Part IV – Getting To Australia/New Zealand Using SPG Starpoints

SPG Starpoints are probably my favorite of all the transferable currencies. That is because they are among the versatile points out there, which makes them great points to stockpile. Of all the transferable currency options, SPG Starpoints are probably the most difficult to accrue, but they can offer the absolute best value around for getting you to Australia/New Zealand!

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Introduction – Getting To Australia/New Zealand Using Your MRs, URs or TYPs
Part I – Getting To Australia/New Zealand Using Your MRs
Part II – Getting To Australia/New Zealand Using Your URs
Part III – Getting To Australia/New Zealand Using Your TYPs
Part IV – Getting To Australia/New Zealand Using Your SPG Starpoints

SPG Starpoints are probably the most versatile and coveted among the transferable currencies. That is because they offer some of the best value around. This is especially true for transfers to airline partners as SPG offers a 5,000 mile bonus for every 20,000 Starpoints you transfer. SPG offers (through American Express) only 2 cards that earn SPG Starpoints – the SPG Personal card and the SPG Business card. Neither card offers category bonuses outside of spend at SPG properties, though these cards get the majority of my non-category bonus spend as you can never have enough Starpoints in my opinion.

In addition to earning Starpoints via American Express credit cards, you can of course also earn Starpoints from your stays at Starwood properties around the world.

Now that you know how to earn Starpoints, the more complicated process is how to use those hard earned Starpoints to get you to Australia/New Zealand! Starpoints offer the most flexibility as they transfer to 35 (!) airline partners. Your SPG Starpoints will transfer to the following airlines:

AirlineAllianceTransfer RatioTransfer Time
Aegean AirlinesStar Alliance1:12-14 Days
AeroMexicoSkyTeam1:12-14 Days
Air Canada (Aeroplan)Star Alliance1:12-14 Days
Air BerlinOneWorld1:12-14 Days
Air ChinaStar Alliance1:12-14 Days
Air New ZealandStar Alliance65:12-14 Days
Alaska AirlinesN/A1:12-14 Days
AlitaliaSkyTeam1:12-14 Days
All Nippon Airways (ANA)Star Alliance1:12-14 Days
American AirlinesOneWorld1:12-14 Days
Cathay PacificOneWorld1:12-14 Days
AsianaStar Alliance1:12-14 Days
British AirwaysOneWorld1:12-14 Days
China EasternSkyTeam1:12-14 Days
China SouthernSkyTeam1:12-14 Days
DeltaSkyTeam1:12-14 Days
EmiratesN/A1:12-14 Days
EtihadN/A1:12-14 Days
Air France/KLM (FlyingBlue)SkyTeam1:12-14 Days
GolN/A2:12-14 Days
HainanN/A1:12-14 Days
Hawaiian AirlinesN/A1:12-14 Days
Japan Airlines (JAL)OneWorld1:12-14 Days
Jet AirwaysN/A1:12-14 Days
Korean AirSkyTeam1:12-14 Days
LATAM (kms)OneWorld1:1.52-14 Days
LufthansaStar Alliance1:12-14 Days
Qatar AirlinesOneWorld1:12-14 Days
Saudi Arabian AirlinesSkyTeam1:12-14 Days
Singapore AirlinesStar Alliance1:12-14 Days
Thai AirwaysStar Alliance1:12-14 Days
United AirlinesStar Alliance2:12-14 Days
Virgin AustraliaN/A1:12-14 Days
Virgin AtlanticN/A1:12-14 Days
Virgin AmericaN/A1:12-14 Days

From the data points I was able to find, it appears that transferred Starpoints used to take much longer to post to your account(s) than they do now. It appears that on average, Starpoints currently take between 2 and 5 days to post to your frequent flyer account(s). However, as always, please note that all of the transfer times are an approximation based on various data points.

Another caveat is that although I will be including general advice for getting to Australia/New Zealand on your Starpoints, your home airport will play an important role in finding availability or determining cost. For example, since Cathay Pacific operates under a distance based award chart, the cost for someone traveling from the West Coast may be lower than the cost for someone traveling from the East Coast. I will also assume for purposes of this post that you would be flying into either Sydney (SYD) or Auckland (AKL).

Lastly, keep in mind that you will earn an additional 5,000 Starpoints for every 20,000 Starpoints you transfer to an airline transfer partner. The 5,000 bonus Starpoints will be applied to the transfer only and will not be deposited into your account. That means that transferring 20,000 Starpoints to say Alaska Airlines will result in receiving 25,000 Alaska Airlines miles. This is important as it can bring down your out of pocket award cost substantially – especially when dealing with premium cabin redemptions.

Aegean Airlines

Aegean Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance, so you can use your Miles+Bonus miles for Air New Zealand, Air Canada, United, ANA and Singapore Airlines (among others) flights to Australia/New Zealand. In other words, you are going to have a ton of options!

Aegean Airlines offers a separate award chart for flights operated by Aegean and flights operated by their partners. As Aegean does not fly to Australia/New Zealand, you would be charged according to the partner award chart. Aegean operates under a zone based system where Australia and New Zealand are located in the same zone. As such, your award cost will be the same regardless of whether you are traveling to Australia or New Zealand.

For flights between the U.S. and Australia/New Zealand, you can expect a roundtrip rate of 100k miles for economy, 150k miles for business class and 200k miles for first class.

One-way awards are available at half of the above quoted rate.

While there are some better options out there for economy redemptions, if you are looking for a premium cabin award ticket, I would give some serious consideration to the Miles+Bonus program as 200k miles roundtrip for first class is among the absolute best of all of the transferable currencies.

Aeromexico

Aeromexico does not list Australia or New Zealand in their award charts, so despite being a member of the SkyTeam alliance and (presumably) having access to partner award space on Delta flights, it does not appear that you can use Aeromexico miles to get to the South Pacific. I actually do not consider this a huge loss and Aeromexico’s redemption rates across the board tend to be some of the worst on offer and I would not have expected anything less for flights to Australia or New Zealand.

Air Canada (Aeroplan)

Air Canada is a Star Alliance member, so you can use your Aeroplan miles for redemptions on Air New Zealand, Air Canada, United, ANA and Singapore Airlines (among others) flights to Australia/New Zealand. In other words, you are going to have a ton of options!

Aeroplan groups Australia and New Zealand into the same award zone, so your redemption rate will be the same regardless of which you travel to.

A roundtrip award ticket will cost you 90k miles in economy, 135k miles in premium economy, 160k miles in business class and 220k miles in first class.

