For a few years, Virgin Australia Business Class award space to Australia has been a gimme. I would often find 12 Award Seats (half of which were Business) to Australia over Christmas and New Year’s on Virgin Australia flights. You can book Virgin Australia award space with Delta miles.

Economy award space on Virgin Australia flights is still widely available, but Business Class award space is almost completely gone on Virgin Australia’s two American routes, Los Angeles to Sydney and Brisbane. This is terrible news, and I don’t think it’s a glitch.

Current Award Space Picture

Virgin Australia is still generously releasing economy award space. I searched for two passengers on direct flights from Los Angeles to Sydney in economy during February.

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 6.37.10 PM

Award space is available every day, and this is almost all Virgin Australia space, not space on Delta’s flight.
Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 6.37.16 PM

But search the same route on the same dates in Business Class, and you get this calendar. There is no Virgin Australia award space, which would show up at 80,000 miles.

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 6.37.33 PM That is a shocker because Virgin Australia Business Class space, as recently as a few weeks ago, was available nearly every day.

But this isn’t some glitch. If you search this week, you will see there is one day with Virgin Australia award space in Business Class.Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 6.38.06 PM

So the space can show up, but it just hasn’t been released by Virgin Australia on very many days.

It hasn’t even been released for next Summer, which is 11 months away and the Winter down under. Again no space:Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 6.38.55 PM I also searched the Los Angeles to Brisbane route, which I assume has less demand.

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 6.39.48 PM

Again, the only Virgin Australia space I see is one day this week. Space is basically all gone on this route too.Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 6.39.51 PM

In fact, most of my Los Angeles to Brisbane searches returned not a calendar, but an error, because there was literally no award space on direct flights on that route.

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 6.40.06 PM

For kicks, I checked Sydney to Abu Dhabi, and again there is not really any Business Class space on Virgin Australia. This seems to be a concerted effort to release basically no Business Class award space on their longhaul flat bed product.

I did find space between Sydney and Bali, but it is operated by a 737, which does not have longahul Business Class.

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 6.42.48 PM

Just Blocking Space to Delta?

I thought maybe Virgin Australia was just blocking award space in Business Class to Delta miles, so I signed into my Virgin Australia Velocity account and searched there.

Every day I searched had results like this:

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 6.49.36 PM

It looks like Business Rewards (basically Saver Business Class award seats) are not being offered to Velocity members either.

Bottom Line

Virgin Australia went from a glut of award space in Business Class from the United States to Australia that you could book with Delta miles to basically none.

This is not a glitch, and this affecting even members of the Virgin Australia frequent flyer program. Hopefully this terrible trend reverses.

Right now there are NO good options for Business Class awards to Australia or New Zealand that don’t transit Asia. Qantas, Air Canada, Air New Zealand, Delta, American, and United are also very stingy with Business Class award space from North America to Australia and New Zealand.

Hat Tip to an email from Michael K. that made me investigate the drought of award space more systematically than I had been.

 

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