Poll: Which Option Would You Choose — Economy Class With Cash or Premium Class?

I asked five days ago whether or not these nine perks of premium cabin travel were worth the extra frequent flier loyalty program miles — or the extra money, for that matter — but from a different perspective, FlyerTalk member baccarat_king posted an interesting question earlier today about whether you would choose to travel as a passenger in economy class with cash or premium class:

I always ponder (I’m a small business guy, everything on my dime including all my travel); if your company gave the options :

(a) they pay $6400 business class ticket
(b) they pay $2000 economy ticket, and give your $1500 “cash.”

Which would you take?

I would not even think about it, as I would choose option…

…no. I will not reveal it right now — although you could probably guess which option I would choose.

Rather, I would like to know which option you would choose. Please participate in the poll shown below; as well as post your thoughts in the Comments section as to which option you chose and why.

Which Travel Option Would You Choose?
  • 27.78% - ( 25 votes )
  • 71.11% - ( 64 votes )
  • 1.11% - ( 1 vote )

Although baccarat_king posted that “I just can’t fathom spending (mine or my companies) money when the Delta One fare is north of $5000”, the typical mindset of some managers or business owners is that if the employee or contractor is willing to fly as a passenger in the economy class cabin on a long-haul flight, why pay them extra to do it?

By the way, TravelZork is a weblog written from the perspective of a person residing in The Netherlands as an elite level Medallion member of the Delta Air Lines SkyMiles frequent flyer loyalty program; and he is very passionate about casino loyalty programs, as well as the history of Atlantic City and baccarat in the United States — and baccarat_king writes articles for that weblog.

11 thoughts on “Poll: Which Option Would You Choose — Economy Class With Cash or Premium Class?”

  1. Becky says:

    As an employee, I would expect to be compensated in some way for the travel time outside of normal working hours and the discomfort/inconvenience involved. Many jobs roll this into a given salary, which is fine IMO, but if I had signed up for a job that involved a fair amount of travel with an expected level of comfort/rest (i.e. policy for business class) and then it was downgraded, I’d expect for it to be made up for in other ways. Is $1500 the magic number? I don’t know, but I think some level is reasonable even if an employee is, in theory, willing to fly economy.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      …and there are employers who not only do not compensate you for travel time in economy class outside of normal working hours, Becky; but they will not even allow you to keep the frequent travel loyalty program miles and points you earned.

      That scenario would certainly be well below my “magic number”…

  2. DaninMCI says:

    Fun poll but the question isn’t that straight forward for me. For example would I rather sit in economy from JFK-CDG if I got the money but if I had to sit in economy DFW-HKG I’d rather have the better seat. I guess everyone has limits. There could also be differences in your miles earned rate on extreme long hauls versus shorter long hauls.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I agree, DaninMCI.

      I did not want to be too specific with the poll question — and in fact, use the one posted by baccarat_king — because of the plethora of factors subjective to the decision each person would choose.

  3. andy says:

    Not enough info for me to answer.

    How long is the flight, and is it on an airline with which I have upgrade options on the flight?

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Those are good questions, andy.

      I purposely left the question ambiguous so that those who participate can interpret the thresholds for themselves…

  4. Andrew G says:

    Yeah, for me it would probably depend on the length of the flight. Short hop across the pond to London? Sure, give me economy and the cash. Sending me to Hong Kong or India? Eh… I am probably going to want a lie-flat seat for that.

  5. Graydon says:

    Company pays $6,400 is my choice but that’s because (in real life) it’s my company and that’s how I travel for business. In fact that’s how my employees travel as well but my industry might fall outside the “normal” business travel procedures because of the industry in which we work.

    For clarification is the $1,500 cash actually cash in an envelope that will never be counted as income (how does the company legally do this unless you are a drug mule or something) or is that pre tax and you (the employee) are reporting it as income on a 1099 form and paying all of the appropriate taxes?

    Also where can I get a job that will pay me $1,500 cash plus regular wages for economy not business class travel? Can I make 5 trips a week? How about 3 trips a week as I could use the extra $216,000 non taxed income (based on 3 trips 48 weeks).

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      That is a good question, Graydon — especially for those who prefer the cash option: would their choice change if the money was considered income? I do not know the answer.

      I beleive the point baccarat_king was attempting to make is that the $6,400.00 business class ticket — on which the employee would not have to pay any taxes — would cost the company more money than the $3,500.00 cited in the example in the article; so I would have to assume that the money would be cash in an envelope.

      The last paragraph of your comment illustrates why such deals are rare in the first place: there is always someone who will unreasonably exploit them and ruin it for everyone else.

  6. David says:

    Cash. Buy an upgrade to a preferred seat, write that off as a business expense and enjoy the rest of the money.

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