Let’s talk about how to use American Airlines miles for awards to Australia and New Zealand. American Airlines miles have access to incredible economy award space to Australia and New Zealand and to some of the best First Class space in the world that flies down under.
Right now the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard® are each offering 50,000 bonus American Airlines miles after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open. Don’t be thrown off by the word “Platinum.” Both cards have no annual fee the first 12 months, and then $95.
Get both cards and meet the $6,000 total spending requirement to have over 106,000 American Airlines miles. You can earn these miles to redeem on the current chart with the current rules, which are in effect until March 21, 2016. On March 21, 2016, you can book travel through February 15, 2017 that is “locked in” at current prices and will not be affected by the subsequent devaluation. Starting March 22, American Airlines will have a new worse award chart.
If you find this guide to redeeming the most valuable miles in the world to be useful and want to apply for the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard®, please use my links. The commission is what allows me to dedicate the time to writing this series.
“Redeeming American Airlines Miles” Series Index
- Part 1 — 5 Ways to Stretch American Airlines Miles on Economy Redemptions
- Part 2 — 6 Ultra-Luxurious First Classes to Book with American Airlines Miles
- Part 3 — Where to Search Award Space for All Partners
- Part 4 — Award Rules and How Many Miles You Need
- Part 5 — Taxes, Fees, and Fuel Surcharges
- Part 6 — Redeeming for Domestic Awards
- Part 7 — Redeeming for Hawaii
- Part 8 — Redeeming for East and Southeast Asia
- Part 9 — Redeeming for Middle East and Indian Subcontinent
- Part 10 — Redeeming for Australia and New Zealand
- Part 11 — Redeeming for South America
- Part 12 — Redeeming for Europe
- Part 13 — Redeeming for Africa
- Part 14 — Redeeming for Fiji, Tahiti, Bora Bora, and French Polynesia
Australia and New Zealand
Australia and New Zealand are part of the South Pacific region on American Airlines’ award chart. This post only focuses on Australia and New Zealand. Some of the Pacific Islands will be covered in a future post. Here are all the places in the South Pacific:
- Easter Island
- French Polynesia
- New Caledonia
- New Zealand
- Papua New Guinea
- Republic of Tonga
- Republic of Vanuatu
- American Samoa
The Partners for Australia and New Zealand Awards
As I noted in the post on American Airlines award routing rules, awards to Australia and New Zealand must fly directly from North America to the South Pacific region. They cannot transit East Asia. That would break the trip into two awards and increase the miles price.
American Airlines partners with direct flights to the Australia and New Zealand from North America:
- American Airlines
Other American Airlines partners with on which you can reach Australia and New Zealand on a single award:
- Air Tahiti Nui
- Fiji Airways
Air Tahiti Nui and Fiji Airways aren’t all that useful to Australia and New Zealand because no connections of longer than 24 hours are allowed on American Airlines awards. If you want to stop in Fiji on the way to Australia, use Alaska miles instead.
Award space on American, Qantas, and Hawaiian is searchable on aa.com. Here’s how to search aa.com.
Award space on Air Tahiti Nui is searchable on Expert Flyer. Here’s how to search Expert Flyer.
Award space on Fiji Airways is searchable on alaskaair.com. Here’s how to search alaskaair.com.
From North America to the Australia and New Zealand, American Airlines charges:
- 37,500 miles one way in economy
- 62,500 miles one way in Business Class
- 72,500 miles one way in First Class
Compared to competitors, American charges much cheaper prices!
- Economy: United charges 40k, Delta charges 45k or 50k depending on the date
- Business: United charges 70k or 80k, Delta charges 80k or 95k
- First: United charges 80k or 130k, Delta miles cannot book First Class
Routes & Award Space
American flies from:
- Los Angeles to Sydney
- Los Angeles to Auckland (starting June 23, 2016)
Qantas flies from:
- Los Angeles to Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne
- Dallas to Sydney
- San Francisco to Sydney
- Honolulu to Sydney
- New York-JFK to Los Angeles to Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne
Hawaiian flies from:
- Honolulu to Auckland, Sydney, and Brisbane
Award Space on Hawaiian
The Hawaiian Airlines routes have uniformly excellent availability in economy for two passengers. However American Airlines no longer allows you to book from the United States mainland to Asia or Australia on a single award that flies Hawaiian Airlines from Hawaii to Asia or Australia.
You will have to pay two awards: your home to Hawaii plus Hawaii to Australia. That will be very expensive, so ignore Hawaiian award space unless you live in Hawaii.
Award Space on Qantas
Qantas runs three-cabin planes with economy, Business (trip report), and First. Economy award space for two passengers is excellent on all routes for most of the year except the San Francisco to Sydney route at the moment. I never see Business or First Class space for two passengers on the same Qantas flight between the United States and Australia. Occasionally there is one award seat in Business or First Class, but even these are extremely rare.
Los Angeles to Melbourne typifies the excellent award space on Qantas flights in economy for two passengers.
Business Class award space on Qantas between the United States and Australia is rare, but it exists if you’re traveling solo.
First Class award space is even rarer. I sometimes see it like these seats that were available for booking in February 2015 for October 2015 travel, but I don’t see any at the moment.
It is a shame because Qantas First Class looks awesome!
Award Space on American
There is literally zero MileSAAver award space in any cabin in either direction on the Los Angeles to Auckland flight from American Airlines that launches in June.
From Los Angeles to Sydney, there is decent economy award space.
We also see American Airlines release Business Class award space within a week of departure, and now even some days where you can book it in advance.
Another American Airlines Option to Australia
I can’t mention Australia with American Airlines miles and not mention Etihad’s First Class Apartments from Abu Dhabi to Sydney.
For only 60,000 American Airlines miles, you can get about 14 hours in the world’s nicest First Class. Getting to Abu Dhabi would require a different award.
American Airlines are fantastic to get to Australia and New Zealand in economy. There is almost zero premium cabin award space.
Awards to Australia are cheap, especially in Business and First Class if you can snag those rare seats.
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® with 50,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months, plus 10% rebate on miles redeemed up to 100,000 redeemed each calendar year
- CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard® with 50,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months
Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.
Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.