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Corporate executives regularly make transatlantic journeys. Travel costs can be quite high, primarily because most corporate travelers prefer booking first-class or business flights. Although premium-class tickets are pricier than economy tickets, corporate travelers can still score seats at the front of planes without breaking the bank. If you are a corporate traveler, here’s how you can save money on first-class and business flights to Europe.

Leverage Loyalty Programs Offered by Airlines

You can save money by taking advantage of the loyalty programs that most airlines offer. If you are a frequent traveler, you’ll get loyalty bonuses and similar perks from your favorite airline. As your miles add up, so do your loyalty points and rewards. Eventually, you’ll be able to redeem these loyalty points in exchange for discounts when booking business and first-class flights. For instance, you can purchase an economy ticket, but upgrade to first-class or business by redeeming your loyalty points. However, these are expensive and not always available, therefore, one should seek a relationship with a travel agency that can offer stellar service and prices all year round.

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Most fliers think that travel agents are expensive and not a great option. However, letting a travel agency book your flights can absolutely save you money, and get you all kinds of perks that you otherwise would not receive. Most agencies have partnerships with airlines, which enables them to offer cheaper tickets than what you’d get if you book a flight yourself. You might even be granted access to some of the exclusive programs that the agencies belong to.

Generally, airlines always want to fill all the seats on their planes. However, they never want it to be known that they regularly discount fares. To address this problem, they often turn to travel agencies to offload the unsold tickets to their customers directly. Therefore, you can land cheap business and first-class tickets when you book your flights with a travel agent. Likewise, agencies know about the best airlines to use during your transatlantic forays. They can also help you score upgrades and perks.

Use Airline Credit Cards

Some mid-tier cards that you’ll come across offer travel rewards to regular fliers. Nonetheless, the real rewards lie with elite travel cards, including American Express Platinum and Chase Sapphire Preferred. You should also consider some co-branded credit cards like the United MileagePlus card and the Delta SkyMiles American Express card. These cards offer big bonuses if you spend a stipulated amount of money on them.

It would be best if you considered co-branded cards that offer sign-up bonuses that can enable you to travel to Europe in business or first class. Often, these cards have a minimum spending threshold of $4,000 or thereabout. When combined with the mile bonuses on airline cards, you can end up scoring a cheap first-class or business class ticket to Europe. Again, while these are great options, they may not be feasible in all instances, and it would be best to deal directly with a local travel agent that can get you to where you need to, no matter what time of the year or amount of points you may have.

If you are a corporate traveler, chances are that you make frequent trips to Europe. The cost of business or first-class flights shouldn’t deter you from crossing the Atlantic to seal deals in Europe. You can still travel on the cheap by leveraging the aforementioned strategies. Likewise, consider scheduling your flights on off-peak days such as weekends, when most business travelers choose to stay at home.