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The 10 Best Ways to Fly Business Class to Australia on Points

In this edition of our series on travelling to different parts of the world in the comfort of business class, we look at Australia and the wider Oceania region.

After maintaining some of the strictest border measures since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Australia recently announced a full reopening to fully vaccinated travellers as of February 21, 2022.

Given the vast distance between North America and Australia, flying in comfort makes a world of difference on this long-haul route. 

Let’s have a look at the 10 best ways to get to Australia in business class on points, with a particular focus on flights originating in Canada.

In This Post

1. Air Canada

Canada’s largest airline, Air Canada, operates direct flights to Australia from its west coast hub in Vancouver. 

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were direct flights offered to Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne. 

As of the time of writing, Air Canada is operating a five-times-weekly service to Sydney, which becomes daily as of late April. Daily service to Brisbane is set to begin in late October, while the Melbourne route remains unscheduled.

On the Sydney route, Air Canada operates the Boeing 777, and on the Brisbane route, it operates the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner. While the seats are largely the same, there are some minor differences to consider.

Air Canada 777 business class – Main cabin

With Aeroplan, pricing for these flights is subject to the distance bands on the North AmericaPacific zone on the Flight Reward Chart.

Direct flights from Vancouver to Brisbane measure 7,351 miles, placing them in the second distance-based tier. At the lower end of the dynamic spectrum, you can expect to pay around 75,000 points for a one-way flight in business class. 

Direct flights from Vancouver to Sydney measure around 7,757 miles, placing them in the third distance band. At the lower end of the dynamic spectrum, you can expect to pay around 85,000 points for a one-way flight in business class.

Adding a connecting flight from almost anywhere in Canada to Australia will keep the distance below 11,000 miles, so if you plan your trip out far enough in advance, you can expect to pay around 85,000 points

So far in 2022, I’ve had plenty of success finding flights for Points Consulting clients at the low end of the dynamic spectrum throughout the year.

If you happen to have Aeroplan Elite Status and, therefore, eUpgrades, at your disposal, adopting the “Latitude Attitude” can score you an outstanding deal on flights to Australia.

I managed to book a flight for my wife and myself from Toronto to Brisbane via Vancouver for 47,300 points and 13 eUpgrade credits. At almost half the cost of a regular business class booking, or an even better deal if the flight priced higher in the dynamic range, this is arguably one of the best possible uses of eUpgrades.

Air Canada 777 business class – Seat 11A

2. Air New Zealand

New Zealand’s flag carrier, Air New Zealand, operates a number of direct flights from its hub in Auckland to major gateways in North America.

With service to Vancouver, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, as well as Cairns, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth in Australia, Air New Zealand can indeed be an excellent way to access both New Zealand and Australia.

Unlike Australia, though, New Zealand isn’t on a trajectory to welcome tourists until later on in 2022. If you’re planning a trip for the end of the year or into 2023, keep an eye out for the hard-to-find business class award space.

Queenstown Hill Summit

Flying from Vancouver to any Australia hub via Auckland would fall in the third distance band on the Aeroplan flight reward chart. Since it is a Star Alliance partner airline, the cost is fixed at 85,000 points per direction, although you could add a stopover in New Zealand for an additional 5,000 points.

Award space can be notoriously difficult to find for flights to or from North America. I’ve seen more award availability from hubs in Asia, so if trying out Air New Zealand is on your bucket list, consider looking for flights to Auckland from Asia as an option, too.

Ricky flew with Air New Zealand from Auckland to Los Angeles back in 2019 and gave it a solid review. The airline operates the Boeing 787 Dreamliner on many of its long-haul routes, which makes for a quiet, comfortable ride.

Air New Zealand business class – Seats 9A and 10A

3. All Nippon Airways

All Nippon Airways (ANA) operates flights to a host of cities in North America, as well as to two cities in Australia: Sydney and Perth.

The airline has earned a reputation for outstanding hard- and soft-product offerings onboard its aircraft. If flying direct isn’t imperative for you, you could enjoy a world-class business class product on both legs, in addition to a potential stopover in Japan.

ANA 777 new business class – Main cabin

ANA offers direct flights from Vancouver and a number of American hubs to Tokyo. From there, both Sydney and Perth are serviced by the airline. 

Canadian travellers flying from Winnipeg or farther west can expect to pay around 85,000 points with Aeroplan for a one-way booking in business class to or from Australia.

Anyone east of Winnipeg could consider buying a separate positioning flight to another hub to avoid the jump to 105,000 points in the fourth distance band on the flight reward chart.

Award space between Tokyo and Australia can be pretty sparse, especially to Sydney. ANA typically releases one seat between Tokyo and its Australian destinations far in advance, so securing seats for two may be difficult if you’re travelling as a couple.

ANA 787 business class – Window seat

4. Cathay Pacific

As the first Oneworld airline on this list, Cathay Pacific is known for an excellent in-flight offering. 

