Finding Award Seats to Australia Using Delta Skymiles — V Australia Business Class Awards Are Pretty Available, Just Not Quite As Easy As It First Seemed

A couple of weeks back I posted that using Delta Skypesos to get to Australia on V Australia was easy. That isn’t quite true. It’s one of the best uses of Delta miles, to be sure, and the award space is much better in business class on V Australia than on Delta to be sure. But it isn’t the gimme that it seemed at first.

V Australia uses the booking class ‘Z’ for business reward space. Expertflyer ostensibly was displaying Z inventory, but it was phantom inventory that appeared to cause “4” to be shown as available seats regardless of actual inventory. The KVS Tool appears to suffer a similar issue displaying ‘Z’ inventory on V Australia.

Now, all hope is not lost. It does seem that Delta has access to the very same reward space that is displayed on V Australia’s own site to its members. So Delta folks should sign up for a Velocity Rewards account and do reward searches there to find available flights before ringing up Delta. Velocity Rewards will let you search award space immediately, and flip between dates quite easily, there’s no minimum mileage balance required by their site to find award space.

For US-Australia awards it does look like V Australia probably has as much award space as anyone. United has been really tough to come by of late, where once it was pretty easy. Delta is neigh impossible. And Qantas is notoriously stingy though I’ve grabbed a couple of first class seats in the past and of course they have the most flights.

Air New Zealand is an option and usually during high season I see them opening award space 60 days out. Air Canada is tough. Otherwise I wind up having to route via Asia, or Europe and Asia, and of course one can fly via Tahiti on Air Tahiti Nui to Auckland or via Air Pacific and Fiji to Sydney. There’s also Hawaiian via Honolulu and the Continental Guam-Cairns flight though that hardly counts.

None of which helps with Delta Skymiles, which is why that V Australia option is so juicy — far better than scrounging a single seat on Korean via Seoul!

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community Milepoint.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. […] Gary from View From the Wing, and Brad from the UPGRD.com network both touched up on this subject pretty well, so it’s worth your while checking out these posts. It’s also important to note that, in terms of US-Australia award availability, it’s all relative. You’re unlikely to see the volume of premium cabin award availability on US-Aus than US-Europe, and for a simple reason- there are more flights to Europe than Australia. So, if you’re even thinking about an award redemption to Australia, it’s a good idea to be at least a little bit flexible with your dates. Having said that, United awards to Australia are very hard to come by- and also the concept of opportunity cost must be considered. By booking an award on United metal across the Pacific- you’re essentially forgoing the opportunity to fly on a more prestigious Star Alliance carrier with your miles (Lufthansa, Swiss, Asiana, Singapore etc.) The same cannot really be said for Delta miles, since for one, Delta does not allow first class partner award availability. So hypothetically, even if United and Virgin Australia offered the same award availability, it’s still a better idea to redeem for a Virgin Australia award- for the simple reason that there aren’t really any better opportunities to spend your SkyMiles elsewhere. […]

Comments

  1. What do you use to find award availability on United? I’ve checked their website but the searches are ridicules, no saver or standard awards for the first 6 months of 2011 from SFO-BKK. On expertflyer do I look for XF, F, XC, C?

  2. Gary, do you know what the saver level is? I see availability every date, obviously at varying levels. Looking at LAX-MEL, is 97,XXX the “saver” level needed for Delta?

  3. Gary, I’d rather Not fly United but from what I heard about them Starnet blocking I figured I didn’t have much choice. I’d much rather fly one of the Asian airlines if given a choice.

  4. I’ve had pretty good luck looking for inventory (30 days out)on NZ to Australia via AKL. Granted this is the low season (their winter) but I was able to find 3 and sometimes 4 seats together in their Biz class for numerous dates. This was with DM not M+ so I can’t speak to how *net blocking works for this carrier.

  5. It appears that, indeed, sign-up is restricted to certain countries. What is the solution to that as far as joining Velocity Rewards?

  6. Surely y’all can think of a creative solution to THAT problem. I mean, it’s not like you need them to mail you a membership card..

  7. Actually I was wrong to the extent all you need is give them an address in the South Pacific you don’t have to be a resident so I don’t see an ethical issue.

  8. Tried this … following your steps in a previous post. All went as described (meaning, the agent had no idea how to do this, and initially claimed that Delta didn’t allow Skymiles for VA)… once the agent finally figured out how to do it, she came back with a claim that award seats on VA are blacked out June 12 – Aug 31! Do you think this claim is accurate? I may try calling back to see what a second agent says …

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