Booking First Class or Business to Australia can be extremely challenging.
- United doesn’t release Business Class Saver space on its 787-9 from Los Angeles to Melbourne and doesn’t have First Class on the flight.
- United does release some First and Business Class on its 777s from Los Angeles and San Francisco to Sydney. It has released none for November or December 2015.
- Air Canada (bookable with United miles) releases some Business Class on its 777 from Vancouver to Sydney. It has released one day in December 2015. There is no First Class on the flight.
- Delta releases almost no Level 1 award space on its flight from Los Angeles to Sydney in Business Class. Delta doesn’t operate international First Class.
- Qantas releases some space 355 days out to its own mileage program and British Airways, which charges way too many miles plus fuel surcharges for the space. By the time the award space becomes available to American Airlines miles–330 days out–a lot of it is gone. What’s left is cheap though. See today’s full post on Qantas award space.
That leaves Virgin Australia.
There is award space nearly every day between the United States and Australia in Virgin Australia Business Class.
Delta charges 80,000 miles one way to book Virgin Australia Business Class between the United States and Australia, and the award space is searchable and bookable on delta.com.
You can book Delta awards up to 330 days in advance, so you can currently book through December 8, 2015. For the last month until December 8, beautiful late-spring-turning-into-summer days in Australia, there is award space almost every day in Business Class on Virgin Australia flights.
Virgin Australia flies to Sydney and Brisbane from Los Angeles, with connections throughout Australia and New Zealand.
Some of the award space pictured is on the direct Los Angeles to Sydney flight, some connects in Brisbane, and some is Korean Airlines award space that connects in Seoul.
On the return, the taxes vary based on the routing, so just by looking at the taxes displayed on the five-week calendar on delta.com, you can know whether direct award space is available or not.
The four days highlighted above are the only four days without direct Virgin Australia award space. Those days only have Korean award space.
Australia in a premium cabin is a weird award. It is nearly impossible with every airline and type of miles, but it’s the opposite with Delta miles on Virgin Australia: there’s award space nearly every day, even at peak times. I’ll keep an eye on space for the next few months as the heart of summer 2016 becomes bookable to see if award space is just as plentiful for January and February 2016. I bet it will be.
Virgin Australia Business Class is not the nicest in the world, but you’ll hardly be slumming it.
You get a fully flat bed that is 6’2″ long with a duvet and pillow. You’ll have a personal entertainment screen and access to an onboard bar.
Not all seats have direct aisle access, and reports of the food and service are less glowing than Asian airlines, but this a solid Business Class product where you will be able to sleep and entertain yourself on the 14+ hour flights.
Getting the Miles
There are several co-branded Delta credit cards, plus Membership Rewards and Starpoints transfer to Delta miles.