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.
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:
- Salt Lake City
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:
Select your flights:
And you’ll be given the option to book directly on United.com:
Google populates all the trip details for you, so you just have to click through to enter passenger and payment info:
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:
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!
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 much? This 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?