MileValue is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as CreditCards.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Note: Some of the offers mentioned below may have changed or are no longer be available. You can view current offers here.


United flies from Los Angeles to Melbourne directly with its newest plane the 787-9 Dreamliner.

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 10.10.48 PM
15 hours 45 minutes

Award space on United’s Dreamliners in Business Class has been abysmal, but I wanted to check in and see if anything was different on this route.

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 9.50.27 PM
We want to get into these flat beds up front

The good news is that there is award space on the route in both directions for two people in Business Class.

  • What is the award space picture? 
  • How many miles does the flight to Australia cost?

Award Price

United charges:

  • 40,000 each way in economy between the United States and Australia
  • 70,000 each way in BusinessFirst Class on its own flights between the United States and Australia
  • United’s Dreamliners do not have Global First Class

Award Space

Here are the award calendars for the next 11 months for the Los Angeles to Melbourne direct flight for one passenger:

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 9.51.26 PM
yellow = economy space, blue = Business space, green = space in both cabins

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 9.51.43 PMScreen Shot 2014-11-13 at 9.51.58 PMScreen Shot 2014-11-13 at 9.52.11 PMScreen Shot 2014-11-13 at 9.52.23 PMScreen Shot 2014-11-13 at 9.52.37 PM

There’s pretty good economy space for most of the year except January. The only Business Class space is in the next two weeks. It looks like United is protecting its premium offering, but as is its custom, it is releasing some of the unsold seats as departure approaches.

I re-ran the search for two passengers, and I actually found very similar results, which means that most days with one award seat have two. For instance, all three days in the next two weeks with Business Class award space have award space for at least two passengers.

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 9.53.00 PM

Award space is similar coming back home. There is just a little Business Class space, all in the next two weeks, and good economy space throughout the year.

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 9.53.38 PM

Connecting to Los Angeles on United flights is easy, as it is a hub. Connecting to Los Angeles adds zero extra miles to the award’s price.

In Melbourne, the only Star Alliance connection within the region would be to connect to Air New Zealand flights, so this route is mostly convenient only if you want to actually go to Melbourne.

Bottom Line

Since United started flying the Dreamliner, it has released very little premium cabin award space. That trend continues with the 787-9.

Business Class award space is available between Los Angeles and Melbourne, but only within two weeks of departure. Most of the year offers good economy award space. You can always book the economy space, and then look to change to Business Class as the date approaches.CKANbanner_300x250_v6b

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Just getting started in the world of points and miles? The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best card for you to start with.

With a bonus of 60,000 points after $4,000 spend in the first 3 months, 5x points on travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal and 3x points on restaurants, streaming services, and online groceries (excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs), this card truly cannot be beat for getting started!


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

The comments section below is not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all questions are answered.