How to Use Points and Miles to Get Flights to Australia

Let’s dive into how to use points and miles to get flights to Australia.
kangaroo on beach for article on how to get flights to Australia for cheap with the American Airlines flight sale


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What are travel credit cards, and how do they work?

Travel credit cards are financial products that offer various rewards and benefits geared towards frequent travelers. They typically earn you points or miles for every dollar spent on eligible purchases. These rewards can be redeemed for flights, hotel stays, car rentals, and other travel-related expenses. Travel credit cards may also include perks like travel insurance, airport lounge access, and no foreign transaction fees.

How do I choose the best travel credit card for my needs?

Choosing the best travel credit card depends on your travel habits, spending patterns, and preferences. Consider factors like the type of rewards offered (points, miles, or cash back), the card’s annual fee, sign-up bonuses, earning rates, redemption options, and additional travel perks. Analyzing these features will help you find a card that aligns with your lifestyle and offers the most value.

What are the benefits of using a travel credit card over other types of credit cards?

Travel credit cards provide unique advantages for travelers, such as earning rewards specifically tailored to travel expenses. Additionally, many travel credit cards offer travel-related perks like free checked bags, priority boarding, and travel insurance. Some cards also waive foreign transaction fees, making them ideal for international travelers.

What is a sign-up bonus, and how can I qualify for it?

A sign-up bonus is a promotional offer provided by the credit card issuer to entice new cardholders. To qualify for a sign-up bonus, you usually need to meet specific spending requirements within a certain timeframe after opening the account. The bonus can be in the form of points, miles, or cash back, and it’s a great way to jump-start your rewards earning.

Do travel credit cards charge foreign transaction fees?

Not all travel credit cards charge foreign transaction fees. Many of the top-tier travel cards waive these fees, making them ideal for international travel. However, it’s essential to read the card’s terms and conditions to confirm this before using it abroad.

How can I maximize the rewards earned with my travel credit card?

To maximize rewards, use your travel credit card for everyday expenses and large purchases. Take advantage of bonus categories and special promotions to earn more points or miles. Consider combining your travel credit card with loyalty programs to stack rewards and get even more value out of your purchases.

All information about the American Express® Green Card has been collected independently by The Daily Navigator. American Express® Green Card is no longer available through The Daily Navigator.

The best time to go to Australia is now. The Land Down Under is a traveler’s paradise all year round. It’s unfathomably vast, with its deserts, rainforests, and bare coastal landscapes all ripe for adventure, but equally comfortable thanks to its highly developed cities boasting world-class infrastructure, outstanding food, and sublime cultural diversity.

One day, you’re climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge, and the next, you’re scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef. It’s an unforgettable place and anytime is truly the best time to go to Australia. 

But there’s another barrier to consider before you don your flippers: the cost of flights to Australia.

With the best time to go to Australia depending on personal preference (September to November and March to May are some of the best times to visit Australia due to temperate weather), it’s time to look for airfare.

you’re likely looking for a good deal for a roundtrip from New York to Sydney these days is hovering around the $1,000 mark, assuming your dates align with the more palatable fares.

But there is a way to lessen the burden, or better still, remove it completely. And that means using your credit cards and loyalty programs. Let’s dive into how to use points and miles to get flights to Australia.

The best time to go to Australia is now: Here’s how to find the best deals on flights

If you prefer peak summer, then the best time to go to Australia is December, January, and February.

Getting to Australia is easy enough. It’s a long day of flying, but almost every airport in the US is no more than a connection or two from Sydney or Melbourne. The best place to start is by checking the price of flights over the rough period you want to travel. If you have specific dates you can’t change, it’s okay, but remember your options will be more limited than if you had flexibility.

Once you have a range of prices, you can start checking out some of the best loyalty programs and the redemptions they have available for flights to Australia.

We’ll show you some of the best redemptions available, but remember they might not necessarily work for your dates, and you might stumble across an even better deal with your own research. 

Below, we’ve highlighted three of the best airlines for grabbing an economy flight to and from Australia and the credit cards that can earn you those points.

Let’s use points and miles to get flights to Australia.

1. All Nippon Airways

All Nippon Airways, commonly referred to as ANA, is Japan’s flagship carrier and is a tremendously popular airline for those interested in points and miles. It’s such a powerful tool that a roundtrip redemption with ANA is often less than a one-way flight with other airlines.

Using them to get to Australia is one of your best bets, as well as the most consistent, thanks to their simple reward charts.

