How do I find an award redemption to the USA from Australia in Business or First Class?

Hi there,

Has anybody ever got a rewards ticket to the USA (any city) in business or first? I have been looking a long way out and there seems to be no availability for direct flights from east coast Australia (crossing the pacific) on any airline in business or first, only economy.

The only glimmer of hope seems to be taking a detour via Asia or Europe (!!)

Any feedback/tips on how to get to USA in top classes would be appreciated.


Unfortunately jimbow this route is one of the most popular redemptions and very few airlines fly this direct route. If you are out of luck with qantas and virgin. My suggestion is to look at lifemiles and redeem on United airlines which has direct flights from syd and mel to lax or sfo. Hope that helps

Yes I have. Twice! BNE to LAX on business with VA. But the good ole days are gone. VA has shut down that door and now AUS to USA direct is almost impossible to book in F or J.
UA will be hard to find as well, generally just 2 weeks out and you might get some sporadic seats.

Qantas is still possible if you look at 11-12 month out and be very flexible on dates. They never release seats on weekend, usually Tues-Thurs. However, if you are using AA or Alaska mile, then I would say you have little chance. AA and AS don’t have access to the award inventory until 330 days out, which is ~1 months behind QFF, Asia miles and BA, so by then almost all seats are taken.

Have you considered Air Canada and be prepared to buy a separate Y ticket to connect to USA? There are up to 3 business class seats on Tuesdays from late Jun next year departing BNE.

Australia to USA is the worst route in the world to find award availability. Even for professionals they have hard time finding award spaces and have recommended that routing through Asia is probably the only viable option (and that’s why AA won’t allow you to route through Asia cuz they know!). But given the current poor exchange rate, unless you already got lots of miles left to burn, buying a revenue ticket might be about the same cost. Eg. EVA business class return to USA is ~ $5000. Worth considering given that their Royal Laurel is almost first class.

@jimbow, you can use lifemiles to redeem Asiana, please read the Lifemiles guide on pointhacks because there are some rules you have to follow, i.e the connection times must be under 8 hours.

Asiana flies angled between between syd and seoul, but seoul to new york, they fly the smartium seats. I have flown them before and they were okay but i wouldnt rave about it.

Alternatively, you can also fly ANA from sydney to tokyo to new york as well. ANA is a much better airline.

@mike keep checking, seats sometime open up if somebody else cancels.

I am a fan of UA miles, and using them on Air Canada SYD-YVR, then using QF points on AA, United or more AC to get east coast.

VA and QF became too hit and miss for me on this route.

Not that this is helpful if you want a guaranteed seat, but last minute there tend to be cancellations and it frees up a couple of seats. About half the time  I’m awarded a points business class upgrade from AU to USA.

We booked 3 x LAX to SYD Premium Economy in July for Sept Departure with Virgin. About 2 weeks before we left I checked if there was any business seats which there were, unfortunately by the time I put my points in there was only 1 left. However, there were 3 via Brisbane. 94,000 points each way and obviously slightly longer flight time.

Guess the moral is keep rechecking

On the way back I had to use Delta points which are expensive but lots of availability. 175,000 points. We are coming back from New Orleans via LAX to Sydney and it was the same points as from LAX to SYD so I guess that makes it slightly better but still expensive (in points)

You can also try Fiji using Qantas website. You need to check SYD to Nadi then Nadi to LAX, if both legs are available ring Qantas (it’s under 100,000 points from memory).

Hope that helps