Delta pretty much never makes business class saver awards available on its own Los Angeles – Sydney flight.
Stock photo: Delta Uses its Boeing 777-200LR for Sydney – Los Angeles
Virgin Australia used to be fantastic for award availability between the US and Australia, but that availability has mostly dried up and you’ll often only find space within a week of travel.
In fact, as of this writing there are only 8 days in the coming year where there’s even a single business class saver award seat available using Delta or Virgin Australia non-stop between the US and Australia. And those are all flying Virgin Australia. None are after April 5.
You’d think that having just increased the price of saver awards to 95,000 miles each way they’d be willing to release some seats. In fact, it appears they’ve made these awards even more restrictive.
Even without non-stop availability you could usually still use Delta SkyMiles to get to Australia in business class — flying the long way through Asia. You could make award bookings on China Southern or China Eastern (with fuel surcharges) connecting in Shanghai or Guangzhou respectively. Or you could make an award booking on Korean Air through Seoul.
That’s 24 – 27 hours of travel (including connecting time) versus about 15 hours. But it was doable.
Some time ago this became something you could book on Delta’s website only, and not over the phone at least most of the time. Telephone agents seemed to want to price this as two awards. Apparently their systems were restricting the ‘maximum permitted mileage’ on US-Australia awards to a distance low enough as to preclude Asia routings.
Now it seems the website has caught up. Having scrolled the entire year, the award calendar no longer shows any day with a one-way price for one passenger of less than 175,000 miles. That means not a single partner saver award comes up. There’s no single award Los Angeles – Shanghai/Guangzhou/Seoul – Sydney.
There appears to be a developing Flyertalk discussion of the phenomenon as well.
Given the absolute non-availability of saver awards for non-stops, and rules that seem to now prohibit Asia connections, Australia is pretty much off-limits to US SkyMiles members. Unless of course they’re willing to accept a value per mile akin to buying beers in the lounge or perhaps a haircut.
Hopefully this isn’t a permanent change.