Aeroplan does allow one-way award tickets at half the cost of the roundtrip award ticket cost. While I do love Aeroplan miles, the redemptions to Australia/New Zealand are about average. Unless you are having difficulty finding availability elsewhere, I would look at other transfer partners for your Starpoints.

Air Berlin

Air Berlin is a member of the OneWorld alliance, which means you can redeem your Topbonus miles for flights on American Airlines and Qantas. Interestingly, Air Berlin also partners with Virgin Australia, so you can redeem your Topbonus miles for flights with them as well. The Topbonus program utilizes separate award charts for Air Berlin operated flights and partner operated flights. Since Air Berlin does not fly to Australia or New Zealand, you would redeem according to the partner award chart – which is zone based. Australia and New Zealand are included in the same zone, so you award cost will be the same regardless of which destination you choose.

For flights between the U.S. and Australia/New Zealand, you can expect a roundtrip cost of 180k miles in economy and 360k miles in business class. First class redemptions are not available via the Topbonus program.

One-way award tickets are available at half of the aforementioned costs. Award availability on Qantas and American flights down to Australia/New Zealand also tends to be quite poor, which makes the Topbonus program even worse for this particular transfer. It is worth noting that you will be hit with fuel surcharges when you redeem your Topbonus miles. To redeem Topbonus miles for partner flights, you need to call Air Berlin at 0049 (0)30-3434.

Given the fuel surcharges and the horrible redemption rates, you are better off transferring your Starpoints elsewhere for an Australia/New Zealand redemption as there are much much better offerings available.

Air China

Air China is a member of the Star Alliance, so you can use your PhoenixMiles for Air New Zealand, Air Canada, United, ANA and Singapore Airlines (among others) flights to Australia/New Zealand. If you do not mind routing through mainland China or Taipei, you can also redeem for flights on Air China. Again, in other words, you are going to have a ton of options!

The PhoenixMiles program utilizes separate award charts for flights operated by Air China and flights operated by partners, though both charts are zone based with Australia and New Zealand being in the same zone.

For flights operated by Air China, you would need to redeem two award tickets – 1 between the U.S. and China and 1 between China and Australia/New Zealand. Roundtrip you can expect an award cost of 200k kilometers in economy, 400k kilometers in business class and 560k kilometers in first class. One-way award tickets are allowed, and you can expect an award cost of 120k kilometers in economy, 230k kilometers in business class and 315k kilometers in first class.

For flights operated by partner airlines, you can expect a roundtrip award cost of 125k kilometers in economy, 188k kilometers in business class and 250k kilometers in first class. One-way award tickets are allowed, and you can expect an award cost of 75k kilometers in economy, 112.8k kilometers in business class and 150k kilometers in first class.

As you can see, you are much better off redeeming with partner airlines, however even then the PhoenixMiles program does not offer much value. You are better off transferring your Starpoints elsewhere for a redemption to Australia/New Zealand.

Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand is a Star Alliance member, so you can use your Airpoints Dollars for redemptions on Air New Zealand (duh), Air Canada, United, ANA and Singapore Airlines (among others) flights to Australia/New Zealand. In other words, you are going to have a ton of options!

It is worth noting right off the bat that your Starpoints will transfer at a ratio of 65:1. It is also worth re-mentioning that the 5,000 point bonus is given in Starpoints, not Airpoints Dollars, so for every 20,000 Starpoints you transfer to Air New Zealand, you will receive just shy of 77 Airpoints Dollars.

Air New Zealand utilizes a separate and unique pricing scheme for flights operated by Air New Zealand, while they utilize a zone based award chart for flights operated by partners.

For flights operated by Air New Zealand, you redeem based off of the paid cost of the ticket at a ratio of 1 Airpoints Dollar to 1 New Zealand Dollar. Thus, the cash price of your ticket will dictate here how much you award costs. And yes, this does mean that you will likely receive absolutely horrible value from your Starpoints if you transfer them to this program.

For flights operated by partners between the U.S. and Australia, you can expect a roundtrip award cost of 1,730 Airpoints for economy, 4,140 Airpoints for business class and 5,220 Airpoints for first class.

For flights operated by partners between the U.S. and New Zealand, you can expect a roundtrip award cost of 1,500 Airpoints for economy, 2,240 Airpoints for premium economy, 4,080 Airpoints for business class and 5,160 Airpoints for first class.

One-way award tickets for partner redemptions are available at half of the above quoted rates.

To give you a better idea of the redemption costs in Starpoints, you would be looking at approximately 80,000 Starpoints to get yourself a roundtrip economy class ticket and over 200,000 Starpoints to get yourself a single roundtrip business class award ticket! That makes Air New Zealand one of the single worst transfer partners available for your Starpoints for this redemption!

Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines is one of my favorite airlines and their Mileage Plan program  is one of my favorite frequent flyer programs since it offers so much value. Although Alaska Airlines is not a part of any of the major alliances, they do have strategic partnerships with airlines like Delta, Qantas, Cathay Pacific, Fiji Airways and Korean Air. In other words, you have a fair amount of options.

Alaska Airlines does not fly to Australia or New Zealand, so you would redeem according to the partner award charts. The Mileage Plan program is somewhat unique in that they have a separate zone based award chart for each operating airline. Australia and New Zealand are each in their own separate zones under these award charts, though the rates do not differ.

For flights between the U.S. and Australia or New Zealand, you can expect the following round trip award costs on the following airlines:

  • Cathay Pacific – 80k miles for economy, 95k miles for premium economy, 120k miles for business class and 160k miles for first class. One-way award tickets are allowed at half of these quoted rates.
  • Delta – 100k miles for economy and 160k miles for business class. One-way award tickets are allowed at the exact same quoted rates.
  • Fiji Airways – 80k miles for economy and 110k miles for business class. One-way award tickets are allowed at half of these quoted rates.
  • Korean Air – 85k miles for economy and 125k miles for business class. One-way award tickets are not allowed.
  • Qantas – 85k miles for economy, 95k miles for premium economy, 110k miles for business class and 140k miles for first class. One-way award tickets are allowed at half of these quoted rates.

It is worth noting that there is no published award chart for Delta flights to New Zealand, so you cannot redeem your Alaska miles for Delta flights to New Zealand.

Although these rates may seem about average, keep in mind that Alaska allows you stopover on your journey. That means you could build in a stopover in say Seoul (ICN) when flying Korean Airlines, Fiji (NAN) when flying Fiji Airways or Hong Kong (HKG) when flying Cathay Pacific. Depending on your travel plans, this could make for some exceptional value. If you value the stopover, Alaska is a great option. If you do not care about the stopover, then you are probably better of looking elsewhere as there are less expensive options.

