Lie Flat to Australia: United Business Class Saver Awards Available for the Whole Family

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The holy grail of airline redemptions in the frequent flyer world was generally thought to be securing business class awards to Australia and New Zealand at the saver level. These awards existed, but getting them took skill, luck, or both. In the last few years finding those awards has gotten somewhat easier as more routes have been launched, but it is still pretty tough to get business class saver awards for a whole family from the United States to Australia and back.

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Or rather, it is normally pretty tough to score those awards. If you want to fly from Houston to Sydney and back in business class this summer, start packing your family’s bags because there are saver awards aplenty for as many as nine people.

I recommend using United’s 30-day calendar view as shown above to spot the days listed at the business class saver rate of 80,000 miles each way. If you don’t want to spend 160,000 United miles per person to fly round trip business class to Australia, you can fly the very same United-operated flights for just 120,000 miles if you book via Star Alliance partner, ANA.

ANA charges just 120,000 miles for a round trip business class award from the United States to Australia. If you already have ANA miles, or you have Amex Membership Reward points you can transfer to ANA, this is another way to take advantage of the better than average United business class availability to Australia. Know that transfer times from Amex Membership Rewards to ANA are not instant, and typically take 1 – 2 days in my experience. If you have 480,000 ANA miles (or Membership Reward points) burning a hole in your pocket, you can cash them for four round trip business class tickets to Australia and back thanks to the United saver award availability.

In terms of weather, Sydney temperatures in June and July look to often be in the 40 – 60 degree range, which sounds lovely given that we are pushing 100 here right now.

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  1. So frustrating how United refuses to open up any saver business awards between Australia and the US until ‘last minute’. Ive been trying to grab 3 business saver between SYD and SFO/LAX/IAH and cannot find a single saver award available even with expertflyer in April 2019, i started looking ~355 days out (united 337 i believe). Best so far was two flights via YVR on AC came up,nothing else. Looks like United only opens up saver seats ~45-60 days out, makes MP miles less attractive for me and my use cases.

  2. Random question: I’m planning a trip to Hawaii from ORD for my wife and 3yo son. Would it be possible to book 2 business class seats for wife and son and 1 economy for myself but for me to spend most of the flight with my son in his seat? I understand I might have to go to the back of the plane occasionally but if I can save myself having to book 3 business class seats that’d be great.

    • I think its unlikely that the crew will let that slide so you would be taking quite a risk. Its a creative idea though.

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