What to do when there is no award space to Europe and Asia Miles are expiring?

Asia Miles website shows “no redemption flights available for this date” for every Business Class seat from Perth, WA to LHR or anywhere in Europe for the next 12 months. We had to cancel 2 RTW Business Class tickets in 2020 due to Covid and are now stuck with over 500,000 miles that expire in Aug22. On checking AA, BA and Qantas websites (all Oneworld) there appears to be some availability especially with MAS and Qantas only to be told by Asia Miles that although they can see some availability they are ‘blocked’ from booking the available seats through Asia Miles. Ideally I would like to book in August or September 2022. It appears that either Oneworld airlines are blocking availability to Asia Miles or have not released award seats to Oneworld airlines. The Asia Miles call centre has been telling me for 6 weeks now that Cathay Pacific is in the process of releasing award seats for June to September. I check the Asia Miles website every single day and also AA, BA and Qantas. Am I fighting a losing battle? Would really appreciate some advice.

Hi @vmanricks

I really do feel your pain. You’re in the exact same situation that I was in a few months ago: I had lots of soon-to-expire Asia Miles to burn, and was looking for flights to/from Europe. So, from my experience…

  • It is possible to find flights. In the end I found, booked and flew Qatar business class for my wife and me, to Europe and back. They were wonderful flights, with great food and service. That’s the good news. However,

  • As you know already, you have to be willing to put in the (many) hours to find that needle in a haystack. I was logging on every single day in my spare time, putting in every possible permutation of flight. I live in Melbourne so I was putting in flights to and from Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane, and entering several of Qatar’s destinations in Europe. In the end I got exactly the flights I wanted into Europe, but the only flights back I could find were into Brisbane, necessitating a domestic hop back to Melbourne.

From what I hear, flights are even more scarce now than they were a few months ago. But they become available at the most unexpected times. If you’re willing to log on every day for, maybe, 10-15 minutes (more if you have the time), looking for whatever flight dates, routes and arrival/destination combinations you’re willing to countenance, sooner or later, at a time you may least expect, I’d expect something to become available. Then don’t delay: snaffle it immediately!

Like I said, I feel your pain. There are no shortcuts. Please let us know how you go.


Thanks so much for your much appreiated response which is encouraging and I will work on your experience. I am retired so do have the time. I have spent close to 4 hours on and off yesterday working on several combinations - departures from all Australian capital cities to major cities in Europe, departure to the airline capital city and again to all European cities that that airline flies to - I was hoping to report some positive news but unfortunately not. There doesn’t appear to be any available redemption seats to Europe August - September. I am clinging on to some, albeit very little hope that Cathay will release some seats I believe the delay is due to Covid restrictions in Hong Kong. I will relentlessly keep on at it and thanks again for glimmer of expectation. I will keep this space posted.

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Thanks for your reply @vmanricks

I wrote that “there are no shortcuts”, but since then I did think of one shortcut…

Buy a cheap ticket to somewhere in Southeast Asia (given you’re in Perth, this shouldn’t be hard!) and take your reward flight from there. I think you’ll find that Australia is the bottleneck and once you search from somewhere else, finding flights should be a bit easier.

It’s an option particularly if time is running out or you simply get sick of searching!

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Qatar Airways does also release 2x Business reward seats on most flights as far out as possible. So if travel in May 2023 is suitable, that could be something to put your miles to.

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Thanks Brandon - I have found some flights from Perth to Madrid in May 2023 but return flights are not as yet available. Are you suggesting I book one sector at a time. The plan was to book 2 BC seats PER-MAD/LHR, MAD/LHR-RIO, RIO-MAD/LHR, LHR-PER. Ofcourse booking as a RTW ticket is using less points but if one sector at a time is the better way that’s what I might have to do. Starting to sound like a BIG ASK yet in 2019 it was simple enough to do with Asia Miles, guess Covid changed everything.

I’m in a similar situation with points expiring Feb 2023 and Perth is my airport. Also looking to fly to Europe in late October. Maybe points plus cash is the way to go?

I did try Cathay’s new Miles Plus Cash. Here’s what I got per person oneway Business Class Perth to Madrid in July and seats available
Cost of flight: AUD$21,458
Miles Plus Cash : 450,875 Asia Miles + AUD$16,515.50
Asia Miles redemption if you were fortunate enough to find availability: 90,000
BTW you do realise that you can book now for a year after the miles expiry date? Also Asia Miles have advised me that if I rang them (from Australia # 131747) before expiry they would extend the miles for 12 months.

Miles Plus Cash is kind of your last resort because it is a very poor valuation of your points:
Normal redemption: 20 cents per point assuming 90000 points for a 20k ticket
Miles Plus Cash: 1 cent per point (essentially paying 450K points for around 5000 dollars worth of ticket)

I would likely take the extension and see what I can find.

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As much as I would have liked to go before the northern hemisphere 2022 winter it was getting near enough impossible to get award seats so I decided to resolve to the ‘bird in hand’ theory and snag the first available seats in May 2023 Perth to Barcelona. Return award seats appear to be currently available in May 2023 so I’m hoping they will also be available when released in June 2023. It appears to be the best good use of miles option.
Thanks everyone for your excellent tips which helped me solve the puzzle.

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