Alitalia

Alitalia is a SkyTeam alliance member that is based out of Rome (FCO). That means that their route network is not especially well suited for redemptions to Australia/New Zealand (especially if you are flying from the U.S.). In addition, you can redeem your MilleMiglia miles for travel on Delta flights. Alitalia will levy fuel surcharges on partner award tickets, though they are not going to be as bad as the likes of British Airways. The trick to booking Alitalia awards is to have some miles in your account so they consider it active. From there you can call and place your award ticket on hold for about two (2) weeks. You can then transfer the needed miles and then call back to get the ticket booked.

Alitalia has a separate award chart for SkyTeam partner redemptions and groups Australia and New Zealand into the same region.

Between North America and Australia/New Zealand, award tickets will cost you 100k miles roundtrip in economy and 150k miles roundtrip in business. Due to the SkyTeam alliance not having a strong presence in the area, I would expect to encounter the same difficulties with Alitalia as you will with Delta in finding low level saver space that partners can book. While the rate is actually fairly reasonable, availability is going to be sparse, so I would look elsewhere to transfer your Starpoints for an Australia/New Zealand redemption.

Alitalia does not allow one-way award tickets on partner airlines, so you have to book roundtrip tickets when utilizing partners. Lastly, while you must book the most direct itinerary, you are allowed one voluntary stopover.

The US phone number for Alitalia is 800.223.5730.

ANA

ANA is a member of the Star Alliance, so you can use your Mileage Club miles for Air New Zealand, Air Canada, United, ANA and Singapore Airlines (among others) flights to Australia/New Zealand. Again, in other words, you are going to have a ton of options!

ANA places Australia and New Zealand in the same award zone, so your award costs will remain the same regardless of which destination you choose. However, ANA uses a different award chart for ANA operated flights than they do for partner operated flights.

For ANA operated flights, ANA uses a Low, Regular and High season award chart, so you are better off going to ANA’s website to determine your award ticket cost as there are a lot of variables at play.

For roundtrip partner flights (or even if only one of your flights is on a partner airline) between the U.S. and Australia/New Zealand, it will cost you 75k miles for economy, 120k miles for business class and 225k miles for first class.

ANA does not allow for one-way award tickets (there is a way around this which I have previously outlined here, though I do not think it is necessarily worthwhile unless you have Mileage Club points to burn). ANA can present a very good option for coach or business class redemptions to Australia or New Zealand. I would give ANA some serious consideration for your next Australia/New Zealand trip!

American Airlines

American Airline’s AAdvantage program uses a zone based award chart. American is a member of the OneWorld alliance, so you can use your AAdvantage miles to book Qantas or American Airlines flights to Australia/New Zealand. The AAdvantage program requires you to fly direct between the U.S. and Australia/New Zealand, which substantially limits your available options to Qantas and American flights out of Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO).

American offers a separate award chart for redemptions on its own flights which range from saver to anytime levels. The saver level rates are the same rates that you will pay for award tickets on their partner Qantas.

For flights between the U.S. and Australia/New Zealand, you can expect a roundtrip cost of 80k miles in economy, 160k miles in business class and 220k miles in first class.

One-way award tickets are allowed at half of the above quoted rates.

As far as economy options go, American is among the best of the Starpoint transfer partners. However, award space availability on American and Qantas flights between the U.S. and Australia/New Zealand tend to be awful unless you have a lot of flexibility in your schedule. While the award ticket redemption rates are not horrible, the availability is bad enough to make me recommend you look elsewhere to transfer your Starpoints.

Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles program uses a distance based award chart, so this is another airline that will depend on your home airport for redemption costs. Cathay Pacific is a member of the OneWorld alliance, so you can use your Asia Miles to book Qantas, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines and American Airlines flights to Australia/New Zealand. Interestingly, Cathay Pacific also partners with Air New Zealand and it appears that you can redeem your Asia Miles for Air New Zealand flights as well.

From the West Coast of the U.S. (LAX or SFO) to Australia or New Zealand, you can expect a roundtrip cost of 60k miles for economy, 72k miles for premium economy, 120k miles for business class and 180k for first class. It is worth noting that flights between LAX/SFO and Australia are right on the cusp of flowing over to the next award zone, so if you are going to Melbourne (MEL) or connecting to somewhere in the interior of Australia, you are going to be in the next award category, which is more expensive.

One-way award tickets are allowed at the rates of: 40k miles in economy, 48k miles in premium economy, 70k miles in business class and 105k in first class.

From the East Coast of the U.S. (JFK) to Australia or New Zealand, you can expect a roundtrip cost of 90k miles in economy, 108k miles for premium economy, 145k miles for business class and 220k miles for first class. Again, it is worth noting that flights between JFK and Australia are right on the cusp of flowing over to the next award zone, so if you are going to Melbourne (MEL) or connecting to somewhere in the interior of Australia, you are going to be in the next award category, which is more expensive.

One-way award tickets are allowed at the rates of: 55k miles for economy, 66k miles for premium economy, 85k for business class and 130k for first class.

What is wild though is the Asia Miles program allows you to make up to 5 stopovers, 2 transfers and 2 open-jaws at either the origin, en-route or at the turnaround point (destination)! That means you could put together an itinerary where you hop all over the South Pacific, in business class, for only 145k miles total from the U.S.! Depending on how you routed yourself, that could offer some truly exceptional value.

If you can get the stopovers and open-jaws to work for your itinerary, Asia Miles should be the top contender for you to transfer your Starpoints to for your Australia/New Zealand vacation. Even if you are not utilizing the stopovers and open-jaws, I would say that the Asia Miles program offers some solid bang for your Starpoints buck to Australia/New Zealand.

Asiana

Asiana is a member of the Star Alliance, so you can use your Asiana Club miles for Air New Zealand, Air Canada, United, ANA, Asiana and Singapore Airlines (among others) flights to Australia/New Zealand. Again, in other words, you are going to have a ton of options!

Asiana utilizes separate award charts for Asiana operated flights and partner operated flights. Both award charts are zone based and have Australia and New Zealand in the same zone. This means that your redemption rates will be the same regardless of whether you are traveling to Australia or New Zealand.

For flights operated by Asiana, you can expect a roundtrip cost of 105k miles for economy, 160-200k for business class (if flying standard business class, it is 160k miles; if flying Smartium business class, it is 200k miles) and 210-250k miles for first class (if flying standard first class, it is 210k miles; if flying first class suites, it is 250k miles).

For flights operated by partner airlines, you can expect a roundtrip cost of 110k miles for economy, 165k miles for business class and 240k miles for first class.

