Given the vast distance between North America and Australia, flying in comfort makes a world of difference on this long-haul route.
Fortunately, many North American airlines have direct flights to Australia, and there are also plenty of other single-connection options via Asia and the Middle East if you’re not opposed to taking the long way around.
Australia is a hot destination for Miles & Points enthusiasts. Luckily, there are many different ways to get there using various loyalty programs, so you should at least have a couple of options if you plan far enough in advance.
Without further ado, here are the 11 best ways to get to Australia in business class on points, listed alphabetically.
In This Post
- 1. Air Canada
- 2. Air New Zealand
- 3. All Nippon Airways
- 4. Cathay Pacific
- 5. Emirates
- 6. Etihad Airways
- 7. Fiji Airways
- 7. Japan Airlines
- 9. Qantas
- 10. Qatar Airways
- 11. Singapore Airlines
- Honourable Mentions
1. Air Canada
Canada’s largest airline, Air Canada, operates direct flights to Australia from its West Coast hub in Vancouver.
As of the time of writing, Air Canada is offering daily service to Sydney, and five flights per week to Brisbane. The airline has previously also flown to Melbourne, but that service has yet to resume.
On the Sydney route, Air Canada operates the Boeing 777-200LR, and on the Brisbane route, it operates the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. While the seats are largely the same, there are some minor differences to consider.
With Aeroplan, pricing for these flights is subject to the distance bands on the “Between North America and Pacific zones” section of 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 theoretically 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 theoretically expect to pay around 87,500 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 theoretically expect to pay around 87,500 points.
In reality, you’ll almost never find flights at those prices, and the routes between Vancouver and Australia are notorious for always being well above the upper end of the dynamic spectrum. Even with preferred pricing from an Aeroplan co-branded credit card, you’re unlikely to find anything that’s even close to 75,000 or 87,500 points.
Your best bet is to look for flights as soon as they become available on Aeroplan, at 355 days prior to departure. Sometimes, the last-minute availability shows better pricing, too, so keep an eye on prices for flights in the days and weeks leading up to your trip.
There have also been other times when a number of seats suddenly become available at around 75,000 or 87,500 points, but those instances are both rare and difficult to keep track of. These are typically during shoulder seasons when flight loads aren’t as likely to be full as they are during the Australian summer or on North American holidays.
If a direct flight isn’t available at a good price, keep an eye out for connecting flights. For example, Virgin Australia is an Aeroplan partner airline, and there are many flights available across its network.
While the price of a direct flight from Brisbane to Vancouver may be sky-high, simply taking a connecting flight to Sydney sometimes drops it back down into reality.
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.
While eUpgrade availability is also very scarce on these routes, you might be able to find some space and score a deal. Be sure to look far in advance and close to the date of departure, and you can also set up an ExpertFlyer alert for “R” fares, too.
If you’re not able to, keep in mind that if you book in premium economy to begin with, you’ll be near the top of the waitlist for an upgrade at the gate.
While it’s a bit of a gamble, it could very well be a nice way to save points on a hotly contested route, especially if direct flights are important to you.
Keep in mind that Air Canada also operates a flight from Auckland to Vancouver, so make sure to keep an eye out for eUpgrade availability on that route, too.
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, New York (JFK), and San Francisco, as well as Adelaide, Hobart, Cairns, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth in Australia, Air New Zealand can indeed be an excellent way to access both New Zealand and Australia.
Flying from Vancouver to any Australia hub via Auckland would theoretically 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 87,500 points per direction, although you could add a stopover in New Zealand for an additional 5,000 points.
Unfortunately, award space can be notoriously difficult to find for flights to or from North America. There tends to be 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.
The airline operates the Boeing 787 Dreamliner on many of its long-haul routes, which makes for a quiet, comfortable ride.
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 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 87,500 points with Aeroplan for a one-way booking in business class to or from Australia. If you add a stopover in Japan, the cost rises to a very reasonable 92,500 points.
Anyone east of Winnipeg could consider buying a separate positioning flight to another hub to avoid the jump to 115,000 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.
4. Cathay Pacific
As the first Oneworld airline on this list, Cathay Pacific is known for an excellent in-flight experience.
As the Hong Kong-based carrier is resuming its network after an almost three-year hiatus, you’ll soon be able to enjoy flights to Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane via Hong Kong. In North America, Cathay Pacific operates flights to Vancouver, Toronto, Boston, New York (JFK), 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.
For Canadians, the primary way to earn Alaska miles is through transferring points from Marriott Bonvoy at the optimal increment of 60,000 Bonvoy points = 25,000 Alaska miles. Otherwise, you’ll have to look to US credit cards for earning ever since MBNA discontinued its Alaska Airlines co-branded credit cards in Canada.
