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Let’s talk about how to use American Airlines miles for awards to Australia and New Zealand. American Airlines has incredible economy award space to Australia and New Zealand and access to some of the best First Class space in the world that flies down under.
What You’re Reading
This is the ninth post in one comprehensive guide that tells you everything you need to know about American Airlines miles. Now is the time to write this guide because now is a special time to earn American Airlines miles.
American Airlines and US Airways have merged legally, but they maintain separate frequent flyer programs. The two programs will combine some time between April and June 2015, and your balances in the two programs will be combined as American Airlines miles.
- The personal American Airlines credit card is offering 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months.
- The business American Airlines credit card is offering another 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months.
- The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® will no longer be offered to new applicants as soon as the US Airways and American Airlines frequent flyer programs integrate. The card offers 50,000 bonus miles after first purchase.
Getting the American Airlines personal card, American Airlines business card, and US Airways personal card now and meeting their spending requirements means you will have at least 156,000 American Airlines miles by mid-2015.
This guide will explain the rules, quirks, tricks, and options for redeeming those 156,000 American Airlines miles all in one place. It might just put my Award Booking Service out of business when it comes to redeeming American Airlines miles.
If you find this guide to redeeming the most valuable miles in the world to be useful and want to apply for the credit cards that earn them, 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 — 10 Ways to Use American Airlines Miles
- Part 2 — Where to Search Award Space for All Partners
- Part 3 — Award Rules and How Many Miles You Need
- Part 4 — Taxes, Fees, and Fuel Surcharges
- Part 5 — Redeeming for Domestic Awards
- Part 6 — Redeeming for Hawaii
- Part 7 — Redeeming for East and Southeast Asia
- Part 8 — Redeeming for Middle East and Indian Subcontinent
- Part 9 — Redeeming for Australia and New Zealand
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:
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 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!
United charges 40k/70k/80k on its own planes and much more if you use partners. Delta charges 50k/80k/(First Class not bookable with Delta miles) for Australia.
Routes & Award Space
Qantas flies from:
- Los Angeles to Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne
- Dallas 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
The Hawaiian Airlines routes have uniformly excellent availability in economy for two passengers. You can connect to Honolulu with American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, US Airways, or Hawaiian Airlines flights for zero extra miles.
Hawaiian has two-cabin planes with economy and First Class. American prices Hawaiian First Class at the Business Class price, which is fair since it is just a large recliner seat with a lot of legroom, not any sort of bed. I flew in Hawaiian First Class from Honolulu to Los Angeles. Here is the trip report.
Honolulu to Auckland runs three days a week. There is space almost every flights for two passengers in economy, though Business Class space is rare for two passengers.
Honolulu to Brisbane runs four days a week. There is economy space for two almost every flight. Again, Business Class space is far rarer.
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. 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 Sydney typifies the excellent award space on Qantas flights in economy for two passengers.
First Class award space is super rare. Here are two seats–one per day–on October 11 and 18 from Dallas to Sydney.
Jump on the space because Qantas First Class looks awesome!
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 some premium cabin award space–but not much–if you are flying alone or don’t mind connecting in Hawaii.
(The best miles to Australia and New Zealand in Business Class nonstop are Delta miles flying Virgin Australia. There is award space for five people in Business Class on Virgin Australia flights even at peak times.)
Awards to Australia are cheap, especially in Business and First Class if you can snag those rare seats.