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GoPro is ready. This is gonna be an epic trip report.
At just 70k miles and $35, Qantas First Class is one of the single best redemptions you can make with Alaska Miles. The problem is finding availability…it’s virtually impossible. Qantas releases some seats when the schedule opens, but other that that, there isn’t really any way, with certainty, to plan for availability. You can’t even rely on last minute space. Unlike Cathay, JAL, or Lufthansa, who regularly release seats within 14 days, Qantas does not institute this practice, and instead will fly the cabin empty, or just partially full. As luck would have it, my first trip down under will start in Qantas First Class with my girlfriend, and I couldn’t be more excited.
What will the experience be like?
It’ll start in the Qantas First Class lounge at LAX where they have sit down dining, great champagne, and amazing food. You can read my review by clicking above.
The onboard experience.
Then the onboard experience on the A380. 14 seats. 1-1-1 configuration. 15 hours and 50 mins of first class indulgence. I selected two window seats: 1A and 2A
Alaska gives you your Qantas record locator as well, so I headed on over and selected our seats. Completely empty cabin. Much like Cathay Pacific, the A line has its own aisle. Where as the K line shares the aisle with the F line.
We will get to dine together, and I hear the food is quite good.
Bubbly? They serve a $200 bottle of Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill Champagne. YES, PLEASE!
And then when it’s time to sleep off some of that nearly 16 hour flight…
How did I find the space?
One easy way to do it is to set alerts on ExpertFlyer. Expertflyer is a great resource for travel aficionados and I use it daily in my award booking service. Below is an example of how alerts work, and when they become available, an email is sent to you notifying you.
The only problem with this situation is that Alaska doesn’t have access to ALL partner award avail. So this may prompt you that seats are available, but those seats may not be specifically available to Alaska. So I also searched using Alaska’s own search engine.
Searching with Alaska
The easiest way to search is using Calendar view. The more you search the savvier you’ll become with pricing, and you’ll be able to pinpoint the dates that correspond to airline that has availability. Since we know that 70k is the one way price for First Class on Qantas, that’s what we are looking to find. See all those 225k…that’s Emirates ( and most dates…it’s not even First Class the whole journey)
Ultimately, we booked dates that worked for our schedule and paid just 70k +$35 a ticket. B-YAH!
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based.
60k Points after $4k spend in 3 months
80k offer in branch currently – I think this should be online soon
Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards
Super solid welcome offer.
If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash , Ink Business Unlimited you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners
Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.
- 3x on dining
- including eligible delivery services for takeout
- 3x on select streaming services
- 3x on online grocery purchases
- (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
- 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards – Chase Travel Portal
- $50 Annual Credit on hotel stays purchased via Ultimate Rewards/Chase Travel
- The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
- 10% Anniversary Bonus
- Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® continues to redeem at 1.25c in the Chase Travel Portal and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including primary rental car insurance, purchase protections, etc.
- Points are transferrable to 13 Ultimate Rewards partners
- Redeem in the Chase Travel center for 1.25 cents per point
- No foreign transaction fees
- Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
- Primary rental car coverage is my favorite
There is currently an 80k offer after $4k spend in 3 months available in branch, and up to 90k after $6k spend in 6 months. I suspect some version of this will be online soon if you don’t want the hassle of going into a branch.
We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.
Historically 60k is a very, very good offer. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back. .
Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.
Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on.