The Best Ways to Fly to Australia With Points and Miles

Best Ways to Fly to Australia with Points & Miles; Sydney Opera House

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While Australia might be on the other side of the world, it continues to be a popular destination for American tourists thanks to its beautiful beaches, amazing wine, and the Great Barrier Reef.

Now you just have to figure out the best way to get there!

Unlike when traveling to Europe (where you can connect in one country and take a short flight to another with ease), Australia doesn’t really present that option. If you’re connecting abroad, you’ll likely have to do it in Asia — which means your connecting flight could be over 10 hours.

While that might work for some folks, we’re going to check out some of the best ways to fly to Australia with miles and points that don’t require you to take long connecting flights. You might have to catch a short flight within the U.S., but that will be much more convenient.

Whether you are looking for economy, business, or first class flights to Australia, we have you covered — so let’s dig into it.

Best Programs to Book Award Flights to Australia

While there aren’t many airlines that fly between the U.S. and Australia, you do have a number of great options to book award flights with your miles and points.

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

Qantas Business Class Cabin Boeing 787-9
All business class seats on Qantas’ new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner will have direct aisle access. Image courtesy of

Alaska Airlines might not offer flights to Australia, but the Alaska Mileage Plan program offers a great way to fly to Australia thanks to one of its partners. If you’re looking to use the fewest miles possible to fly business class or first class, this is the program for you.

When compared to the other U.S.-based airline loyalty programs, Alaska Mileage Plan really stands out.

Book Awards With Alaska Mileage Plan (Online Booking)

While many programs use region-based programs, Alaska Mileage Plan provides a slight twist. Rather than having a standard region to region chart, Alaska Mileage Plan has specific award prices for individual airlines. This means that an award booking to Australia can cost more or less based on the partner you fly.

Fortunately, flying non-stop from the U.S. (or with a connection in the U.S.) will require the fewest number of miles. Not only will you save some miles, but you’ll also get to Australia much quicker than if you connected in Asia.

The key to this is finding award space on Alaska Airlines’ partner Qantas. While business and first class award space are often sparse, it’s definitely worth booking if you can snag it. Booking is as easy as running a search on the Alaska Airlines website.

Let’s check out how many miles you will need to book a round-trip award, as well as the taxes and fees you can expect to pay when booking a flight on Qantas with Alaska Mileage Plan miles.

Class of ServiceQantas FlightsTaxes and Fees
Economy85,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles~$140-$150
Business110,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles~$140-$150
First140,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles~$140-$150

If you plan on booking a flight on American Airlines, these are the mileage requirements plus the taxes and fees necessary:

Class of ServiceAmerican Airlines FlightsTaxes and Fees
Economy80,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles~$140-$150
Business160,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles~$140-$150
First220,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles~$140-$150

These fees include a partner booking fee of $12.50 for each direction of the trip, so $25 for a round-trip award booking. Clearly, you’re better off booking an award flight on Qantas. Fortunately, you won’t be hit with any fuel surcharges on either of these bookings.

Need help with booking? Check out our step-by-step guide to booking Qantas business class or first class to make the booking process easy.

7 Nonstop Routes Bookable With Alaska Mileage Plan Miles

Alaska Miles to Sydney
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan has competitive redemption rates for economy class, business class, and first class awards.

You can use Alaska Mileage Plan miles to book nonstop flights from 4 airports in the United States. If you need to connect to one of these gateway airports from which Qantas operates, you’ll need to do it on Alaska Airlines — this is the one difficult part of using Alaska Mileage Plan miles.

Nonstop Routes Between the United States and Australia
Dallas (DFW) to Sydney (SYD) on QantasLos Angeles (LAX) to Sydney (SYD) on American Airlines
Los Angeles (LAX) to Brisbane (BNE) on QantasLos Angeles (LAX) to Sydney (SYD) on Qantas
Los Angeles (LAX) to Melbourne (MEL) on QantasSan Francisco (SFO) to Sydney (SYD) on Qantas

One interesting option is to fly Qantas from New York City (JFK) to Los Angeles (LAX) so you can catch your Qantas flight to Australia. To book the Qantas flight from New York City, you have to book a flight to Australia; you cannot just book a flight on Qantas to Los Angeles.

