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I know lots of families who have on their list of a “dream trips” an adventure to Australia and/or New Zealand. Heck, it is a place still on our “dream trip” list. Even from the west coast of the United States, Australia is far. You are looking at a minimum 15 hour flight, which is clearly a pretty long time to be in an airplane seat. Because of this very long duration, many people understandably want to use their miles to fly to Australia in a lie-flat seat. This is a great plan, but the bad news is that this can often be a pretty tricky proposition for families who want multiple seats…and even harder if you are looking during school breaks like Christmas. As in, usually impossible.
However, if you act quickly it can absolutely be done. United just introduced a new route on the new 787-9 Dreamliner from Los Angeles to Melbourne, Australia that will begin operation on October 26, 2014. I started looking for award availability yesterday when the route was loaded into United’s system, but didn’t see any award availability loaded quite yet. I have often seen new routes have unusually good award availability shortly after they become bookable, and was hoping for this to play out with this route.
Then today I saw Lucky share the news that indeed award availability was loaded and it was very good in both coach and business class! I searched for four award tickets around the Christmas holidays and found four business class tickets that leave the US on December 24th and return January 9th. Other dates are available as well, but I don’t expect this amazing availability to hang around very long, especially around the holidays. I would recommend grabbing this quickly if you want to get your whole family together on an award flight to Australia. You can add your connecting flights on miles from other cities in the US for no additional price, so this isn’t a deal just for those based out of LAX. Once you are in Melbourne, you can use miles to hop around to other locations from there.
United charges 80,000 miles per person round trip in economy or 140,000 miles per person in business class round trip from the US to Australia. You can book one-way awards for half the price. However, a better deal is to book via US Airways for just 110,000 miles round trip from the US to Australia. They leave Star Alliance at the end of March, but you can still book flights that happen after that date on current Star Alliance partner United.
Good luck grabbing some of this amazing award space if Australia has been on your family’s dream list!