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Cheapest way to fly to Australia? Best reward cards that might help?

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Well my daughter and man friend will be taking assignments in Australia at the end of the month for about a year and half. I would like to plan a trip there to visit and crash as I may not get another opportunity to go down under. 

What's the best way to save on flights to Australia? looks like flights in Jan-Feb are $14-1800 round trip each way. 
Are there any reward cards that would help ease the pain? 
Open to suggestions short of mailing myself there. 

Also, I would be purchasing 4 tickets for my family. 

Added: We are flying out of Detroit, I believe I saw some cheaper flights out of Toronto. 

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TravelerMSY (May. 20, 2017 @ 7:28p) |

Have you tried looking on flight deals sites like theflightdeal or thriftytraveler? Each time I plan on going on vacatio... (more)

leaguemastergamer (May. 24, 2017 @ 5:01p) |

Thanks for the suggestions. I will start monitoring these sights I am thinking June, July or August 2018 or whenever fli... (more)

letsspendlotsofmoney (May. 25, 2017 @ 10:13a) |

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letsspendlotsofmoney said:   Well my daughter and man friend will be taking assignments in Australia at the end of the month for about a year and half. 
  congratulations to your daughter and man friend.

if you are open to flying thru asia , a lot of those airlines have cheaper fares than n/s . If you are willing to drive to canada, the fares flying out of canada are also a lot cheaper

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Maybe go in our summer, when it's winter there? Might be fewer tourists and nicer weather.

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Economy award seats are tight but aren't impossible to find. Be prepared to split up. Start churning cards. Having your +1 do them too will speed it up. There are periodically sale fares out of various major cities. I'd keep an eye on that too. Be prepared to position to LAX or SFO if necessary. 

Do the Chase stuff first since you'll be shutout once you hit 5 new accounts in 24 months.

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Revenue tickets might be a better deal than the 80k AA currently charges for US-Aus in economy.

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TravelerMSY said:   Economy award seats are tight but aren't impossible to find. Be prepared to split up. Start churning cards. Having your +1 do them too will speed it up. There are periodically sale fares out of various major cities. I'd keep an eye on that too. Be prepared to position to LAX or SFO if necessary. 

Do the Chase stuff first since you'll be shutout once you hit 5 new accounts in 24 months.

  Are there good Milage cards that do not have an annual fee? 

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letsspendlotsofmoney said:   
TravelerMSY said:   Economy award seats are tight but aren't impossible to find. Be prepared to split up. Start churning cards. Having your +1 do them too will speed it up. There are periodically sale fares out of various major cities. I'd keep an eye on that too. Be prepared to position to LAX or SFO if necessary. 

Do the Chase stuff first since you'll be shutout once you hit 5 new accounts in 24 months.

  Are there good Milage cards that do not have an annual fee? 

  tinstaafl

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Just do all of them, within the constraints for each issuer. And you're 86'ing yourself unnecessarily from a lot of value if you aren't willing to pay annual fees. Think of it as buying miles at a very low cost per mile rather than "free." The travel bloggers cover this well, so I'm not going to duplicate that here. Frequent Miler is pretty good.

But also pursue revenue tickets as well. It's entirely possible that awards could be scarce for the dates you want, and splitting up might be unacceptable to you.

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Would you want to do a vacation in Hawaii also before going there? This also reduces the pain (instead of going 15-20 hours, you'll go 7-8 hours to Hawaii, stay 2-3 days there, and then 10 hours to Australia.

We applied to Citi AA card (me and my wife, twice), and got enough miles to go to Hawaii first, and then to Australia. There were plenty of rewards availability. HNL-Australia flights had enormous number of first class reward availability also. Our points were only enough for first class for outbound, but it was a lot of fun.

Since you are going to the other side of the world, if you have enough funds (and time), you might want to stop at Fiji or Tahiti when coming back. Fiji Air was only around $600 for Australia-Fiji-USA flight, with 5 days stopover in Fiji.

