Is This The End of Award Space to Australia?

Delta miles are great (yes, they really are!) for:

Last month I highlighted Virgin Australia’s amazing award availability between the U.S. and Australia. Specifically, I showed just how many dates you’d find at least four business class seats on the Los Angeles – Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne routes.

Sadly wide-open availability is no longer the case.

Since I looked specifically at March last month, I’ll show you April now. But results aren’t confined to April. Here are the days you’ll find two business class award seats. Hint: it’s not every day anymore.

There’s one important thing you can do. Make sure you’ve got your towel handy and DON’T PANIC.

Virgin Australia award space has gone in cycles and spurts several times in the past. There no reason at this point to believe this time is any different.

Award space has been super good for years, as I’ve written many times. And then it suddenly isn’t. You’ll see only economy for awhile. Then the flood gates open back up.

I cannot say for certain that this is how it will play out this time of course, but that’s been the usual pattern. It could be weeks or months but when this has happened before, it’s gotten better.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. You put a panicky headline like “is this the end of award space to Australia” and then at the end say “don’t panic.”


  2. Gary, come on. It’s Monday, which sucks enough as is. You had to go and smack me down even further. Panic or not, that’s not a headline to make for a happy Monday morning 🙂

  3. Saudia? OK I suppose for any Muslim, devout Mormon, Southern Baptist or other teetotaler I suppose.

    I enrolled first in UA’s mileage program when it came out in the early ’80s but not until ’84 with Delta, only flying them a lot when I moved to Atlanta in ’94. Does anyone else recall that two business class awards to Europe were 150k, or 75k each? Of course, that didn’t last long, soon going to 80k, 90k, 100k and now 125k. I wish my income went up at that rate. Hey, if the redemptions weren’t so freakin’ difficult I wouldn’t much care, but the time and effort I just spent getting two business awards to CDG were more exhausting than my Cross Fit workouts. But hey, I get to go to Paris via Stuttgart…. and in November rather than September or October. I know, just be thankful you got anything, right?

  4. I just don’t grok the folks who say Skypesos are useless (Useless!). They may become useless if Delta really goes to a revenue based redemption scheme (particularly if they are valued at less than 1cpm), but I’ve gotten some good trips out of them. Only a shift to true revenue based redemptions (300-600K for BE) would kill the program for me.

  5. As a DM/PM for the last 12 years, I’m glad that I burned a war chest of SkyPesos on 4 VA biz tickets in June, thanks, in part, to info from this blog. Delta cannot be trusted anymore, but Gary is right that VA’s availability ebbs and flows. I noticed this phenomenon when I booked my tix 10+ months out last year. I just cross-checked April 2015 against VA’s web site and it is showing the same results, so it doesn’t appear to be any sort of blocking attempt by DL (like they are doing with AF). They must load inventory at specific times of the year. You might check next month and suddenly April will be awash in seats. VA has a great product which is better than DL, IMHO. If you are planning to visit Australia in the near future, I would grab a redemption the next time that VA loads award seats. It isn’t likely that redeeming SkyMiles will become any easier in the future, other than perhaps at exorbitant rates.

  6. @Gary – I agree the headline is misleading.

    @Andyandy – I don’t grok people who use fake words like “grok”.

  7. Wasn’t my intention to write a headline that ‘misled’ – I wrote this on the plane last night, dead tired after a long weekend, while I still had a search on my screen I had done with a Frequent Traveler University participant that I thought would be useful to folks. Maybe just a bit brain dead at the time, meant it to be helpful!

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