Considering using cheap airfare to Australia to give your airline frequent flier program a mileage boost? Not all programs are created equal – the value of the points you earn may make spending a few extra dollars on the airfare cost worthwhile.
Effective April 1, travelers on Virgin America, with connecting flights from New York, Boston, Seattle, Washington, DC, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles, will earn Elevate mileage points for airfare to Australia on VAustralia and for flights within Australia and to other Asia-Pacific destinations on VirginBlue.
If you’re a Virgin America Elevate program member and found AirBank’s cheap airfare to Australia on VAustralia, you’ll be able to earn points for your flight downunder. Sounds good! Especially as the redemption levels for free flights to Australia start at only 40,000 miles.
But there’s a catch – the Elevate program awards its mileage points for flights to Australia based on the airfare class and cost basis used for your ticket plus the distance you’ve traveled.
For example, the flight from LAX to Sydney is slightly less than 15,000 miles. With the Elevate program and AirBank’s cheap airfare to Australia in Q class (the lowest rate available), you would earn only 1,499 mileage points for your flight.
By booking your airfare on Qantas in O class (AirBank’s cheapest class available) and crediting your American Airlines Aadvantage account, you would earn almost 7,500 miles – and need only 37,500 miles for a ticket to Australia.
Qantas and VAustralia have been matching each other’s sale airfares to Australia since late last year and consistently have competitive pricing on flights to Australia. If you’re planning to reap the benefits of the mileage you’ll earn on the long-haul flight Downunder, check the airlines’ frequent flier programs to make sure the $4 or so on cheap airfare to Australia isn’t costing most of your mileage points.