Award Trip Report – Sydney and Auckland in Business Class

Award Trip Report – Sydney and Auckland in Business Class

Thanks to the Aeroplan glitch (or unadvertised “promotion”), I put together a quick trip to Sydney and Auckland in business class for myself over Christmas and New Year’s. While the award is hardly maximized, it worked out reasonably well considering the limited business class availability across the Atlantic and Asia. I spent 76,000 American Express Membership Rewards points (and bought 4,000 Aeroplan miles), which is a steal compared to spending 130,000 United MileagePlus miles to fly 21,947 miles in business class in 10 days.

Ever since United announced that p.s. would shift to a two-class, lie-flat configuration, I’d been considering possible itineraries that would book me into the first class cabin on my p.s. flight to San Francisco. Christmas came a bit early for me when the gate agent waved me over and asked, “Would you mind sitting in first class this evening?” As it turned out, the four people in my row in first class were op’ups.

I flew United business class to Sydney and booked a revenue stay for three days, two nights at the Four Points by Sheraton Sydney Darling Harbour. I was quite pleased by the location, as it was a short walk from the restaurants and shops of Darling Harbour while still remaining close to the central business district of Sydney.

Based on the scarce award availability on this route even right up to the flight, I expected the Air New Zealand business class cabin to Auckland to be full but I was mistaken. I was the only passenger on the left side. I stayed at the Best Western President Hotel Auckland at 50 percent off via American Express Travel. For the rate, the stay was comfortable, but obviously not the lap of luxury.

On my flight to Vancouver, I was on a 777-219ER, so the Business Premier cabin was nearly the same as my Sydney to Auckland flight.

A longer version of my trip report is on my blog,


FFP miles spent:
80,000 Aeroplan miles

Hotel points spent:

Approximate fees:
$251.17 (plus CA$120 for purchasing 4,000 miles)

Airline(s) / Routing:

How booked:
Over the phone

Type of award(s):
Business class

Radisson SFO Bay Front, Four Points Sydney Darling Habour, Best Western President Hotel Auckland

Month/year of trip:
December 2011/January 2012

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