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USA to Austrailia Business or First with points

USA to Austrailia Business or First with points

Old Sep 20, 19, 10:37 pm
  #1  
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USA to Austrailia Business or First with points

Ok so I have a couple million points with amex and a couple million citi thank you points, last year was my first time really using points to book international travel and I was able to book my brother a business class ticket on virgin from Lax to Syd after transferring points to delta and booking through them. Ended up getting the ticket for 100,000 points one way and there seemed to be plenty of availability. This year my parents are wanting to go to Australia mid November for a couple weeks and I am having a hard time finding much outside of delta one at 465,000 points one way per ticket. They can fly out of LAX so just wondering if there are any tricks here or with it being short notice is it going to be near impossible to find anything? Would it be worth spending the $10 a month for expertflyer to help assist in the search?
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Old Sep 20, 19, 11:01 pm
  #2  
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Welcome to FT! Yes, a subscription to EF is always useful. I suspect you’ve already checked availability on all the Amex Citi transfer partners, so there is no magic we can bestow on you. The trouble is that you’re looking to book close in on a popular and busy route. You may have to bite the bullet. A further option, though this comes with complications of its own, is to book a trip in segments, via Japan or China for example, where you might find more availability.
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Old Sep 20, 19, 11:45 pm
  #3  
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Originally Posted by LondonElite View Post
Welcome to FT! Yes, a subscription to EF is always useful. I suspect you’ve already checked availability on all the Amex Citi transfer partners, so there is no magic we can bestow on you. The trouble is that you’re looking to book close in on a popular and busy route. You may have to bite the bullet. A further option, though this comes with complications of its own, is to book a trip in segments, via Japan or China for example, where you might find more availability.

I’ve checked Alaska, delta, Asia miles, I think JAL works but you have to call I believe is what I read, seems like there’s a lot of different ways to check so maybe expert flyer would be the way to go, I feel like I could spend days researching different ways to book tickets and still come up with nothing.
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Old Sep 21, 19, 12:47 am
  #4  
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You can set up alerts on EF, but I suggest that you proactively look at indirect routes as well. For example, see if you can get SYD/MEL from HKG/SIN/HND/NRT. The see if you can get yourself there. There are many different combinations, so it's either an investment in time or you pay an award finder service to do it for you.
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Old Sep 21, 19, 12:28 pm
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Originally Posted by LondonElite View Post
You can set up alerts on EF, but I suggest that you proactively look at indirect routes as well. For example, see if you can get SYD/MEL from HKG/SIN/HND/NRT. The see if you can get yourself there. There are many different combinations, so it's either an investment in time or you pay an award finder service to do it for you.
I'm actually looking to book something similar in December 2020 (can't book yet but researching options). I have enough AA miles for one direction in business class on an anytime redemption, but not enough for a round trip unless Saver fares appear. I think the same goes for my mom and dad. I also have UR points, and my dad has MR points (both into the six figures). I assume you can't use AA miles to upgrade on Qantas, even if you book through AA.

I'm intrigued by these award finder services. Is there any one in particular that is reputable?
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Old Sep 21, 19, 1:16 pm
  #6  
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Mxflyer Welcome to FT

Originally Posted by Mxflyer View Post
Ok so I have a couple million points with amex and a couple million citi thank you points, last year was my first time really using points to book international travel and I was able to book my brother a business class ticket on virgin from Lax to Syd after transferring points to delta and booking through them. Ended up getting the ticket for 100,000 points one way and there seemed to be plenty of availability. This year my parents are wanting to go to Australia mid November for a couple weeks and I am having a hard time finding much outside of delta one at 465,000 points one way per ticket. They can fly out of LAX so just wondering if there are any tricks here or with it being short notice is it going to be near impossible to find anything? Would it be worth spending the $10 a month for expertflyer to help assist in the search?
Originally Posted by MASTERNC View Post
I'm actually looking to book something similar in December 2020 (can't book yet but researching options). I have enough AA miles for one direction in business class on an anytime redemption, but not enough for a round trip unless Saver fares appear. I think the same goes for my mom and dad. I also have UR points, and my dad has MR points (both into the six figures). I assume you can't use AA miles to upgrade on Qantas, even if you book through AA.

