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Here's why Saturday is my favorite day to fly

Jan. 08, 2022
3 min read
Here's why Saturday is my favorite day to fly
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I love flying on Saturdays.

The airports tend to be mellow and there are often fewer lines, especially in the late afternoon and evening. Restaurants and lounges are less crowded, and honestly, a lot of staff members just seem to be in a happier, more relaxed mood. One Saturday last month, a shuttle bus driver on the verge of retirement told us all her life story. It was delightful!

As a Houston-based United Premier 1K traveler, upgrades are an important perk to me. And my batting average on Saturday has not disappointed.

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For instance, I’ve flown on a Saturday from Houston (IAH) to New York (LGA) to visit my family a few times in 2021. I have been upgraded every time. It’s a different story on the return flight, often on a Monday: Just a single flight has been upgraded.

When my girlfriend, a lowly Premier Silver, flew solo from Houston to New York on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, even she got upgraded.

Saturday is not an important day for business travelers. While they might go through TSA checkpoints and board aircraft more efficiently, they also compete for upgrades.

Upgrades seem more abundant on Saturdays, when there are fewer business travelers. (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

Business travelers, of course, are the final, missing piece of the equation for airlines to return to profitability.

More: Southwest wants business travelers and will double down on them as it recovers from the pandemic

So far in the fourth quarter of 2021, Saturday volume at TSA checkpoints is about 10% below the average volume. Sure, it’s not as low as Tuesday volume, which is about 15% below the fourth-quarter average, but business travelers fly on Tuesdays. (For the fourth quarter of 2021, Wednesday’s screening average — another quiet day — was about the same as Saturday.)

Of course, there is a bit of a downside to traveling on Saturday: fewer choices. In December, the three largest U.S. airlines (American, United and Delta) combined have 49,574 flights scheduled on Saturdays, according to Cirium schedule data. By comparison, they have 72,584 flights scheduled on the busiest day of the week this month, Thursday.

But to me, it’s a small price to pay. For better upgrade odds, mellower airports and more cheerful staff members, try flying on Saturday the next time you have the flexibility to.

Featured image by Boston Globe via Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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1 - 3X points
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Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases