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Book now: Ample business class award space to Australia with 4 or more seats

Feb. 21, 2022
9 min read
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We are currently seeing a ton of business class award availability to Australia. Some dates even feature four or more business class award seats. But, you'll want to get on this booking now, as award availability is disappearing quickly.

Now that Australia is reopening to tourists and entry to Canada is getting even easier, this deal is coming at a perfect time. Here's a look at dates we are seeing, booking options and things to know before you complete your booking. Let's jump in, as this deal is hot and won't last long.

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Award availability to Australia with Air Canada

As reported by Straight to the Points and View From the Wing, Air Canada currently has tons of dates with business class award availability to Australia. This includes four or more seats on the same flight for numerous dates. Finding two seats together for a premium cabin redemption to Australia is common, but getting a whole family onto the same flight to Australia with an award booking is sometimes tough. Not right now.

Between June and Oct. 2022, there was saver business class award availability on more than half of all dates when I wrote this article. That won't last, though. This wide-open availability includes outbound and return legs.

To see these awards, search for flights between Vancouver (YVR) and Sydney (SYD). Here's the calendar view from United's website:

(Screenshot courtesy of united.com)

Any day you see the "99k" pricing in United's calendar view has business saver availability. Here's one outbound example:

(Screenshot courtesy of united.com)

The outbound flight departs Vancouver at 10:25 p.m. local time and arrives 15.5 hours later in Sydney. But notice that your arrival date is two days later. And here's a return example:

(Screenshot courtesy of united.com)

Return flights depart at 9:20 a.m. local time from Sydney and land on the same calendar day in Vancouver.

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Related: Vaccinations, declarations and testing: Everything you need to visit Australia now

How to check for availability

No matter how you plan to book (see options below), I recommend starting one of two places: either ExpertFlyer (owned by TPG's parent company, Red Ventures) or United.com. Both options will allow you to easily find availability for your desired group size.

If you're on United's site, put in your desired dates and number of passengers traveling. When results show up, look for green. United highlights the cheapest awards in green, which makes things easy. If you don't get lucky on your first date, use the weekly view or 30-day calendar view to find other dates. Do the same for the return leg. Now, we're ready to book.

Related: 8 things to know before visiting Australia

How to book these awards

Since Air Canada operates the flights, that means we can book with Aeroplan or with its Star Alliance partners like ANA Mileage Club, Avianca LifeMiles and United MileagePlus.

ANA pricing

Round-trip itineraries with ANA will cost 120,000 miles and $164 per person.

(Screenshot courtesy of ana.co.jp)

With ANA, remember that you must book a round-trip itinerary. Thus, ANA might not fit into your plans if you have miles spread out across various programs and plan to book through various methods.

ANA transfer partners include American Express Membership Rewards (1:1) and Marriott Bonvoy (3:1). Amex transfers can take 48 hours, while Marriott transfers typically take four days.

Related: 10 ways to redeem ANA Mileage Club miles for maximum value

LifeMiles pricing

One nice thing about LifeMiles' website is that I see "4 Seats left" in red for the date I'm looking at. Additionally, you can book one-way itineraries with LifeMiles.

(Screenshot courtesy of lifemiles.com)

For round-trip itineraries, you will pay 160,000 LifeMiles plus $123 per person.

(Screenshot courtesy of lifemiles.com)

LifeMiles transfer partners include American Express Membership Rewards (1:1), Brex (1:1), Capital One (1:1), Citi ThankYou Rewards (1:1) and Marriott Bonvoy (3:1). Besides Marriott, which typically takes under 24 hours, most transfers should take less than an hour.

Related: 10 new hotels in Australia you can visit now that the country is reopening to tourists

United pricing

With United MileagePlus, you will pay 189,000 miles plus $164 for a round-trip ticket on these flights.

(Screenshot courtesy of united.com)

Even though we saw 99k in the calendar view for all of our dates, United priced my outbound flight at 99,000 miles and my return flight at 90,000 miles. This happened on all three of my test bookings with United.

United MileagePlus transfer partners include Chase Ultimate Rewards (1:1) and Marriott Bonvoy (3:1.1). Chase transfers should be instant, while Marriott transfers typically take three days. Notice the transfer ratio from Marriott has a 10% bonus due to Marriott's partnership with United.

Related: The best ways to use points and miles to fly from the US to Australia

Aeroplan pricing

If you want to book with Aeroplan, Air Canada's own program, you have a few options.

