Last week I put together some numbers showing the challenges facing SkyMiles members who are looking to redeem points for travel to Sydney from the United States. Delta has but the one flight each day and availability is quite tight, particularly in business class. That research was based on only one passenger traveling. Many readers asked what it looks like if you’re not flying solo. Here’s what that looks like.
Yeah, still not great on the Delta non-stop flight. For a single passenger taking a connection made things better and that is still the case for two, but not nearly as many options remain. Pretty much only Korean is viable and with fewer dates than a single passenger would see. I’m not sure if Virgin Australia is missing because of a technical issue where nothing from Virgin Australia is showing up right now or something else, but I’m also not seeing single passenger options for VA-operated. There are very limited dates from China Southern and China Airlines with two seats, far fewer than for one (and so few I didn’t even bother graphing it).
There are a couple quirks I noticed in the research this time around. If you’re willing to skip Easter this year two seats on the LA-Sydney non-stop flight are available on DL metal for only 80k each. That’s the low level award and something of a needle in a haystack type of find in this market. Also, it is less expensive than the coach seats on the same flight!
And, for reasons which I do not comprehend and which the Delta twitter team has not yet been able to explain, travel on China Southern seems to be drawing a mysterious extra $167.70 in fees. Oops. (Appears to be YQ + YR; I thought that didn’t get charged for US origination tix??)
Travel to Sydney on SkyMiles is not easy, and even less so if you aren’t flying solo.
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This latest series of SkyMiles avaibility(or not) has been very informative. Unfortunately, it also confirmed what I thought. Using these things are challenging.
As an aside, given the almost total lack of available low level seats, who is filling them?
Do people actually use SkyMiles at the higher(much) levels?
Are people actually buying them with cash? I imagine these business seats run upwards of $10,000 to SYD.
Does DAL hold them back far out and subsequently lower the point requirements closer in so those with much more flexibility to last minute travel can gobble them up?
All of the above?
Don’t forget connecting passengers who typically pay less than O/D traffic. Or corporate contracts.
And I’m betting the seats are filled with a mix of passengers from every category.
You forgot to mention Virgin Australia, which was and is sometimes is showing almost 4 seats per flight even in December.
No, I didn’t. I explicitly mentioned Virgin Australia and noted that in this particular set of data it wasn’t showing up, though I believe that to be a technical issue, not one of availability missing.
Yes, I noticed that–very interesting. I literally looked two days ago and there was a lot of Virgin Australia availability. Hopefully it’s a glitch!
Yup…and the stats I had last week included lots of VA flights, too.
Delta has added fuel surcharges to awards on several partners, not just ex-Europe, for instance they also add YQ to China Eastern awards and Air Tahiti Nui awards originating in the US. That’s not new.
The glitch was HAVING VA availability, not the other way around. Delta seems to have “fixed” it because even though VA availability seemed plentiful, it would always error out from what I heard.
However, KE flights still show a lot of availability to SYD later in summer and fall. Whether it’s also a phantom, I don’t know, because in case with VA, the site would error out AFTER you enter the payment information.
VA seems to alternate from “very easy to get” to scarce periodically. When we booked, it was easy. Not long after, it was hard. Then easy again. Rnjoyablr airline to fly if you can get the seats.
So glad that I booked our dream trip to AU for my family of 4 in biz last year on VA. I suspected that DL couldn’t be trusted and all the SkyMiles news since I made my booking in Aug2013 has been mostly on the negative side. Our VA flights were very enjoyable and I was able to benefit from the pre-2015 allowed stopover rule to have an additional segment on VA inside Australia. It cost me 620K SkyMiles but it was totally worth it.
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