Qantas also gives you the most access to Australia with flights to 3 major cities: Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney.

To fly American Airlines to Australia, your only option is to travel from Los Angeles to Sydney. Of course, you can connect on Alaska Airlines or American Airlines from many cities in the U.S., which makes it a bit easier.

Earn More Alaska Mileage Plan Miles

Alaska Mileage Plan miles aren’t the easiest to earn, but you do have a few solid options.

Bank of America provides the cobranded Alaska Airlines credit card, which allows you to earn Alaska Mileage Plan miles directly. Bank of America provides both a business and a personal version of the card.

All Nippon Airways (ANA) Mileage Club

United Business Class
Currently, United Airlines operates a Boeing 787 with a 2-2-2 business class cabin layout. First class is not offered by United on this route. Image courtesy of United Airlines.

With ANA Mileage Club, you will find the best redemption rates for economy class and business class to Australia on United Airlines. In fact, if you’re flush with American Express Membership Rewards points, this will be your best option.

Book Awards With ANA Mileage Club (Online Booking)

To find award space on United flights to Sydney (SYD) and book with ANA Mileage Club miles, you simply need to run a search for partner awards on ANA’s website. While United Airlines doesn’t have a great reputation in comparison to ANA, it is the only Star Alliance option with nonstop flights to Australia.

With ANA Mileage Club, determining how many miles you need will be easy as ANA uses a region-based award chart. The biggest factor to keep in mind with ANA Mileage Club is that you cannot book one-way awards; you must book a round-trip itinerary.

Check out the round-trip redemption rates and an estimate of the taxes and fees you can expect when using ANA Mileage Club to book United flights to Sydney.

Class of ServiceUnited Airlines FlightsTaxes and Fees
Economy75,000 ANA Mileage Club miles~$115-$120
Business120,000 ANA Mileage Club miles~$115-$120

ANA Mileage Club’s business class redemption rate is the real sweet spot — it’s 40,000 miles less than what’s required by United MileagePlus! Economy awards are also cheaper (but not by much), while first class awards are just a touch higher than what you’ll find with United MileagePlus.

When you search for award space, make sure you find flights on United, as other options on Star Alliance carriers will also show in the search results.

Need help booking? Check out our step-by-step guide to booking business class award tickets on United Airlines.

2 Nonstop Routes Bookable With ANA Mileage Club Miles

ANA Miles to Sydney
While ANA Mileage Club requires you to book round-trip award tickets, it provides a great way to book flights to Sydney on Australia.

Unlike Oneworld — which has Qantas and American Airlines flying nonstop routes between the U.S. and Australia — Star Alliance only has United Airlines. You can book nonstop flights on United from San Francisco (SFO) and Houston International (IAH) to Sydney (SYD), but that’s it.

All other Star Alliance bookings will require a stop in Asia, which can add a significant amount of time depending on flight schedules and award space.

Earn More ANA Mileage Club Miles

Earning ANA Mileage Club miles is a little bit easier than the first program we discussed, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan. ANA partners with American Express Membership Rewards. Points transfer at a 1:1 ratio.

With Amex Membership Rewards, you will have plenty of card choices that have bonus categories and solid welcome bonuses to help you earn the necessary points to fly to Sydney.

Here are some of the cards that earn Membership Rewards points:

Recommended Amex Cards (Personal)

The Platinum Card® from American Express - There's currently a welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $5,000 in your first 3 months. This is our favorite card for getting into 1,200+ airport lounges worldwide (including Priority Pass) and we get about $2,700+ in value from the card every year.

Plus, get up to $200 in Uber credits annually ($15 per month and a $20 bonus in December) — and up to $200 in annual credit for airline incidental charges (e.g. baggage fees). For rates and fees of the Platinum Card, click here.
American Express® Gold Card - We love using this card as it earns 4x points at restaurants worldwide and 4x points at US supermarkets (up to $25,000; then 1x). There's no better card in our opinion if you eat out and/or shop at supermarkets regularly.

