2 One-Way Business Class Flights on Air China for 160K UR Points from Australia
Last month, we detailed how we booked 2 one-way first class flights on United Airlines for just 160K points and $62.80 to Auckland, New Zealand! At the time of that booking, we did not have enough points to book return flights back. So before Chase did away with the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s 100k sign up bonus, we took advantage of the card once again. This time, Anna signed up and we immediately went spending to reach that 4k spending requirement.
Fast forward to today.
The 100k sign up bonus from the Chase Reserve card finally hit our balance and we went spending…this time with points! We knew that we wanted to fly either business class or first class on our return flight from Australia/New Zealand. Spending close to 14 hours on a transpacific flight in economy is almost torture. Luckily though, we found a somewhat decent flight again through United Airlines and the Star Alliance partnership. We also looked at our Chase UR transfer partners like Flying Blue but UA had better award redemptions.
The availability was for business class through Air China from Melbourne, Australia to Nashville. This flight costed 80k Chase UR points transferred to United Airlines per person, totaling to 160k points. Taxes and fees came out to $192.72. While it’s not as posh as our first class flight to Auckland, it still comes with lie-flat beds. Any sort of lie-flat bed is great for a transpacific flight!
Finding Availability from Australia or New Zealand
Finding availability from Australia or New Zealand to the United States was difficult. We did not have a preference of where we fly out from since we could always plan our trip around it. The best way to search for availability is through United Airline’s website. After playing around with UA’s search tool, we found that the best award availability is from Auckland, Melbourne, and Sydney. Brisbane also had some availability but it was very very limited.
Searching was more difficult since the UA search tool didn’t show an award calendar like it does for flights originating from the U.S. This meant that we had to search day-by-day to find out which days had award availability. There wasn’t a pattern for which days had availability so you’ll have to get your hands dirty to find them. For some reason though, the calendar did appear for searches out of Brisbane but Brisbane had the least flights out of all the cities.
There did not seem to be any UA operated flights with saver award availability at all for any city. Thankfully the Star Alliance network member, Air China, had released some availability for the date we were looking for. United Airlines charges 80k points for partner flights in business class while only charging 70k for its own operated flights. The availability we found was only for Air China operated flights from Auckland, Melbourne, and Sydney connecting through Beijing before heading to the U.S. We will start our trip arriving in Auckland so we would prefer not to have to fly back there to fly home.
Sydney also had availability but for some reason, the first leg to Beijing was in economy. Having to connect to Beijing was already a downside but flying close to 12 hours in economy? No thanks!
So after looking at both Auckland and Sydney, we decided to fly back from Melbourne. Flying from Melbourne allowed us to fly business class all the way to the U.S. and then economy on UA from Newark to Nashville. We do have to change airports from JFK to Newark but it’s just a little price to pay to have those business class seats.
In comparison if we were to pay cash for these flights, it would have costed us at least $6,390.76! We found that value by looking up the costs of the business class Air China flight to the U.S. and then the first class UA flight from Newark to Nashville. While this value isn’t as large as our first class flight to New Zealand, this is still an extremely nice value.
This business class award to get back home from Australia is not as nice as the first class award to New Zealand, but we can’t complain at all! Once you travel business or first class its hard to go back, especially on long haul transpacific flights. Next step: travel planning!