One-way award tickets are available at half of the above quoted costs. It is also worth keeping in mind that Asiana taxes a mileage premium on premium cabin redemptions on certain routes (both operated by Asiana and partners) on top of the quoted award costs. They also use a peak system where awards for flights operated by Asiana increase in cost by 50% during certain times of the year. I would recommend you read this page for more information as it relates to your specific desired travel dates.

Given the complexities of the Asiana award system (relative to other Starpoint transfer partners anyways), I would recommend steering clear of Asiana for your award travel to Australia/New Zealand. Not only are there much less complicated award systems available for travel to Australia/New Zealand, but there are also much better deals mileage wise.

British Airways/Iberia

British Airways and Iberia somewhat share an award program where both have a distance based award chart, so your home airport is really going to make the biggest difference here in how much an award ticket to Australia or New Zealand will cost you. As both British Airways and Iberia are members of the OneWorld alliance, you can use your Avios to book Qantas, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines or American Airlines flights to Australia or New Zealand.

The upshot of using Avios is that you can build in an itinerary that flies from the U.S. to Hong Kong (HKG) or Tokyo (NRT/HND), and then on to Australia or New Zealand if you wanted. That actually opens up a lot more possibilities as award space between Asia and Australia or New Zealand tends to be much better than to/from the U.S. The downside of this is that due to the distance based award chart, routing through Asia will cost you substantially more Avios.

Assuming you booked a direct flight between the U.S. and Australia or New Zealand on Qantas or American from New York (JFK), you can expect a one-way award cost of 62.5k Avios for economy, 100k Avios for premium economy, 137.5k Avios for business class and 200k Avios for first class.

It is worth  noting that you could cut these rates down a bit if you found space on the Qantas flight from JFK due to this interesting trick.

If you are connecting between Australia and New Zealand, you can expect an added cost of 10k Avios for economy, 15k Avios for premium economy, 20k Avios for business class and 40k Avios for first class.

Assuming you booked a direct flight between the U.S. and Australia on Qantas or American from either Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) or Los Angeles (LAX), you can expect a one-way award cost of 50k Avios for economy, 75k Avios for premium economy, 100k Avios for business class and 150k Avios for first class.

If you were traveling between Los Angeles (LAX) and Auckland (AKL), you can expect a one-way award cost of 35k Avios for economy, 52.5k Avios for premium economy, 70k Avios for business class and 105k Avios for first class.

Again, keep in mind that these are price ranges for flights to either Sydney (SYD) or Auckland (AKL), so your award ticket cost may vary from these numbers depending on your home airport, number of connections needed and destination. Also keep in mind that British Airways does not levy their usual hefty fuel surcharges on partner redemptions.

Award space tends to be best on these routes either very close in, or very far out. Premium cabin award space on these routes is nearly non-existent at the time of writing, though Qantas and American do occasionally open the flood gates on space. It is also worth noting that for some reason the British Airways search tool tends to have issues with allowing you to book Qantas flights online. It will show availability, but you will get an error message when you try to select that flight. Your best bet is to call in and have the British Airways agent book the flight for you. Ask that they waive the phone booking fee since you were unable to book online.

In light of the cost, unless you are based out of a hub airport where you can find a direct partner flight to your Australian/New Zealand destination or have a glut of Avios you want to burn, you are better off transferring your Starpoints elsewhere for a redemption to Australia/New Zealand – especially if you are looking to travel in a premium cabin.

China Eastern

China Eastern is a SkyTeam alliance member, which means you can redeem your Eastern Miles for travel on Delta and Korean Air flights to Australia/New Zealand. You could also redeem your Eastern Miles for flights on China Southern or China Eastern, though that would mean routing via mainland China.

The Eastern Miles program maintains separate award charts for China Eastern operated flights and partner operated flights. Both award charts are zone based, with Australia and New Zealand being in the same zone for both.

For flights operated by China Eastern, you would need to redeem two award tickets – one between the U.S. and China and one between China and Australia/New Zealand). For roundtrip flights between the U.S. and New Zealand, you can expect a cost of 188k miles for economy, 340k miles for business class and 520k miles for first class. One-way award tickets are allowed at the rates of 101k miles for economy, 185k miles for business class and 290k miles for first class.

For flights operated by partner airlines, you can expect a cost of 150k miles in economy, 280k miles in business class and 360k miles in first class. One-way award tickets on partners are allowed at half of the quoted rates.

As you can see, the much better value with the Eastern Miles program is in partner redemptions. With that said, the redemption rates are not competitive with some of the other Starpoint transfer partners, so I would recommend you look elsewhere for your Starpoint transfer.

China Southern

China Southern is a SkyTeam alliance member, which means you can redeem your Skypearl kilometers for travel on Delta and Korean Air flights to Australia/New Zealand. You could also redeem your Skypearl kilometers for flights on China Southern or China Eastern, though that would mean routing via mainland China.

China Southern utilizes a separate award chart for flights operated by China Southern from those operated by partners. The China Southern specific award chart is distance based (in kilometers), while the partner award chart is zone based.

China Southern only flies to New York (JFK), Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO) in the U.S., so unless you are based in one of these hubs or can position yourself to one of these hubs easily, you will be redeeming under the partner award chart. To stay on all China Southern operated flights, you would need to connect through Guangzhou (CAN) or Shanghai (PVG).

For roundtrip flights operated solely by China Southern aircraft, you can expect a cost of 128k kilometers for economy, 154k kilometers for premium economy, 220k kilometers for business class and 310k kilometers for first class.

China Southern’s partner specific award chart places Australia and New Zealand in the same zone, so your redemption cost would be the same regardless of which destination you choose.

For roundtrip flights operated by partners, you can expect a cost of 140k kilometers for economy, 280k kilometers for business class and 380k kilometers for first class.

One-way award tickets are allowed at half of the above quoted rates. There are some blackout dates for redemptions, so I would strongly recommend you check those here before transferring your points.

Overall, these rates are about average for redemptions between the U.S. and Australia/New Zealand, so you are better of looking to transfer elsewhere for flights between the U.S. and Australia/New Zealand.

Delta

Unfortunately, approximately a year and a half ago, Delta decided to take down its award chart. Without a published award chart, that means that it is difficult to give a number of miles that it will take to get to Australia/New Zealand. The Continental United States to Australia also tends to be one of the Delta routes that only offers availability at the highest rates, so I would go in with low expectations on this option.

As a general ballpark, from a Delta hub airport, you can expect to see roundtrip award tickets cost approximately 90k in Coach, 210k in Delta Comfort+ and, oddly, 220k in DeltaOne (business class). These rates all assume you can find low level award space on the route, which can be difficult. One-way flights are available for half the quoted cost and the taxes and fees are reasonable (under $100 in each direction).

