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Saturday, July 13, 2024
HomePointsBookingHKG! AUS! NZ! Booking a Last Minute Trip Down Under

HKG! AUS! NZ! Booking a Last Minute Trip Down Under

Booking a Last Minute Trip Down Under is part of the TPOL Down Under Trip Report which covers the following places:

A week ago I wrote about my struggle finishing trip reports (see Writing Trip Reports: How Old Is Too Old?). That problem became more complicated with this last-minute New Year’s booking to Asia Pacifica (see Where to Party? New Year’s Eve for the full list of my NYE destinations). Instead of staying home and catching up on the past, I am going to get after the future.

Here is the Great Circle Map of the journey and the number of miles traveled. a map of the world with red lines a blue and white screen with numbers and numbers

Cathay to Sydney via Hong Kong 

JFK-HKG will be in first on Cathay which I have flown 2.5 times before (see Cathay Pacific First Class HKG-ORDCathay First JFK-HKG: Part 1 to VancouverCathay First YVR-HKG: The Next Episode). HKG-SYD is in Cathay business which is acceptable but has nothing on first (see Cathay A350 HKG-BKK: I Miss First Already). Booking that cost 80k on Alaska. Finding availability was a fluke. I kept checking BA’s website for availability, and then one day it showed up. I called Alaska and made the booking with no fuss. I know people like to use Expert Flyer, but there’s something fun about hitting refresh until ‘available’ appears.

Avios in Australia

Australia is massive and flights are expensive if you want to go from one side to the other. Instead of just doing the typical Sydney and Melbourne, I decided to experience the real outback by visiting Darwin. I also wanted to add another ‘country’ to my Country Count List which is why I’m going to Tasmania. All this was done using Avios with the order of cities visited based on Avios availability.

Australia to Marlborough, NZ

This will be my third time going to New Zealand. This time I’m going exclusively for the wine. How I get there is TBD. Swimming is not an option. May have to pay Aeroplan $100 change fee for a stopover if a seat opens up.

Air New Zealand Back to the US

While it’s not as great as the 105k for first on Emirates to Dubai (see Sheikh Dubai’s Chariot: First Class on Emirates Airlines A380Emirates Shower Class JFK-DXB: One More Time, and Emirates First Class to Shanghai: Don’t Stop the Party), flying Air New Zealand in business is a solid redemption. I hope they have that burger from before (see Air New Zealand PVG-AKL: The Black Mamba). The price of this last-second find was 80k Aeroplan. There are next to no taxes and the miles transferred instantly from my MR account. Curiously, I couldn’t find any availability on United and went to Aeroplan’s site to see if I’d have any luck there. Like before, it magically showed up and I booked without hesitation.

So there you have it. TPOL is going Down Under, at the last second, in style, for next to nothing.

Who’s got it better than I?







  1. Tasmania is not a country, like Puerto Rico. Oh yeah, and Puerto Ricans aren’t US citizens, but immigrants trying to invade our country in caravans. We need yet another wall — around SJU.

  2. Is there a particular time of day that you’ve found Cathay space to become available? My wife and I are flying them soon, and I’d like to join her in first class if another award seat becomes available.

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