Getting to Australia on points and miles is one of the great challenges in travel – especially if you want to fly up front in first or business class. Want seats for two, four, or more? Forget about it.
But we've found a unicorn. We discovered an exceptionally rare amount of award space to fly a Delta One Suite from Los Angeles (LAX) to Sydney (SYD) in spring and summer 2021, with seats available for four or even eight on many days. But the best part is you can book these seats for just 75,000 Virgin Atlantic miles each way – half of what Delta will charge you in SkyMiles.
No one would call this a goldmine: It's restricted to a handful of Tuesdays and Wednesdays from April through mid-July 2021. But for one of the most challenging routes to snag a deal on business class (using cash or points), it's worth calling attention to it. We have never seen this much award space for Delta One Suites to Australia, period.
Want more award alerts like this one? We send them to Thrifty Traveler Premium members first, along with dirt-cheap domestic and international cash fares.
You'll find similar availability on the return flight from Sydney (SYD) back to Los Angeles (LAX) if you want to make a round-trip of it for 150,000 Virgin Atlantic miles.
The uncertain future of travel to Australia is the elephant in the room. International travel to Australia is currently banned, and officials have warned that it won't accept international arrivals until sometime in 2021.
But Delta has already resumed its flights to Australia, so you can capitalize on this award space and book a summer 2021 trip with the hopes that travel is allowed by then. If it doesn't pan out, Virgin Atlantic charges a very reasonable $50 redeposit fee per passenger to cancel and get your miles back. And we've heard from readers that the airline is even waiving those fees due to coronavirus.
At just 75,000 Virgin Atlantic miles each way, this is easily one of the best ways to fly business class to Australia. A one-way award will run you $28 in fees, while a round-trip booking will cost you 150,000 miles and about $110 in fees.
Thrifty Tip: Don't live in Los Angeles but want to take advantage of this? It's easily worth booking a separate positioning flight out to LA. Booking the connecting flight you need as a part of this Virgin Atlantic award can get difficult – and more expensive.
And Delta One Suites are among the best ways to fly to Australia, too. The suites are both chic and ultra-private, with comfortable seating and great entertainment. There's perhaps no better way to make the 15-hour trek to Australia than in your own little cocoon – with a sliding door.
Read our full review flying Delta One Suites from Tokyo-Haneda (HND) to Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP)
How to Earn Virgin Atlantic Miles and Book
There are a handful of ways to book these flights to Australia. Of course, that includes Delta SkyMiles. But Delta itself is charging 145,000 SkyMiles each way for the exact same flight.
At roughly half that cost, the value of using Virgin Atlantic miles here is incredible. Using Virgin miles to book Delta flights is one of our favorite workarounds in the world of points and miles, and it really shines here.
Read our explainer: Save your SkyMiles, Use Virgin Atlantic Miles to Book Delta Flights
That means you need some Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles. Unfortunately, you can’t transfer Delta SkyMiles over to Virgin Atlantic, or vice versa. But you can still easily earn the miles you need to get on the next great deal to fly Delta One suites.
That’s because the airline is a transfer partner with three major bank points currencies: Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, and Citi ThankYou points. Those credit card points transfer to Virgin Atlantic on a 1:1 basis, and they're typically instant.
Thrifty Tip: Never transfer points to an airline partner until you've confirmed the flights you want are available.
This amount of award space to fly Delta One Suites to Australia is unprecedented. And while traveling to Australia in summer 2021 is no slam dunk given the state of the world, it's relatively risk-free to book this amazing award space now and cancel later.
Doing it for only 75,000 Virgin Atlantic miles per person is just the cherry on top.
I went to Citi and it doesn’t appear that there is still an option to transfer points to Virgin Atlantic. Is there a work around?
So long as you have a card that earns ThankYou points it should be there – Virgin Atlantic is still listed on Citi’s partner site: https://www.thankyou.com/partnerProgramsListing.htm?src=TYUSENG
That said, there may be a temporary issue.
Do you think Virgin Atlantic will still be around in 2021 given their recent Chapter 15 bankruptcy filing? It’s pretty risky to move miles from Citi or Chase to an airline on the edge of failure.
At this point: Yes, I think it will be around next year. Their chapter 15 filing was more of a paperwork matter for their reorganization than a cause for concern that the airline itself might collapse. But I could also see that reorganization killing off some of the amazing deals for using Virgin Atlantic miles, especially on these Delta flights.
I am checking right now and i don’t see anything even for the dates that you have pictures posted for. It is back to 150K
never mind, read 75K each way.
Booked for June! Hopefully we’re traveling by then.
Congrats! Fingers crossed that you can go!