I'm intrigued by these award finder services. Is there any one in particular that is reputable?
Many threads on this topic.
USA <---->Australia business class awards are one of the hardest to get. An award in ~6 to 8 weeks time (short notice) even harder. 2 people on the same flight harder again.
Hard but may not be impossible. At times availability can increase close in.
What ffp's are you currently a signed up member of?

If you look only at LAX SYD you are restricting your options a lot, and then some. Look at SFO, IAH & DFW and BNE MEL. BNE can have better availability than other airports. Domestic USA & Australia flights as needed

Via Asia is the other option, but would be 2 awards. BKK, HKG, TPE, SIN, NRT, HND and others. Due to political unrest some HKG flights have low loads

They do not need to fly the same airline/ffp/routes/airports out & back. Look for one ways.

AA ff miles cannot be used to upgrade QF flights. Anyway upgrades, with any airline on the USA Aust routes are hard.

Airlines that fly USA/Canada to/from Australia
  • Air Canada AC (YVR – SYD BNE MEL) [Star Alliance]
  • Air New Zealand NZ (LAX SFO ORD IAH YVR via AKL) [Star Alliance]
  • Air Tahiti Nui TN (LAX – via Tahiti & AKL. Last segments on QF codeshares) (AA & DL partner)
  • American Airlines AA (LAX - SYD) [OneWorld Alliance] (AS partner)
  • Delta DL (LAX – SYD) (VA partner) [Skyteam Alliance]
  • Fiji Airways FJ (LAX SFO HNL – BNE SYD MEL via Fiji) (QF, AA & AS partner) [NAN-ADL ceased 20 July 2019]
  • Hawaiian HA (HNL – BNE SYD) (AA & VA partner)
  • Jetstar JQ (HNL – BNE SYD MEL)
  • Qantas QF (LAX SFO JFK(via LAX) DFW HNL YVR* – SYD; LAX, SFO*, ORD* - BNE; LAX SFO - MEL) [OneWorld Alliance] (AS partner) {* seasonal}{*BNE ORD from 20 April, 2020, *BNE SFO from 5 Feb 2020}
  • United UA (LAX - MEL, LAX SFO IAH – SYD) (SFO - MEL from 20 Oct 2019)[Star Alliance].Reduced service IAH-SYD & LAX-SYD March 29 through October 25
  • Virgin Australia VA (LAX – BNE SYD MEL) (codeshares with AC*) (DL & AC* partner) [*= some routes in 2017-18 link]
  • and others via Asia & Middle East

AA & UA also fly LAX-AKL. Then a 3:30hr flight across to Aust.
Via Fiji or on TN can work

AA forum
Consider these Award booking services - a list and some reviews

Credit card transfer links
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Last edited by Mwenenzi; Oct 11, 19 at 12:52 pm Reason: Add cc links. Changed ff partners
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Old Sep 21, 19, 1:30 pm
  #7  
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Originally Posted by Mxflyer View Post
Ok so I have a couple million points with amex and a couple million citi thank you points, last year was my first time really using points to book international travel and I was able to book my brother a business class ticket on virgin from Lax to Syd after transferring points to delta and booking through them. Ended up getting the ticket for 100,000 points one way and there seemed to be plenty of availability. This year my parents are wanting to go to Australia mid November for a couple weeks and I am having a hard time finding much outside of delta one at 465,000 points one way per ticket. They can fly out of LAX so just wondering if there are any tricks here or with it being short notice is it going to be near impossible to find anything? Would it be worth spending the $10 a month for expertflyer to help assist in the search?
If you can find DL award availability on VA operated flights, this will cost a lot fewer DL miles. The Virgins (VA and VS, Australia and Atlantic) are bilateral partners with DL but not yet SkyTeam members.