At the time of writing, the airline is in a very unfortunate position, with its network curtailed due to ongoing effects of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. Passengers have been barred from transiting Hong Kong for quite some time, and there is currently no end in sight.

Optimistically assuming that the Hong Kong-based carrier will indeed resume service in the near future, you’d be able to enjoy flights to Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane via Hong Kong. Cathay Pacific operates flights to Vancouver, Toronto, Boston, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

There are a number of ways to book business class flights on Cathay Pacific: Alaska Mileage Plan, British Airways Avios, or Cathay Pacific’s own Asia Miles.

Booking Cathay Pacific from North America to Australia using Alaska Mileage Plan would cost 60,000 miles in business class.

For Canadians, the primary way to earn Alaska miles is through a credit card signup bonus, such as with the MBNA Alaska Airlines World Elite Mastercard. Another option is to transfer points from Marriott Bonvoy at the optimal increment of 60,000 Bonvoy points to 25,000 Alaska miles. 

With Avios, reward flight bookings are subject to distance-based pricing. So, the farther you fly, the more you’ll pay. 

For example, flying from Vancouver to Melbourne via Cathay Pacific would cost 154,500 Avios in business class, which is significantly more than we saw with booking the same flights on Alaska Mileage Plan. You could consider a Oneworld multi-carrier award as a way to reduce the number of miles required.

Avios, though, are much easier to come by, as they are a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards at a transfer ratio of 1:1, and RBC Avion at a transfer ratio of 1:1. Both programs often offer conversion bonuses of up to 50%. There’s also the option of earn Avios through the RBC British Airways Visa Infinite

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Another option to book business class on Cathay Pacific is with its own loyalty program: Asia Miles.

For Canadians, earning Asia Miles is relatively easy, as it’s a transfer partner of Amex Membership Rewards at a transfer ratio of 1:0.75, RBC Avion points at a 1:1 ratio, and HSBC Rewards at a ratio of 25:8. RBC also offers the co-branded RBC Cathay Pacific Visa Platinum Card.

Redeeming Asia Miles for Cathay Pacific flights is subject to a distance-based award chart. 

All flights between North America and Australia would fall under the Ultra-Long category, pricing at 85,000 miles in business class. If you can’t find space from Vancouver or Toronto, consider looking for flights from any of the American hub cities as an alternative option.

5. Etihad Airways

On this list, we have so far only seen routes that take you across the Pacific Ocean to get to Australia. But why not fly via Abu Dhabi onboard Etihad Airways to get down under?

Toronto is the sole Canadian city served by this United Arab Emirates carrier, which also flies to New York JFK, Washington Dulles, and Chicago. From its base in Abu Dhabi, you can connect to Sydney or Melbourne.

Using Aeroplan points, flying from Toronto to Australia via Abu Dhabi measures over 14,000 miles. This means it would cost a fixed price of 105,000 points for a one-way flight in business class.

While the journey would last almost 29 hours, it’s sure to be a very comfortable way to fly. Etihad operates both the older Boeing 777 and the newer Boeing Dreamliner 787 on the Toronto route, with the latter offering a more comfortable flight.

Award space from Toronto can be limited, but booking well in advance from any of the North American destinations should be well within the realm of possibility. 

6. Fiji Airways

An honourable mention here goes to Fiji Airways, a carrier based in beautiful Fiji. 

This airline doesn’t fly to Canada, but operates flights to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Honolulu in the United States. A stopover in Fiji could therefore be something to consider as part of a larger Oceania holiday.

The best way to book flights with Fiji Airways is with Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan. A one-way flight in business class from North America to Australia would cost 55,000 miles.

You can add a free stopover in Fiji on your booking, so if you’ve ever dreamed of exploring the South Pacific and Australia, be sure to search for availability on Fiji Airways.

Business class award space between to Nadi from Los Angeles or San Francisco can be difficult to come by, so be sure to snag the space if you can find any.

Fiji Airways 737 business class – Cabin

7. Japan Airlines

Oneworld’s Japan Airlines is another excellent airline to fly with in any circumstance. 

Japan Airlines flies to Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Dallas, Chicago, New York JFK, and Boston, as well as to Sydney and Melbourne in Australia.

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to fly from North America to Australia with Japan Airlines using Alaska Mileage Plan, and Avios redemptions can get quite expensive. Your best bet is to use Asia Miles to fly this routing on a redemption.

Note that searching for space can be problematic on the Asia Miles website. If you use the main search engine, entering in a North American departure city with an Australian arrival city won’t show Japan Airlines as an option. Rather, you’ll need to use a “secondary” search engine, which then will show flight availability via Japan. 

You can expect to pay a few hundred dollars in taxes and fees when using Asia Miles, which isn’t ideal, but is much more affordable than paying cash for the ticket. 