With a welcome bonus of 35,000 points after you spend $2,000 in your first 3 months and a $100 airfare credit per year, for many this is an easy addition to your wallet. For rates and fees of the Gold Card, click here.

Recommended Amex Cards (Business)

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express - Right now, there's a HUGE welcome bonus of up to 100,000 points.

We get ~$5,525+ in value per year by leveraging many of the benefits & perks. This excludes getting one year of Platinum Global Access from WeWork, up to $2,700 in value.

This is the best business card for lounge access as you'll get into 1,200+ airport lounges worldwide. For rates and fees of the Business Platinum, click here.
American Express® Business Gold Card - probably our favorite Amex business card because we earn 4x points across the top 2 select categories that we spend the most money in each month. The 4x points applies to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year. This means you'll max out at a (whopping) 600,000 points per year. After that, you earn 1x. For rates and fees of the Business Gold Card, click here.
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express - This is a simple card that earns you 2x points on any business purchase, up to $50,000 annually (then 1x). That makes for an easy 100,000 points per year! The card has no annual fee. For rates and fees of the Blue Business Plus, click here.

American Airlines AAdvantage

american airlines business class 777
A lie-flat seat with direct aisle access to keep you comfortable in business class on American Airlines’ Boeing 787-9 on your flight to Sydney, Australia. Image courtesy of American Airlines.

For many travelers in the U.S., American Airlines AAdvantage is their go-to frequent flyer rewards program. When booking flights to Australia,  AAdvantage provides a great option since American Airlines and their partner Qantas both offer nonstop flights to Australia.

Book Awards With American AAdvantage (Online Booking)

The American AAdvantage program uses a region-based award chart, so flights from anywhere in the United States to Australia will require the same number of miles. To search for award space on either American Airlines or Qantas, simply visit American’s site and choose “Redeem Miles” when you search.

Hot Tip: One big advantage of the American AAdvantage program is that you can put award seats on hold for up to 5 days.

While the redemption rates aren’t the cheapest out there, it’s easy to book with American AAdvantage and get connecting flights to a gateway airport with flights to Australia.

Let’s take a look at the round-trip redemption rates plus the taxes and fees you can expect when booking with American AAdvantage miles.

Class of ServiceAmerican Airlines and Qantas FlightsTaxes and Fees
Economy80,000 American AAdvantage miles~$190-$195
Business160,000 American AAdvantage miles~$190-$195
First220,000 American AAdvantage miles~$190-$195

If you want to fly first class, your only option will be Qantas — American Airlines does not operate a flight to Australia with a first class cabin.

Need help booking? Check out our step-by-step guide to learn the best ways to book business class award tickets on American Airlines.

6 Nonstop Routes Bookable With American AAdvantage Miles

AA Miles to Sydney
With several ways to earn American AAdvantage miles, you’ll have no problem booking an award flight to Australia on either American Airlines or Qantas.

Oneworld provides the most routes from the United States to Australia by far, mostly thanks to Qantas.

Here are the 6 routes you can book with American AAdvantage miles. Remember, you can connect from your home airport for no extra miles.

Nonstop Routes Between the United States and Australia
Dallas (DFW) to Sydney (SYD) on QantasLos Angeles (LAX) to Sydney (SYD) on American Airlines
Los Angeles (LAX) to Brisbane (BNE) on QantasLos Angeles (LAX) to Sydney (SYD) on Qantas
Los Angeles (LAX) to Melbourne (MEL) on QantasSan Francisco (SFO) to Sydney (SYD) on Qantas

Earn More American AAdvantage Miles

American AAdvantage miles aren’t the easiest to earn, but you do have several credit card options that can help you earn more for your big trip to Australia.

American Airlines has co-branded credit cards provided by Barclays and Citi, which can help you earn American AAdvantage miles directly.

Both card issuers often provide solid sign-up bonuses on these co-branded cards, assuming you can hit the minimum spending requirement within the stated timeframe.

