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Air China has a terrific price going from New York to Melbourne, Australia next March and April — from just $666.36 available through Expedia (or about $648 through some other OTAs). This can also be booked through the Chase Travel Portal for as little as 44.5K points if you hold the Chase Sapphire Reserve. No doubt this is a long way to fly in economy class — but this is a great price to Australia and a decent itinerary with only one stop on the way.
How to find it
This fare is available through Google Flights:
However, I can’t get the calendar view to load in Google Flights (perhaps it’s my Internet?):
To get a better idea as to availability, I popped in flexible dates on ITA Matrix. These are the results for a 10-15 day trip in March or April (and as you can see in the first screen shot, there are several possible return dates on most of these – and there are also shorter and longer trips available):
Book with Expedia or smaller agencies for less
As noted above, you can book this through Expedia:
If you want to eek out just a bit more savings, you can put your dates into Momondo, where I saw some dates from $648 (though this example is $649):
Book through Chase for 44.5K RT
If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, I am seeing these flights available through the Chase Travel portal for just 44,490 points round trip.
Does it earn miles?
It should. ITA Matrix shows these as L-class fares. Wheretocredit.com claims that L-class earns 100% mileage flown with Avianca (and Avianca’s website says the same), though the last time we posted an Air China L-class fare someone mentioned a Flyertalk thread suggesting that Air China L-class fares were not earning anything with Avianca. Other programs offer 25%-75% of the ~25,000 flown miles on this one I believe. It’s possible you could earn something.
If you need a little motivation to go, see J.M. Hoffman’s You Gotta See This: Melbourne and Sydney. I stayed at the Grand Hyatt Melbourne earlier this year and used a suite upgrade award. The suite was very spacious and comfortable.
But whatever you do, you can’t really go wrong in Australia.
Keep in mind that this will be fall in Melbourne, but temperatures should still be great. Furthermore, after you’ve flown to Australia in economy class, this could be a great excuse to book that fantastic 40K-each-way first class award ticket noted last night in our week in review around the web (See: Fly first class for 40K, value from SkyMiles, upgrade strategies and a 5 year road trip). These prices won’t last. Keep in mind that you should have 24-hours to cancel without penalty (check the terms at the booking site you choose), so I’d definitely recommend booking sooner rather than later.