We loved Australia BTW. Think about USA, but with less guns/crimes and a wonderful metric system and exotic animals. But they drive on the wrong side of the road.

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TravelerMSY said:   Just do all of them, within the constraints for each issuer. And you're 86'ing yourself unnecessarily from a lot of value if you aren't willing to pay annual fees. Think of it as buying miles at a very low cost per mile rather than "free." The travel bloggers cover this well, so I'm not going to duplicate that here. Frequent Miler is pretty good.

But also pursue revenue tickets as well. It's entirely possible that awards could be scarce for the dates you want, and splitting up might be unacceptable to you.

  
Any particular "travel bloggers" website? 
 

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What city are you flying out of?

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Start with Frequent Miler, but scan headlines regularly using Feedly for all the big blogs. View from the Wing, One Mile at a Time, Dans Deals, etc. A few minutes every day or two will keep you informed.

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Flying economy to Australia? Please noooooooooo 

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rufflesinc said:   What city are you flying out of?
  We live 15 minutes from DTW Detroit wayne county airport. But I did see fares a bit cheaper from Toronto. 

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TravelerMSY said:   Start with Frequent Miler, but scan headlines regularly using Feedly for all the big blogs. View from the Wing, One Mile at a Time, Dans Deals, etc. A few minutes every day or two will keep you informed.
  Thanks.. Will definitely take a look at the sites 

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letsspendlotsofmoney said:   
rufflesinc said:   What city are you flying out of?
  We live 15 minutes from DTW Detroit wayne county airport. But I did see fares a bit cheaper from Toronto. 

  Yeah YYZ will be your best bet (flying on fridays has fares around $1100 thru manila), but I'd also check chicago ORD

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What is the love affair between ruffles and Jep3?

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I live in the Midwest.I book separate flights from LAX to Australia (usually Qantas) and from my home airport to LA (whatever airline work with the schedule and cost).

The flights to AUS depart late at night and arrive back early in the morning so it's easy to get to and from LAX on whatever airline is offering the better deal for the domestic flight.

You will typically pay more to fly to AUS when it's summer there vs. during our summer/their winter.

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Greyhound now has service to and from YYZ airport from Detroit. Itīs around $100 round trip.

Also, donīt count out Chicago. ANA has a good flight to Sydney Aug. 14- Sep. 4  for $1053.

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penfed credit union amex cc -- no annual fee

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3 years ago i attempted to map out a route from baltimore to New Zealand. It involved a ton of layovers/stopovers (time), taxes, fees, extra hotel stays, etc. Decided it wasn't worth the hassle. I didn't want to take 2 weeks off to go there and take 2-3 days going each way.

If you are considering earning points then using them to get there, figure out who goes there, do searches on award travel at each airline and get a general idea of how you would piece the trip together. Then figure out which cards you need to get the points.

FYI its been a while since i've looked but Air New Zealand had some pretty sweet deals out of LAX/SFO to Sydney and Melbourne

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Check exitfares.com for good deals to Australia. You'll find that you'll likely need to fly.drive out of Chicago. AA is currently having a miles sale, combine that with mile bonuses your receive for credit card sign ups and you can upgrade to biz class. Trust me you, you'll want to on such a long flight.

Matter of fact just found a flight ORd to NZ for about 1k

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I did Singapore(3 day stop) and then trip to India. Family of 4 and I booked each leg separately. Came out to same price of a round trip. So got Singapore for free.