Booking Cathay Pacific from North America to Australia using Alaska Mileage Plan would cost 55,000 miles in business class, but it’s going to be tricky to find availability.
Moving over to 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 with Cathay Pacific via Hong Kong 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 multi-carrier award as a way to reduce the number of miles required.
Avios, though, are much easier to come by, as they’re a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards at a ratio of 1:1, RBC Avion at a ratio of 1:1, and HSBC Rewards at a ratio of 25:10. All programs often offer conversion bonuses of up to 50%.
There’s also the option of earn Avios through the RBC British Airways Visa Infinite Card.
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.
In 2022, Emirates made quite a few headlines in the Miles & Points world. Its own Skywards program went through a series of sudden devaluations, and the cost in both miles and carrier-imposed surcharges rose significantly.
In the latter part of the year, it became Aeroplan’s newest partner airline, which opened the doors for easier redemptions.
With a strong network that connects many North American cities to Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane via its hub in Dubai, and a reputation for a rather ostentatious in-flight experience, consider flying with Emirates to get to Australia.
With Aeroplan, Emirates has its own pricing chart, which has a range of prices that you can expect to pay. It’s important to mention that it’s going to cost you more than booking with other partner airlines.
Flights from North America to Australia via Dubai will all price out in the 12,001+ distance band, which means that you’d have to redeem anywhere from 180,000–300,000 points for a one-way flight in business class. Indeed, that’s a tidy sum to pay for a pair of flights.
If you’re looking to burn some of your points for an aspirational experience, be sure to keep an eye out for routes with the behemoth Airbus A380. You’ll be treated to Emirates’s top-notch business class experience, including access to the unique onboard bar.
If you happen to have Aeroplan Super Elite status, using a Priority Reward for an ultra-long-haul booking with Emirates could be a great way to reduce the cost to a more manageable level. For Super Elites, a Priority Reward cuts the cost of any business class flight in half.
6. Etihad Airways
So far on this list, we’ve 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 115,000 points for a one-way flight in business class, or 120,000 points if you add a stopover along the way.
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 787 Dreamliner 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. Etihad Airways consistently releases two award seats on long-haul routes, which is great news if you’re travelling as a pair.
Keep an eye out for Etihad Airways’s best business class product on the Airbus A350-1000, which tends to be scheduled on the Chicago route.
7. Fiji Airways
A very honourable mention here goes to Fiji Airways, a carrier based in beautiful Fiji.
This airline operates flights to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Honolulu in the United States, and to Vancouver in Canada. 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.
Alternatively, you can book Fiji Airways with Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, which are easier to come by than Alaska miles. A one-way flight from North America to Australia via Fiji prices out at 90,000 Asia Miles, which is indeed a competitive price.
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. From Vancouver, there’s slightly better availability, including multiple seats on some dates.
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. Your best bet is to use the American Airlines or Alaska Airlines websites, which allow you to view one month of availability at a time.
Search for one-way segments between North America and Japan, and then between Japan and Australia. If you find two that work, then head over to the Asia Miles website to book.
You can expect to pay 90,000 Asia Miles and a few hundred dollars in taxes and fees when using Asia Miles. This 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.
Australia’s largest carrier Qantas offers many direct links to 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, and from Dallas, there’s also a direct flight to Melbourne.
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.
Qantas has indicated that it intends to release more award space in the future, which if true, is an exciting prospect. In February 2023, many seats in business class and First Class became available at various points throughout the year on long-haul routes.
The caveat here is that finding the award space requires some patience and effort. You can either search the British Airways website to find it one day at a time…
Or, you can use ExpertFlyer to quickly search one week at a time…
Once you’ve found the award space, the next step is figuring out how to book the flights.
One of the best ways to book 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.
American Airlines AAdvantage is another good program for booking Qantas. A one-way flight in business class should cost 80,000 miles between North America and Australia. You’ll have to find award space elsewhere, and then call in to book the flight.
Keep in mind that AAdvantage allows award holds, which gives you time to transfer in points from RBC Avion or Marriott Bonvoy.
Be sure to consider Cathay Pacific Asia Miles for booking Qantas business class. You’ll pay just 75,000 miles for a one-way flight from Australia to North America, or vice versa.
Lastly, British Airways Avios is another, more expensive option. However, since Avios are easier to come by, and with frequent transfer bonuses of up to 50%, it’s worth considering if you don’t have access to the other options.
The same flight from Sydney to Los Angeles prices out at 154,500 Avios, which is indeed much more costly than the other programs.
If you’re able to find award space, you’ll benefit from a very direct routing to Australia, as well as what’s described as a very pleasant in-flight experience on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner or the Airbus A380.
10. Qatar Airways
Doha-based Qatar Airways is known for its extensive network and its world-class business class product, Qatar Airways Qsuites.
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.