There are a few caveats, however. ANA’s interface can be a little confusing, and its loyalty program has the odd quirk of only booking roundtrips, so those hoping to stay longer on Australia’s Working Holiday Visa might need to use another option.

How many points do you need to get flights to Australia with ANA?

The points needed to fly to Australia using ANA vary depending on a number of factors. Generally speaking, these are:

  • Your geographical location
  • The season (low, high, or regular)
  • Whether you fly with ANA or a partner

ANA categorizes sections of the world by number and sets rates between those zones. The US is in Category 6, and Australia is in Category 10.

To fly with ANA, you would require the following number of points:

  • Low season – 60,000 points for a roundtrip
  • Shoulder season – 70,000 points for a roundtrip
  • High Season – 75,000 points for a roundtrip

You can check the seasonal dates here.

To fly with one of ANA’s partners, you would require the following number of points:

  • 75,000 points for a roundtrip

ANA’s partner awards chart doesn’t fluctuate seasonally, so if you’re flying in the regular or low season, you’re better off using ANA themselves. The downside to this is that availability may be lower. However, their partner availability is excellent, and 75,000 points for a roundtrip to Australia is outstanding value.

Which credit cards can earn you those points?

The only credit card loyalty program capable of transferring points to ANA is American Express. While you can earn ANA Mileage Club points by listing your membership on partner flights, using your American Express Membership Points is the easiest way to grab your flight to Australia.

You could hit that point goal by opening one of these cards:

American Express® Gold Card​

The American Express Gold’s 60,000-point intro bonus is just enough to grab a roundtrip if you fly with ANA directly. You’ll need to spend $6,000 within six months of opening the card to hit that bonus. 

American Express® Gold Card

60,000 Membership Rewards® Points

after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new card within the first 6 months of card membership

Annual Fee: $250  |  Terms Apply  |  Rates & Fees

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The super-premium American Express Platinum card isn’t cheap, but it does offer immense value through its intro bonus—great for exploring the country during the best time to go to Australia. The public offer is currently set at 80,000 points after spending $8,000 in six months. But select customers could earn a whopping 150,000 points.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

80,000 Membership Rewards® Points

after you spend $8,000 on purchases in your first 6 months of card membership

Annual Fee: $695  |  Terms Apply  |  Rates & Fees

American Express® Green Card

The American Express Green Card’s bonus won’t cover the whole trip for the best time to go to Australia, but if you’re just short, the 40,000 points could take you over the threshold. You’ll need to spend $3,000 within six months of opening the card to earn those points.

American Express® Green Card

60,000 bonus points

after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. Plus, earn 20% back on eligible travel and transit purchases made during your first 6 months of card membership, up to $200 back in the form of a statement credit.

Annual Fee: $150  |  Terms Apply  |  Rates & Fees

Navigator Tip

ANA offers a stopover perk and open-jaw tickets. Using the stopover, you could grab a free flight to somewhere else in the region, like Tokyo, and make your trip even more epic. 

An open-jaw essentially allows you to choose a different airport in the same region to fly out from. For example, if you fly into Sydney, you could finish your trip in Melbourne or Perth and fly home from there instead of going all the way back to Sydney.

2. Avianca Lifemiles

Avianca still flies a little under the radar, but those in the know understand its redemptions are some of the best in the business. The Colombian flagship carrier has multiple excellent partners, allowing you to fly to Australia using points and miles with ease.

Remember, Avianca itself doesn’t fly to Australia at all. So, any redemption you make using your Lifemiles will be with one of their partners. If you’re already up to scratch with how points and miles work, you know that, but if you’re new to this, maybe check out our guide to points and miles to see how it all works.

How many points do you need to get flights to Australia with Avianca?

Avianca uses a comprehensive awards chart, allowing you to match your region with your desired destination and calculate the points required. Based on the Avianca chart, a flight from anywhere in the US to Australia is 40,000 points each way with just $61 in fees—a pretty brilliant deal. If you were feeling boujie, you could even grab a business class seat for 80,000 points one way.

Those 80,000-point return tickets could be with a familiar airline like United, making the trip even easier for you.

Which credit cards can earn you those points?

