This article is being updated.
Known for its natural beauty and incredible cities, Australia is a popular tourist destination that can be expensive to travel to. Even tickets from the West Coast can cost over $1,500 during peak season.
The solution? Frequent flyer programs. Here are the cheapest ways to fly to Australia using points and miles.
» Learn more: United Airlines MileagePlus program: The complete guide
All Nippon Airways Mileage Club
All Nippon Airways (ANA) Mileage Club offers round-trip partner award flights to Australia for just 75,000 miles in economy. But where the program really shines is when it comes to business class tickets, where a round-trip award costs just 120,000 miles. That’s a bargain, considering Star Alliance member United currently charges 160,000 to 180,000 miles for a round-trip business class award to Australia.
ANA Mileage Club is a transfer partner of the American Express Membership Rewards program. You can currently cover the entire cost of a round-trip business class ticket with the welcome bonus from the The Business Platinum® Card from American Express: Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.
The following credit cards offer comparatively smaller welcome bonuses, but their spending requirements may be more attainable:
- The Platinum Card® from American Express.
- American Express® Gold Card.
- American Express® Business Gold Card.
Japan Airlines Mileage Bank
A Oneworld alliance member, Japan Airlines (JAL) Mileage Bank has a distance-based award chart with some pretty great sweet spots. While a round-trip economy class ticket between Los Angeles or Dallas and Sydney clocks in at 90,000 miles round-trip (more than you’ll pay compared to other programs on this list), business class awards are a bargain at 120,000 miles round-trip.
Japan Airlines Mileage Bank is a Marriott transfer partner, and the airline also has a co-branded credit card as a means for you to rack up miles for a trip to Australia.
American Airlines AAdvantage
Thanks to a partnership with Qantas, American Airlines is a great option if you’re looking for cheap award flights to Australia using points and miles. A round-trip flight in economy class costs 80,000 AAdvantage miles, while business class costs 160,000.
The reason American Airlines makes the list is because the program offers many different co-branded credit cards to give your account a boost. For example, the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® currently offers a sizeable bonus after a single purchase. Pair that with the bonus from the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® and after completing the spending requirements, you’ll only be about 20,000 miles short of two round-trip economy class tickets to Australia.
- American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card.
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®.
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®.
- AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver Mastercard®.
- AAdvantage® Aviator® Blue Mastercard®.
- AAdvantage® Aviator® Mastercard®.
- AAdvantage® Aviator® Business Mastercard®.
United MileagePlus charges 80,000 miles round-trip for an award flight to Australia in economy. Business class on United is pricier at 160,000 miles round-trip. Partner business class seats are priced slightly higher still at 180,000 miles round-trip.
While there are cheaper award flight options, United MileagePlus awards are fairly attainable thanks to multiple co-branded credit cards and a transfer partnership with Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- United℠ Explorer Card.
- United Club℠ Card.
- United℠ Business Card.
- United Club℠ Business Card.
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.
- Chase Sapphire Reserve®.
- Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card.
The information related to Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®, United Club℠ Business Card and United Club℠ Card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product or service.
How to maximize your rewardsYou want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2020, including those best for:
- Airline miles and a large bonus: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- No annual fee: The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
- Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee: The Bank of America® Travel Rewards Visa® credit card
- Premium travel rewards: The Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
- Business travelers: The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
Find the best airline credit card for you
United Explorer: Richer rewards, perks you’ll actually use
United Club Credit Card review: Worth it for lounge lovers