It is worth noting that Delta seems to charge nearly the same amount for Delta Comfort+ seats as they do for First/Business/DeltaOne class seats, so if you are searching for Comfort+ award seats, make sure you are checking out the cost of a First/Business/DeltaOne award ticket as well as the product will be much better and only marginally more expensive.

Also keep in mind that Delta partners with Virgin Australia who are in the process of retrofitting their long haul cabin with what looks like a stunningly superb reverse herringbone setup in business class. Any award availability on Virgin Australia that is bookable with Delta SkyMiles will be at the lowest rate for the route, so keep it in mind.

Even forgetting the fact that saver level award space can be difficult to find, there are still better Starpoint transfer partner options out there other than Delta. Unless you have a glut of SkyMiles you just need to top off for this redemption, I would look elsewhere for transferring your Starpoints.

Emirates

Emirates uses a zone based award chart, so your redemption cost will largely depend on your departure airport and your arrival airport. If you are looking to redeem for flights operate by Emirates, I would recommend you use their Miles Calculator to determine the cost.

Emirates also partners with Qantas, Korean Air and Japan Airlines, so you can redeem your miles for flights on these airlines as well.

For flights operated by Japan Airlines between North America and Australia/New Zealand, you can expect roundtrip rates of 70k miles for economy, 145k miles for business class and 215k miles for first class. You will need to get yourself to one of Japan Airlines’ gateway cities in the U.S. on your own however.

For flights operated by Korean Air between North America and Australia/New Zealand, you can expect roundtrip rates of 110k miles for economy and 165k miles for business class. As with Japan Airlines, you will need to get yourself to one of Korean Air’s gateway cities in the U.S. on your own.

For flights operated by Qantas, there are several different redemption rates depending on the route. Those roundtrip rates are as follows:

  • Between Los Angeles (LAX) and Sydney (SYD), Brisbane (BNE) or Melbourne (MEL) – 90k miles for economy, 192k miles for business class and 288k miles for first class.
  • Between Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) and Sydney (SYD) – 110k miles for economy, 224k miles for business class and 336k miles for first class.
  • Between New York (JFK) and Sydney (SYD), Brisbane (BNE) or Melbourne (MEL) – 120k miles for economy, 256k miles for business class and 384k miles for first class.

If you wanted to connect on to New Zealand, you would need to pay for a separate award ticket on that route.

It does not appear that one-way award tickets are possible on Qantas, Japan Airlines or Korean Air flights. Some of these rates are not bad, while others are not exactly competitive. I would not rule Emirates completely out as a viable redemption option to get you to Australia and/or New Zealand in style!

Etihad

Although Etihad is not a part of any major airline alliance, they do have several strategic partnerships with airlines such as Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia. The award chart for Air New Zealand redemptions is distance based, while the award chart for Virgin Australia redemptions is origin/destination based, so I would recommend that you go to Etihad’s respective partner pages and to determine your mileage redemption rates.

For reference though, most of your flights are going to run well over 110k miles for a roundtrip economy award ticket, so I would strongly recommend you look elsewhere to transfer your Starpoints for an Australia/New Zealand trip.

You can also book American Airlines saver level award flights with your Guest Miles. Roundtrip award tickets between the U.S. and Australia or New Zealand will cost you 75k miles in economy, 125k miles in business class and 145k miles in first class. One-way award tickets are allowed at half the quoted rates. These award rates mirror the pre-devaluation AA award chart, so this could present a nice and reasonably priced option if you do not mind flying on AA metal.

To redeem for any partner awards you have to contact the Etihad service center at 888-8ETIHAD at least 14 days prior to the intended date of travel.

Air France/KLM (FlyingBlue)

Air France and KLM share a frequent flyer program called FlyingBlue. Since FlyingBlue is a SkyTeam alliance member, you can redeem FlyingBlue miles for travel on Delta flights. FlyingBlue can be finicky to work with, but they offer some decent value for flights to Australia/New Zealand. FlyingBlue groups Australia and New Zealand into the same award zone.

Roundtrip award tickets in economy will cost you 100k miles and in business class will cost you 250k miles. Due to the SkyTeam alliance not having a strong presence in the area, I would expect to encounter some difficulties with finding low level saver space that partners can book. While the economy class rate is fairly reasonable, availability is going to be sparse. Availability for business class was non-existent even 10 months out.

One-way award tickets are allowed at 50k in economy and 125k miles in business, but no stopovers are allowed. While the rates for economy class are about average, the rates for business class are just outrageous. Factoring in the extremely poor availability, I would say cross FlyingBlue off your list unless you can find availability nowhere else.

Gol

Gol’s Smiles program is fascinating to me as there are some great sweet spots with their miles and they have in the past offered up to a 200% bonus on purchased miles. While there are some sweet spots in the program, travel between the U.S. and Australia/New Zealand is not one of them. This is because the transfer ratio for Starpoints to Smiles miles is 2:1. That effectively doubles the cost of every award ticket.

Although Gol is not a part of any major alliance, they do partner with the likes of Etihad, Qatar, Air Canada, Delta and Korean Air. While that does open up your options for available flights, the 2:1 transfer ratio again kills any perceived value in using Gol as a Starpoint transfer partner.

Award flight costs on Gol are largely based on the routing that you take. For the most direct routings between the U.S. and Australia/New Zealand, you can expect a roundtrip cost of 110k miles in economy and 220k miles in business class. One-way award tickets are allowed at half of the quoted rates.

While there is some good value to be had utilizing the Gol program, you are much better off looking elsewhere for Starpoint transfer partners to get you to Australia/New Zealand economically.

Hainan

Although Hainan is supposed to offer seasonal service between China and Sydney (SYD), I could not find any available flights. Given that Hainan does not partner with any other airlines that would offer service between the U.S. and Australia/New Zealand, this is one to cross of the list right from the start.

Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines flies to limited destinations in Australia and New Zealand -Sydney (SYD), Brisbane (BNE) and Auckland (AKL) – and also partners with Virgin Australia. In addition to being limited to your destinations, you will also be subject to the outrageous fuel surcharges, taxes and fees that Virgin Atlantic imposes on their award tickets.

For Hawaiian Airlines operated flights between North America and Australia/New Zealand, you can expect roundtrip award ticket prices of 120k miles for economy and 210k miles for business class. One-way award tickets are available at half of these rates.