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- Follow @TheFlightDeal, @FareDealAlert and @AirfareWatchdog on twitter. Deals to Australia don't come up often, but when they do they sometimes don't last long.
- Be *very* flexible on dates and cities. As someone above said, many of the best fares are from LA or San Francisco. If you can save $700/ticket by flying from one of those cities, then do a round trip to LAX/SFO, and then the RT from LAX/SFO to Australia
- The two methods for credit cards to pay for that travel (Note - these require a LOT of spend. Read /r/churning if you need help getting started)
1) Amass Ultimate Rewards (Chase). At least one person then needs the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Pool points into that account and book flights on any airline at 1.5 cents per point. Say you and spouse apply for 1x Sapphire Preferred (50K UR), 2x Ink Preferred (2x 80K UR), 1x Sapphire Reserve (50K UR). With that you have at least 260K UR points, redeemable for $3900 in flights. But you only spend ~$450 in Annual Fees the first year.
2) Amass AmEx points. At least one person needs Business Platinum (75K points + at least 20K from spend). 1x Business Gold (50K + 5K from spend). 2x Personal Gold (50K + 2K from spend). Gold cards have AF waived first year. 204K AmEx points is redeemable for $2K in travel on the airline you choose to be reimbursed on (but you get half your points reimbursed, so you'll still have 100K to spend on flights) In other words, don't pick your airline until you know which one you're flying on.
- Within Australia, look at using BA Avios points for shorter flights that would otherwise be quite a bit more expensive.

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Example fare:
$770 from San Francisco to Sydney or Melbourne.
http://www.theflightdeal.com/2017/04/30/delta-770-san-francisco-...

You can save a *LOT* of money by finding these deals and positioning yourself to SFO.

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And positioning on separate tickets gives you a free stopover! You won't want to cut it too close unless your separate tickets are protected (most aren't). So plan on arriving the day before and spending the night.

Also, if you have capacity for apps with Chase, there's a strategy for earning the Southwest companion pass via two Chase signups and a little spend. It would put a dent in your domestic repositioning costs as well.

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jameswes said:   - Follow @TheFlightDeal, @FareDealAlert and @AirfareWatchdog on twitter. Deals to Australia don't come up often, but when they do they sometimes don't last long.
- Be *very* flexible on dates and cities. As someone above said, many of the best fares are from LA or San Francisco. If you can save $700/ticket by flying from one of those cities, then do a round trip to LAX/SFO, and then the RT from LAX/SFO to Australia
- The two methods for credit cards to pay for that travel (Note - these require a LOT of spend. Read /r/churning if you need help getting started)
1) Amass Ultimate Rewards (Chase ). At least one person then needs the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Pool points into that account and book flights on any airline at 1.5 cents per point. Say you and spouse apply for 1x Sapphire Preferred (50K UR), 2x Ink Preferred (2x 80K UR), 1x Sapphire Reserve (50K UR). With that you have at least 260K UR points, redeemable for $3900 in flights. But you only spend ~$450 in Annual Fees the first year.
2) Amass AmEx points. At least one person needs Business Platinum (75K points + at least 20K from spend). 1x Business Gold (50K + 5K from spend). 2x Personal Gold (50K + 2K from spend). Gold cards have AF waived first year. 204K AmEx points is redeemable for $2K in travel on the airline you choose to be reimbursed on (but you get half your points reimbursed, so you'll still have 100K to spend on flights) In other words, don't pick your airline until you know which one you're flying on.
- Within Australia, look at using BA Avios points for shorter flights that would otherwise be quite a bit more expensive.

  Ditto on what James said regarding amassing Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR) and Amex Membership Rewards (MR). However, you'd be better off using those points to transfer to transfer partners rather than using the points to actually book the flights with Chase or Amex.

We're flying one-way IAD-SFO-AKL on United in Business class which cost us 70k miles each - we got those miles by transferring our UR to United. We're spending a week in New Zealand, then three weeks in Australia. For the journey home, we're flying from MEL-BKK-TPE-JFK all in Business class on Thai Airways and EVA Air. That cost us 80k Aeroplan miles each which we got by transferring MR to Aeroplan.

It can be hard to find award space for Australia, so it's definitely best to use flexible point currencies like UR and MR. We'd been planning on using our American Airlines miles and had a huge stash of them, but there was absolutely zero MileSAAver award space to and from Australia. We were lucky that we had the UR and MR as well.

