Or, consider other cards for 50,000 more miles or points that transfer into United miles with additional flexibility for your everyday spending.
Reward nights start at 10,000 points. Free anniversary night (no points needed) good at any IHG hotel (Intercontinental, Crowne Plaza, more).
$1,000 toward travel or transfer to United, Southwest, and more.
For a while, using Delta SkyMiles to book Virgin Australia flights from Los Angeles was the most reliable way to get Business Class awards to Australia. Virgin was good about releasing a few seats on many flights throughout the year.
Then, it tightened up, but pretty consistently released seats within a week or two prior to departure, so if you were flexible, you could snag a seat easily.
And then, it reconfigured planes with the luxurious new Business Class you see above, and things dried up, with only one or two flights the entire year showing space at any given time.
Now, it’s recovering a notch, and is releasing awards pretty reliably within a week or so before departure.
Here’s how it looks from Los Angeles to Sydney for 2 passengers.
Dates showing 95,000 miles feature the lowest price SkyMiles offers for Business Class to Australia, a bargain compared to the 400,000+ miles it tries to charge on many days.
And here’s the return from Sydney with good space very close-in.
This kind of award space is useful if you’ve managed to book one way of your trip in Business Class with a different set of miles, and need to fill the gap for one direction. If flights aren’t looking too full in Economy you can always gamble the space will open up, and if it doesn’t fall back on an Economy award.
But if you like to plan ahead, there’s another option.
Delta has become pretty good about releasing award seats 11 months out on its own flight from LAX to SYD at the same 95,000 mile price.
Here’s how it looks in late February, 2018.
Space on the return is less consistent, but with SkyMiles for ultra long haul international flights in Business Class, you take what you can get until you’ve managed to use up your miles.
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