For Virgin Australia operated flights, all flights in the itinerary must be operated by Virgin Australia only. You can expect roundtrip award ticket prices of 100k miles for economy, 150k miles for premium economy and 200k miles for business class. It does not appear that one-way tickets are allowed. As these rates are about average for award flights to Australia/New Zealand, this option does not offer exceptionally good value. That does not even factor in the added fuel surcharges, taxes and fees that are taxed on these awards.

Not only does Hawaiian Airlines offer one of the higher award ticket mileage costs for Australia/New Zealand redemptions, but they also offer extremely limited destinations. This makes Hawaiian Airlines one of the worst Starpoint transfer partners for award tickets to Australia/New Zealand and I would recommend you look elsewhere for a Starpoint transfer partner that can get you to Australia/New Zealand.

Japan Airlines (JAL)

Japan Airlines (JAL) is arguably my favorite airline in the world. In addition to having a spectacular hard and soft product, their frequent flyer program is among the most generous available. JAL is a member of the OneWorld alliance, which means you can use your Mileage Bank miles to book Qantas, Cathay Pacific, American Airlines and JAL flights to Australia/New Zealand.

JAL utilizes a separate award chart for JAL operated flights and OneWorld partner operated flights. The JAL operated flights award chart is zone based, while the OneWorld partner award chart is distance based.

For flights operated by JAL, you would need to redeem two award tickets – one from the U.S. to Japan and one from Japan to Australia/New Zealand. This may sound negative at first, but there is actually some decent value to be found in the economy and premium economy redemptions. There are a few things that are important to keep in mind with this redemption. First, award space between both the U.S. and Japan and Japan and Australia/New Zealand tends to be exceptionally good on JAL. Additionally, since this is two separate tickets, you can easily build in a stopover in Tokyo for no additional miles!

JAL puts both Australia and New Zealand in the same zone, so you would be looking at an award cost of 90k miles in economy, 115k miles in premium economy, 180k miles in business class and 240k miles in first class.

For flights operated by OneWorld partners, your home airport is really going to make the difference here due to the distance based award chart. There is actually some pretty good value to be had in this award chart.

For OneWorld partner flights between the East Coast of the U.S. (JFK) and Sydney (SYD) or Auckland (AKL) via Los Angeles (LAX), you can expect a cost of 90k miles in economy, 120k miles in business class and 170k miles in first class.

For OneWorld partner flights between the West Coast of the U.S. (LAX) and Sydney (SYD), you can expect a cost of 90k miles in economy, 120k miles in business class and 170k miles in first class.

For OneWorld partner flights between the West Coast of the U.S. (LAX) and Auckland (AKL), you can expect a cost of 70k miles in economy, 110k miles in business class and 160k miles in first class.

One-way awards are allowed, though it would be based on the distance of your segments, so you would be better off using the Mileage Bank calculator here and then finding the corresponding award cost here. With that said, if you are looking for a first class redemption to Australia/New Zealand, there is no better option than JAL! Even JAL’s economy and business class rates are strongly competitive among the Starpoint transfer partners (though they are still easily beat out by the Virgin America sweet spot).

Jet Airways

Jet Airways is not a member of any of the major alliances, though they do have strategic partnerships with airlines like Etihad, Delta and Qantas. Since Jet Airways does not technically fly direct to the U.S., you would redeem according to their partner award chart, which is zone based.

Although the partner award chart lists Australia and New Zealand in the same zone, it breaks the U.S. up into 4 separate zones. Those zones (in Jet Airways’ own words) are:

  • America 1 (Northeast) – Newark, Toronto, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, etc.
  • America 2 (Southeast) – Atlanta, Daytona, Carolina, Florida, etc.
  • America 3 (Southwest) – Texas, Mexico, Los Angeles, etc.
  • America 4 (Northwest) – Seattle, Denver, Portland, San Francisco, etc.

For partner award flights between America 1 or 2 and Australia or New Zealand, you can expect a roundtrip award cost of 120k miles in economy, 240k miles in business class and 360k miles in first class.

For partner award flights between America 3 and Australia or New Zealand, you can expect a roundtrip award cost of 86k miles in economy, 172k miles in business class and 258k miles in first class.

For partner award flights between America 4 and Australia or New Zealand, you can expect a roundtrip award cost of 96k miles in economy, 192k miles in business class and 288k miles in first class.

One-way award tickets are allowed at half of the above quoted rates. You will also be charges the taxes, fees and surcharges from the partner airline, which depending on the airline you opt to redeem your miles for award travel with, could be pricey (I’m looking at you Etihad). Overall, these rates are not exactly competitive among the Starpoint transfer partners anyways, so I would probably write Jet Airways off the list and look elsewhere for a solid redemption to Australia/New Zealand.

Korean Air

Korean Air is a SkyTeam alliance member, which means you can redeem your SkyPass miles for travel on Delta and Korean Air flights to Australia/New Zealand.

Korean Air uses a two-tier system where award tickets solely on Korean Air flights are one rate, and award tickets on partners are another rate. Both the Korean Air specific and partner specific award charts have Australia and New Zealand in the same award zone.

For itineraries solely on Korean Air flights, Korean Air operates under a peak/non-peak season award chart. Those dates are very specific and depend on where you are flying so you are better off checking out the chart here.

A roundtrip on Korean Air flights between the U.S. and Australia/New Zealand will cost you 110k/165k miles in economy, 195k/290k miles in business and 240k/360k miles in first class. The rates reflect off-peak/peak rates. One-way awards are allowed at half the quoted rates.

For a roundtrip ticket on partner flights between the U.S. and Australia/New Zealand,  you can expect a cost of 110k miles in economy, 185k miles in business class and 260k miles in first class. Korean Air does not allow for one-way awards on partner redemptions.

You are also allowed one stopover on a one-way award ticket and two stopovers on a roundtrip award ticket.

While Korean Air Skypass miles generally offer pretty good value, that is not really the case for redemptions between the U.S. and Australia/New Zealand. To complicate matters further, it can be difficult to work with Korean Air. If you are planning to use your miles to book an award ticket for another person, that other person has to be a family member (mother, father, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, wife, husband or child). You will also need to call in to Korean Air to book your partner award and the process is somewhat arduous. I would strongly recommend that you call in to make sure space is available and then place a hold on your award ticket(s) before transferring your Starpoints to your Skypass account. If you are looking for a premium cabin seat, you are probably better off searching via ANA instead.

LATAM

LATAM is a member of the OneWorld alliance, though interestingly you can only redeem your Pass kilometers to book Qantas or American Airlines flights to Australia/New Zealand. It is worth keeping in mind from the start that the Pass program utilizes kilometers instead of miles. As a result, your Starpoints will transfer at a rate of 1:1.5. That means that for every 20k Starpoints you transfer to LATAM, you will receive 35k kms (30k kms + 5k kms bonus for transferring 20k Starpoints).