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 British Airways Avios, you’d have to book two separate one-way flights or a Oneworld multi-carrier award, which could be costly.
However, keep in mind that ever since Qatar Airways joined the Avios loyalty program in March 2022, you can freely and instantly transfer British Airways Avios to Qatar Airways Avios, which opens up some very interesting possibilities.
For example, you could fly from Montreal to Doha in Qsuites, and then onward to Perth in Qatar Airways A380 First Class for 120,000 Avios and a few hundred dollars in taxes and fees.
The best part about this is that you’d pay the same if you were to have both segments in business class. So, why not add a higher class of service for no additional cost, especially when you could take advantage of the lovely Al Safwa First Class Lounge, complete with a jacuzzi, on your layover?
Continuing onward to Sydney in First Class bumps the price up to 180,000 Avios, so your best bet might be enjoying Qsuites to Doha and then A380 business class to Sydney for 120,000 Avios.
You can find Qsuites on other routes to Australia, so be sure to check out availability to Adelaide, Brisbane, and Melbourne, too.
While the cost may be higher than other airlines, Qatar Airways offers an outstanding business class product with Qsuites. It’s arguably the best business class in the world, so the cost could easily be justified.
11. 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.
Fortunately, Singapore Airlines released long-haul award space to Aeroplan in late 2022, which opened the door for single connection flights on one of the world’s best airlines to Australia (and everywhere else in their network, for that matter).
Singapore Airlines operates flights to US hubs, including Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Newark, and New York (JFK). There’s also a fifth freedom flight from Houston to Singapore via Manchester, as well as one from New York (JFK) to Singapore via Frankfurt.
In Australia, Singapore Airlines flies to Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Cairns, and Darwin.
You’ll be able to find multiple seats in business class on any given route, which is great news for families or groups. Be sure to look far in advance if you’re looking for more than two seats, and then book as soon as you can.
The most accessible loyalty program to use for booking Singapore Airlines business class is Aeroplan. There are so many ways to earn Aeroplan points, including through co-branded credit cards, transferring points from American Express Membership Rewards, Amex US MR, Capital One, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and a host of other ways.
Flying to Australia via Singapore from North America almost always prices out in the fourth distance band on the Aeroplan Flight Reward Chart, as the cumulative distance is greater than 11,001 miles.
This means that you’ll have to pay 115,000 Aeroplan points per person for the privilege.
If you’d like to save a few points by remaining in the third distance band, you can fly from Los Angeles or San Francisco to Darwin via Singapore for just 87,500 points.
Otherwise, if you’d like 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.
United operates a handful of direct flights from its US hubs to Australia.
You can find direct flights to Sydney from San Francisco, Houston, and Los Angeles, as well as direct flights to Melbourne from Los Angeles and San Francisco. United also flies a direct route from San Francisco to Brisbane.
As you might imagine, award space on these flights is fairly difficult to come by.
When booking with United MileagePlus, which has access to a larger inventory than other programs, expect to pay a minimum of 80,000 miles, and possibly more.
You can also book United flights with other Star Alliance loyalty programs, including Aeroplan. While the award availability is rare, you can sometimes find flights at the last minute or far in advance available at fixed pricing for
If you’re departing from Los Angeles or San Francisco, be sure to check out the Polaris Lounges, which offer an exceptional ground experience. Prior to stepping onboard, you can sip on cocktails, enjoy à la carte dining, and freshen up with a shower.
Onboard, you’ll enjoy United’s flagship Polaris business class, which looks to be an entirely comfortable way to fly to Australia.
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 and Americans, 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.
Flying to Brisbane from Montreal late Nov 2023, snagged Qatar Q suites transferring Avion points to BA then to QR, 120,000 Avios. Tougher road back Dec 21, Christmas rush. Nothing on Alaska Air Miles for Fiji or any other carrier. Nothing on BA. Nothing on non-AC carriers in Aeroplan except mixed cabins (coach on the long Pacific segment) So, booked AC Sydney – Toronto at 293,000 Aeroplan, which has since gone up to 415,000-480,000. I’ve set Expert Flyer to look for space in R (e-upgrade) but not hopeful. Thanks for the primer on the available carriers and booking methods, TJ
I don’t understand how I see all flights for buisness be >400k points Toronto to Sydney. Based on the chart it should be max 200k right? These are flights even 11 months in advance.
Try searching for segments one a a time, and then call Aeroplan to book it (e.g. YYZ-AUH, AUH-MEL/SYD or YVR-TYO, TYO-SYD).
How far in advance do you have to book for theses points value? I am seeing upwards of 300K points (AC) per flight for 6 months in advance.
Seats on the direct flights from Vancouver to Australia are really difficult to come by at the lower cost. Consider looking at routing via Asia or via Abu Dhabi.
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.
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!
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
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.