Australia and New Zealand are two of the best destinations I highly recommend for American travelers. The problem is the cost of flights to reach these southern hemisphere locations on the far side of the Pacific Ocean.
In 2003, I flew British Airways First Class to Melbourne from Denver, Colorado via London and Singapore. We used Qantas to fly one-way tickets to Sydney, Brisbane and back to Sydney for the return British Airways flights to Singapore, London and Denver. Those six flights were long-haul journeys totaling more than 30,000 miles in First Class. I paid 150,000 miles per award ticket and $242 in taxes.
In 2005, I flew Air New Zealand in Business Class to Auckland for 100,000 ANA miles and $18 in taxes.
New Zealand is probably the most beautiful country I have toured. The islands have the rugged beauty of California with more water and greenery. Australia enchanted us with its abundant wildlife.
When you don’t have boatloads of frequent flyer miles to redeem for a flight, what is the market rate for revenue flights between California and Australia in 2015?
2015 Roundtrip Fares LAX/SFO to Australia and New Zealand
San Francisco SFO – SYD Sydney, Australia
- $1,294 roundtrip American Airlines/Fiji Airways (April 21- May 6)
- $1,184 Air New Zealand (May 6-21) Most May dates $1,300 to $1,400.
- June 2015 – most dates $1,300 to $1,600.
- July 1-20 dates are mostly $1,400 to $1,800 until July 21 when some dates drop to $1,295 to fly Hawaiian Airlines and all return dates for 30 days are $1,295.
- $1,365 Virgin Australia/Delta codeshare August 11-25
- $1,245 Air New Zealand Sep 8-22. $1,402 United nonstop Sep 8-22.
- $1,300 is common price for October and November flights.
- $1,500 to $2,000 in December with peak rates for year during last two weeks of December.
Los Angeles LAX – SYD Sydney, Australia
- $1,155 Fiji Airways (April 22-May 6) via Nadi NAN, Fiji
- $1,179 Qantas nonstop (several May dates)
- $1,114 Fiji Airways or $1,179 Qantas (many dates in June)
- July fares hover around $1,500 for July departures until July 20 when rates drop below $1,200 again with $1,155 Fiji Airways and $1,295 Hawaiian Airlines. Qantas around $1,500.
- $1,114 Fiji Airways or $1,179 Qantas (most dates in August)
- September through November sees fares hover between $1,114 with Fiji and around $1,200 with several other carriers including China Southern, Qantas, United and Virgin Australia.
- December dates are $1,500 to $2,000.
Flights to Melbourne are priced almost identically to Sydney for the same months.
Flights to Auckland, New Zealand AKL from California
FARE ALERT: 75th Anniversary Sale – Air New Zealand announced a $200 off any class of ticket 3-day sale the day this post came out. LAX-AKL is $875 for many dates in April, May, September.
Flights to Auckland New Zealand AKL from California are a couple hundred dollars less in summer 2015 or actually winter 2015 once you are in the southern hemisphere.
- $1,055 Hawaiian; $1094 Air New Zealand (May 6-20)
- Flight prices are pretty stable from May through June 11 and then rise $150 to $250 for June and much of July.
- Under $1,100 fares return July 21 for most dates all the way to December when peak season rates take effect.
San Francisco airfare to Auckland is higher in June and July by as a much as several hundred dollars. You may want to book a separate flight to buy a ticket from LAX. There are dates with fare under $1,100 from SFO during most months, but not nearly as prevalent as low fare dates from LAX.
Travel to New Zealand and Australia is an expensive revenue ticket which is one reason why finding award availability can be a challenge.
After this look at airfare to reach Auckland AKL, Melbourne MEL or Sydney SYD, a great discount on ticket price to Australia or New Zealand is any price from $1,000 to $1,200. Watch for fare sales when prices drop under $1,000 roundtrip from the USA to Australia or New Zealand and know that is a good time to plan travel.
Or save up your miles. I paid 150,000 British Airways miles to fly to Australia in First Class in 2003. I paid 100,000 ANA miles to fly Air New Zealand Business Class in 2005.
United Mileage Plus Award Rates USA-New Zealand/Australia
United Mileage Plus Award Flight Cost from USA to Australia or New Zealand
- Economy roundtrip = 80,000 miles Saver Award
- Economy roundtrip = 170,000 miles Standard Award
- Business roundtrip = 140,000 miles Saver Award for United
- First Class roundtrip = 160,000 miles Saver Award for United
- Star Alliance Business Class roundtrip = 160,000 miles
- Star Alliance First Class roundtrip = 260,000 miles
American Airlines One World USA – South Pacific Awards
- Economy roundtrip = 75,000 miles
- Business roundtrip = 125,000 miles
- First Class roundtrip = 150,000 miles
Delta Skymiles (archived awards chart)
- Economy roundtrip = 100,000 miles
- Business roundtrip = 160,000 miles