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Advice...Australia/NZ next year

Advice...Australia/NZ next year

Old Jul 20, 13, 5:53 pm
  #1  
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Advice...Australia/NZ next year

I am a long time reader and lurker, but this is my first post. There is always good advice on here.

I am looking at going to Australia or NZ next year or possibly both (probably October or November). I am very flexible.

I have the following miles accounts

UA 160K+
US 135K+
AA 134K
Chase UR 125K

I want to go in at least business and possibly first class. I will make sure I have whatever miles I need by then, if I am currently short.

My first guess was to go in Qantas First, as I heard that was nice, but reading some things makes it sound like that is impossible.

So, my questions are

1. Is Qantas First impossible to get?
2. Is Air NZ much better/easier?
3. Any other ideas suggestions?

I am willing to be creative without it costing me 3x as many miles.

Thanks.
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Old Jul 20, 13, 6:50 pm
  #2  
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Welcome to the forum

You do not give you location, but assume USA (after all this is world wide web). Do you have experience with first & business class aircraft as flown by non USA airlines and/or long haul international routes? I have met people who expect first in EK, QF, BA, SQ etc to be like a USA domestic first class.

Not many airlines USA to Aust/NZ:- Qantas, UA, Delta, Virgin Australia, Hawaiian & Air NZ
And others via Asia or the south pacific
US is merging with AA some time in the future, so will have only AA miles (QF partner)
Start by looking at each freq flyer programe to see how many miles, and cash if applicable, each would charge.

Last edited by Mwenenzi; Jul 20, 13 at 8:16 pm Reason: spelling
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Old Jul 20, 13, 8:18 pm
  #3  
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Yes, I'm in the USA. I am on the east coast, but have no problem going from LAX or SFO. Sorry for not being more specific.

I have never flown internation first/business but I know its much better than US domestic first!

I have flown several international long haul flights in coach and would rather not do that again! :-)
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Old Jul 20, 13, 9:07 pm
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WXYankee1, I'm looking for the same info. I have read that one can get a business class seat on AA for 145 K miles. Once US links up with AA you'll have more than enough miles.

Welcome to FT.
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Old Jul 20, 13, 9:38 pm
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Be flexible with dates and places of departure - destination.
Be aware SYD in not the only international airport in Australia.
Qantas (QF) flys from LAX, JFK & DFW and to BNE, MEL & SYD.
UA flys from SFO & LAX and to MEL & SYD
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Old Jul 20, 13, 10:00 pm
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Originally Posted by Open Jaw View Post
I have read that one can get a business class seat on AA for 145 K miles.
U.S. to Australia? AA only charges 125K for a RT on Qantas in business.It can also be booked one way for half that price. See their award chart:
http://www.aa.com/i18n/disclaimers/a...rtnerChart.jsp

I have photos from a number of Qantas flights, including LAX-SYD two months back, here:
http://tom911.smugmug.com/AirlinesIf...9038&k=WmdX9G8
On my last trip I came home via Kong Kong in Cathay Pacific first class.

One of the best values AA has is award travel within Australia, or between Australia and New Zealand, at 10K in coach. Makes it easy to pop all over the place.

Another option to look at is a One World Explorer award which is mileage based and requires two AA partners:
http://www.aa.com/i18n/disclaimers/oneworld_awards.jsp

Qantas business class seat on 747 upper deck:
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Old Jul 20, 13, 11:27 pm
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Tom,

The 145K was for the dates I selected.

Thanks for the info about the 10k rewards within Australia or to NZ.

Will I have to call in order to book any 10k reward within AU or to NZ?
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Old Jul 20, 13, 11:49 pm
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Originally Posted by Open Jaw View Post
The 145K was for the dates I selected.
Maybe you were looking at first class as that would be 145K U.S.-Australia.

