Deal Alert: Los Angeles to Sydney in Business Class From $2,602 Round-Trip
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
Want to see the latest flight deals as soon as they’re published? Follow The Points Guy on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to text message alerts from our deals feed, @tpg_alerts.
Airfare deals are typically only available on limited dates. We recommend you use Google Flights to find dates to fly, then book through an online travel agency, such as Orbitz or Expedia, which allows you to cancel flights without penalty by 11pm Eastern Time within one day of booking. However, if you’re using the American Express Platinum Card, you’ll need to book directly with the airline or through Amex Travel portal to get 5x MR points. Remember: Fares may disappear quickly, so book right away and take advantage of Orbitz or Expedia’s courtesy cancellation if you’re unable to get the time away from work or family.
It can be challenging to get to Australia from the US using points and miles, and it's even harder if you want to travel in a premium cabin. That's why you might want to consider going a different route and grabbing this cheap business class fare on Xiamen Airlines. Right now you'll find tickets from Los Angeles (LAX) to Sydney, Australia (SYD) on Xiamen starting as low as $2,602 round-trip.
Xiamen is a Chinese carrier and a member of the SkyTeam alliance, so you can credit these flights to an airline like Delta and get a minimum of 100% of the miles flown as redeemable miles (along with 75% in Medallion Qualification Miles and 20% in Medallion Qualification Dollars). As far as the business class product itself, Xiamen has lie-flat seats in a 2x2x2 configuration and a reputation for good service. TPG Assistant Editor Nick Ellis flew in business on Xiamen's Boeing 787 Dreamliner last year and wrote that even though there were some quirks, he had a great experience and wouldn't hesitate to fly the carrier again.
As far as availability, there are only a handful of departure dates each month through the end of the schedule in August 2018, but there appears to be significantly more flexibility on the return leg with several options each week. You won't need any tricks to find these flights, so just use Google Flights to pick the dates you want, then book on Orbitz, Expedia or directly with Xiamen itself.
Even though most of these options require an overnight in Xiamen (XMN) on the way to Sydney, you shouldn't need a visa thanks to China's "visa-free transit" policy since these itineraries continue onwards to a third country (in this case, Australia). But if you do want to stay in China longer than 72 hours, be sure you get the right visa before traveling or you won't even be able to get on the plane. TPG recommends using a third-party service like Allied Passport & Visa; mention The Points Guy on your order form and receive a discount.
Airlines: Xiamen Airlines
Routes: LAX to SYD
Cost: $2,602+ round-trip in business
Dates: October through August 2018
Booking Link: Orbitz or Expedia
Pay With: The Platinum Card from American Express (5x on airfare), Chase Sapphire Reserve, Citi Prestige (3x on airfare) or Chase Sapphire Preferred (2x on travel)
Here are a few examples of what you can book:
Los Angeles (LAX) to Sydney, Australia (SYD) in February for $2,602 round-trip via Orbitz:
Los Angeles (LAX) to Sydney (SYD) in March for $2,602 round-trip via Orbitz:
Los Angeles (LAX) to Sydney (SYD) in May for $2,602 round-trip via Orbitz:
Los Angeles (LAX) to Sydney (SYD) in August for $2,602 round-trip via Orbitz:
Maximize Your Purchase
Be sure to use a credit card that earns additional points on airfare purchases, such as the American Express Platinum Card (5x on flights booked directly with airlines or American Express Travel), Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Citi Prestige (3x on airfare) or the Chase Sapphire Preferred (2x on all travel purchases). Check out this post for more on maximizing airfare purchases.
If you’re able to score one of these tickets, please share the good news in the comments below.
H/T: View From The Wing