You can also explore going through Asia or Europe, but DL will charge such routings as two award tickets (in each direction). Options with DL miles would include KE through ICN and MU through PEK/PVG, VS through LHR, AF/KLM through CDG/AMS, etc. It might also make sense to get close to Australia and purchase tickets for example from SIN or BKK; this could work well if the passengers want to go to Perth or in fact anywhere other than Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne (cities with nonstop service from LAX).

Remember that mid-late November begins high season for travel to Australia. Hotels will be very full/expensive too, especially in Sydney.
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Old Sep 24, 19, 10:04 am
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Mwenenzi is spot on. I’ve found sets of Business awards for two, and they’ve generally, not always been via Brisbane / BNE. Once via MEL, once via AKL. More recently, I’ve seen some reports of awards using Fiji Airways. But November is not far away, and airlines begin releasing award seats 330 or even 360 days out.
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Old Sep 24, 19, 11:32 am
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We've used one of the "Awards Booking Services" mentioned above:

"Consider these Award booking services - a list and some reviews "

Yes, there is a charge, but for the ease and comfort of getting ultra-long-haul F or J seats, it's well worth it for us.

In fact, our best "get" thus far was just now, about 2 weeks ago, to get two tickets (together all the way) from the USA to AKL, and then back from SYD, and with about 10 weeks to go.
We even had a choice for the routing/carriers. (There was one choice offered that had *terrific* F seats, but it connected someplace we don't want to go for personal reasons.)
It definitely helps if one can be flexible on the travel dates by a day or two, which we almost always are.

The first time I tried to book F long-haul myself, I almost immediately got 2 JL F seats from USA East Coast to Tokyo. "Easy!", thought I.
Ha!
I could not find anything reasonable to get us home from Hong Kong.
We ended up flying home on CX F, our best flight ever, to date
Since then, we've had quite a few trips, some coordinating with cruises (so a bit less flexibility), and some just for land trips.

There are a variety of services listed, and some reviews (including ours).

GC
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Old Oct 3, 19, 9:52 am
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I presume you have some premium credit cards? Just redeem points for cash towards ticket, and find a ticket that is on sale?
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Old Oct 6, 19, 9:30 am
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Don't limit to DL.

You can transfer AMEX to Aeroplan which gives you access to *A.

You can check the UA website for free to check award availability on either UA or AC (with connection up to YVR).

Check BNE, MEL, and SYD and then add VA/QF flights if needed.

You could also do Asia Miles and CX but don't know the program well plus the present risks that exist with HKG (not a political statement just acknowledgement of potential disruption)
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Old Oct 7, 19, 7:50 am
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Just pieced together a last min award trip to Australia, ended up booking BUR-SFO-AKL-BNE using United miles. Could have been done on another A* award partner too. You might have to get creative. VS availability on DL miles is slowly fading, in my experience.
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Old Oct 11, 19, 12:11 pm
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If it is between AA/Qantas one direction and Delta/Virgin Australia the other direction, which of each pair is better based on those who have flown business? I see an offer for points at Virgin Atlantic through a credit card sign-up that I can pool with Chase UR points to use on a SkyTeam partner.
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Old Oct 11, 19, 12:39 pm
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Originally Posted by MASTERNC View Post
If it is between AA/Qantas one direction and Delta/Virgin Australia the other direction, which of each pair is better based on those who have flown business? I see an offer for points at Virgin Atlantic through a credit card sign-up that I can pool with Chase UR points to use on a SkyTeam partner.
Better as to which has better quality aircraft/seats/meals/drinks/crew/schedule? Or award availability?
With business class awards USA<--->Australia you take what you find on any airline/aircraft/ffp/routes/date when you find it. Do not wait to tomorrow so see if something better shows up. Beggars can't be choosers.

Virgin Australia VA is not in Skyteam, but is a ff partner of Delta DL, Virgin Atlantic VS and other airlines

Flights to SYD from USA - Best Airlines
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Last edited by Mwenenzi; Oct 11, 19 at 1:31 pm
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Old Oct 11, 19, 1:45 pm
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OP has not been back for three weeks. Probably fair to close this down.
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