Australia is one of my favorites countries to visit. Especially when you can use miles and points for an almost free trip! Here’s how to take a $26,000 trip to Australia for $208.
We flew roundtrip First Class from the United States to Australia and stayed in five star hotels for 8 days for a tiny fraction of what our vacation would normally cost. All thanks to travel hacking.
$26,000 Trip to Australia for $208
We fell in love with Australia when we first visited in 1994.
This was our second trip and it was even better. Because this time instead of paying cash, we used miles and points.
So we got a fantastic $26,000 trip to Australia for $208.
Here’s how we did it.
Jeff and I flew First Class from Honolulu to Sydney on Hawaiian Airlines.
You can read my review of our First Class Hawaiian Airlines Honolulu Sydney Flight for $63.
American used to allow a free stopover in Hawaii when you flew to Australia. So our flights were free. Technically the Hawaii portion was free but I already calculated those into our Hawaii trip.
Read my post on how to get a trip to Hawaii for practically free.
On the way back, we couldn’t get two First Class seats on the same flight so I flew First Class on Qantas from Sydney to Los Angeles with a stop and plane change in Melbourne. I picked this flight because the Melbourne Los Angeles flight was on an Airbus A380.
My flight cost 72,500 American Airline miles and $102.20 in airline taxes and fees.
Jeff flew First Class from Sydney to Honolulu on Hawaiian Airlines. Then he flew First Class on American Airlines from Honolulu to Dallas and then from Dallas to San Diego.
His flight was 72,500 American Airlines miles with airline taxes and fees of $106.10.
We stayed at four different hotels in Sydney. This gave us a chance to see more of the city, save time and money on transportation, and save money on food because of hotel elite status.
Best Western Plus Hotel Stellar
Our first night, we stayed at the Best Western Plus Hotel Stellar in a King Deluxe Room for 20,000 Best Western points.
The hotel is walking distance to several sites including the Australian Museum.
Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel
Then we moved to the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel. Who doesn’t love a gorgeous flat iron building!
We used 50,000 Radisson points to stay 2 nights in a 1 Bedroom Spa Suite. We saved 50,000 points because the Club Carlson Premier card offered the second night free on award stays of two nights or more. This benefit is no longer offered on the card.
Hilton Sydney Hotel
To be close to the heart of the city we stayed 2 nights at the Hilton Sydney Hotel in a King Executive room. This made it easier to take the morning train to visit the Blue Mountains.
Our stay was free thanks to the 2 free nights from the Citi Hilton Reserve card. (This card is no longer available.) The card came with free Gold status which meant access to the Executive Lounge for free breakfast, tea, drinks, and evening canapes.
Park Hyatt Sydney
You can’t beat the views! And it made for a short walk to the ferry to visit Manly Beach.
How to Earn the Miles and Points
The fastest way to earn miles and points is through credit card signup bonuses.
I’ve been earning airline miles and points since 1994 so I already had the American Airlines miles.
But if I didn’t have the miles, here are the cards I would apply for:
- Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard – 50,000 miles
- Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World World Elite Mastercard – 50,000 miles
- Citi AAdvantage Gold World Elite Mastercard – 50,000 miles
- CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard – 60,000 miles
- Citi American Airlines Gold MasterCard – 25,000 miles
Knowing that we wanted to go back to Australia, I applied for the Citi Hilton Reserve, the Hyatt card, and the Club Carlson card. But now the signup bonuses are different and the Citi Reserve is no longer offered.
Here are the cards I’d apply for now to earn Hilton points:
- Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card – 150,000 points
- Hilton Honors Surpass (learn more) – 130,000 points
- Hilton Honors American Express Business Card (learn more) – 125,000 points
- Hilton Honors American Express Card (learn more) – 90,000 points
You can earn Hyatt points by getting the Hyatt card or one of the many cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Ultimate Rewards points transfer to Hyatt on a 1:1 ratio.
Here are the latest signup bonuses:
- World of Hyatt card – up to 50,000 points
- Chase Sapphire Reserve – 50,000 points
- Chase Sapphire Preferred – 60,000 points
- Chase Ink Business Preferred – 80,000 points
- Chase Ink Business Cash – $500
- Chase Freedom Unlimited
- Chase Freedom – $150
Read my post on Extreme Mile and Point Collecting.
Look for the latest travel rewards cards.
Who would have thought a $26,000 trip to Australia for $208 was possible? It is, and you can do it too.
Where was your favorite trip using miles and points?
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