Business saver awards to Australia/New Zealand

Old Aug 18, 19, 7:16 am
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Business saver awards to Australia/New Zealand

I would like to know the availability of good business saver award tickets for flights from Chicago (ORD) to New Zealand or Australia, preferably non-stop, during the first quarter of 2019 (Planning for a week trip and pretty flexible from January to late April 2020. Those destinations have been on my radar for a while and I couldn't easily find business saver award tickets though I have heard a lot that many had those nice trips.

I have over 300K ultimate rewards points and over 50K points in my United account.

PS: If neither Australia/NZ is available on business saver awards, I am open for suggestions to Africa/Europe destinations as well.
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Old Aug 18, 19, 7:21 am
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There are no non-stops between ORD and Australia, and only one (ORD-AKL, on NZ) to New Zealand. My understanding is that NZ doesn't really release award space on its own metal, so you are most likely going to have to look at ORD-SFO-AKL, if you want to go to New Zealand, or ORD-IAH/LAX/SFO-SYD (for Sydney) or ORD-LAX/SFO-MEL (for Melbourne). Generally speaking, the further away from peak season you are, the better - I would think that you should find some availability if you check late April out.
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Old Aug 18, 19, 7:32 am
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Try looking IAH-SYD. When you find something change search to ORD-SYD. It may/may not come up. Might have to buy separate ORD-IAH seat. That is what I often have to do from EWR.

Use the same logic for other flights - check the non-stop first then try and add on the connection.
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Last edited by dogloverjb; Aug 18, 19 at 7:40 am Reason: adding info
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Old Aug 18, 19, 9:13 am
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Originally Posted by good_boy_1234 View Post
I would like to know the availability of good business saver award tickets for flights from Chicago (ORD) to New Zealand or Australia, preferably non-stop, during the first quarter of 2019 (Planning for a week trip and pretty flexible from January to late April 2020...
A few things to consider:
1- Jan, Feb is still high season for NZ so keep that in mind
2- If you're able to find business seats on Air NZ it'll most likely be close in ... 0-1.5 months out
3- UA awards go dynamic in Nov so expect to spend more miles beginning in Nov
4- If you only have a week I'd pick either NZ or UA

In June I booked an Mar/Apr 2020 award to Western Australia for a week+ and then back through NZ for another week+ before back tracking to SYD and then back to IAD via IAH. I was able to get IAH-SYD, SYD-IAH in Business.

During my search, I found the following long segments available in Business
Found the most hits
IAH-SYD, SYD-IAH
YVR-SYD, SYD-YVR

Some hits but fewer
LAX/SFO-SYD, SYD-LAX/SFO
ORD-HND-SYD, SYD-HND-ORD

Close in only
LAX/SFO-AKL, AKL-LAX/SFO

As doglover states ... search for one ways and stitch them together ... search for the long business segments first. Expect to be in coach for the first/last segments, UA opens up very few domestic Business awards. Be flexible.

Let us know what you find
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Old Aug 18, 19, 3:13 pm
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Originally Posted by PsiFighter37 View Post
There are no non-stops between ORD and Australia, and only one (ORD-AKL, on NZ) to New Zealand. My understanding is that NZ doesn't really release award space on its own metal, so you are most likely going to have to look at ORD-SFO-AKL, if you want to go to New Zealand, or ORD-IAH/LAX/SFO-SYD (for Sydney) or ORD-LAX/SFO-MEL (for Melbourne). Generally speaking, the further away from peak season you are, the better - I would think that you should find some availability if you check late April out.

​​​​Actually, there will supposedly be a direct flight between BNE and ORD starting Apr 2020. Not sure if this will help OP, but figured I'd mention it.
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Old Aug 18, 19, 3:58 pm
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Originally Posted by EtoileFilante View Post
​​​​Actually, there will supposedly be a direct flight between BNE and ORD starting Apr 2020. Not sure if this will help OP, but figured I'd mention it.
Where did you hear this? Will they also add a direct SFO-BNE?
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Old Aug 18, 19, 4:17 pm
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Originally Posted by unitedhandcuffs View Post
Where did you hear this? Will they also add a direct SFO-BNE?
Pretty sure that would be QF doing the route first, not UA.
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Old Aug 18, 19, 4:28 pm
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Originally Posted by PsiFighter37 View Post
Pretty sure that would be QF doing the route first, not UA.
Yes, and QF is notoriously tight with premium class award space.
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Old Aug 18, 19, 6:17 pm
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Originally Posted by EtoileFilante View Post
​​​​Actually, there will supposedly be a direct flight between BNE and ORD starting Apr 2020. Not sure if this will help OP, but figured I'd mention it.
Originally Posted by PsiFighter37 View Post

Pretty sure that would be QF doing the route first, not UA.
Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
Yes, and QF is notoriously tight with premium class award space.
And Air NZ is a lot less generous for long haul award availability than QF.
Premium awards USA<===>Au/NZ are hard to get
Keep looking and be very flexible with routes/dates/destination. No need to fly the same airport pairs both ways.