Delta Air Lines SkyMiles

Delta Business Class
Delta operates a Boeing 777 on flights between Los Angeles (LAX) and Sydney (SYD) with a herringbone business class layout. Image courtesy of

Often derided for not having a public award chart and increasing redemption rates without notice, Delta SkyMiles could still be useful if you have American Express Membership Rewards points. Delta SkyMiles also gives you 2 airline options when flying to Australia.

Book Awards With Delta SkyMiles (Online Booking)

While Delta SkyMiles can be tough to use for booking award flights to Australia because of incredibly high redemption rates, your miles can be useful if you find saver level award space. The hard part is knowing how many miles saver level will require without a public award chart.

Here’s what you need to look for when booking an award flight to Australia on either Delta or their partner Virgin Australia. We’ve also included an estimate of the taxes and fees.

Class of ServiceDelta Flights (Round-trip)Delta Taxes and FeesVirgin Australia Flights (Round-trip)Virgin Australia Taxes and Fees
Economy90,000 Delta SkyMiles~$115-$120110,000 Delta SkyMiles~$115-$120
Business188,000 Delta SkyMiles~$115-$120230,000 Delta SkyMiles~$115-$120

You’ll notice that Delta requires significantly more miles to book award flights with its partner Virgin Australia. Specifically, a round-trip economy class award ticket will cost 20,000 SkyMiles more, while a business class award ticket will require an additional 42,000 miles when booking Virgin Australia. However, the required taxes and fees will remain the same.

For those booking business class, Delta operates a Boeing 777 with a herringbone cabin layout. While the layout is 1-2-1 (which means direct aisle access for everyone), you will be facing the person across from you. This does not provide much privacy.

If you fly Virgin Australia business class, the business class cabin is also arranged as 1-2-1 — but its reverse herringbone layout provides much more privacy.

Don’t be surprised if Delta requires more miles if you need a connecting flight within the United States. Additionally, Virgin Australia award space is quite tough to find (especially business class), but sometimes you will find more space closer to departure.

3 Nonstop Routes Bookable With American Delta SkyMiles

Delta Miles to Australia
Delta doesn’t have the best redemption rates, but SkyMiles are one of the few ways to book award flights to Australia on Virgin Australia.

Delta only operates 1 flight to Australia, while Virgin Australia provides 3 options — one to each major city on the east coast of Australia. All of these flights operate from Los Angeles (LAX).

Nonstop Routes Between the United States and Australia
Los Angeles (LAX) to Brisbane (BNE) on Virgin AustraliaLos Angeles (LAX) to Sydney (SYD) on Delta
Los Angeles (LAX) to Melbourne (MEL) on Virgin AustraliaLos Angeles (LAX) to Sydney (SYD) on Virgin Australia

Earn More Delta SkyMiles

The best transfer partner if you need more Delta SkyMiles is the American Express Membership Rewards program, which transfers points at a 1:1 ratio. On top of that, there are several Membership Rewards cards to choose from that can help you earn plenty of points.

You can also use one of Delta’s co-branded credit cards provide by American Express to earn more SkyMiles directly. These cards also provide a free checked bag on flights operated by Delta.

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express - The current welcome bonus is earning 60,000 Bonus Miles after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in purchases within your first 3 months and a $50 Statement Credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months [Offer ends 10/30/2019]. Plus, with a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year (then $95), this is a solid Delta card. Click here for rates and fees of the Gold Delta.

United Airlines MileagePlus

United’s own MileagePlus program is going to be your best option for flying United to Australia if you have Chase Ultimate Rewards. We’ll also take a look at an easy way to gain access to more economy class saver level award space with United.

Book Awards With United MileagePlus (Online Booking)

It’s quite easy to use your United MileagePlus miles to book award flights. You simply run a search online and select your flight once you find award space.

At times, United gives its own MileagePlus members access to more saver level award space than its partners. Even though the award rates might not be as competitive as those of ANA Mileage Club, this can be very useful.

