Whoa! Crazy Cheap Flights To Australia — Under $400!

Many of you have probably seen these fares buzzing around the internet this weekend, but I wanted to share this just in case. United is offering very cheap flights to Australia from the United States — as low as $380 in some cases!

That’s a killer price for Australia, and it looks like you can fly into one city and home from another. So if you want to visit both Sydney and Melbourne this is an even better fare. This will certainly not last long, so I highly recommend booking today — you have 24 hours to cancel without penalty.

Park-Hyatt-Sydney-45

Fare requirements

This appears to be a fare war, meaning these aren’t mistakes, but rather United has dropped the price on this route in response to Delta dropping the price earlier in the week. So these fares are only good from Delta hub or focus cities. That means you can fly from the following:

  • Atlanta
  • Detroit
  • Minneapolis
  • Salt Lake City
  • Seattle

In all cases, you have to return to Los Angeles. Potentially a heck of a deal, even with purchasing that last segment home.

If you don’t want to mess with separate tickets, there are round-trip fares out of the above cities for ~$550. So crunch the numbers and see what makes the most sense in your situation.

There is a 10-day minimum stay requirement as well. If you’re actually intending to visit Australia that’s probably not a huge limitation, but is worth mentioning.

And of course, as these are highly discounted fares, they are also non-refundable.

How to book this fare

The easiest way is probably on Google Flights. If you have kids in your group, make sure to select their ages when searching, as the child tickets are pricing at about $100 less.

If you’re wanting to return to Los Angeles, or want to visit a few cities in Australia, use the multi-city tool:

United-Australia-deal-2

Select your flights:

United-Australia-deal-3

And you’ll be given the option to book directly on United.com:

United-Australia-deal-4

Google populates all the trip details for you, so you just have to click through to enter passenger and payment info:

United-Australia-deal-5

Pretty straightforward, and again — you can cancel within 24 hours if you change your mind.

Are these fares upgradeable?

Meh. They are, technically, but it’s probably not worthwhile. This fare seems to book into L and G inventory, which is super-discounted economy. United does allow you to upgrade any fare with miles, however, they also require a co-pay on these cheapest fares:

United-Australia-deal-1

Between North America and Australia you’re looking at 30,000 miles and $600 each way. Per person. There’s almost no confirmable upgrade space, which means you’d need to waitlist and hope space opened up prior to departure. And while United is good about releasing that inventory eventually, if you don’t have elite status with United those upgrades are realistically not going to clear.

So paying the extra for Economy Plus and strategizing how to have a row to yourself is probably the best you’ll be able to do here.

How many miles will I earn?

If you’re crediting to United, not many. Their revenue-based system would give non-elites 5 miles/$1, and as this fare doesn’t cost very many dollars…

Fortunately, these fares do earn 100% of flown miles if you credit to Singapore KrisFlyer, in which case you’d actually earn enough miles for a one-way flight in the U.S. or Canada (except Hawaii). Pretty good deal!

Bottom line

This is a killer deal for Australia, but it’s not a fare for me. If you’re someone with a preference for premium cabins and access to a ton of miles it might not be a fare for you either.

But for those neighbors and Facebook friends who don’t understand how you travel so muchThis is the fare for them! I’ve helped a few relatives who have no patience for the miles and points game book a couple of tickets, and Mike helped one of his friends save about $6k on a trip they’ve been planning to Australia anyways.

So pass this deal along to those folks, and make sure they know to book today and that they can cancel tomorrow if they change their mind.

Is anyone going to Australia on this fare? What did you book?

Comments

  1. Great fare!!!

    I travel to Australia each year for two weeks to visit my parents, but I’ve already booked my flight for this year (using AA miles to fly F/J), but if I had booked a ticket paying regular economy prices, I’d be seriously pissed right now

  2. Santastico – Have you flown United to Australia in the past 8 months? After years of, yes, old planes without seatback screens, now new planes with all the latest mod cons . . . and happy attendants on plane and at airport. No freak either as I have experienced this on several flights. Just in time as I was about to abandon United

  3. @Tiffany You don’t understand why airlines have price wars!?? It’s incredibly obvious – to poach the customers of their competitors.

  4. @ Callum — To clarify, I get why airlines consistently undercut fares in the competitors main markets, and even why an airline would have an occasional sale out of another’s hub. You want to attract people who might not have considered your airline, which all makes sense in theory. But in practice I’m not sure how many customers are actively poached when you drop your price by 80% for as few as four hours and don’t advertise it anywhere.

