We tried Scott’s Cheap Flights Elite for deals on first class fares – here’s why we think it’s worth the $199 subscription

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The Scott's Cheap Flights logo with a beach in the background
Table of Contents: Masthead StickyElite service (per year) (small)

They say once you fly first class, you can never go back to coach. There's nothing like going past the first class curtain to plush, and in some cases, lie-flat seats, while tucking into chef-prepared meals and sipping champagne.

I know personally that the saying is true. But unfortunately, I've made the long walk back to economy many times after experiencing the indulgent front of the plane.

That's because for most fliers, business or first class is often prohibitively expensive and a rarity saved for special occasions or occasional upgrades.

However, Scott's Cheap Flights, a newsletter and website for finding the best flight deals, has an Elite tier specifically for cheap premium economy, business class, and first class flights. It's not free like their basic newsletter, but if you like to stretch out in style, it's worth checking out.

I tried out an Elite subscription, comped for review purposes, and for just under $17 per month, think it's one of the best ways to find good deals on upgraded cabins. Here's how it works, how it compares to the free service, and some of the best deals I spotted.

What is Scott's Cheap Flights?

Scott's Cheap Flights is a newsletter and website that shares incredible flight deals, in some cases, even 90% off a typical flight price.

They have a team of researchers who religiously research flights and if you opt in to email subscriptions, you'll be alerted when airlines have sales or mistake fares.

Basic membership is free, but for tailored and exclusive deals, you'll have to upgrade to Premium, while Elite (which includes Premium) is exclusively for premium economy, business class, and first class flight deals. Here's a full breakdown of how it works.

What is Scott's Cheap Flights Elite?

While a standard membership shares limited deals, and Premium alerts you to significantly more deals on international and domestic economy flights, mistake fares, and some of the most popular destinations, Elite focuses specifically on premium economy, business class, and first class flights.

However, because it also includes Premium membership, you'll enjoy the best of both worlds - in other words, all the best deals without limitations.

Scott's Cheap Flights homepage
Deals are available based on membership levels.

Deals arrive daily in your inbox or can be found on the website. Online, you'll see deals reserved only for Premium or Elite members.

To find the best cheap flights for you, you'll want to "follow" airports where you typically depart. Free members may select up to five airports, premium members can follow up to 10, and Elite members have unlimited choices.

A screenshot from the Scott's Cheap Flights webpage looking at departure airports (Hartford, CT, JFK, and LaGuardia).,
Tailor your search results by setting "home" airports.

How much does an Elite subscription cost?

Elite is $199 per year, which is significantly more than Scott's Cheap Flights' Premium service that costs $49 for an annual subscription. Regular memberships are free.

But if you travel often, love to jump on good deals, and specifically want to fly in upgraded cabins, that's just under $17 a month, which is pretty cheap.

You may also try it for free for 14 days at no cost if you decide it isn't for you.

How do I sign up for Scott's Cheap Flights' Elite subscription?

Signing up for a Scott's Cheap Flights Elite account is easy:

  1. First, create an account, by going to their homepage where you'll submit your name, email, and create a password. You'll also answer prompts to make sure you see the best deals.
  2. For Elite, you'll then be prompted to input your credit card information.

That's it.

Scott's Cheap Flights Elite Service
Signing up for Elite, or any membership, takes only a few minutes.

Is Elite better than Premium or Free?

That depends on how often you fly or plan to jump on deals, and how important elevated cabins are to you.

However, to see how many more deals an Elite member receives (which, again, includes Premium), I also signed up for a free account on another email to track how many I received for each tier. Over a five-week period, here's how they compared:

Free service:

  • 30 email deals for economy domestic and international flights
  • 16 emails with destination-related content, travel tips, and offers for discounts on paid memberships
Newsletter and Deals (small)

Premium service:

  • 121 email deals for economy domestic and international flights
  • 16 emails with destination-related content, travel tips, and offers for discounts on paid memberships
Premium service (per year) (small)

Elite service:

  • 9 email deals for domestic and international premium economy class flights
  • 26 email deals for domestic and international business and first class flights
  • 126 email deals for economy domestic and international flights
  • 16 emails with destination-related content, travel tips, and offers for discounts on paid memberships
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So, looking at deals specifically, since all members receive similar promotional emails, being a Premium member earned significantly more deals than a basic membership.

Elite included all the same Premium emails, with the addition of upgraded cabin deals, which were mostly for business class over any other.

While I didn't receive nearly as many premium or business class deals as I did for economy flights through Premium, the number of premium/business/first class sales totaled just about the same as all the emails I received in entirety as a free member, which is a pretty good showing.

Scott's Cheap Flights Italy Deal
Flying first, business, or premium economy comes with lots of plush perks.

What are some of the best deals Elite members receive?

While I received a lot of great deals as an Elite member, these offered some of the most significant savings to popular destinations. Do note that these were tailored to my residence on the East Coast:

  • New York City to Quito, Ecuador in premium economy: $505
  • New York City to Barcelona, Spain in premium economy: $778
  • Boston to Copenhagen, Denmark in premium economy, $990
  • New York to Bangkok, Thailand in premium economy, $1,186
  • New York City to Nassau, Bahamas in business class, $623
  • New York City to Quito, Ecuador in business class: $755
  • Boston to Seattle in business class, $997
  • Boston to Rome, Italy in business class, $1,568
  • Hartford to Madrid, Spain in business class, $2,210
  • New York, to Cape Town, South Africa, $2,704

The bottom line

Most major travel requires a flight, which can be a long, uncomfortable journey. Flying business or first class is an indulgence that removes many pain points, but is also expensive and discounts are hard to come by.

However, Scott's Cheap Flights Elite service hones in specifically on them, offering major savings.

If you fly often and are open to paying more for premium economy, business class, and first class, then Scott's Cheap Flights Elite service is one of the best ways to find cheap airfare on these cabins. And at roughly $17 per month for a year, this price is cheaper than buying dinner.

While I didn't purchase airfare during my testing period (I have a baby and we're trying to limit travel with her during the pandemic), I would definitely sign up for Elite if I were flying at pre-pandemic levels, or knew I'd be traveling on long haul routes.

However, if you don't fly much or are perfectly comfortable in coach, you're better off trying Premium, which still nets great deals for about $4 per month. Or, start with the free version and upgrade if you like what you see.

Elite service (per year) (small)
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