Here are the redemption rates for round-trip award tickets booked with United MileagePlus miles, and estimates of the taxes and fees required for these bookings:

Class of ServiceUnited Airlines FlightsTaxes and Fees
Economy80,000 United MileagePlus miles~$155-$160
Business160,000 United MileagePlus miles~$155-$160

2 Nonstop Routes Bookable With United MileagePlus

United Miles to Sydney
United Mileage Plus miles can help you book award flights on United Airlines to Sydney from either Houston International (IAH) or San Francisco (SFO).

As the only Star Alliance carrier operating nonstop flights between the U.S. and Australia, you will have limited opportunities to use your United MileagePlus miles. United operates 2 flights to Sydney (SYD): 1 from Houston International (IAH) and 1 from San Francisco (SFO).

Currently, neither of these routes have United’s new Polaris business class cabin layout. You’ll notice the search results will show “United Polaris business,” but that only means you are flying an aircraft with an international business class layout. Routes with the newer Polaris seats and cabin layout are few and far between; we’ll keep an eye out for any change to United’s flights to Sydney.

Earn More United MileagePlus Miles

One of the biggest benefits of United MileagePlus is that it partners with the Chase Ultimate Rewards program. By transferring Ultimate Rewards points at a 1:1 ratio, you can quickly boost your United MileagePlus balance.

Recommended Chase Cards (Personal)

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card - This is our favorite beginners travel rewards card which has a 60,000 point bonus (highest ever) after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

This sign up bonus is worth $750 in travel purchases (flights, hotels, car rentals etc) when you redeem your points through Chase's travel portal, which works like Expedia. The bonus alone could get you multiple round-trip flights or hotel stays.
Chase Sapphire Reserve® - Consider this premium card if you want to get into a lot of airport lounges. The current sign up bonus is 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. You'll also get a $300 travel credit per year which wipes away a big chunk of the $450 annual fee.
Chase Freedom Unlimited® - A simple, no annual fee card that earns you a $150 bonus after you spend $500 in your first 3 months. Easy earning at 1.5% on all purchases. Just know that you won't get any travel benefits or the ability to earn bonus points with this card.

Recommended Chase Cards (Business)

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card - This is our #1 recommended business card and comes with a whopping 80,000 sign up bonus after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening. This bonus is worth $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards for travel purchases (flights, hotels etc). Also, if you pay for your cell phone bill with this card, you can get up to $600 in cell phone insurance coverage per year.
Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card - earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening. In addition, get up to 5% cash back on a range of business expenses. A simple, $0 annual fee card.

You can also earn United MileagePlus miles directly through any of the co-branded United cards provided by Chase.

If you have any of these cards, you will have access to additional saver level economy award space. When you consider that award flights to Australia can be tough to find, this could make accessing award space easier for you.

Oneworld Partners

Qantas First Class Dining
You can fly Qantas first class from Los Angeles (LAX) or Dallas (DFW), and enjoy plenty of space and a nice meal or 2 on the long flight to Australia. Image courtesy of Qantas.

American AAdvantage and Alaska Mileage Plan give you a couple simple options to book both American Airlines and Qantas flights to Australia from anywhere in the U.S. However, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles and Japan Airlines Mileage Bank both have distance-based award charts that can provide some interesting options.

Japan Airlines Mileage Bank

Let’s take a look at the mileage costs for some specific redemptions with Japan Airlines Mileage Bank:

RouteEconomy ClassBusiness ClassFirst Class
New York City (JFK) to Melbourne (MEL)85,000 miles125,000 miles200,000 miles
Los Angeles (LAX) to Sydney (SYD)60,000 miles100,000 miles155,000 miles
Dallas (DFW) to Sydney (SYD)60,000 miles100,000 miles155,000 miles

Except for Melbourne, the redemption rates for economy, business, and first class awards from the U.S. to major cities in eastern Australia will require the same number of Japan Airlines Mileage Bank miles.

You can earn Marriott points and transfer those to Japan Airlines at a transfer rate of 3:1. Plus, for every 60,000 Marriott points that you transfer, you’ll receive an extra 5,000 Japan Airlines miles bonus.