LATAM utilizes separate award charts for those flights operated by LATAM and those operated by their partners. Although LATAM flies to Australia and New Zealand from South America, you would need to book two award tickets (one from North America to South America and then one from South America to Australia/New Zealand), which offers exceptionally poor value. Accordingly, we will only focus on the partner award chart here, which happens to be distance (in kms) based.

For partner flights between the East Coast of the U.S. (JFK) and Sydney (SYD) via Los Angeles (LAX), you can expect a roundtrip cost of 200k kms for economy, 300k kms for premium economy, 400k kms for business class and 500k kms for first class.

For partner flights between the East Coast of the U.S. (JFK) and Auckland (AKL) via Los Angeles (LAX), you can expect a roundtrip cost of 120k kms in economy, 210k kms in premium economy, 280k kms in business class and 350k kms in first class.

For partner flights between the West Coast of the U.S. (LAX) and Sydney (SYD) or Auckland (AKL), you can expect a roundtrip cost of 120k kms in economy, 210k kms in premium economy, 280k kms in business class and 350k kms in first class.

One-way award tickets are allowed at half of the above quoted rates. It is unclear on whether any surcharges are passed on, though the taxes, fees and surcharges on American and Qantas operated flights tend to be relatively low. Availability of American and Qantas award tickets, especially in premium cabins, is going to be rather poor. Factoring in the relatively bad redemption rates with the general lack of availability means I would cross this option off the list unless you have both a ton of flexibility in your travel dates AND a glut of Pass kilometers you are looking to burn.

Lufthansa

Lufthansa is a member of the Star Alliance, so you can use your Miles & More miles for Air New Zealand, Air Canada, United, ANA, Asiana and Singapore Airlines (among others) flights to Australia/New Zealand. Again, in other words, you are going to have a ton of options!

The Miles & More program utilizes a zone based award chart that is the same regardless of whether you are flying Lufthansa flights or partner flights. Australia and New Zealand are both placed in the same award zone in the program, so your redemption rates remain the same regardless of whether your ultimate destination is Australia or New Zealand.

For a roundtrip award ticket, it will cost you 80k miles in economy, 135k miles in business class and 210k miles in first class.

One-way award tickets are allowed on partner flights, but Lufthansa does not explicitly state what those redemption costs will be in their terms and conditions, which makes me think it will cost you more than half of the above quoted mileage. While the redemption rates actually are not horrible – especially the business class rate – you will get hit with surcharges. In premium cabins, this can be as much as $1,000 per ticket. Overall, I would look elsewhere for your redemption unless you have some Miles & More miles already stashed. In that case it could make sense to transfer your Starpoints to Lufthansa and pay the surcharges.

Qatar

Qatar’s Qmiles program uses a distance based award chart, so this is another airline that will depend on your home airport for redemption costs. Qatar is a member of the OneWorld alliance, so you can use your Qmiles to book Qantas, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines and American Airlines flights to Australia/New Zealand.

From the East Coast of the U.S. (JFK) to Sydney (SYD) or Auckland (AKL) via Los Angeles (LAX), you can expect a roundtrip cost of ~170k miles for economy, ~255k miles for premium economy, ~340k miles for business class and ~510k miles for first class.

From the West Coast of the U.S. (LAX) to Sydney (SYD) or Auckland (AKL), you can expect a roundtrip cost of ~150k miles for economy, ~225k miles for premium economy, ~300k miles for business class and ~450k miles for first class.

One-way award tickets are allowed at the half price of the above quoted rates. Again, and as with Qantas, unless you have a glut of Qmiles you want to burn, you are better off transferring your Starpoints elsewhere for a redemption to Australia/New Zealand.

Saudi Arabian Airlines

Saudi Arabian Airlines is a SkyTeam alliance member, which means you can redeem your Alfursan miles for travel on Delta and Korean Air flights to Australia/New Zealand.

Saudi Arabian Airlines utilizes a separate award chart for partner awards, though both award charts are zone based. As Saudi Arabian Airlines does not fly to Australia or New Zealand, you would have to redeem under the partner award chart. Under the partner award chart, Australia and New Zealand are in the same zone, so your award redemption cost will be the same regardless of whether you arrive in Australia or New Zealand.

For partner flights from the U.S. to Australia/New Zealand, you can expect a roundtrip cost of 100k miles in economy, 200k miles in business class and 300k miles in first class.

One-way award tickets are allowed at half of the above quoted rates. It is also worth mentioning that first class redemptions are only available on China Airlines, China Eastern and China Southern flights. That means if you wanted to go with a first class redemption, you would need to route through China on your way down to Australia or New Zealand.

Overall, these award ticket redemption costs are not at all competitive with some of the other SkyTeam partners that are Starpoint transfer partners. As such, I would look elsewhere to transfer your Starpoints.

Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance, so you can use your KrisFlyer miles for Air New Zealand, Air Canada, United, ANA and Singapore Airlines (among others) flights to Australia/New Zealand. Again, in other words, you are going to have a ton of options!

Singapore Airlines is one of several airlines that utilizes a separate award chart for partner awards. Both the Singapore Airlines specific award chart and partner award chart put Australia and New Zealand together in the same award zone, so your award cost will remain the same regardless of which you opt to travel to.

For Singapore Airlines operated flights from the East Coast of the U.S., you can expect roundtrip prices of 105k miles for economy, 180k miles for premium economy, 205k miles for business class and 265k miles for first class.

For Singapore Airlines operated flights from the West Coast of the U.S., you can expect roundtrip prices of 95k miles for economy, 170k miles for premium economy, 190k miles for business class and 270k miles for first class.

For Singapore operated flights, one-way award tickets are allowed at half the price. Also keep in mind that the quoted rates do not factor in the 15% discount you would receive from booking your award ticket online. With that said, even factoring in the 15% discount, these rates are not especially competitive.

For roundtrip partner redemptions between the U.S. and Australia/New Zealand, it will cost you 110k miles for economy, 195k miles for business class and 255k miles for first class.

Overall, Singapore is not really very competitive when it comes to award ticket prices to Australia and/or New Zealand. There are much better redemptions to be had elsewhere with your Starpoints, so I would not transfer them here.

Thai Airways

Thai Airways is a member of the Star Alliance, so you can use your Royal Orchid Plus miles for Air New Zealand, Air Canada, United, ANA and Singapore Airlines (among others) flights to Australia/New Zealand. In other words, you are going to have a ton of options!