(Screenshot courtesy of aeroplan.com)

Note that Aeroplan offers different types of business class awards. For my outbound flight, I can pay 80,300 miles plus 142 CAD (approximately $111) for a ticket with fees for changes and refunds. To get a refundable ticket that allows changes, I could opt to pay 94,300 miles (an additional 14,000 miles each way) but no increase in the cash portion of the ticket.

Bear in mind that the refund and change fees on the Lowest Reward type of ticket can be up to 150 CAD (nearly $118). For reference, the extra 14,000 Aeroplan points are worth $210 according to TPG's valuations.

(Screenshot courtesy of aeroplan.com)

The return flight is 90,600 miles plus 106 CAD (about $83). That brings my total cost per person to 170,900 Aeroplan points plus $194 for a round-trip booking.

Aeroplan transfer partners include American Express Membership Rewards (1:1), Bilt Rewards (1:1), Capital One (1:1), Chase Ultimate Rewards (1:1) and Marriott Bonvoy (3:1). The Marriott transfers usually take four days, while the others are usually instant.

Related: The best ways to maximize Air Canada's Aeroplan program

Adding connections with Aeroplan

What's nice about booking with Aeroplan is that you can add connections without paying a ton more for your ticket.

For example, here's an award starting at LAX that costs 94,900 Aeroplan points plus 58 CAD (about $46).

(Screenshot courtesy of aeroplan.com)

You may notice less-expensive award options, but these are mixed cabin awards. Be careful with Aeroplan bookings and always check which flights are in which cabins when booking mixed cabin itineraries.

Additionally, Aeroplan partners with Virgin Australia, which allows you to add connections beyond Sydney to other parts of Australia. Here are some flight options starting with the same long-haul flight YVR-SYD and then a connecting flight to Melbourne (MEL). These awards will cost 85,000 points plus 157 CAD (about $123).

(Screenshot courtesy of aeroplan.com)

Again, there are mixed cabin options at the bottom that you'll want to avoid.

Related: 19 things you need to know about redeeming with Aeroplan

Summary of options

Considering just the YVR-SYD-YVR round-trip itinerary in business class, these are your best options:

  • Aeroplan: 170,900 points plus $194 per person.
  • ANA: 120,000 miles plus $164 per person.
  • LifeMiles: 160,000 miles plus $123 per person.
  • United: 189,000 miles plus $164 per person.

The cheapest option is ANA Mileage Club. If you have a stash of Membership Rewards available, this is your best option.

If you don't have enough Membership Rewards and need to 'add up to it,' your best option is LifeMiles. You can pool points from numerous bank programs here to make your booking for these flights.

Related: How (and why) you should earn transferable points

Bottom line

This is a hot deal, so the seats will disappear as this award availability gets more attention. At the time of writing, I saw a ton of availability for YVR-SYD business class awards flying on Air Canada. Numerous dates are available for four or more people, which is tough to find on business class awards.

From the time I started writing until the time I finished, availability went from nearly every day from June to Oct. 2022 to half the dates in June to Oct. 2022. If you're interested in booking, act fast. Book a refundable fare (or one with low cancellation fees) and then talk it over with your family after the seats are confirmed.

Featured image by Park Hyatt Sydney February 2018. (Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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    Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.

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    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

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Why We Chose It

Sometimes it's worth a large investment to reap the benefits of a great credit card. That's exactly the case with the Amex Platinum card. In exchange for the annual fee, you'll unlock access to the Amex Membership Rewards program that let you access airline and hotel transfer partners, along with new lifestyle and travel credits. This card is also incredibly rewarding for travel purchases, helping you rack up a ton of Membership Rewards points for your next award trip.

Pros

  • The current welcome offer on this card is quite lucrative. TPG values it at $1,600.
  • This card comes with a long list of benefits, including access to Centurion Lounges, complimentary elite status with Hilton and Marriott, at least $500 in assorted annual statement credits and so much more. (Enrollment required for select benefits.)
  • The Amex Platinum comes with access to a premium concierge service that can help you with everything from booking hard-to-get reservations to finding destination guides to help you plan out your next getaway.

Cons

  • The high annual fee is only worth it if you’re taking full advantage of the card’s benefits. Seldom travelers may not get enough value to warrant the cost.
  • Outside of the current welcome bonus, you’re only earning higher rewards on specific airfare and hotel purchases, so it’s not a great card for other spending categories.
  • The annual airline fee statement credit can be complicated to take advantage of compared to the broader travel credits offered by competing premium cards.
  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Ups are excluded.
  • American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. There are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only.
  • Get up to $300 back per calendar year on the Equinox+ digital fitness app, or eligible Equinox club memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card. Enrollment required. Learn more.
  • Breeze through security with CLEAR® lanes available at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your membership when you use your Card. Learn more.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees