Sweet Spot Sunday: Fly from the US to Australia with a stop in Fiji for 20k miles plus $92

Mar 20, 2022

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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with current information.


Now that Australia has reopened to U.S. tourists, many travelers are more excited than ever about booking a trip Down Under. What’s better than a trip to Australia? Visiting Australia and Fiji on the same trip. Plus, stopping in Fiji when flying between the U.S. and Australia lets you break up your trans-Pacific journey.

So, in today’s sweet spot post, I’ll tell you how to book a one-way award from the U.S. to Australia with a stop in Fiji using Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles. This month is an excellent time to book such an award since Alaska is discounting Fiji-operated awards by up to 50% if you book by March 31 and complete your trip by Nov. 30.

Now, here’s what you should know about booking this sweet spot.

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In This Post

Why it’s special

Fiji Airways A350 business class seat
Business-class seat on Fiji Airways’ A350-900 (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

Alaska Airlines MileagePlan offers some appealing partner awards, especially if you want to fly in a premium cabin between the U.S. and Australia. In particular, Alaska Airlines’ partner award charts show the following one-way sweet spots between the U.S. and Australia:

  • Cathay Pacific: 47,500 in premium economy, 60,000 miles in business or 80,000 miles in first.
  • Fiji Airways: 40,000 miles in economy or 55,000 miles in business (20,000 miles in economy or 40,000 miles in business when you book by March 31 and complete your trip by Nov. 30).
  • Qantas: 47,500 miles in premium economy, 55,000 miles in business or 70,000 miles in first.

These rates — especially during the current sale and in premium cabins — are some of the best you’ll find for flights between the U.S. and Australia. You could argue for choosing any of these partners, especially if you can snag a first-class award operated by Cathay Pacific or Qantas.

However, today I’ll focus on Fiji Airways. Also, since business-class award availability between the U.S. and Fiji is currently extremely limited, I’ll focus on economy awards.

However, remember that Alaska Airlines MileagePlan allows you a free stopover on one-way awards. Stopping in Fiji is a great way to break up a long trans-Pacific journey and see another destination. I loved Fiji when my husband and I visited in 2019 to review the Fiji Marriott Resort Momi BayDoubleTree Resort by Hilton Fiji and InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa. Here’s how you can replicate this award using Alaska miles.

Related: Financially-feasible Fiji: How to plan a trip to Fiji without breaking the bank

How to book this award

Fiji Airways economy cabin
Fiji Airways A350-900 economy cabin (Photo by Chris Dong/The Points Guy)

Alaska MileagePlan charges a $12.50 nonrefundable partner award fee per person each way for awards booked on a partner airline. But you can cancel or change partner awards with no fees if your plans change.

Here are the steps you’ll need to follow to search for and book this sweet spot.

Step 1: Find award availability

Finding award availability that fits your dates and travel plans will likely be the most challenging part of booking this award if you want to fly in business class. As I noted above, there’s currently very little availability in business class. But, if you’re happy flying in economy, there’s still ample availability that you can snag at a great rate during Alaska’s current award sale on Fiji-operated flights.

You can’t use multiple Alaska Airlines partners on the same award. So, you’ll need to use flights operated by Alaska Airlines and Fiji Airways for this sweet spot.

Even though you’ll book your award through the Alaska Airlines MileagePlan website, I recommend using American Airlines’ calendar search to find award availability. If you need a refresher on using this tool, check out another sweet spot post I wrote recently about flying Qatar business from the U.S. to South Africa for detailed instructions.

Related: The best websites for searching Oneworld award availability

First, use American Airlines’ calendar search to find availability on a Fiji Airways operated flight between San Francisco or Los Angeles and Nadi.

Checking award availability with American's calendar
(Screenshot from aa.com)

Then, use American Airlines’ calendar search to find availability on a Fiji Airways operated flight between Nadi and Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne.

Checking award availability with American's calendar
(Screenshot from aa.com)

Additionally, if you want to originate somewhere besides Los Angeles or San Francisco, use American Airlines’ calendar search to find availability on Alaska Airlines. You’ll want to do this as a separate search from the search mentioned above due to American’s married segment award logic. You’ll also need to find MileSAAver award availability on an Alaska-operated flight.

You’ll need to find award availability for your return flights as well. Hopefully now, though, you have a good idea of how to do so.