As well as being an outstanding program for redeeming points, it’s also incredibly easy to earn Avianca Lifeiles. American Express, Capital One, and Citi all transfer their points to the program. If you have one or multiple cards from these issuers, you’re in good shape for your Australia trip.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card​

The Capital One Venture X is one of the best travel cards on the market, and its 75,000-mile bonus will take you almost all the way to that 80,000-mile mark. But because you’ll have to spend $4,000 in three months, you’ll actually wind up with 83,000 miles.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

75,000 Bonus Miles

after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening

Annual Fee: $395  |  Terms Apply  |  Rates & Fees

American Express Gold + Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card​ combo

While the American Express Gold’s intro bonus will only get you 60,000 points, it’d be easy to combine that with Capital One’s no-annual-fee option, the VentureOne Rewards Credit Card. Its 20,000-mile bonus will get you to the 80,000 mark. You’ll need to spend $6,000 in six months and $500 in three months, respectively.

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

20,000 Bonus Miles

after you spend $500 on purchases in 3 months of card opening

Annual Fee: $0  |  Terms Apply  |  Rates & Fees

Citi Premier® Card​ + American Express Green combo

The Citi Premier doesn’t get enough attention. It’s an outstanding card with a palatable $95 annual fee and a stellar 60,000-point bonus. Its earning potential is also great, with some strong categories on groceries. Combined with the Amex Green, you’d earn 100,000 points, leaving you 20,000 to play with when you’re back from Down Under. You’ll need to spend $4,000 within three months and $3,000 within six months, respectively.

Citi Premier® Card

60,000 Bonus Points

after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

3. United Airlines

United Airlines Mileage Plus program is a bit of a wild card compared to the other two listed. But also, not really. 

See, while Avianca and ANA operate awards charts for their awards redemptions, in 2019, United chose to do away with its own and switch to a dynamic pricing system. This means that instead of setting predetermined values for their awards, the airline can do pretty much whatever it wants. Fares can rise and fall based on demand, route, or any other metric.

While this can be frustrating, especially for people with fixed travel dates, flexible travelers can reap the benefits and score some fantastic deals. 

Remember, the best time to go to Australia is subjective, so the more flexible you are, the better deal you can score. 

How many points and miles do I need to get to Australia with United?

As alluded to above, the amount of miles needed to get to Australia with United can vary drastically. It’s best to cast a wide net and use the monthly search tool, which will show the lowest price for every day in a 30-day period.

Of course, if this isn’t possible, just search for the day you need. If it comes up with a great deal, it’s your lucky day!

As an example, we search for multiple months to see the spread of awards rates. Here’s the lowest roundtrip rate we found for each month:

January, 2024

  • NYC to Sydney – 75,000 + $110
  • LAX to Sydney – 73,800 + $105

July, 2024

  • NYC to Sydney – 110,000 + $110
  • LAX to Sydney –  73,800 + $105

Interestingly, you can see the lowest price for New York is far higher in July than in January (and in terms of the best time to go to Australia, you might enjoy the coldest months: June, July and August—a perfect time to explore up north), while Los Angeles’ rate stayed the same. Why this is, we can only guess. If both had gone up, you could argue that last-minute space in January may be driving the prices down, but LA’s stayed stable.

In this case, a New Yorker hoping to travel in July would be better served to buy a separate flight to LA and book the LAX to Sydney flight.

For example, if you find a good deal with JetBlue, you could book a return flight from NY to LAX for as little as 18,400, saving you 16,600 points in the process. Of course, what you save in points, you sacrifice in convenience and time. That’s the endless battle of points and miles.

Which credit cards can earn you those points?

Unless you open a co-branded card with United (which are great), the only credit card program currently transferring points to MileagePlus is Chase Ultimate Rewards. Thankfully, there are multiple cards to choose from, including some outstanding business cards, which are a way around the dreaded 5/24 rule.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase’s premium offering, the Sapphire Reserve, is one of the best travel cards on the market. With a stellar 60,000-point bonus earned by spending $4,000 in three months, you’ll be well on your way to your points goal. 

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

60,000 Bonus Points

after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Annual Fee: $550  |  Terms Apply  |  Rates & Fees

Chase Ink Business Cash® Credit Card

Don’t be too put off by a business card. A lot more of us qualify for these than you’d assume. And if you do, this card’s amazing welcome bonus opportunity could help you get to Australia. 

Chase Ink Business Cash® Credit Card

Earn up to $750 bonus cash back intro offer

Earn $350 when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months and an additional $400 when you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first six months after account opening.

Annual Fee: $0  |  Terms Apply  |  Rates & Fees

The point

And there you have it: three of the best ways to get flights to Australia using points and miles. Remember to do your own research. We’ve shown you some great redemptions, but there are plenty of other airline loyalty programs out there that could have a sneaky deal when you least expect it.

G’day!

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone. This post contains references to products from one or more of our partners and we may receive compensation when you click on links to those products.

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