Business Class Award Availability for the Whole Family to Australia!

Back in June I wrote about finding at least four business class seats non-stop between the US and Australia almost every day.

That was using Delta miles on its partner Virgin Australia. Virgin Australia awards are even bookable on the Delta website and Delta no longer adds fuel surcharges to Virgin Australia awards.

Then last month all of a sudden Virgin Australia’s business class inventory simply dried up. It was gone, pretty much across the board, with only a few stray dates available.

At the time I said DON’T PANIC. Virgin Australia inventory goes in cycles. So there was reason to believe it would come back. And it has.

This is what availability looks like searching for four business class seats, Los Angeles – Sydney, next summer:

Wow.

Now, it isn’t like that all the time. There’s still decent space for peak December travel (again, four business class seats):

But not so much for January:

Overall very good news, and why Delta miles are best for travel between the US and Australia. Although you may need to buy tickets to and from Los Angeles to take advantage of it — both a function of Delta’s domestic availability (better if you can fly Alaska Airlines from your home city on the West Coast to Los Angeles) and their pricing engine which frequently won’t combine the domestic flights with Virgin Australia at the proper mileage level.


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 InsideFlyer.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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Comments

  1. @wco81, @MFK:
    Two issues with Trans-Tasman flights on VA:
    1) They do not have a business class on those flights at all. They have economy and premium economy. Delta shouldn’t technically be able to book award seats into premium economy although some were able get Delta to do it as part of a business award redemption. It was most likely a lucky fluke that cannot be repeated.
    2) Not all cities in NZ are loaded into Delta’s web search engine. For example, flights to and from Wellington are searchable, but flights to and from Queenstown are not. It can be booked over the phone–you should still be able to do a booking online for everything but those segments and call in to add the extra segment. I think a Virgin Australia account is the only way to search for award space to those destinations. The Sydney Opera House has probably received quite a few new membership packages from Virgin Australia.

  2. Was able to see it on delta.com. Just booked BOS-LAX-SYD-MEL-AKL-SYD-LAX-BOS with LAX-SYD, SYD-MEL, SYD-LAX in business (22 hour connection in MEL, stopover in AKL), all on delta.com, priced out correctly. As expected no availability for first for DL segments or the AKL flights. Looked up each segment as a one-way and then did the multi-city search which lets you choose the cabin for each piece individually (but does not show you what level for DL segments, so had to make sure I knew the BOS-LAX and LAX-BOS segments were available at saver)..

  3. @Autolycus Virgin is adding business class to Trans-Tasman flights next year, so if doing a forward booking you may be able to get business all the way. Obviously the rollout will take a while so YMMV.

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