On flights between American hubs and Tokyo, as well as on flights to Australia, you’ll enjoy Japan Airline’s “Sky Suite”. Not only will have a private, comfortable flight, but you’ll be offered delicious dining and excellent snacks throughout the flight.

 

8. Qantas

Australia’s largest carrier Qantas offers another direct link from North America. 

With its main hub in Sydney, it operates direct flights to Vancouver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, and Honolulu. From Los Angeles, there are also direct flights to Brisbane and Melbourne.

Booking flights on Qantas is best done using Alaska Mileage Plan. A one-way flight from North America to Australia costs only 55,000 miles in business class or 70,000 miles in First Class.

As we’ve seen with other airlines, finding business class (or even First Class) award space with Qantas isn’t easy. For the best odds, be sure to begin your search 330 days in advance, when Qantas tends to release its award space to partners.

I haven’t flown with Qantas yet, but since I often travel to Australia to visit family, I’d love to test out their long-haul business class product, ideally on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

9. Qatar Airways

Doha-based Qatar Airways is known for its extensive network and its world-class business class product.

With 13 destinations in Canada and the United States and five in Australia, there should be many ways for travellers in all parts of the continent to fly the long way to Australia. Its sole Canadian route operates between Montreal and Doha.

Qatar Airways 777 Qsuites business class – Main cabin

As a Oneworld airline, in theory, it should be possible to fly between North America and Australia on award redemptions. Doing so, though, isn’t as straightforward as one would hope.

Alaska Mileage Plan doesn’t allow routing through Doha to get to Australia, and with Avios, you’d have to book two separate one-way flights or a Oneworld multi-carrier award, which could be costly.

One possibility is to book using Asia Miles. As we saw with Japan Airlines, you’d have to search for the segments on the “secondary” search engine rather than on the main one. 

Should you be able to find availability, it would cost 90,000 miles plus a handsome sum in taxes and fees. Qatar Airways imposes surcharges on reward flights, so this won’t be the least costly option on this list.

While the cost may be higher than other airlines, Qatar Airways offers an outstanding business class product with its Qsuites product. It’s arguably the best business class in the world, so the cost could easily be justified. 

Qatar Airways 777 Qsuites business class – Seat 10K

10. Singapore Airlines

The last, but certainly not least, airline on this list is Singapore Airlines. Known as one of the best airlines in the world, any flight with them is sure to be memorable.

Flying to Australia via Singapore would be ideal, both for its relatively direct routing and the excellent product. Unfortunately, Singapore Airlines doesn’t often release long-haul award space to partners on its routes to North America, instead reserving it for its own KrisFlyer loyalty program members.

In prior years, there have been exceptions to this rule, such as when business class flights between New York or Los Angeles to Singapore were available on Aeroplan.

Singapore Airlines 787-10 business class – Cabin

Singapore Airlines operates flights to US hubs, including Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York JFK, and recently began a seasonal service to Vancouver on its Airbus A350 aircraft.

In Australia, Singapore Airlines flies to Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Cairns, and Darwin. Prior to the pandemic, it released ample award space to Perth. 

If you encounter any availability one of these routes, you should consider booking it immediately, as you may not get this option on Aeroplan for quite some time.

Otherwise, if you really want to fly Singapore Airlines business class to Australia, you can look into earning KrisFlyer miles, whether that’s through transferring your HSBC Rewards points or dabbling with US credit cards.

Conclusion

Flights to Australia in business class allow you to rest and relax during what is usually a gruelling flight. Rather than feeling exhausted after 14 hours in economy, you’ll arrive ready to soak up the sun after a good night’s rest.

For Canadians, there are many options to get to Australia both directly and indirectly. As it is a very popular route for award flights, planning your trip far in advance will ensure the best availability for business class.

As there are options with a host of carriers, having access to multiple points currencies affords you the most flexibility when searching for these flights. If you need a hand, consider a Points Consulting call to help beat the learning curve.

4 Comments
  1. John

    Managed to book my in-laws on two business class trips this year. Departing Sydney and arriving in Vancouver both times (March – April and then August-September). Both times, tickets were roughly 80,000 points each way. I should get 20% back in points from the TD promotion for their first trip. Retail value of their flights is $30,000+. They’ve never flown business class and are super excited.

    1. T.J. YQQ

      That’s great value! I just flew my mom to Australia for 80,000 points, too, and it was her first experience. She loved it!

  2. Bill Mair

    Air Canada charged me 303,000 points and a $4100 for extras Toronto to Perth return business class. Three years ago it was 160,000 points amd $1,000 extras. So much for the new Aeroplan

  3. MurrayF

    Once Cathy is flying again… if you want to leave from a USA location (I assume they do not fly first to Canada) then first is about 108k Cathy points to HKG then business to AUS/NZ one way. For 20k miles extra its well worthwhile. Or like the article said, try and book on Alaska for even less to score a stopover in HGK. I found flights from AKL-JFK 12 months ago but could not fly them from NZ as getting back into the country is just too hard.

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