  5. @ Bill — We are actively trying to talk his wife into it (“kangaroos!” “koalas!” “the beach!”) but they already have quite a bit of travel booked for this year.

  6. Looks like nothing but 788 equip, both ex-SFO and ex-LAX? No way will I torture myself on a 15-hour overnight flight in 9-across Y. I wouldn’t wish this horror on my worst enemy. If I come back in another life and I am 5-8″ and 160 pounds, then maybe. Apparently this aircraft is not intended for average-sized American males in Y? What a joke that this product was ever conceived in the first place.

  7. @Tiffany — we have a bunch of travel scheduled too. So, unfortunately, I think we’re going to have to pass on this great deal. Hopefully, somebody will be able to go, and provide us w/ a trip report!!

  8. Funny to see which airports they are flying out. Its to upset Delta. Those cities are Delta main airports.

    Just watch for Delta to do something tomorrow!

  9. @Tiffany–is there some way to get a quick calendar view of fares when using the multi city tool similar to when using round-trip?

  10. @ Gaurav — Not that I know of, which is sorta annoying. You could search a round-trip from one of the target cities to get a sense of dates though, and then search again with multi-city.

  11. I’m like Stephen in that I am looking for deals originating in Australia. As he says, US$732 from Aus (in the range of US$1000 I paid last month for May-July Sydney to Boston and Detroit) . . . Not bad, but no where near the under $400 for US-originating flights (though the Aus-originating fares seem to be sticking around more than the quickies from US). But if one travels to US a lot as I do, could “nest” a US-originating fare inside an Aus-originating fare.

    Or just hope that the fare war hits the higher pitch for Aus-originating fares.

  12. “There is a 10-day minimum stay requirement as well. If you’re actually intending to visit Australia that’s probably not a huge limitation, but is worth mentioning.”

    Yup, definitely not a deal for you Ben.

  13. @Tiffany – just bought MSP-LAX-SYD / MEL-LAX for 5/22-6/1 for $393! So excited, thank you! I’d like to credit to Singapore. When I bought my ticket I put in my Krisflyer number but didn’t sign in to my MileagePlus account. Will the miles just show up in my Krisflyer account or do I have to present my Krisflyer account number when I check in on the day of the flight? Would you recommend adding my MileagePlus number to the ticket (I thought it might accidentally credit to United if I used my MileagePlus number)?

  14. Outrageously overrated country.

    They’re heading into low / shoulder season for travel to Australua since it’ll be winter down under. In the last few years a lot of capacity has been added to the us-Australia market. The demand hasn’t kept pace with the capacity growth for low season. Hence selective discounting. As Tiffany noted, delta did it last week and now UA is doing it. I’d imagine you may see some selective discounting from aa/ QF but tbd. Basic economics.
    @Zach that’s nice that you’ll never do a long haul in y but not everybody is as fortunate- some don’t have the points or $$ for j or f and just want to travel. This is an excellent deal for that. That said, tired old overrated country with some of the haughtiest people I’ve met. I’ll pass.

  15. @Jason:

    I don’t consider myself “haughty”, and most Australians I know aren’t, either. I think you’re encountering the wrong people…

    Not sure what’s “tired”, and “old” about Australia 🙂

  16. @Susan, you may not be, and not everybody is for sure, but I had some harrowing experiences living and working among and for Australians that gave me super pause. I did meet some great friends who I value tremendously. That said, there was a crazy haughtiness and superiority complex around the coffee and food cultures that REALLY put me off. “tired” and “old” is kind of an inside joke around my friends. Either way, I’ve gone, I enjoyed it.
    This *IS* for sure a great deal for anybody who has wanted to go down there to explore. If I were in the market to go I’d try to take advantage. But I’m not.

  17. Good to hear Jason’s elaboration/qualification of his former entry. Obviously, he is a Yank who lived/worked in Australia; I’m a Yank who has lived – and still lives – in Australia for 20 years (but with a US base, too) and have an Aussie spouse for double that time. I’ll add that if you’re looking to go half way around the world to find something super-exotic, you won’t find that in Australia. Much of its DNA is mirror of the USA. The differences can be subtle and interesting for the keen observer. . . . Yes, I know, this is veering off topic.

