Fly to Europe for the Spring school holidays in Etihad First Class or Singapore Airlines Premium Economy

Our list of featured flights during peak travel periods

GUIDE: Using Points
DIFFICULTY: Intermediate
TIME TO READ: 5 minutes
POSTED: May 26, 2017
UPDATED: June 27, 2017
LOYALTY PROGRAMS: Relevant to Multiple Programs

If you want to take advantage of cheaper accommodation prices, smaller crowds and mild weather, September-October can be a great time to visit Europe.

We know it can be hard to find open seats during busy travel times, like school holidays, so each week we take some of the work out for you and search for award availability on popular routes.

We do realise that states and territories have differing school holidays schedules, so we’ve tried to line them up as closely as possible.

There is currently a huge 100,000 Velocity Points sign-up bonus on the American Express Velocity Platinum available until 31 July.


This week’s results: Fly to Europe for the Spring school holidays in Etihad First Class or Singapore Airlines Premium Economy

What we searched for

We searched for two award seats in First, Business and Premium Economy Class on all one-stop flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide to London, Paris and Frankfurt on Qantas, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, Etihad Airways and THAI.

We looked at departing 23-25 September and returning 6-8 October 2017.

There may be availability on other dates between or after these ones, so do customise your search according to your preferences and work/study schedule.

What we found

Melbourne

If you want to splash some points and have an amazing experience, you can fly to London in Etihad’s First Apartments on both legs departing on 23 September, or you can fly to Paris or Frankfurt on any day but you’ll only get First Apartments on one of the legs.

Etihad A380 First Apartments overview

Alternatively, you can fly on any day to any of the airports in Singapore Airlines Premium Economy.

Singapore Airlines Premium Economy

Your options are more limited on the return:

  • from London: Singapore Airlines 777 First Class on 8 October
  • from Paris: Etihad 777 First Class on 6 October or Singapore Airlines Premium Economy on 8 October
  • from Frankfurt: Etihad A330 and 777 First Class or Singapore Airlines Premium Economy on 7 October

Etihad A330/777 First Class overview

Sydney

The most availability we found was in Singapore Airlines Premium Economy to all airports departing any day.

For the high-class experience, you can fly the second (shorter) leg of your trip to Paris in Etihad First Apartments on 24 or 25 September, or the first (longer) leg of your trip to Frankfurt on 25 September.

On the way back, your only award opportunities are in First Class, flying from London in Singapore Airlines 777 First Class on 8 October, or from Frankfurt in Etihad A330 and 777 First Class on 7 October.

You could also just buy a one-way Economy Class ticket with cash.

Other airports

We found very limited availability from Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.

You could consider a positioning flight in Virgin Australia 737 Business Class to Sydney or Melbourne to take advantage of wider award space.

We only searched for trips in and out of these three European hubs but you are likely to find availability to/from other airports like Barcelona, Rome and Berlin.

How much does it cost?

For one-way redemptions in Etihad First Class, you are looking at:

  • 162,500 AAdvantage miles
  • 203,000 Velocity Points
  • 210-240,000 Etihad Guest miles

For Singapore Airlines Premium Economy:

Velocity, United MileagePlus and Avianca LifeMiles do not allow for partner Premium Economy redemptions.

There is a 15-50% bonus on transfers of Velocity points from bank programs and flybuys until 31 May.

How do I make a booking on one of these flights?

For Etihad First Class redemptions, click on the overview links above.

For Singapore Airlines Premium Economy redemptions, go to the KrisFlyer website to start your search.


Last week’s results: Open award availability on Qantas and Virgin Australia flights to New Zealand’s South Island in second half of July

What we searched for

We searched for two Business Class award seats on all nonstop flights from the East Coast to the two major South Island airports – Queenstown and Christchurch – as well as Perth and Adelaide to Auckland.

We searched for availability for the last two weeks of July (after the school holidays) for a week-long trip departing between Friday and Monday.

There may be availability on other dates between or after these ones, so do customise your search according to your preferences and work/study schedule.

Point Hacks New Zealand guides

Part I: The Why: Six reasons why you should use your points to visit New Zealand

Part II: The How: A beginner’s guide to using your points to get to New Zealand (East Coast & South Australia)

Part III: The HowA beginner’s guide to using your points to get to New Zealand (Western Australia)

What we found

There was no availability on Emirates’ A380 service between Sydney and Christchurch in either First or Business Class, nor on Air New Zealand’s services between Perth/Adelaide and Auckland.

We did, however, find ample award space open on Qantas and Virgin Australia flights between Sydney/Melbourne/Brisbane and Queenstown/Christchurch:

You’ll be flying on the airlines’ standard Boeing 737 offerings in a 2-2 configuration:

Qantas 737 Business Class

Virgin Australia 737 Business Class

We found at least two Business Class seats on the following dates:

RouteAirlineDepartReturn
Sydney - ChristchurchQantas15/16/17 July21/22/23 July
21/22/23/24 July29/30 July
Virgin Australia14/16/17 July21/22/24 July
21/24 July28/29/31 July
Sydney - QueenstownVirgin Australia14/15 July22/24 July
24 July28 July
Melbourne - ChristchurchQantas14/15/16/17 July21/22/23/24 July
21/22/24 July28/29/30/31 July
Virgin Australia14/15/16 July21/22/23 July
21/22/23 July28/29/30 July
Brisbane - QueenstownQantas--
22 July-
Virgin Australia14/15/16/17 July21/22/23/24 July
21/22/23/24 July29/30/31 July
Brisbane - ChristchurchQantas14/15/17 July21/22/24 July
22/23 July28/29/30/31 July
Virgin Australia14/15/16/17 July21/22/23/24 July
21/22/23/24 July28/29/30/31 July

Redemption pricing

Cash tickets for these flights are retailing from $830 AUD one-way, so using your points represents good value.

Taxes are $120-210 AUD return (remember: New Zealand levies minimal fuel surcharges on departing flights.)

Here is the pricing for a one-way Business Class redemption on the routes mentioned above:

Flying Qantas

Flying Virgin Australia

How do I make a booking on one of these flights?


Summing up

We hope our new Featured Flights post inspires you to use your hard-earned frequent flyer balances to travel in style!

Supplementary images courtesy Flickr and respective airlines.

Fly to Europe for the Spring school holidays in Etihad First Class or Singapore Airlines Premium Economy was last modified: June 27th, 2017 by Matt Moffitt