Intro: Off Peak To Australia On A Sweet Spot USAir Award
Part 1: Getting To Sydney The Long Way
Part 2: Stunning Sydney And A Climb To The Top Of The Harbour Bridge
Part 3: Exploring The Outback
Part 4: Cairns And A Trip Up The Coast To Port Douglas
Part 5: Beautiful Tasmania
Part 6: Melbourne And The Ride Home On United Global First
I’ve become a huge fan of off-peak travel. Awards are relatively easy to book, hotels cheap, and crowds small. Having never been to Australia, it seemed a no brainer to try to work a trip there early September when I happened to find excellent award space that would allow me to try three new First class products and utilize a sweet spot on the USAir award redemption chart US – South Pacific for 140k miles RT in F. Routing rules would allow me either a stopover or open jaw. Wanting to spend as much time there as possible, I eventually found award space that would allow me to fly into Sydney (via Asia) and return from Melbourne.
I was just shy of the necessary 140k Dividend Miles, so initiated a transfer of 20k SPG points which would top off my account with 20k + 5k bonus miles. I put a reservation on hold with USAir, hoping the miles would transfer in enough time to be able to book it before expiration. They didn’t and I lost the initial reservation, thank goodness, because an even better routing popped up allowing, amongst other things, another ride in a new Thai Airways A380. The itin looked something like this:
LAX – NRT : ANA First Suites
NRT – BKK: TG First on the A380
BKK – SYD: TG First on the 747 (with amazing Thai ground service in BKK)
MEL – LAX – United Global First
I used a series of points currencies to book intra- Australia hotels and flights with BA Avios, Virgin America Elevate points, and Citi Thank You points. I also booked a couple nights the ultra luxurious Park Hyatt Sydney using Ultimate Rewards points (transferred to Hyatt) another very popular ‘aspirational’ hotel property amongst my points and miles collector friends.
The SPG points transfer took just under a week posting just in time for me to ticket the revised award. I was ready to go.