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Wow... My head is spinning.. Not sure if I can earn enough points. I'll be saving for the trip and spending will be limited. I do like the idea of maybe flying out of San Francisco, will definitely check air fair to there from Detroit, Chicago and a few other airports within driving distance.

This makes FW deals using coupons and pricing mistakes look like childs play. Looks like I have a lot of reading and website watching to do in the next year.

Thanks again, the FW family is very wise and resourceful and I knew I could count of everyone to have great ideas.

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letsspendlotsofmoney said:   Wow... My head is spinning.. Not sure if I can earn enough points. I'll be saving for the trip and spending will be limited. I do like the idea of maybe flying out of San Francisco, will definitely check air fair to there from Detroit, Chicago and a few other airports within driving distance.

This makes FW deals using coupons and pricing mistakes look like childs play. Looks like I have a lot of reading and website watching to do in the next year.

Thanks again, the FW family is very wise and resourceful and I knew I could count of everyone to have great ideas.

  Is it just you travelling? If so, you could earn enough points to travel in business class each way with just two credit card signup bonuses. If you're happy to travel in economy, you could do it with one application.

If you are willing to fly economy, I'd check Delta if you're flying from DTW. We flew to and from Melbourne back in 2014 on Virgin Australia (Delta codeshare with them) and economy really wasn't that bad. We just took a sleeping tablet after our meal and slept much of the way.

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He's x4 so it's not a slam dunk for a premium cabin.

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Everytime I have flown economy to Australia we have had obnoxious kids pounding/kicking on the back of our seats the entire trip, both ways! Parents didn't stop them when asked by us or the stewardess.

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sloppy1 said:   Everytime I have flown economy to Australia we have had obnoxious kids pounding/kicking on the back of our seats the entire trip, both ways! Parents didn't stop them when asked by us or the stewardess.
  Got lucky on my flight down under -- a whole three 747 set of window seats to myself. On the way back, a buddy of mine and I split the 4 middle seats -- so 2 each.

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There's a way to Australia that doesn't involve the Qantas first class cabin on the A380?

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TravelerMSY said:   There's a way to Australia that doesn't involve the Qantas first class cabin on the A380?
  
Here you go!​​​​​​​

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TravelerMSY said:   There's a way to Australia that doesn't involve the Qantas first class cabin on the A380?
  CX F with AS miles. hella easier to find space

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A short explanation of strategy and which card issuers to do first.

http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2017/05/05/order-in-which...

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rufflesinc said:   
TravelerMSY said:   There's a way to Australia that doesn't involve the Qantas first class cabin on the A380?
  CX F with AS miles. hella easier to find space

  CX has NO F to Australia!  In J you will need to 2 awards each way since flights have to go through HKG and AS only allow one partner on a redemption.

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yoyo67 said:   
rufflesinc said:   
TravelerMSY said:   There's a way to Australia that doesn't involve the Qantas first class cabin on the A380?
  CX F with AS miles. hella easier to find space

  CX has NO F to Australia!  In J you will need to 2 awards each way since flights have to go through HKG and AS only allow one partner on a redemption.

  F to HKG , free stopover, then J to AU or NZ, all  for 80k. You won't find a better deal anywhere else.

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"F to HKG , free stopover, then J to AU or NZ"

" CX has NO F to Australia! In J you will need to 2 awards each way since flights have to go through HKG and AS"

Wow again.. This is like reading a foreign language..

First things first..

I need to apply for Chase Ultimate Rewards which might be difficult, I had a BK almost 4 years ago, never hurts to apply and will only cost me a few credit score points.

Skipping 14 Messages...
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leaguemastergamer said:   Have you tried looking on flight deals sites like theflightdeal or thriftytraveler? Each time I plan on going on vacation, i usually look at these sites first for any promotions. Sometimes JetBlue or Alaska airlines has these super sweet deals on one-way flights. If anything, check with Southwest Airlines. My favorite airline to fly with especially with free baggage and carry on
  Thanks for the suggestions. I will start monitoring these sights I am thinking June, July or August 2018 or whenever flights are the cheapest. 

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