Finding Qantas first class awards between North America and Australia is like finding a unicorn. It never happens. I’ve flown Qantas first class between Hong Kong and Melbourne with miles and it was excellent, but I’ve never flown directly from North America.
However right now there are multiples dates with at least 2 first class awards available on several routes such as Los Angeles to Melbourne or Sydney and Dallas to Sydney. Use AA.com‘s flexible award calendar to help find valid dates. You may need to click on “Advanced/Multi-city search” from the AA home page in order to access the calendar.
Sample award calendars for 2 award seats in first class:
You can book one-way awards for 80K American miles in business class or 110K American miles in first class. American doesn’t allow for free stopovers, but they do allow you to hold an award.
Or you can book one-way awards for 55K Alaska miles in business class or 70K Alaska miles in first class.
You can also earn miles from cards like the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card from Bank of America that currently has a highest ever signup bonus of 40,000 miles. Read more about the offer and the best uses of Alaska miles here.
With Alaska miles you can take a free stopover in Sydney, so you can stopover in Sydney and then fly to other Australian destinations like Cairns, Hamilton Island, Melbourne, Perth, Tasmania, or Uluru for the same amount of miles:
Or you can even fly to New Zealand for the same amount of miles with a free stopover in Sydney:
All classes of service have award space:
Kangaroo at Angelsea Golf Club on the Great Ocean Road:
Great Ocean Road, outside Melbourne:
Back in 2010-2011 Mimi and I flew around the world on the now defunct American OneWorld first class round-the-world award for 230K miles. In Australia we used the award to stop off in Melbourne, Sydney, Tasmania, and the Whitsunday Islands. Truly an awesome country!
- 3-5 days in Sydney would give you enough time to experience the phenomenal Park Hyatt, climb the Harbour bridge, check out the Opera House, pet some Koalas and Kangaroos, and have a day in the Blue Mountains.
- 4-6 days in Melbourne would allow for a road trip of the sublime Great Ocean Road and the breathtaking Grampians before going to to Melborune for Shabbos at the excellent Park Hyatt which is around the corner from a great Chabad House. A flight from Sydney to Melbourne is just 4.5K BA Avios with no fuel surcharges.
- 2-4 days in Hamilton Island or Cairns would give you time to snorkel or dive the Great Barrier Reef. If you’re going to Hamilton Island you’ll also be able to check out famous Whitehaven Beach and the Whitsunday Islands. A flight from Sydney to Hamilton Island is 7.5K BA Avios with no fuel surcharges. Sydney to Cairns is 10K Avios.
- We spent 4 nights covering the entire beautiful island of Tasmania without realizing just how much driving that would entail. Doing over a week would have been ideal. A flight from Sydney to Tasmania is 4.5K BA Avios with no fuel surcharges.
- We didn’t make it to more remote places like Uluru, Kangaroo Island, Perth, or the Australian Outback, but perhaps on a future trip? Then again 10K BA Avios can also get you from Sydney to New Zealand. That’s been on my bucket list for a very long time…
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