Tips for business/first class award redemption booking from AUS-USA Dec '17-Jan '18?

Hi all,

I am wanting to secure flights for my honeymoon in late December, returning in January.
Ideally it would be in first class, otherwise it will be in business class.
I am not 100% certain on the location, some ideas are Carribean, Central America or Hawaii. Based on these I thought finding a flight to the US would be most helpful.

I do have quite a lot of points saved up, and I have been looking at purchasing points on deals that arise (i.e. united or alaska).

I am hoping that someone with a bit more experience could point me in the right direction, or provide somewhat of a strategy on which options to assess in which order.
I am feeling it is quite difficult for these types of flights at that time of the year.

Appreciate your help.

Kind regards,


Hi again, Skafhold

Congratulations on the honeymoon & wedding.

In case you don’t already know, I have outlined some of the mile/point costs for First Class return (1 pax) below.


United-120k United Miles or 160k Lifemiles

Qantas-140k Alaskan Miles or 180k AA miles or 192k Enrich miles or 216k QFF


United-160k United Miles or 222k Lifemiles

Qantas-140k Alaskan Miles or 220k AA miles or 204k Enrich miles or 288k QFF

Cathay Pacific-160k Alaskan Miles or 220k AA miles

Etihad-220k AA miles

Qatar-220k AA miles


United-160k United Miles or 222k Lifemiles

Cathay Pacific-160k Alaskan Miles or 220k AA miles

Etihad-220k AA miles

Qatar-220k AA miles


United-160k United Miles or 222k Lifemiles

Cathay Pacific-226k AA miles

Personally, I agree that there would be more flights to USA. Since you already understand that it will be peak season, you will have to be fairly flexible. If you have a variety of ff points and are open to purchasing some, you should be able to find some if you are willing to put in some work.

My personal strategy when planning a trip is:

  1. Get an idea of what the destination(s) are
  2. Understand the range of dates you are willing to fly on
  3. Understand how many stops you are willing to accept
  4. Find out the routes that gets you from A to B. I use skyscanner and google flights to research this. From memory it gives you search results at least up to 2  or 3 stops for consideration.
  5. Short list 3 routes/airlines you would like to fly. (In your case, since it is a challenging travel period, I would say keep your options open).
  6. Start searching for award space using airline websites or search engines (paid or unpaid).
  7. At this stage, availability trumps most things. If you find available seats and if you have the required points/miles, consider finalising the booking because it may disappear after 5 minutes or it might still be available after 1 month. I have had seats disappear after 5 minutes. It's a painful thought, even now it smarts when I think about it.
  8. If you don't have the points or miles, consider ringing up and putting the seats on hold (e.g. AA and occasionally KF allows this).
  9. Get the miles/points via transfer or purchase.
  10. If fail, start again from step 5 or if you are desperate Step 1.
  11. Repeat until succeed.
Other general tips incl.
  • Flying revenue to larger hubs such as SIN, HKG, TYO and redeeming flights from these hubs.
  • Searching for 1 seat if 2 seats doesn't yield anything. Flying separate is not ideal but may have to be a last resort. Could be palatable for short positioning flights, if desperate.
  • Sometimes it may be required to redeem using 1 type of points from A to B and a different type of points from B to C (final destination). You can spend some time at B if it is palatable too.
  • The list is endless but you just have to be persistent as many people are quite savvy point hackers and most people want to travel at that time of the year too.
If you find this challenging, you might want to consider enlisting some help from businesses that sell their service for award redemptions.

Good luck. Keep us updated with how you go.


Thank you very much for that.

I will keep you posted!


Hey w-hiew,

Is there a trick to searching for Cathay Pacific award seats?

It seems to join the marco polo club that you need to pay $100USD.