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Update: If the US call center is not able to see this space, try called the Australian call center. They were able to see this space when I called two times. Readers are reporting that Alaska is not seeing the space, so it may not be bookable with Alaska miles.
Qantas airlines has very good business class award availability for travel from San Francisco to Melbourne (and to a lesser extent Sydney) during November and December 2018 — peak Australian summer dates. Availability is only wide open on flights to Australia — though the good news is that if you book with American or Alaska miles, you should be able to adjust dates if you can find return availability with someone else.
- Open availability for at least 2 passengers in business class on Qantas between San Francisco and Melbourne/Sydney during November/December 2018
- Should be bookable with American Airlines and Alaska Airlines miles, though search Qantas (or ExpertFlyer) for availability as it is not all showing up on aa.com and alaskaair.com
As noted above, these seats should be bookable with AA miles and Alaska Airlines miles, but for some reason they are not all showing up on the American or Alaska Airlines websites. If you don’t have a subscription to a site like Expert Flyer to check for award space, you can search at Qantas.com (though note you’ll have to make a frequent flyer account and be logged in to search). Here is a look at availability in late November through December between San Francisco and Melbourne for 2 travelers in business class.
And here’s a look at availability to Sydney:
These awards would cost 80,000 miles one-way with American Airlines or 55,000 miles one-way with Alaska Airlines — and either airline would include positioning flights to San Francisco from your home airport (though note that if you book with Alaska miles, you could only use Alaska/Virgin flights to position to San Francisco; with American miles you could use AA or Alaska flights).
A major advantage to booking with Alaska Mileage Plan is that you could even do a stopover on a one-way award — meaning that you could fly from San Francisco to either Melbourne or Sydney and stop over in that city before continuing on to another city in Australia if you find availability. Considering the size of Australia, being able to stop in Melbourne or Sydney for a few days and then also add on a flight to Perth or Cairns or some other part of Australia is a great deal for 55,000 miles.
The catch is that you’ll need to call to book these are most of the flights are not showing up online, but you should be able to book them over the phone with an AA or Alaska agent.
We don’t often see such open availability in Qantas business class to Australia. Unfortunately, return flights are few and far between, but if you’re interested in going to Australia, it might make sense to book one of these flights now as you’ll have 9 or 10 months to search for your return leg. Since both airlines have pretty flexible change fees (none for American as long as your origin and destination remain the same and you fly within 12 months of the date of ticketing; none for Alaska as long as you change more than 60 days in advance), the risk level is relatively low.
H/T: Mile Value