As we head into a new year, we're revisiting some of 2016's most popular Travel stories. This was one of them .....

Blogger reveals how the average traveller can score a seat in the lap of luxury.

Business class is usually reserved for well-to-do executives or film stars, but a blogger has revealed how the average traveller can score a seat in the lap of luxury.

Brian Kelly, 32, recently flew non-stop from New York to Accra, Ghana, in Delta Air Lines' Delta One cabin and all it cost was a $5.60 (NZ$8.40) TSA/government fee.

The one-way ticket normally sells for $5,000 (NZ$7,493), but Kelly paid just a fraction of the mile-high fare after racking up tens of thousands of frequent flyer miles.

Kelly, founder of the website The Points Guy, has made a habit out of exposing ways frequent and irregular travellers can get the most out of their airline or credit card rewards points.


He flew to Ghana last September to work for the PeaceJam Foundation, a charity that uses Nobel Laureate teachers to educate youth, and shared video of the flight this week.

Kelly, from New York, redeemed 90,000 SkyMiles and paid less than $6 on fees to reserve a seat on the Boeing 767-300.

During the 10-hour transatlantic flight he relaxed in an aeroplane cabin that features 180-degree flat-bed seats, finer meals paired with wines selected by a sommelier, TUMI amenity kits and Starbucks coffee.

Kelly was treated to Champagne and for dinner he had prawns, cedar plank salmon and a hot fudge sundae.

He said: "The cedar plank salmon was delicious and the made-to-order ice cream sundae is even more heavenly."

Other perks included priority check-in and boarding, and access to Delta's lounge at JFK Airport.

The flight was the latest perk enjoyed by the blogger, who aggressively collects frequent flyer miles through credit card sign-up bonuses and purchases.

One card offered a bonus of 50,000 miles when he signed up. It came with a $95 (NZ$142) annual fee which was waived for the first year.


Kelly said the feat is something even the average traveller can accomplish.

He said: "Make sure you pay off your bills in full every month because the interest rates on balances will negate the value of miles and points you earn.

"Also, don't be afraid of cards with annual fees. Sometimes the most lucrative cards have annual fees that are waived the first year and you can have them waive it or give you a bonus when it comes time to pay the annual fee. They don't want to lose you as customer, it never hurts to ask."

He suggests credit cards that have lucrative returns. One of his cards gives him three points for every dollar he spends and he can transfer the points to a number of airlines.

Last year, Kelly flew in Etihad Airways' award-winning The Residence, a private suite that has a double bed, living room, private shower and butler service.

He also flew in Cathay Pacific's first class cabin from Ho Chi Minh City to New York for $62 (NZ$93) and 67,500 air miles - saving $9,000 (NZ$13,4791) in airfare.

Flying around the world on air miles has been a fascination for Kelly since he was a child.
At the age of 12, he figured out how to maximise his dad's frequent flyer miles and book a family holiday in the Caribbean.

He worked on Wall Street until June 2011, when he decided to become a professional blogger.