UA vs. QF to Australia biz class?

Old Jun 24, 19, 9:10 am
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UA vs. QF to Australia biz class?

This may be a no-brainer, but what would you choose for a mileage award in business from PDX to MEL. Both are available right now:

- PDX-SFO-SYD-MEL with SFO-SYD on a QF 747-4 *for 80,000 AA miles*
or
- PDX-SFO-MEL on UA with SFO-MEL on a 787-9 *for 200,000 UA miles* (what is available now)

Considerations:
- I get that QF service will be way better than UA, but unsure about older biz seat style on QF 747s especially for 14-15 hours... The seats / comfort are my primary concern, in relation to saving the large number of UA miles...
- No AA or One World status (in case of irrops)
- That will nearly deplete my AA balance since I rarely fly them or their partners anymore; I have tons of UA miles
- Extra segment through SYD on QF

Thanks!
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Old Jun 24, 19, 9:24 am
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LAX to MEL in Business Class - UA vs. Qantas?
SFO -> SYD: UA vs. Qantas vs. Air New Zealand?
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Old Jun 24, 19, 9:33 am
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Thank you, I am aware of the search function and have used. These threads are 3+ and 5+ years old, so hoping for updated / current info and opinions.

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Old Jun 24, 19, 9:58 am
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Contrary to the some of the UA hate in those threads, all else equal I would probably prefer UA on a nonstop. However, I can't imagine anything that would make it worth the extra miles unless you for some reason really, really need the OW miles stashed for something. 200k is pretty outrageous for an award - just go with QF unless UA drops to 80k.
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Old Jun 24, 19, 11:11 am
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QF is retiring the 744s, which are increasingly disappearing from passenger service. Personally, I would go for the chance to fly the Queen one more time. Especially for only 40% of the cost of the UA flight.
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Old Jun 24, 19, 11:50 am
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
QF is retiring the 744s, which are increasingly disappearing from passenger service. Personally, I would go for the chance to fly the Queen one more time. Especially for only 40% of the cost of the UA flight.
Thanks. That is a consideration, too. One of the last chances to fly upstairs on a 747 - hopefully it's still being reliable later in the year when this would be.

Originally Posted by findark View Post
Contrary to the some of the UA hate in those threads, all else equal I would probably prefer UA on a nonstop. However, I can't imagine anything that would make it worth the extra miles unless you for some reason really, really need the OW miles stashed for something. 200k is pretty outrageous for an award - just go with QF unless UA drops to 80k.
Yup, can't imagine it being worth the 120K difference, but asking the Hive Mind as a point of reference if anyone says "No, those QF 747 seats are awful for 15 hours".
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Old Jun 24, 19, 11:57 am
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Iíve flown both QF and UA between the US and Oz. The service on either is comparable to be honest. But like the other poster said, Iíd go for the lower points total and use up your AA miles unless you have some other reason to hang onto them. One other note if you arenít already aware: connecting international to domestic for your SYD-MEL flight is NOT a quick affair. You have to go to the domestic airport terminal, which is a couple of miles away and involves either a shuttle bus or taking the train. It will be fine if you have enough time - bare minimum is two hours, I recommend 2.5-3.
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Old Jun 24, 19, 12:15 pm
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Thank you, greatly appreciate the Pro Tip. I've flown to SYD twice but never connected before.

Originally Posted by Boofer View Post
I’ve flown both QF and UA between the US and Oz. The service on either is comparable to be honest. But like the other poster said, I’d go for the lower points total and use up your AA miles unless you have some other reason to hang onto them. One other note if you aren’t already aware: connecting international to domestic for your SYD-MEL flight is NOT a quick affair. You have to go to the domestic airport terminal, which is a couple of miles away and involves either a shuttle bus or taking the train. It will be fine if you have enough time - bare minimum is two hours, I recommend 2.5-3.
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Old Jun 24, 19, 12:17 pm
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Originally Posted by u2vox View Post
Thanks. That is a consideration, too. One of the last chances to fly upstairs on a 747 - hopefully it's still being reliable later in the year when this would be.
I'm impressed UD is an option, but seems to be the case. QF is one of the most zealous carriers in the world about blocking premium seats for their own elites, but it seems only half the UD is blocked these days.

Originally Posted by Boofer View Post
One other note if you aren’t already aware: connecting international to domestic for your SYD-MEL flight is NOT a quick affair. You have to go to the domestic airport terminal, which is a couple of miles away and involves either a shuttle bus or taking the train. It will be fine if you have enough time - bare minimum is two hours, I recommend 2.5-3.
It's not, but SYD-MEL is a short flight served something like 42x daily by QF so I would happily book the shortest legal connection and get rebooked if it misses. Last time I did an I/D connection it was about 40 minutes from the door opening to me being airside in the domestic terminal, so it's not that bad if things are running smoothly. Looks like MCT is 1h30.

