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The best value Miles redemptions to Australia and New Zealand require a little imagination, despite (or perhaps because of) the enduring popularity of the Antipodes.
You could use Avios on BA to Sydney of course – if you have 300,000 / 400,000 for Business / First Class during Peak dates…. Plus hundreds in taxes… If you can find availability…etc.
Or you can think a little outside the ‘Avios box’ and save your Avios for when it is possible to get better value from them.
Before I go further, I should say that the following examples are really just meant as the start of a conversation – there might be even better options I haven’t thought of, so please get involved in the comments and on the forum if you have some ideas!
Option 1: Use Alaska Miles on Cathay Pacific via Hong Kong
Alaska Mileage Plan Miles are great, but they do have limitations. One of these limitations is that you can only book awards that are explicitly listed on the site. When you click on the options from Europe, neither Australia nor New Zealand come up, which seems like a problem.
Fortunately, what you can do is book two very reasonably prices awards instead.
Europe to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific (one-way) is 30,000 in Economy, 35,000 in Premium Economy, 42,500 in Business Class, and 70,000 Miles in First Class.
The pick of the crop for me there is definitely Business Class for 42,500.
From Hong Kong to Australia or New Zealand (one-way) is 22,500 in Economy, 25,000 in Premium Economy, 30,000 in Business Class, and 45,000 in First Class.
In other words, you’re looking at 52,500 in Economy, 60,000 in Premium Economy, 72,500 for Business, and 115,000 Miles for First Class in total (one-way). For Business / First that’s about half the number of Avios you would need, and there are no surcharges with Alaska on Cathay either. You get to stopover in Hong Kong for as long as you like too!
It’s also worth mentioning that Virgin Atlantic offers good value redemptions between London and Hong Kong (57,500 / 67,500 peak / off peak for Upper Class), and if you just book a one-way back to London from Hong Kong there aren’t any surcharges. Given how relatively easy it is to earn Virgin Flying Club Miles in the UK, mixing in a Virgin redemption on one of the legs could be a great idea.
Option 2: Using Alaska Miles via North America
Ok, this one seems a little more ‘out there’ – but could actually make a lot of sense.
Thanks to Norwegian and Wowair etc, getting to the USA (particularly East Coast) is now often extremely good value, if you don’t mind a ~7 hour flight in Economy. I just booked a Return for a little over £200, direct from the UK in the middle of Summer, so I mean really good value.
Alaska has brilliant award pricing for flights between the US and Australia / NZ on partners Qantas, Cathay Pacific and Fiji Airways (I’m aware the charts say for travel between the Continental US and the Continental US – that’s a glitch on the Alaska website – these are the correct prices to Aus/NZ):
Fiji and Qantas at 55,000 Miles in Business Class one-way are the standouts – particularly when you bear in mind you can get a free stopover in each direction and there are no ‘surcharges’ too.
You could, for instance, see New York, Fiji, Auckland and Sydney all on the same trip for ~£300 and 110,000 Alaska Miles – with everything except the transatlantic legs in Business Class!
Best Value Miles Redemptions to Australia / NZ Bottom line
Getting to Australia / New Zealand is usually pretty expensive whether you use cash or Miles – particularly in Business or First Class. With a bit of flexible thinking though, you can see more of the world and pay substantially less.
It’s a lot of flying too, so I think being able to break the journey up a bit is valuable too.
Don’t forget that you can currently buy Alaska Mileage Plan Miles for a pretty fair price at the moment if you don’t have any. You can also transfer SPG Starpoints (and therefore Amex Membership Rewards Points indirectly too).
What do you think the best value Miles redemptions to Australia and New Zealand are?