The Best Value Miles Redemptions to Australia / NZ Are a Little Unconventional…

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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?


  1. Craig Sowerby says

    Nice one. I can’t believe I didn’t know that there was an Asia to Australia/NZ award chart published. Must be new… I can also see Cathay listed for US to Middle East. (70K First Class) Easier to get to/from DXB than DEL (JAL)…

  2. Matthew says

    I’m actually doing something similar to this in Sep:-

    LGW-HKG CX Business [42,500 Alaska Miles]
    HKG-BKK-SYD Thai First [40,000 United Miles]
    CNS-HKG CX Business [30,000 Alaska Miles]
    HKG-LHR Virgin Upper Class [57.500 Virgin Miles]

    Alaska Miles gained from transferring SPG to Virgin America Elevate before the Alaska merge and pocketing a bonus 10,000 free Alaska Miles and the United miles were via a Marriott travel package via 90,000 SPG. Can’t wait 🙂

    Last year I did AMS-SIN-CHC with SQ business for just 68,000 SQ miles one-way but that is no longer available but great redemption at the time.

    • Craig Sowerby says

      Brilliant Stuff! Wouldn’t change a thing (unless I could figure out how to stopover somewhere other than BKK)

      Good luck with Thai. On more than one occasion I’ve booked F for regional flights, but have ended up in J due to equipment changes and the like…

      • Matthew Switzer says

        Thanks! At the moment it’s A380 from HKG-BKK in F then B747 BKK-SYD in F but could end up getting the old F on that route but still…I’m looking forward to the buggy picking me up at the gate!

  3. Paul says

    I live in the U.K. and am a BA Executive Club Silver member.

    I have over 200,000 Avios and a free BA companion voucher.

    I would like to visit Australia with my wife early in 2018 and travel in business class.

    Any advice?

    • Craig Sowerby says

      Well, if you want to use your companion voucher, your options are very limited. (i.e. London to Sydney with British Airways) Depending on your travel dates you’ve probably already missed out, as the 2 Club World award seats promised by BA for each flight tend to be booked almost as soon as they become available (roughly 11 months in advance) for this very popular route. You would also need roughly 50-100K more Avios, depending on whether you wanted to fly on a peak or off-peak date.

      At this stage, you might be best advised to look for BA award availability to Asia, somewhere like Hong Kong, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur or Singapore. From there, you would have to use some other kind of miles or pay cash for flights to get you the rest of the way to Australia. One advantage, at least, is that stopping over for a couple of days in any of those cities can be fun, as well as being good for coping with jet lag.

      Alternatively, keep paying attention to offers from Qatar Airways, which sometimes have great Business Class fares to Australia and New Zealand.

      • Simon Bostic says

        Hello – I am Simon in UK

        I am tinkering with this same itinerary as well – i.e. I have a companion voucher from BA and am looking at using it in Club World to HKG or SIN (KL seems impossible for CLub redemptions – smaller aircraft and fewer flights perhaps?)

        Availability is good to HKG and thin on the ground to SIN. I am hoping to transfer Amex reward points to CX or SQ mileage programmes and use these plus cash fares to get to Auckland and Sydney. I don’t think I have a way of converting Alaska miles to use on CX – Krisflyer redemptions seem quite good value throughout the region although I can transfer points only to Asia Miles it seems?

        Anyway, if anyone has any bright ideas, that;s be useful.
        At least I can use BA Club World to SIN and then if absolutely necessary, slum it on Scoot to Sydney if all else fails?!


        • Craig Sowerby says

          You seem to be on the right track Simon. Amex Membership Rewards can convert to Krisflyer or Asia Miles. Or Avios of course, but you will pay “peak date” pricing on either Cathay or Qantas. Take a look at reward charts from the various programmes to see what works best.

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