I would be more cautious in the other direction since missing a TPAC is a huge deal.
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Old Jun 24, 19, 12:29 pm
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Originally Posted by findark View Post
I would be more cautious in the other direction since missing a TPAC is a huge deal.
Preach.
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Old Jun 24, 19, 9:38 pm
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It's been a long time for me since I've flown QF, but do their 747's have lie-flats in business? If so, I'd take Qantas for the points savings; if not, I'd have to think about it. First world problem.
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Old Jun 24, 19, 11:01 pm
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Originally Posted by Boofer View Post
One other note if you aren’t already aware: connecting international to domestic for your SYD-MEL flight is NOT a quick affair. You have to go to the domestic airport terminal, which is a couple of miles away and involves either a shuttle bus or taking the train. It will be fine if you have enough time - bare minimum is two hours, I recommend 2.5-3.
Whilst I agree it's not as quick it could be, it is a fairly smooth process when connecting form/to Qantas. After going through immigration/bag collection/customs, you walk to the Qantas transfer area, drop your (already tagged) bag, and go through security. (Sounds just like most US airports, right?) However then you need to catch a shuttle bus to the domestic terminal. The bus runs and arrives air-side (as you've already cleared security), and at that time of the morning they run about every 10 minutes. So all up it adds maybe 20-30 mins over what you'd expect at most US airport for a similar connection. However much of that is saved in the time to re-clear security, which for Australian domestic flights is generally very fast (no ID checks, no body scanners, etc)

QF flies SYD-MEL every 15 or 30 minutes at that time of the day (it's the second busiest airline route in the world!) and they will happily move you to a later flight if you're delayed. I'd have no issues booking a 90 minute connection, however I would recommend longer for a very different reason - it'll give a change to spend some time in the business class lounge in SYD domestic (yes, they have showers).

But as for the "which airline" question, that's a no brainer. QF over UA given the difference in points - even with the extra stop. Although you will miss out on the Polaris lounge...
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Old Jun 24, 19, 11:10 pm
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I thought QF was switching this flight to the 787 (at least a few days a week).

Would take the lower mileage and unless your trip is in the next few weeks expect it may end up becoming a 787 instead of 747 (especially if booking is for 2020).

Also +1 on the domestic SYD transfer sucks -- operationally it's pretty seamless (follow signs after customs, get on bus, arrive at domestic) but it's a huge PITA and the domestic terminal is bleak (at least for VA which is what I'm usually flying these days if down there due to DL partnersip)
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Old Jun 24, 19, 11:17 pm
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Originally Posted by u2vox View Post
Thank you, greatly appreciate the Pro Tip. I've flown to SYD twice but never connected before.
Originally Posted by docbert View Post
Whilst I agree it's not as quick it could be, it is a fairly smooth process when connecting form/to Qantas. After going through immigration/bag collection/customs, you walk to the Qantas transfer area, drop your (already tagged) bag, and go through security. (Sounds just like most US airports, right?) However then you need to catch a shuttle bus to the domestic terminal. The bus runs and arrives air-side (as you've already cleared security), and at that time of the morning they run about every 10 minutes. So all up it adds maybe 20-30 mins over what you'd expect at most US airport for a similar connection. However much of that is saved in the time to re-clear security, which for Australian domestic flights is generally very fast (no ID checks, no body scanners, etc)

QF flies SYD-MEL every 15 or 30 minutes at that time of the day (it's the second busiest airline route in the world!) and they will happily move you to a later flight if you're delayed. I'd have no issues booking a 90 minute connection, however I would recommend longer for a very different reason - it'll give a change to spend some time in the business class lounge in SYD domestic (yes, they have showers).

But as for the "which airline" question, that's a no brainer. QF over UA given the difference in points - even with the extra stop. Although you will miss out on the Polaris lounge...
Link--->Airport info SYDNEY (SYD) - amenities, transfers, transport Click to open the wiki

With AA ffp if an award SFO-MEL (or LAX-MEL) becomes available my understanding is you can change route for no fee. Better to avoid SYD if you can.
Note that AA has a problem with phantom availability on QF. So what you see may not exist.

For the miles difference I would go with AA. If not make sure your AA ff miles do not expire from non activity.
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Old Jun 24, 19, 11:23 pm
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Originally Posted by u2vox View Post
This may be a no-brainer, but what would you choose for a mileage award in business from PDX to MEL. Both are available right now:

- PDX-SFO-SYD-MEL with SFO-SYD on a QF 747-4 *for 80,000 AA miles*
or
- PDX-SFO-MEL on UA with SFO-MEL on a 787-9 *for 200,000 UA miles* (what is available now)
Have you looked at the nonstop SFO-MEL on Qantas? It operates 4 days a week so maybe just a matter of flexing your travel dates.

The 747-400 on SFO-SYD will only be there through the first week of December before transitioning to a 787.

Here's a photo of a Qantas 747 business class seat from a year ago that I consider the best seat in the cabin:



I have more Qantas photos HERE.

Last edited by tom911; Jun 24, 19 at 11:38 pm Reason: added link
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