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 & AS 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


Airlines that fly USA/Canada to/from New Zealand are (not from all airports to all airports)
  • American Airlines AA (LAX - AKL) [Oneworld Alliance] (AS partner). Suspended April through October for 2018.
  • Air Canada AC (YVR – AKL)(seasonal from 12 Dec 2019 to end March 2020) [Star Alliance]
  • Air New Zealand NZ (LAX SFO ORD IAH YVR - AKL) [Star Alliance]
  • Air Tahiti Nui TN (LAX - AKL via Tahiti) (AA & DL partner)
  • Fiji Airways FJ (LAX SFO HNL - AKL WLG CHC via Fiji) (QF AA & AS partner)
  • Hawaiian HA (HNL - AKL)(AA & VA partner)
  • Qantas QF (LAX SFO DFW JFK HNL YVR* via SYD BNE & MEL) [Oneworld Alliance] (AS partner) {* seasonal}
  • United UA (SFO - AKL) [Star Alliance]
  • Virgin Australia VA (LAX via BNE, MEL & SYD) (DL partner)
  • And others via Australia, Asia & Middle East
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Old Aug 18, 19, 8:34 pm
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Thanks guys...found some nonstop from IAH to Syd...but was unable to find any non stop -business saver- for ORD or IAH to NZ!!!
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Old Aug 18, 19, 8:57 pm
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Originally Posted by good_boy_1234 View Post
Thanks guys...found some nonstop from IAH to Syd...but was unable to find any non stop -business saver- for ORD or IAH to NZ!!!
I'd check ex-YVR. UA is currently subject to the dynamic pricing; partners are not. Try to book partners only as long as you can until they start charging more for those too.

Chris
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Old Aug 19, 19, 2:41 am
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Originally Posted by good_boy_1234 View Post
Thanks guys...found some nonstop from IAH to Syd...but was unable to find any non stop -business saver- for ORD or IAH to NZ!!!
Ord or IAH to NZ:- That's on Air New Zealand, so situation normal.
Do not expect/hope that Air NZ will offer awards.
Extremely small chance they may offer a few days/weeks before, but unlikely.

If you can find an award to/from one country just buy a flight from one to the other.
The trans Tasman flights NZ<---> Aust are from/to many airports, by several airlines, take ~3:30hr.
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Old Aug 19, 19, 8:16 am
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NZ releases long-haul I space starting 90 days from departure, and usually only in the southern winter.
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Old Aug 19, 19, 2:37 pm
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Originally Posted by JayhawkCO View Post
I'd check ex-YVR. UA is currently subject to the dynamic pricing; partners are not. Try to book partners only as long as you can until they start charging more for those too.

Chris
I'd second this. I just booked three saver J awards on AC starting MEL-YVR-XXX for next summer, and there were routings through ORD with the YVR-ORD leg on both UA and AC metal. I like the AC 787-9 1-2-1 J cabin hard product far, far better than the UA 2-2-2 J cabin they have on the Australia 787 routes. Soft product is about the same as on UA.
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Old Oct 12, 19, 7:34 pm
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Originally Posted by good_boy_1234 View Post
I would like to know the availability of good business saver award tickets for flights from Chicago (ORD) to New Zealand or Australia, preferably non-stop, during the first quarter of 2019 (Planning for a week trip and pretty flexible from January to late April 2020. Those destinations have been on my radar for a while and I couldn't easily find business saver award tickets though I have heard a lot that many had those nice trips.

I have over 300K ultimate rewards points and over 50K points in my United account.

PS: If neither Australia/NZ is available on business saver awards, I am open for suggestions to Africa/Europe destinations as well.
I just got a biz saver award one way from EWR to AKL Feb 23rd 2020 for 80,000 united miles (which is all I have) - economy from EWR to SFO and business class from SFO to AKL. I don't know anything about miles or what they may or may not be worth but it seemed like a good deal so i snagged it. I could never afford to buy a business class ticket to NZ. I'm currently online buying a one way back from AKL to the US via Air NZ website and will upgrade to skycouch hopefully for about $1,400.
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