different dates than we will, and I think my dad would rather walk to New York than sit in first class. He’s just not that kind of fella…though I would love to see him do it at least once. So Dad, if you want to give it a shot, just let me know. 😉
Booking one leg of the trip with the three of us in domestic first will cost 37,500 more miles than it would have to have us in economy for both legs of the journey. That means that the trip will cost 112,500 miles instead of just 75,000 miles. I am pretty protective of my Continental/United miles, so we normally don’t have the luxury of using twice as many miles on a flight to sit at the front. In fact, it is for that reason we are only going to be sitting in the “good seats” on the outbound leg, and will return to the back of the plane on the return flight. In case any families out there are wondering why we would spend extra miles to do this, and why we would choose the outbound flight, here is a glimpse into the thought process.
- We are hoping to sit in the BusinessFirst seats on the outbound portion of the trip, because C’s schedule and mood are often way more predictable on the front end of the trip than the back end. So, I am not near as concerned about her being “polite” on that leg of the trip. That being said, we expect her to be polite regardless of where she is sitting on the airplane, but I really want us all to enjoy sitting up front, so we are planning to do it when she has the best chance of being happy and well rested. 😉
- Little C will just about be three-years-old when this flight happens, so considering how well she is already doing on flights, I think it will be neat for her to have a big seat with built-in In Flight Entertainment all to herself.
- While we are able to occasionally “buy-up” to domestic first on discounted offers or something similar, sitting up front is still very much a novelty for us. It’s still kind of special. So, adding it to this special trip gives us something extra to look forward to for almost a full year. That alone is worth an additional 37.5K miles for us.
- Because of credit card sign-up bonuses (and other promos), we have brought in hundreds of thousands of miles this year alone, so 37,500 really is just a small fraction of what we earned this year anyway.
- My husband is a tall guy, so this will be way more comfortable for him that our regular coach seats. He is rarely as excited about traveling as I am, but he does get very excited about upgrades, suites, etc… so this will be a great way for him to really look forward to the flight. It will also allow him to get to NYC without having back and leg cramps!
- Since we live in the middle of the country, flights to NYC are just about the longest domestic flights we take. So the fact that the flight is almost four hours long means we will have some relatively decent time in the lie-flat seats.
- I just really want to try out the Flat Bed seats. I know that Continental’s BusinessFirst Flat Bed seats are not always given the best reviews, but as a Continental girl, I really want to try them for myself. Sure, I could do it on a flight where it is just me and spend fewer miles as a result, but that wouldn’t be near as fun of a family adventure.
As a side note, there seems to be some “especially good” reward availability going on right now on Continental. I saw this myself a few days ago, but hadn’t had time to go back and investigate further. It is not showing for me as good as it did a few days ago, but I also do not have an elite account, so that could play into things. I would strongly recommend wandering over to Dan’s Deals for more information on the “especially good” Continental reward availability, if you are so inclined.
I know that spending 37,500 extra miles to sit in a Continental lie flat seat with a toddler for a four hour flight probably doesn’t sound like the best plan for everyone, but my family is extremely excited about the idea, and that is what matters the most.
Do you ever book certain “special” flights in First or Business class and the rest in coach? Have you booked your toddler a seat up front? How did that go? Did you feel you got a good value for your miles or dollars for the experience? Are they massively confused when they have to then sit in a “regular” seat on the next flight? I know that will happen to us – we will explain it as having to “take turns” with others sitting in the good seats!
Keep your fingers crossed that we are able to find some availability that works for us! I will let you know how the booking process works out soon.