Recommended Marriott Cards

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card - for a limited time, earn 100,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Get automatic silver elite status each account anniversary year; and a free night award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary.
Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card - earn 75,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. A solid card for business owners who will get complimentary Marriott Bonvoy silver elite status. Annual fee is $125. For rates and fees of the Bonvoy Business Card, click here.

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles

Asia Miles made major changes to their awards on June 22, 2018, with awards now called Standard Award and Choice Award. Flying Cathay Pacific, US to Australia awards now price under the Ultra-Long Haul price.

Asia Miles Standard Award
Cabin ClassAsia Miles Required by Distance Zone (One-way)
Ultra-ShortShortMediumLong – Type 1Long – Type 2Ultra-Long
1-750 miles751-2,750 miles2,751-5,000 miles5,001-7,500 miles5,001-7,500 miles7,501+ miles
Premium Economy11,00018,00030,00040,00045,00060,000

Asia Miles Choice Award

Cabin ClassAsia Miles Required by Distance Zone (One-way)
Ultra-ShortShortMediumLong – Type 1Long – Type 2Ultra-Long
1-750 miles751-2,750 miles2,751-5,000 miles5,001-7,500 miles5,001-7,500 miles7,501+ miles
Premium Economy17,50028,00045,00062,50070,00091,000

Oneworld Multi-Carrier Award Chart

Flying Asia Miles partners gets complex fast. If you fly multiple Oneworld partners there is a unified distance-based chart.

One-ways US to Australia will typically fall in Zone 6 or 7:

Award zoneDistance in actual milesRequired miles
Economy ClassBusiness ClassFirst Class
010 – 1,00030,00055,00070,000
021,001 – 1,50030,00060,00080,000
031,501 – 2,00035,00065,00090,000
042,001 – 4,00035,00070,00095,000
054,001 – 7,50060,00090,000140,000
067,501 – 9,00065,000100,000150,000
079,001 – 10,00070,000110,000160,000
0810,001 – 14,00090,000135,000220,000
0914,001 – 18,000100,000155,000250,000
1018,001 – 20,000105,000165,000260,000
1120,001 – 25,000115,000185,000280,000
1225,001 – 35,000130,000210,000300,000
1335,001 – 50,000150,000240,000345,000

If you fly an individual partner airline, Asia Miles has separate award charts for every partner. Consult them here.

You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points or Citi ThankYou Points to your Asia Miles account at a 1:1 ratio.

SkyTeam Partners

In addition to using Delta SkyMiles for Delta flights to Australia, you can also use Air France/KLM Flying Blue and Korean Air SkyPass.

Air France/KLM Flying Blue

Note: Flying Blue will announce new award prices for many routes in June 2018, stay tuned for updates.

If you’re planning to book an economy class flight on Delta, you can use 100,000 Air France/KLM Flying Blue miles. Unfortunately, Flying Blue miles are not a good choice for business class redemptions. You can expect similar taxes and fees of around $155 per person.

You can search for award space on Delta flights using Air France or KLM’s websites and book from there.

If you need more Air France/KLM Flying Blue miles, you can transfer them from any of the transferable points programs:

  • American Express Membership Rewards
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Citi ThankYou Points

Korean Air SkyPass

Korean Air SkyPass miles will not be a go-to for economy class awards, but they are a solid way to book business class awards on Delta flights. Business class awards will cost 185,000 Korean SkyPass miles. As with Flying Blue, you can expect roughly $155 in taxes and fees.

An important aspect of the Korean Air SkyPass program to remember is that you are required to book a round-trip award. In theory, you could fly one-way — but you’d still be required to use the mileage cost for a round-trip ticket.

You can search for award space on Korean Air’s website; make sure you select SkyTeam Award. You can either book from the site or call Korean Air.

You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to your Korean Air SkyPass account when you are ready to book.

Hot Tip: For more information, check out our guide to searching for Skyteam award availability. 

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Virgin Australia business class
You can use Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles to book a business class award on Virgin Australia from Los Angeles (LAX) to Sydney (SYD), Melbourne (MEL), or Brisbane (BNE). Image courtesy of Virgin Australia.