Will I have to call in order to book any 10k reward within AU or to NZ?
You can book those on the AA web site. Qantas is one of the partners where you can check availability on line.
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Old Jul 20, 13, 11:55 pm
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Whoops too late...No phone call should be necessary. Use AA dot com say MEL-PER and it should be bookable for AA miles.If you consider CX or MH then a call would be needed.
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Old Jul 21, 13, 12:27 am
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Depending upon where in Australia you will be and whether you'll be in a rural versus urban area, you might want to reconsider the timing of your visit. During your proposed time frame you might encounter the national nuisance, the Australian bush fly.

http://www.viacorp.com/flybook/fulltext.html
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Old Jul 21, 13, 4:43 am
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Flights on NZ can be hard-ish to find. NZ simply doesn't release many so you've got to pay attention.

QF releases them all the time, but you have to be quick and, if you want to get to NZ on QF, the routings can look a bit weirder than they really need to be. If you're looking for specific dates and/or destination combos then you need to pay even more attention. I recently booked LAX-AKL in first on QF. It has me flying LAX-SYD-BNE-AKL and it took almost 6 weeks of watching before something came up. Which is annoying. First came up faster and more often than business during that time.

As as aside, if you are going to NZ on QF, it doesn't hurt to check some of the regional destinations that do have intl flights & may not occur to you. I wanted LAX-SYD-CHC, but nothing was coming up for weeks searching across that and the various combos involving DFW, MEL, BNE, WLG, & AKL. However, searching LAX-ZQN (which it posted via both SYD & MEL) actually brought up results in both business & first. (You don't get to fly first into NZ, but you can book it )

The AA 10k awards between Aus & NZ are good value. Within NZ, however, they're terrible value. JetStar will do AKL-CHC for NZ$60 if you book at the right time. On the competitive routes the airlines really do compete.

Last edited by SeriouslyLost; Jul 21, 13 at 4:52 am
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Old Jul 21, 13, 6:48 am
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I got my sister from PHL to CSN via HNL and GUM.
A $100 flight to SYD and she goes home from there.
All UA metal, but only about 130,000 miles or 120,000? for Biz)

Flying AC or NH are also options depending on where you want to go.

MEL and SYD are the main bases in Oz.

Domestic flights can be dirt cheap $200 PER-CNS on Jetstar.
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Old Jul 21, 13, 9:41 am
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AA Explorer award could work via HKG (on CX/QF) ... You may find a direct seat on QF in F/J but that would probably require somebody else cancelling at this point. It probably will happen, but watching all the flights like a hawk sounds miserable.

UA also allows routing through Asia (AA doesn't and would require Explorer)...
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Old Jul 21, 13, 2:53 pm
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FWIW....honestly, i would go business class rather than first class. you'll have a bunch of miles left over and business in Q is pretty sweet. yes, fc is even sweeter, but for me, its not worth the extra miles. in business class you'll have your own "pod", a large TV, a lay flat bed and great food. i'd save the miles and use them to fly around AU or NZ. but, if you want to try the luxury of first class long haul once, go for it. the seats will be much harder to come by, but if you plan far enough in advance you might be able to snag one.

depending upon how much time you have...take a look at cathay awards routing through HKG. it adds some extra hours to the overall flight, but in business class you won't really care. the advantage to going through HKG is that you can do a stopover there for weeks/months and for very reasonable fares visit places like southeast asiacambodia, vietname, etc., taiwan, philippines, japan, korea, india, etc.

if you don't have the time or interest and are only targeting AU/NZ. look for a qantas flight to SYD with a stopover in AKL. you fly LAX to AKL, do your NZ travels, then continue on to SYD, "do" AU, then fly SYD to LAX.
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Old Jul 21, 13, 5:34 pm
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Originally Posted by northtoalaska View Post
... look for a qantas flight to SYD with a stopover in AKL. you fly LAX to AKL, do your NZ travels, then continue on to SYD, "do" AU, then fly SYD to LAX.
Qantas stopped the LAX-AKL-MEL flight as some time ago. Was QF25 QF26

Last edited by Mwenenzi; Jul 22, 13 at 5:25 pm
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