Related: The complete guide to maximizing stopovers and open jaws on award tickets

Step 2: Search on Alaska Airlines’ website

Now that you know what dates, origin and destination to search, go to Alaska Airlines’ website. Below where you’d typically enter your search information, click on “All search options.” You’ll want to click here instead of searching for a one-way award due to your Fiji stopover.

Booking an Alaska award
(Screenshot from alaskaair.com)

Now, click “Multi-city,” select “Use miles,” and enter the information for your outbound flights. Theoretically, you could enter your return flight information here. But for now, let’s assume you want to fly one way. Click “Find flights.”

Booking an Alaska award
(Screenshot from alaskaair.com)

On the next screen, you should see the flights you found using American Airlines’ calendar search.

Booking an Alaska award
(Screenshot from alaskaair.com)

If there’s a seat image next to the award cost, you’re looking at a mixed cabin award. I expected a mixed cabin award for this business-class result since I only found economy award availability between Los Angles and Nadi. You’d need to agree to continue with the mixed cabin award if you wanted to move forward with that option.

Booking an Alaska award
(Screenshot from alaskaair.com)

But, let’s assume you decide to go forward with the 20,000-mile economy award. You can add this award to your cart by clicking on “Add to cart.”

Booking an Alaska award
(Screenshot from alaskaair.com)

Once the award is in your cart, you can check the flight details. Click “Next” once you’re ready to move forward.

Booking an Alaska award
(Screenshot from alaskaair.com)

At this point, you’ll need to sign in to your Alaska Airlines MileagePlan account and then enter or confirm passenger names and contact information. Next, you can select seats on any Alaska-operated flights in your booking. Then, you can enter your payment information and purchase your award.

Related: Best sweet spots with Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

How to earn miles for this award

Fiji Airways A350-900
(Photo by Chris Dong/The Points Guy)

You may need to earn more Alaska Airlines miles to book this sweet spot. Here are some of the best ways to do so.

Earning with Alaska Airlines credit cards

One way to rack up Alaska Airlines miles is to sign up for and use Alaska Airlines credit cards. If you’re looking to add a new card to your wallet, here’s a look at the current sign-up bonuses available on Alaska cards:

  • Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card: Buy one ticket, get one for just the taxes and fees ($0 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) and receive 40,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account.
  • Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card: Get 40,000 bonus miles plus Alaska’s CompanionFare™ from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) after you make $2,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account.

Both Alaska Airlines cards earn 3 miles per dollar spent on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases and 1 mile per dollar spent on all other purchases. TPG’s valuations peg the value of Alaska Airlines miles at 1.8 cents each. So, using these cards for purchases that aren’t with Alaska Airlines will get you an effective 1.8% return. Although this isn’t bad, many everyday spending cards would provide a better return.

Related: Get access to valuable miles: Review of the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card

Transferring Marriott Bonvoy points

Another way of earning more Alaska Airlines miles is to transfer Marriott Bonvoy points to Alaska. In particular, you can transfer Marriott Bonvoy points to Alaska at a 3:1 ratio as long as you transfer at least 3,000 points.

There are many ways to earn Marriott Bonvoy points, including hotel stays, the Marriott Eat Around Town dining rewards program and Marriott’s new partnership with Uber. You can also earn Marriott points with Marriott Bonvoy credit cards. Here’s an overview of the current offers available for new Marriott Bonvoy cardholders:

However, TPG’s valuations peg the value of Marriott Bonvoy points at 0.8 cents each and Alaska miles at 1.8 cents each. So, with the 3:1 transfer ratio, you’re giving up a value of about 0.6 cents per Alaska mile earned when you transfer Marriott points to Alaska.

Related: When does it make sense to transfer Marriott points to airlines?

Other methods for earning Alaska Airlines miles

Of course, there are many other ways to earn Alaska Airlines miles, including:

Related: 5 vacation-worthy flights you can book with just 5,000 Alaska miles

Bottom line

If you want to fly to Australia, redeeming Alaska miles this month to fly Fiji Airways later this year is a pretty great option. The taxes and fees are tolerable, you can stop over in Fiji and the award pricing is better than you’d get with most other programs.

However, it can be challenging to earn enough Alaska miles for this award since Marriott Bonvoy is the only major transferrable currency you can transfer to Alaska. Also, business-class award availability can be difficult to find.

Featured image by Eric Rosen/The Points Guy.

Updated on 6/28/22.

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