The Qantas San Francisco to Sydney flight that begins in mid-December is now searchable and bookable on aa.com. This is really bad news for Business Class award space.

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Last week I wrote that there was plenty of Business Class award space on the flight, searchable on Expert Flyer and bookable by calling American Airlines. The flight wasn’t yet searchable or bookable on aa.com.

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Now the flight is searchable and bookable on aa.com and award space is wide open in economy in both directions for at least six people per flight at a cost of 37,500 American Airlines miles each way. Award space in Business Class for even one person per flight is rare, though there is some, especially from Sydney to San Francisco.

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Product

I flew Qantas Business Class on its A380 two years ago from Melbourne to Los Angeles. I understand that the 747 has the same seat/bed as the A380.

If you check out my review, you’ll see that I was not blown away by the product. My top two complaints are the 2-2-2 layout meaning that if you have a window you have to climb over your seatmate, and the fact that the bed is not totally parallel to the floor.

In bed mode

I think I would have slept fine on a westbound flight that takes off at 10 PM, but the schedule from Australia to the United States (on all airlines) are terrible for sleep, so I had trouble.

While I’d slightly prefer United Business Class and greatly prefer Qantas First Class, premium awards between the United States and Australia are hard to come by.

Award Space

San Francisco to Sydney

Award space is not available for the first month of the flight, encompassing Christmas and New Year.

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Then award space quickly becomes available almost every day in economy.

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Through the end of the schedule (late June 2016), award space is available nearly every Sunday through Friday in economy.

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Almost all the flights with economy award space have space for 6+ passengers in economy.

Business Class space is far rarer. From San Francisco to Sydney, I only see two days with award space in Business Class, each for only one passenger.Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 1.24.45 PM Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 1.26.46 PM

Sydney to San Francisco

Sydney to San Francisco has the same award space patterns, but more dates with Business Class award space.

Economy has no award space until January 10, 2016, then picks up to six-day-a-week award space quickly.

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There are a handful of days in May and June with one Business Class award seat.Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 1.35.11 PM Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 1.35.26 PM

Award Cost

Between the United States and Australia one way, American Airlines charges:

  • 37,500 miles in economy
  • 62,500 miles in Business Class
  • 72,500 miles in First Class (not available on this route)

This is ridiculously cheap. United and Delta charge 40,000 and 50,000 miles one way in economy and 70,000 and 80,000 miles one way in Business Class.

There are no fuel surcharges on American Airlines flights flying Qantas, so you just pay taxes of $108 for a roundtrip.

I priced out an award with one way in economy and one way in Business Class. It cost 100,000 American Airlines miles + $108.

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Connections

You can connect to San Francisco on American Airlines, US Airways, or Alaska Airlines flights for zero extra miles. If you have a Business Class award, these connections can be in First Class.

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In Sydney, you can connect throughout Australia and New Zealand for zero extra miles.

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Getting American Airlines Miles

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® now offers 75,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $7,500 in the first three months. That’s the biggest bonus of any card right now.

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Until August 7, 20,000 SPG Starpoints transfer to 30,000 American Airlines miles.

Bottom Line

Award space for Qantas’ new San Francisco to Sydney route is now online. Award space is great in economy, even for entire families. In Business Class, award space is rare.

The sign up bonus on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® is big enough for a roundtrip to Australia in economy.

 

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