(EXPIRED) Australia in business class: decent April 2021 availability

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At this point, it’s anyone’s guess as to when Australia will reopen its borders to foreign tourists and even more uncertain whether Americans will be among those welcome to visit when they do. However, if you are sitting on a pile of airline miles and are looking to dream about an April 2021 trip down under, there is at least some rare award availability to and from Australia at saver prices. This may be particularly worthwhile if you have American Airlines miles given that they no longer charge a fee to redeposit more than 60 days in advance and I think there is a fair chance you will know at that point whether or not the trip is plausible.

a kangaroo lying on the ground
Kangaroo Lazing in the Afternoon

The Deal

  • There is currently more availability than usual between the US and Australia for business class award tickets in April 2021 (note that availability still isn’t a daily occurrence). Some examples include:
    • 55K one-way on Qantas or Fiji via Alaska Airlines
    • 72K one-way on American Airlines via AA web special (or 80K regular price)
    • 75K one-way on Delta via Virgin Atlantic
  • See some examples below


I stumbled on this availability on Tuesday while prepping for Card Talk with Parker. It is unfortunate that it took me a couple of days to have the chance to write about this because when I searched on Tuesday, I was seeing prices like San Francisco to Sydney via Los Angeles on American Airlines entirely in business class for 66K one way. I’m now seeing those same flights available at 72K for a good handful of dates in April 2021.

a screenshot of a calendar

Flights from and to Miami, Chicago, San Francisco, and other cities were also showing 72K when connecting through Los Angeles. Availability in the other direction can be somewhat spotty, but still not impossible — here’s a look at Sydney to Washington DC via Los Angeles in April.

a screenshot of a calendar

Again, these are not mixed-cabin awards. However, they are web specials, which means less flexibility. At this price, I might lean toward paying 80K to preserve the ability to redeposit with no fee up to 60 days in advance. A 10% mileage discount isn’t enough for me to give up that flexibility in the current environment.

a screenshot of a websiteStill, it’s rare to see American Airlines premium cabin space to and from Australia.

I was similarly surprised the other day to see quite a few dates with Delta availability between Sydney and Los Angeles. Unfortunately, that seems to have dried up quite a bit, though I still see a few dates with availability for 2 passengers in April 2021.

a screenshot of a calendar

That’s pretty slim pickings, but getting 2 passengers in business class on a direct flight between the US and Australia can be quite a challenge. This route is scheduled to be operated by an A350, so it should be a comfortable ride if that’s what actually flies (nobody can reliably predict what aircraft, if any, will be flying next April).

I am even finding some Qantas business class space bookable via Alaska Airlines for 55K one-way — and keep in mind that Alaska allows a stopover on a one-way trip, enabling you to stop at your Australian gateway for a few days and then continue onward on Qantas (for example). I see sporadic dates between San Francisco and Melbourne in business class for two passengers.

a screenshot of a websiteThe other day, I also found some space out of Sydney to a couple of US cities. I’ve even found some dates with space for two passengers in Fiji Airways business class.

a white background with black text

Again, the lion’s share of these still-limited pickings are in April 2021. Will we be traveling to Australia by April of 2021? It’s hard to say. Keep in mind that Alaska now charges $125 to change or redeposit any time more than 24 hours after booking (they used to allow free changes and redeposits 60+ days in advance but they no longer do that).

I definitely wouldn’t recommend transferring any type of flexible currency to book these award tickets given the current uncertainty. On the other hand, if you already have the miles in your airline account, it might be worth taking a swing at one of these because it can otherwise be quite challenging to get to and from Australia unless you are willing to connect somewhere far out of the way. Many readers may be willing to connect far out of the way (particularly if it is in Etihad apartments), but others will probably be excited to find availability for multiple passengers up front on some of these more direct options.

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This is only originating from the US correct? I’m not seeing the reverse, but wanted to make sure. Would have been perfect for my return trip from SYD to LAX in early April (assuming I can even do the rest of the trip).


I believe Alaska is waiving change fees on flights booked through 7/31/2020 for travel through 6/30/2021, if that helps decision making. Please double check my work



Very tempting since I have a bunch of miles tied up with various airlines from cancelled trips and the like. Almost worth throwing out there speculatively but honestly it seems a real longshot in April at this point.


At this point, IMO, next April is so unlikely to be a real start date that it is most definitely not worth the bother. Alan Joyce, QF CEO, has gone on record saying almost all Qantas international flying is on hold to at least July 2021. And, Qantas just cancelled almost all its international flights thru 3/28/21 so it is highly speculative whether operations will restart by April and even more uncertain whether Americans as casual tourists will be able to enter the country by then. As a betting person I would not plan on making a booking to AU from the US any time before Q4 2021. You are just setting yourself up for hassle and disappointment. To put it in perspective the state of Victoria just went into lock down because the daily case count went over 200. That is in a locale with 6.5M people. Where I live in South Florida the combined three county region also has about the same population. Our daily case count is exceeding 4000. No way Americans will be able to reasonably expect to travel to AU for a very long time. Speculative bookings for late ‘2021 maybe but anything before that even with a vaccine is whistling in the wind.


Qantas’ “chief executive Alan Joyce predicted international flights were unlikely to resume until July 2021” per the Daily Mail


What’s missing from your analysis is the ~$3000 fee to stay in a hotel under quarantine for 14 days as mandated in Australia.