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sydneyI have been talking with a friend of mine about an upcoming dream trip for her and her family to Australia.  They are looking to travel NEXT Christmas (December 2016 / January 2017) and their family of 3 is fine traveling in economy.

We worked together to figure out a plan to get 3 tickets.  The plan we came up with was for them both to get 2 American Airlines cards which give a 50,000 mile bonus, along with a Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Ink card.  That, combined with some existing American AAdvantage miles she already had, would get her enough for 3 tickets with American miles one way and 3 tickets with United miles (transferred from Chase) the other way.

Some of those credit cards I had available through my credit card affiliate links, and in other cases, better offers were available through other public links, so I of course steered her to those.

Where the Australia plan is now

I just got an email from my friend recently where she shared that she’s about to hit her bonus on the Chase Ink card, which will give them enough Chase points for 3 one-way tickets on United (40,000 miles per ticket or 120,000 miles total)

They are still working on meeting the minimum spend on their American cards, but might not be have all the miles in their accounts until March.  She wrote wondering how the availability would be in March.  Even though they’re fine traveling in economy, Australia is a popular destination and they want to go at a very popular time!

Another thing to consider is that due to the impending American AAdvantage devaluation, American award tickets to Australia will be increasing from the current amount of 37,500 AAdvantage miles one-way up to 40,000 miles one-way for tickets booked on or after March 22nd, 2016.

Looking at United availability

Most award tickets can only be booked 330 days out, so you can’t see the actual availability for next December / January, but I thought I’d take a brief look at what availability looks like now to see if I could spot any trends.

First, here’s United availability for 3 passengers from Los Angeles to Auckland, NZ


November 16th is currently the latest day that the schedule is booked, and as you can see, as long as you are okay traveling in economy.  There’s availability pretty much every day.  I also checked availability to places like Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane and it looked pretty much the same.  Availability the other direction (FROM the United States) was also good.

Note that I am concentrating on the over-water flights first, which is why I searched from Los Angeles (or San Francisco), even though we live in Ohio.  Once you find the over-water flight, then you can figure out connecting options to get you to your actual origin / destination.

Here’s American “availability”

Now…. the bad news.  Here’s the American availability for October of 2016 for Los Angeles to Sydney

Note that’s even for just ONE passenger!  ZERO availability at the SAAver level.  Now, it’s not QUITE that bad, as if we try adjusting dates, there is some availability in November, as well as some availability from Sydney to Los Angeles and from Melbourne


So to me, I think we’re still in a good position to make this happen.  Especially since United availability is so good – all we need to do is find one date that works with American and then it is likely that the United flights the other direction will work out.  But I wondered if there were other readers out there that might have more familiarity with what the schedule will be like.

So what do you think?  Will we get this family of 3 to Australia?

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