Thai Airways is another airline that uses a separate award chart for redemptions on their own flights and partner redemptions. As there are no Thai Airways flights from the U.S., you will redeem according to the partner award chart.

A roundtrip redemption will cost you 80k miles for economy, 130k miles for business class and 140k miles for first class.

Although the award redemption rates are among the best of the Starpoint transfer partners, keep in mind that Thai Airways charges fuel surcharges on award tickets. From all the reports I have seen, they are crazy high. Considering that ANA should have access to most of the same Star Alliance award space that Thai Airways has access to, you are better offer transferring your Starpoints to ANA for this redemption unless you have a stash of Royal Orchid Plus miles that you are looking to burn, and/or you do not mind paying exorbitant surcharges. Again though, if you are not dead set on flying a Star Alliance carrier, there are definitely better redemptions to be had with your Starpoints (like Virgin America or Cathay Pacific).

United

United is a member of the Star Alliance, so you can use your MileagePlus miles for Air New Zealand, Air Canada, ANA and Singapore Airlines (among others) flights to Australia/New Zealand. As with Singapore Airlines, that means you are going to have a ton of options!

United includes both Australia and New Zealand in the same award zone, so your award ticket price will be the same to both countries.

United uses a two-tier award system for their awards. Economy tickets are the same cost regardless of whether you are on a United flight or a partner flight. A roundtrip saver economy award ticket will cost you 80k miles.

Business and first class award tickets on the other hand will differ in price depending on whether you are flying on a United operated flight or a partner operated flight. For United operated flights, a roundtrip saver business class award ticket will cost you 140k miles, while a saver first class award ticket will cost you 160k miles.

Alternatively, for partner operated flights, a roundtrip saver business class award ticket will cost you 160k miles, while a saver first class award ticket will cost you 260k miles.

When booking a roundtrip award ticket, United allows you one stopover. United also allows one-way award tickets (though you would lose out on the free stopover) at half the rates cited above.

As you can see, the much better value when redeeming for premium cabins is with United operated flights – though the actual product is going to be far less enticing than what some of United’s partners such as ANA offer. While the economy award tickets through United offer one of the better value for economy redemptions, your Starpoints transfer to United at a 2:1 ratio, which makes United one of the worst possible transfer partners for your Starpoints. If you are interested in Star Alliance operated flights, you are much better off going through ANA.

Virgin Australia

Virgin Australia operates out of an extremely small market in the U.S., though they do partner with Virgin America, Delta, Air New Zealand, Etihad, Hawaiian Airlines and Singapore Airlines, so you do have some options for award tickets to Australia/New Zealand. The major downside to this program is that the taxes and carrier imposed fees/surcharges are pretty high – especially on premium cabin redemptions. If you opt for flights operated by Etihad you will also be hit with ticketing fees of $50 in economy, $205 in business class and $300 in first class. These fees are assessed PER SEGMENT, which means 4 segments in a premium cabin will cost you serious bucks.

Virgin Australia uses a separate award chart for flights operated by partners other than Virgin Australia, Virgin America and Delta, though both award charts are distance based so you home airport is really going to be the determining factor in your award cost here.

For flights operated by Virgin Australia, Virgin America or Delta between the East Coast of the U.S. (JFK) and Sydney (SYD) or Auckland (AKL) via Los Angeles (LAX), you can expect a roundtrip cost of 119.6k miles for economy, 191.4k miles for premium economy and 255k miles for business class.

For flights operated by Virgin Australia, Virgin America or Delta between the West Coast of the U.S. (LAX) and Sydney (SYD), you can expect a roundtrip cost of 89.6k miles in economy, 143.4k miles in premium economy and 191k miles in business class.

For flights operated by Virgin Australia, Virgin America or Delta between the West Coast of the U.S. (LAX) and Auckland (AKL), you can expect a roundtrip cost of 79.6k miles in economy, 125.4k miles in premium economy and 167k miles in business class.

For all other partner flights between the East Coast of the U.S. (JFK) and Sydney (SYD) via Los Angeles (LAX), you can expect a roundtrip cost of 150k miles for economy, 278k miles for business class and 406k miles for first class.

For all other partner flights between the East Coast of the U.S. (JFK) and Auckland (AKL) via Los Angeles (LAX), you can expect a roundtrip cost of 130k miles for economy, 242k miles for business class and 354k miles for first class.

For all other partner flights between the West Coast of the U.S. (LAX) and Sydney (SYD), you can expect a roundtrip cost of 112k miles for economy, 208k miles for business class and 305k miles for first class.

For all other partner flights between the West Coast of the U.S. (LAX) and Auckland (AKL), you can expect a roundtrip cost of 100k miles for economy, 184k miles for business class and 268k miles for first class.

Virgin Australia allows for one-way award tickets at half the quoted rates.

Not even factoring in the high taxes, fees and surcharges assessed, these redemption rates are among the worst of the Starpoint transfer partners. When you factor in the high taxes, fees and surcharges, I would look absolutely anywhere else to transfer your Starpoints for a redemption to Australia/New Zealand.

Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic operates out of a very small market in the U.S., but they do partner with Virgin Australia, Air New Zealand and Delta for award tickets to Australia/New Zealand. The major downside to this program is that the taxes and carrier imposed fees/surcharges are outrageously high – especially on premium cabin redemptions.

For partner redemptions on Delta between the U.S. and Australia/New Zealand, you are looking at a roundtrip cost of 100k miles in economy and 150k miles in business class. Virgin Atlantic however requires that you call them to determine the taxes, fees and surcharges on these tickets.

For partner redemptions on Virgin Australia or Air New Zealand, you need to call Virgin Atlantic at least 14 days prior to departure at 1.800.365.9500. From what I have been able to find, you can expect pretty outrageous taxes, fees and surcharges on these redemptions (think $1,000+ for business class redemptions).

The mileage redemption rates (ignoring the outrageous taxes and fees) for Delta are actually not horrible, though make sure you are factoring in the outrageous taxes and fees when making your transfer decisions. As such, I would strongly recommend you avoid this option at all costs unless you literally have no other option.

Virgin America

And last, but certainly not least, the absolute best value around for transferable currencies to travel to Australia/New Zealand – Virgin America.  Virgin America offers the best deal around to get to Australia using your Starpoints. I did a more thorough write-up on this option here, so I will not rehash that all in this post.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, the SPG Starpoint transfer partners offer the absolute best options for finding award availability to Australia/New Zealand. Hopefully this guide has helped to shine a little light on how to utilize and maximize your Starpoints for a trip to Australia/New Zealand!

What is your favorite way to redeem Starpoints to get to Australia/New Zealand?

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