How do I find an award redemption to the USA from Australia in Business or First Class?

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Hi there,

Has anybody ever got a rewards ticket to the USA (any city) in business or first? I have been looking a long way out and there seems to be no availability for direct flights from east coast Australia (crossing the pacific) on any airline in business or first, only economy.

The only glimmer of hope seems to be taking a detour via Asia or Europe (!!)

Any feedback/tips on how to get to USA in top classes would be appreciated.

Cheers!

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We booked 3 x LAX to SYD Premium Economy in July for Sept Departure with Virgin. About 2 weeks before we left I checked if there was any business seats which there were, unfortunately by the time I put my points in there was only 1 left. However, there were 3 via Brisbane. 94,000 points each way and obviously slightly longer flight time.

Guess the moral is keep rechecking

On the way back I had to use Delta points which are expensive but lots of availability. 175,000 points. We are coming back from New Orleans via LAX to Sydney and it was the same points as from LAX to SYD so I guess that makes it slightly better but still expensive (in points)

You can also try Fiji using Qantas website. You need to check SYD to Nadi then Nadi to LAX, if both legs are available ring Qantas (it’s under 100,000 points from memory).

Hope that helps

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Not that this is helpful if you want a guaranteed seat, but last minute there tend to be cancellations and it frees up a couple of seats. About half the time  I’m awarded a points business class upgrade from AU to USA.

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I am a fan of UA miles, and using them on Air Canada SYD-YVR, then using QF points on AA, United or more AC to get east coast.

VA and QF became too hit and miss for me on this route.

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@mike keep checking, seats sometime open up if somebody else cancels.

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@jimbow, you can use lifemiles to redeem Asiana, please read the Lifemiles guide on pointhacks because there are some rules you have to follow, i.e the connection times must be under 8 hours.

Asiana flies angled between between syd and seoul, but seoul to new york, they fly the smartium seats. I have flown them before and they were okay but i wouldnt rave about it.

Alternatively, you can also fly ANA from sydney to tokyo to new york as well. ANA is a much better airline.

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Yes I have. Twice! BNE to LAX on business with VA. But the good ole days are gone. VA has shut down that door and now AUS to USA direct is almost impossible to book in F or J.

UA will be hard to find as well, generally just 2 weeks out and you might get some sporadic seats.

Qantas is still possible if you look at 11-12 month out and be very flexible on dates. They never release seats on weekend, usually Tues-Thurs. However, if you are using AA or Alaska mile, then I would say you have little chance. AA and AS don’t have access to the award inventory until 330 days out, which is ~1 months behind QFF, Asia miles and BA, so by then almost all seats are taken.

Have you considered Air Canada and be prepared to buy a separate Y ticket to connect to USA? There are up to 3 business class seats on Tuesdays from late Jun next year departing BNE.

Australia to USA is the worst route in the world to find award availability. Even for professionals they have hard time finding award spaces and have recommended that routing through Asia is probably the only viable option (and that’s why AA won’t allow you to route through Asia cuz they know!). But given the current poor exchange rate, unless you already got lots of miles left to burn, buying a revenue ticket might be about the same cost. Eg. EVA business class return to USA is ~ $5000. Worth considering given that their Royal Laurel is almost first class.

  • Cheers Michael. It certainly seem almost impossbile to get to the USA from Australia, especially so if you want to fly across the pacific.

    What do you think are the main benefits of AAdvantage if they are so stingy on getting to the USA from Australia? Are they worthwhile?

  • AAdvantage has a lot of benefits over Qantas and is considered one of the most valuable currency out there. I assume you ask this question because you have bought (or consider buying) AA miles?

    AA, and many other miles that are available for purchase (eg. UA, LM and Alaska) are particularly suitable for people who can’t earn large amount of miles through flying or credit card spending. So even though AA do not have access to award inventories as early as QFF and Asia Miles, unless you have means of earning QFF or AM in large quantities, AA is your best option. This is because you can’t simply purchase QFF and AM miles like AA.

    Even routing through Asia with 2 awards, AA is still relatively good value at about 90-95k one way (depending on whether you route through NRT with JAL or HKG with CX) in business and you get to have stop overs.

    But the best value in AA, IMHO, is from AUS to Europe. SYD/MEL to LHR on Qantas F is not impossible to find even though it is still difficult. For 80K AA miles one way it is hard to beat. Or if you don’t need F, at 60K in J it’s also very good value. You can also use AA to fly Etihad’s legendary apartment from SYD to LHR for 100K miles, which is extremely good value. Keith also reckons that use AA for domestic flights between PER and East Coast and NZ is good value.

    There are still occasional, even though rare, space available between AUS to LAX, most likely from BNE if you look hard enough.

  • I have logged in and your right, there is good availability to London (only did a quick search)
    How do you redeem for the ethihad apartment? That sounds like working towards!
    Thanks Michael!
    James

  • Use Etihad website to search for award spaces. Once you find it, call AA as you can’t book online. Feed them the dates and flight number and you are done! Keith has already written a guide on how to search Etihad award space, although it’s for using velocity points, the basics is the same.

    http://www.pointhacks.com.au/using-velocity-points-on-etihad-from-australia/

    Just remember, AA does not allow AUS-Europe on Etihad to transit in AUH, so you will need two awards. But it’s not expensive. 100k in total to go to Europe for F.

  • Thanks!

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Unfortunately jimbow this route is one of the most popular redemptions and very few airlines fly this direct route. If you are out of luck with qantas and virgin. My suggestion is to look at lifemiles and redeem on United airlines which has direct flights from syd and mel to lax or sfo. Hope that helps

  • Are you doing it on your own points or looking to buy points?
    Lifemiles is not a program suited for everybody and I don’t wholly recommend it for everybody.
    Personally I use Lifemiles, but it is a love hate relationship.

  • I’ve found Air Canada and Air China to LAX with LifeMiles but sadly I didn’t book it in time.

  • I would be looking to top up points.
    i have noticed that via the united website you can get Asiana via soul to NYC in business (from MEL).
    Are Asiana any good and can i use Lifemiles to redeem for them?

  • How come even if I look at September next year, I cannot see first class availability at all for qantas. like not at all even on the qantas site. any reason? I thought they release awards earlier than AA etc.

  • @stevoplay, thats because we are in September and flights open up usually around 330-350 days. So right now you could probably search up to the first few days of September, but gradually the calendar will open up.

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