Another option to book Virgin Australia flights between Los Angeles (LAX) and Australia you might want to consider is the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. You can book a round-trip economy class award for 94,000 Flying Club miles. If business class is more your style, you can use 188,000 Flying Club miles for a round-trip award.

Hot Tip: You can use Delta’s website to search, then call Virgin Atlantic Flying Club to put your award on hold. Once you have done that, you can transfer points from any of the transferable points programs and then call back to complete your award booking.

Final Thoughts

Unsurprisingly, nonstop award flights to Australia from the United States can be quite difficult to find, particularly during peak travel seasons such as Christmas and New Year’s. If you have a hefty balance of any of the transferable points we’ve discussed, you’ll at least have a couple options to book an award flight to Australia.

Remember that when using distance-based programs such as Japan Airlines Mileage Bank or Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, you’ll want to consider your departure airport. If you’re on the East Coast, you might need more miles for your booking.

Fortunately, the taxes and fees required for these bookings are reasonable — all you have to do is decide when you want to go and start searching for award space!

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What is the fewest number of miles you can use to book an economy class award flight to Australia?

Japan Airlines Mileage Bank requires the fewest miles for a round-trip nonstop economy class award on American Airlines or Qantas to Sydney or Brisbane at 60,000 miles.

If you’re flying from the East Coast to Melbourne, American AAdvantage and United MileagePlus require 80,000 miles round-trip.

What is the fewest number of miles you can use to book a business class award flight to Australia?

As with economy awards, Japan Airlines Mileage Bank provides the cheapest business class award option at 100,000 miles to Sydney and Brisbane.

Flying from the East Coast, you can book a business class award for 110,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles if you can find an itinerary that includes only 1 partner (American Airlines or Qantas).

What is the fewest number of miles you can use to book a first class award flight to Australia?

Your first class options are limited to flights on Qantas. You can fly Qantas first class round-trip for 140,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles.

Spencer Howard

About Spencer Howard

Always a fan of flying, it was only natural that Spencer was drawn to finding a way to improve the travel experience. Like many, he started this journey searching for cheap flights to take him around the world. This was fun for a while, but Spencer was intrigued by the idea of flying in business and first class! Throwing himself into what became an extensive research project, Spencer spent 3-4 hours per night learning everything he could about frequent flyer miles over the course of several months (he thinks this is normal).


Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Bonus Valuation*: $1,150+

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*Our bonus valuation is calculated internally by experts at Upgraded Points, not the card issuer. See our latest valuations here.

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
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Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.


  1. Marilyn B · August 27, 2018 · Reply

    Have seen your posts on OMAAT. This is an absolutely awesome post! Will help me tremendously.

  2. I just wanted to let you know that your rates need updated…..badly. It says on the article that it was updated on May 10th of 2019, but it is obvious that it is not updated at all for current redemption rates. United Business class round trip Base Business fare is 200K each way, you have listed 80k! It is 90K business class with saver availability…..each way. Round trip is never under 180K. Please update.

    • Stephen Au · June 18, 2019 · Reply


      Thanks for reading. You are incorrect in saying that business class is 90,000 United miles on United metal. It costs 80,000 miles each way on United Airlines-operated flights and 90,000 miles on Star Alliance partners.

  3. “As the only Star Alliance carrier operating nonstop flights between the U.S. and Australia, you will have limited opportunities to use your United MileagePlus miles. United operates 2 flights to Sydney (SYD): 1 from Houston International (IAH) and 1 from San Francisco (SFO).”

    The above statement is incorrect. United flies to Sydney from LAX, SFO and IAH daily (except in the northern hemisphere summer, when they decrease service to 3x (LAX) and 4x (IAH) weekly). There are also daily flights from LAX and SFO to Melbourne (SFO service starting 10/2019) – uncertain on the seasonal variance in these flights. Hope that helps people.

    Just scored some 4 award tickets to SYD 12/30 —- and there looks to be plenty to open (elite) business class award space (IN and PZ class) to Australia.

    • Stephen Au · July 16, 2019 · Reply

      Hey Brent!

      Thanks for reading. We appreciate your feedback and we’re in the process of updating this piece.

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