Flying between the U.S. and Australia in business and first class is among the toughest frequent flyer awards out there. Frequently it requires connecting in Asia rather than flying non-stop.
Right now though there’s incredible Qantas first class award availability using Qantas Frequent Flyer miles. While you’ll find a handful of dates between now and the end of June where a couple of seats are available, starting in July and through the end of the year things really open up.
Here’s a look at July award space Dallas Fort-Worth – Sydney for two passengers in first class. Many of these dates actually have 3 and 4 first class seats available. Availability is good throughout summer and fall.
Award space is not showing up on the American, British Airways, Alaska Airlines or Cathay Pacific websites. Frequently you’ll find Qantas award space available on the Qantas and British Airways sites, not the American website, but bookable by American over the phone.
In this case it appears that the space is only bookable by Qantas. Two American agents have told me they do not see the inventory. Perhaps it will become available to partner airlines but at this point you’d need to use Qantas’ own miles for the awards.
Fortunately Qantas is a transfer partner of American Express, Citibank, and Capital One. Unfortunately Qantas long haul premium cabin awards are pricey. Sydney – Dallas one-way in first runs 189,800 Qpoints (and ~ $240 in taxes and fees).
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.
I flew AAdvantage first class awards Austin – Dallas – Sydney – Dallas – Austin for a cousin’s wedding back in February and March. When the space comes up, it’s always a big deal for me since I have family in the Sydney suburbs. The Sydney first class lounge is always a treat.
Qantas will ring up first class passengers the day prior to departure from Australia to organize a spa booking in advance. You’ll also have the number to call so that porters are waiting outside the terminal to assist with your luggage as you approach. One personal tip: ask what off-menu wines they may have open to pour.
(HT: Don W.)