    But for those interested in more than the sights/beach/drinking, the lessons for Americans are abundant, though maybe hard to discern in a visit of only 2 weeks or so. Simply because Australia is so akin to US on many fronts, its version of several topics such as health care, pensions, avoiding GFC, tertiary education, tolerance (though notable exceptions), environment (exceptions here, too), voting (required and preferential) and elections campaigns (short) and, yes, guns would serve as valuable lesson for US if only Americans would listen. Australia is not a day ahead of US for nothing.

    As for haughtiness, I think(?) I now what Jason means. Unless you come here relocated by a non-Australian company or are specifically recruited here as a non-Australian, there is a “boys club” . . .but if the topic is haughtiiness, that is one area where “Amercian exceptionalism” holds true.

    G’Day

  18. Good to hear Jason’s elaboration/qualification of his former entry. Obviously, he is a Yank who lived/worked in Australia; I’m a Yank who has lived – and still lives – in Australia for 20 years (but with a US base, too) and have an Aussie spouse for double that time. I’ll add that if you’re looking to go half way around the world to find something super-exotic, you won’t find that in Australia. Much of its DNA is mirror of the USA. The differences can be subtle and interesting for the keen observer. . . . Yes, I know, this is veering off topic.

    But for those interested in more than the sights/beach/drinking, the lessons for Americans are abundant, though maybe hard to discern in a visit of only 2 weeks or so. Simply because Australia is so akin to US on many fronts, its version of several topics such as health care, pensions, avoiding GFC, tertiary education, tolerance (though notable exceptions), environment (exceptions here, too), voting (required and preferential) and elections campaigns (short) and, yes, guns would serve as valuable lesson for US if only Americans would listen. Australia is not a day ahead of US for nothing.

    As for haughtiness, I think(?) I now what Jason means. Unless you come here relocated by a non-Australian company or are specifically recruited here as a non-Australian, there is a “boys club” . . .but if the topic is haughtiiness, that is one area where “Amercian exceptionalism” holds true.

    G’Day

  19. @ Owen Pollock — Yay! I would check to make sure your KrisFlyer number is linked to the ticket when you check-in. Otherwise you should be set, and no need to add your United number. Have fun!

  20. @ R,

    There are definitely some areas that Americans could learn from Australians on. The gun issue is a notable one. that said, and you point out, there is an issue on the tolerance front. America is not perfect by any stretch and there are issues, but Australia has issues too (no gay marriage, huge issues with the aboriginal population, and some populist leaders who blame Asians for all of society’s ills). Environmentally, there are issues as well (all the mining, and that woman who controls it and has sold out to the Chinese). As far as haughtiness, I spent a lot of time in Sydney and there was this general attitude of superiority that I couldn’t fathom. I’m friends with a lot of people from all over Australia and they too disdain the environment in Syndey for the attitudes there.
    There are nice things about Australia for sure. I enjoyed visiting there.
    Just like the US, though, there are things in Australia that are flawed. Some things are done better there, some are better here Stateside. I’m glad I’ve gone and have good friends, etc, but as R points out it’s not exotic. You’ll see some amazing things for sure that are worth a visit. Plenty of equally as amazing things in the US / Canada/ Mexico to see too, so I don’t think people should be despondent if their budget precludes them from visiting. That said, this amazing air fare deal will make it more accessible for more people. So, if this makes the budget work, go, I’d say.

  21. UA.com had confirmable upgrade space on Friday evening. The $600 fee is a hefty one. Though paying ~$1,500 round-trip + 60,000 miles wouldn’t have been terrible. I’m an AA EXP with miles to burn so this deal isn’t as lucrative.

  22. I have to keep reminding myself that I have severely limited vacation time remaining. It’s constant refrain in my head otherwise I’d have jumped all over this. I’ve flown biz class the last 2 times to Oz, but I am not opposed to economy if needed. It’s the destination, not the journey.

    “I have severely limited vacation time remaining….I have severely limited vacation time remaining….”

  23. @ Mike Hines — It appears so. I was able to price something about 20 minutes ago, but no longer. Hopefully those interested were able to take advantage!

  24. @ Jenny — Yeah, availability is really limited at this point, and the fare has dried up from many cities. The best you’ll be able to do out of SLC in August is probably ~$980.

  25. If you need to travel on certain dates and you cannot wait for a deal to your destination I recommend 100% to use the Flystein services. You could add it to your cheap travel or travel hacks list.

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