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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 Platinum Card® from American Express, you’ll need to book directly with the airline or through the 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.
Flights to Australia have dropped under $600 round-trip! United, Delta, American Airlines and their Australian partners Qantas and Virgin Australia are all competing to be the ones to fly you “down under.” The sub-$600 deals are from Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO), but there are also great fares from Seattle (SEA), Oakland (OAK), Phoenix (PHX) and Chicago (ORD).
In case you need more convincing, here’s our trip-spiration video about the state of Victoria. I can tell you from personal experience having traveled to Australia in December 2017 that Melbourne and the surrounding area are worth the trip:
If you’re looking to book a deal with American Airlines, note that Melbourne and Sydney are also two of the destinations eligible for 20,000 bonus miles if you book a flight+hotel package through AA Vacations. This can be an excellent way of working in a final year-end mileage run to a great destination. Just note that the T&C of this promotion requires the hotel stay to match the length of the trip.
Airline: United, Delta, Virgin Australia, American, Qantas, Hawaiian
Routes: LAX/SFO/SEA/OAK/PHX/ORD to MEL/SYD/BNE/ADL
Cost: $581+ round-trip in economy
Dates: Dec 2018 – August 2019
Booking Link: Orbitz, Expedia or directly with the airline
Pay With: The American Express Platinum Card (5x on airfare), Chase Sapphire Reserve, Citi Premier Card, Citi Prestige (3x on airfare plus trip delay insurance) or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on travel)
Los Angeles (LAX) to Melbourne (MEL) for $581 round-trip nonstop on United:
Los Angeles (LAX) to Sydney (SYD) for $593 round-trip nonstop on Delta/Virgin Australia:
Los Angeles (LAX) to Sydney (SYD) for $593 round-trip nonstop on United:
San Francisco (SFO) to Sydney (SYD) for $593 round-trip nonstop on United:
Los Angeles (LAX) to Sydney (SYD) for $593 round-trip nonstop on American Airlines:
Los Angeles (LAX) to Brisbane (BNE) for $602 round-trip on United/Qantas:
San Francisco (SFO) to Melbourne (MEL) for $636 round-trip nonstop on Qantas:
Los Angeles (LAX) to Adelaide (ADL) for $658 round-trip nonstop on Virgin Australia:
Seattle (SEA) to Brisbane (BNE) for $667 round-trip on Hawaiian:
Oakland (OAK) to Brisbane (BNE) for $667 round-trip on Hawaiian:
Phoenix (PHX) to Sydney (SYD) for $677 round-trip on Hawaiian — with 24-hour layover in Honolulu:
Chicago (ORD) to Melbourne (MEL) for $712 round-trip on United:
Maximize Your Purchase
Don’t forget to use a credit card that earns additional points on airfare purchases, such as The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x on flights booked directly with airlines or American Express Travel), Chase Sapphire Reserve, Citi Premier, Citi Prestige (3x on airfare) or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on all travel purchases). Check out this post for more on maximizing airfare purchases.
Featured image by CraigRJD via Getty Images
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The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), up to a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at Marriott and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,200 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the annual fee makes sense for you.
- Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
- Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
- 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
- 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
- Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
- Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
- Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
- $550 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees