Qantas First Class Award Space Available

Australia is one of the toughest frequent flyer awards, at least in premium cabins. In order to fly business or first class between the US and Australia you often have to connect in Asia.

American AAdvantage partners with Qantas, doesn’t add fuel surcharges to awards, and even shows Qantas award space on its website. Sometimes. Don’t trust what you see there. Just because American says they show Qantas award space, and that space doesn’t show up on their website, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

To find Qantas awards to Australia, search either the Qantas frequent flyer site or the British Airways website. If you see the space there, but not at, call American — because their agents usually have no problem seeing and booking the space.

A month ago I wrote about really good Qantas business class availability. It’s not good on any single route, but they serve several different routes between the US and Australia so most days had some availability. You might have to fly to Melbourne or Brisbane instead of Sydney (and connect if Sydney is your destination) but the long haul space was bookable in business.

First class is much harder. Qantas is the only airline left offering a first class cabin non-stop between the U.S. and Australia, and they only offer it on their Airbus A380 flights.

While Qantas first class remains tough it’s not actually a unicorn, and there’s a little bit of space for travel next year right now (HT: @xJonNYC).

Here’s a search of available first class award space for two passengers in May:

I currently have first class awards booked Austin – Dallas – Sydney – Dallas – Austin for a cousin’s wedding this winter. When the space comes up, it’s always a big deal for me since I have family in the Sydney suburbs.

Qantas awards are bookable with Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles. They’re also bookable with their own miles of course (Qantas is a Citi transfer partner) and from other oneworld frequent flyer programs like British Airways (Chase and American Express transfer partner) and Cathay Pacific (American Express transfer partner). However Cathay, British Airways, and Qantas all add fuel surcharges onto these redemptions.

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. Award miles cost for first class from different airlines? Seems like that info should be included.

  2. You are my HERO, Gary! I have been looking for award space to Australia for next summer all month and had already written off even trying to find Qantas First space. Just booked for the wife and I using AA miles!! SO STOKED!!!! I LOVE THIS HOBBY!!! 🙂

  3. Hi Gary, could you let us know if did you created the calendar picture above or is there a tool online that creates this with the routes you are interested in? P.S. You have one of the best frequent flyer blogs – I read it almost every week. Thank you.

  4. Thanks Gary! Booked 2 first tickets SYD-DFW. Those are so rare to find on that route! AA gave some fuss since they claimed all QF was bookable on, but eventually she waived the phone booking fee after my polite insistence. ✈️

  5. So what’s the catch? There aren’t a ton of saver awards but there are enough that with some flexibility you can book a couple J or F seats. So all I need to do is call AA and tell them that Qantas is showing X award on Y day and they’ll book it?
    really? That’s it?

  6. So all I have to do is look at what Qantas is showing for saver awards in J or F, call AA tell them what it is showing and they’ll book it?
    That’s it?

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