Business Class award space for at least two travelers is plentiful right now from the United States to Australia, mid November through December. There aren’t a lot of return options on Qantas, so you’ll likely need to find other award space for the other direction (think Air New Zealand, United, or American if you want to fly back to the United States).
Yes, I realize that it’s just outbound award space and most people have to fly home. But I still think it’s news because:
A) Premium cabin award space between the United States and Australia is hard to come by, especially for multiple travelers, and especially around that time of year.
B) While November and December in the United States are frosty, it’s summer in Australia.
Qantas begins a new direct route between Melbourne and San Francisco as of September 1, 2018, and there is still plenty of premium cabin award space left on it from mid November through the end of December. That is the award space I was originally investigating, curious as to whether or not there was any left since it become available to book about a month ago. And there is.
But what I also noticed in the process is that there’s a good amount of availability for two in Business between San Francisco and Sydney direct. What I’m saying is that you have many options to get between the United States and various Australian destinations, since you can take connecting flights from Sydney or Melbourne on Qantas to many places.
The Award Space
I’m seeing an option for two travelers almost every day of the week–save a few Tuesdays and Thursdays–between San Francisco and either Melbourne (direct, on the days in the calendars below that read SFO-MEL) or Sydney (which you could fly to direct and not continue on to Melbourne if you didn’t want to on any of the days that read SFO-SYD-MEL or SFO-SYD-AVV).
All of the calendars below were generated on Award Nexus and are for two travelers in Business Class.
Don’t live in San Francisco? This award space is probably still viable for you. It will depend on what kind of miles you use to book as to how many options you have for the leg(s) to get you to San Francisco without breaking the award price into two. More on that below in Booking the Award Space.
You also don’t have to stop just at Sydney or Melbourne. Find a connection on Qantas at the lowest level award price and fly elsewhere in Australia without changing your award price.
There are seven days with space for two travelers in Business between November 19 and December 4, but that’s not incredibly helpful.
Like I said above, instead I’d look for award space on:
- united.com: Air New Zealand (via Auckland) or United (which flies direct between Australia and the United States) award space
- aa.com: American Airlines award space (flies direct between Australia and the United States)
Or if you don’t mind hoofing it in economy, there’s tons of economy award space flying Qantas back to the United States from Australia.
Even though Qantas is “supposed” to show up on aa.com, I have always trouble finding it. That’s happening again now–much of the lowest level Qantas Business award space I see on qantas.com is not showing up on aa.com despite being bookable with AAdvantage miles. I also don’t this award space on alaskaair.com.
I’d search on qantas.com, or if you have a subscription, with Expert Flyer to Award Nexus. If you’re not already signed up for Expert Flyer, you can try the Pro Version–the kind of account you can award search with–for free for five days.
Booking the Award Space
- American Airlines AAdvantage: 80,000 miles one way, per person
- If redeeming AA miles, you can add a segment to anywhere in the United States that American Airlines or Alaska Airlines flies without changing that 80k price (San Francisco is a Alaska hub with tons of destinations). For a refresher on AAdvantage award routing rules, check out Redeem American Airlines Miles: Part 4, Award Rules & How Many Miles You Need.
- Remember, I’m not seeing this award space on aa.com, so you’ll need to call AAdvantage once you find your desired award space on qantas.com.
- Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan: 55,000 miles per person. You also get a free stopover on Mileage Plan awards…so you could stop in Sydney, or Melbourne, and continue on to any other Qantas destination in Australia without changing the price of the award as along as you found the lowest level of award space available. That’s an incredible deal.
- If redeeming Alaska miles, you can add a segment to anywhere in the United states that Alaska Airlines flies without changing that 55k price.
- I’m also not seeing any of this Qantas award space displaying on alaskair.com, so so you’ll also need to call Mileage Plan once you find what you want on either qantas.com, Expert Flyer, or Award Nexus.
- It would cost quite a bit more points to book with Qantas, 96,000 one way per person, but if you have a surplus of Citi ThankYou Points (which I tend to value the least out of all the transferrable point currencies, albeit not by much) then a redemption on Qantas Business could be a good move.
There’s a very fertile patch of Business Class award space, spanning from mid November through the third week in December, for two travelers. You have options almost every day, either San Francisco to Melbourne or San Francisco to Sydney direct, and can add legs on either end within the United States and within Australia to take you elsewhere without fragmenting your award into two as long as you find the lowest level award space that connects with an appropriate layover.
If you’ve been waiting for this space for a holiday 2018 trip to Australia, and can secure the return, pounce now!