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.


Booking First Class or Business to Australia can be extremely challenging.

  • United doesn’t release Business Class Saver space on its 787-9 from Los Angeles to Melbourne and doesn’t have First Class on the flight.
  • United does release some First and Business Class on its 777s from Los Angeles and San Francisco to Sydney. It has released none for November or December 2015.
  • Air Canada (bookable with United miles) releases some Business Class on its 777 from Vancouver to Sydney. It has released one day in December 2015. There is no First Class on the flight.
  • Delta releases almost no Level 1 award space on its flight from Los Angeles to Sydney in Business Class. Delta doesn’t operate international First Class.
  • Qantas releases some space 355 days out to its own mileage program and British Airways, which charges way too many miles plus fuel surcharges for the space. By the time the award space becomes available to American Airlines miles–330 days out–a lot of it is gone. What’s left is cheap though. See today’s full post on Qantas award space.

That leaves Virgin Australia.

There is award space nearly every day between the United States and Australia in Virgin Australia Business Class.

Delta charges 80,000 miles one way to book Virgin Australia Business Class between the United States and Australia, and the award space is searchable and bookable on delta.com.

You can book Delta awards up to 330 days in advance, so you can currently book through December 8, 2015. For the last month until December 8, beautiful late-spring-turning-into-summer days in Australia, there is award space almost every day in Business Class on Virgin Australia flights.

The Space

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 1.51.24 AM Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 1.51.30 AM

Virgin Australia flies to Sydney and Brisbane from Los Angeles, with connections throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Some of the award space pictured is on the direct Los Angeles to Sydney flight, some connects in Brisbane, and some is Korean Airlines award space that connects in Seoul.

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 1.52.40 AM

On the return, the taxes vary based on the routing, so just by looking at the taxes displayed on the five-week calendar on delta.com, you can know whether direct award space is available or not.

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 1.52.01 AM Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 1.52.06 AM

The four days highlighted above are the only four days without direct Virgin Australia award space. Those days only have Korean award space.

Australia in a premium cabin is a weird award. It is nearly impossible with every airline and type of miles, but it’s the opposite with Delta miles on Virgin Australia: there’s award space nearly every day, even at peak times. I’ll keep an eye on space for the next few months as the heart of summer 2016 becomes bookable to see if award space is just as plentiful for January and February 2016. I bet it will be.

 

Product

Virgin Australia Business Class is not the nicest in the world, but you’ll hardly be slumming it.

You get a fully flat bed that is 6’2″ long with a duvet and pillow. You’ll have a personal entertainment screen and access to an onboard bar.

Not all seats have direct aisle access, and reports of the food and service are less glowing than Asian airlines, but this a solid Business Class product where you will be able to sleep and entertain yourself on the 14+ hour flights.

Getting the Miles

There are several co-branded Delta credit cards, plus Membership Rewards and Starpoints transfer to Delta miles.

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.