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In part 1, I discussed the economy award options to Australia with American Airlines miles.

Australia is one of the hardest awards with frequent flyer miles. Part of it is that there are very few routes between the US and Australia, served by only five airlines:

  • United (Star Alliance)
  • Qantas (oneworld)
  • Delta (SkyTeam)
  • Hawaiian (no alliance, American Airlines partner)
  • Virgin Australia (no alliance, Delta partner)

Add in a flight from Vancouver to Sydney on Air Canada, and those are basically the options to get from the US to Australia without having to transit Asia.

The Big Deal with Transiting Asia

When I first started looking into going to Australia about three years ago, I thought: what’s the big deal with transiting Asia?

The big deal is that transiting any part of Asia but especially Southeast Asia adds hours and hours of flying, not to mention layovers, to the trip.

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According to the Great Circle Mapper:

  • Los Angeles to Sydney direct is 7,488 miles
  • Los Angeles to Tokyo to Sydney is 10,297 miles (about six extra hours of flying)
  • Los Angeles to Tokyo to Bangkok to Sydney is 13,002 miles (about 11 extra hours of flying)

My goal for award bookings to Australia is direct flights. This post will discuss the best routes, times of year, and miles to collect to book direct flights to Australia in economy.

The three best miles to have to get to Australia in economy are:

Delta charges 100k miles roundtrip to Australia in economy, which is 25-33% more than its competitors, so I will ignore the Delta and Virgin Australia award space to Australia in this post.

Save your miles by using American, United, or US Airways miles to book Qantas, United, Air Canada, and Hawaiian award space.

This post will look at booking economy space with United miles.

United Airlines Partners

United Airlines miles can be used to book United and Air Canada flights to Australia.

United flies from Los Angeles and San Francisco to Sydney. United will add a flight from Los Angeles to Melbourne on the 787-9 Dreamliner in October 2014.

Air Canada flies from Vancouver to Sydney.

Award space from Los Angeles and San Francisco to Sydney is pretty good in economy this March, April, October, and November.

All award charts are for two-person award searches. Yellow and green days have Saver award space in economy.

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Unfortunately during our summer, award space almost completely disappears.

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The Air Canada flight from Vancouver to Sydney has good space throughout more of the year including our summer and their summer in January 2015.

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Free Oneways

When booking your United award to Australia, you can easily add a free oneway by using your one free stopover per roundtrip award at your home airport.

See Free Oneways on United Awards for more info.

Stay tuned for future posts on getting to Australia in a premium cabin.

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