Update: The credit card offer in this post is no longer available. Check our credit card page for the latest offers.
People always ask, “What’s the favorite place you’ve visited.” I love all 33 countries I’ve been to, but Australia ranks high on the list. Our first trip to Australia (and Tahiti) was in 1994. That visit cemented a deep love for Australia.
It was the catalyst that got me started collecting miles and points. Which is how we got a luxury vacation to Sydney practically free: The How to Luxury Guide to Sydney on $85 a Day. Keep reading for our First Class Hawaiian Airlines Honolulu Sydney Flight for $63.
Our First Class Hawaiian Airlines Honolulu Sydney Flight for $63
We flew to Sydney in 2013 and a few things have changed. Back then it was booked First Class Hawaiian Airlines Honolulu Sydney. Now it’s called Business Class. But Hawaiian Airlines will have a true First Class (aka lie-flat seats) soon.
In 1994 we spent a week in Brisbane and the Gold Coast. This time we choose Sydney. The thought of seeing the world famous Sydney Opera House and climbing the Sydney Bridge was enough to convince us. But what sealed the deal was that you can use hotel points to stay in Sydney.
To maximize the best use of hotel points we stayed at four hotels: Best Western Plus Hotel Stellar, Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, Hilton Sydney Hotel, and the Park Hyatt Sydney. But you can pick just one hotel and stay there for your entire trip. It’s definitely easier if you don’t want to unpack and pack several times…
A trip to Sydney is expensive, but you can do it for cheap. First Class Hawaiian Airlines Honolulu Sydney flights one-way cost $5,565. But we only paid $63. Our entire $26,000 trip to Australia only cost $208! Here’s how we did and how you can do it too.
Hawaiian Airlines Premier Club Lounge, Honolulu
Because we flew in First Class we got free access the Hawaiian Airlines Premier Club Lounge, Honolulu Airport. Now, the Hawaiian Airlines Premier Club Lounges are only open to members. Instead, when you fly International Business Class on Hawaiian Airlines you get free admission to the Plumeria Lounge (opened in June 2015). Which is considerably better than the Premier Club but nowhere close to Cathay Pacific’s The Pier or even The Bridge.
The Hawaiian Airlines Premier Club Lounge at the Honolulu Airport was not impressive. I’d go as far as calling it a Hawaiian themed waiting area at a car dealership. There weren’t any snacks, just small single servings of POG (pineapple, orange juice, and guava), soda, and coffee. The padded wicker chairs made for uncomfortable seats. But there’s free Wi-Fi and a TV.
First Class Hawaiian Airlines Honolulu Sydney
We used American Airlines miles to fly from Honolulu to Sydney. Each ticket cost 62,500 American Airlines miles and $32. These flights were booked when you could have an international stopover using American Airlines miles. So we got two trips on one award ticket: a summer 2012 trip to Hawaii and this trip to Sydney, Australia in 2013.
We’ve flown coach on the prop planes when flying from one island to another. But this was our first time flying on Hawaiian Airlines Airbus A380 First Class.
Pre-departures drinks were offered: Na Pua (guava juice and champagne), champagne, and guava juice. It would be rude to say no.
The 9 seats in First Class were in a two-two-two configuration. We choose Seats 2C and 2G because there wasn’t going to be much to see for the almost 11 hour overwater flight. And this way, Jeff didn’t have to step over me to use the restroom during the flight. Hawaiian Airlines now flies an 18-seat A330 between Hawaii and Australia.
The seats recline, much like domestic First Class. The only difference between seats on a domestic flight and these seats, were the footrests, controls, and a few other things. But for a long-haul international flight, they really need to have lie flat seats. Good thing, those are coming soon!
The flight attendant brought the amenity kits and dental kits. The paper pillow box kits had an eye mask and ear plugs. Disposable slippers were in the back pockets of each seat.
After take-off we were given a Hawaiian patterned quilt type blanket and pillow.
The in-flight entertainment (IFE) was stored in the armrest and had plenty of movies, TV shows, music, and games to keep us occupied. I rarely go out to movies at home so I watch the latest movies during flights. So it’s no surprise that I rarely sleep on flights. 🙂
How You Can Do It Too
The Hawaiian Airlines First Class award tickets were one-way SAAver awards which cost 62,500 American Airlines miles per person. The same flight now is considered Business Class and costs:
- 67, 500 American Airlines miles
- 65,000 Hawaiian Airlines miles
- 100,000 Virgin Atlantic miles + $129
The easiest and fastest way to get airline miles for a trip to Sydney is by applying for credit cards.
I am not a credit card affiliate. So I do not earn a commission on credit cards.
Earning American Airlines Miles
1. Citi American Airlines Executive Card
You can get 80,000 American Airlines miles when you spend $5,500 on purchases within 3 months of opening your Citi American Airlines Executive card.
2. Citi American Airlines Cards
All three of the Citi American Airlines cards are offering miles:
- Citi American Airlines Platinum Select World Mastercard: 50,000 miles after spending $2,500 on purchases in the first 3 months
- Citi American Airlines Business: 65,000 miles after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
3. Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Cards from American Express
You can get 25,000 Starpoints after spending $5,000 on purchases within 6 months of account opening from the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express and the Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express. Terms and conditions apply.
Starwood points transfer to American Airlines at a 1:1 ratio. And you get a 5,000 point bonus when you transfer 20,000 points to American Airlines. So 20,000 Starpoints becomes 25,000 American Airlines miles. If you got both cards, you could transfer the 60,000 Starpoints (25,000 sign-up bonus x 2 + 5,000 minimum spend x 2) you’d have 75,000 American Airlines miles.
Earning Hawaiian Airline Miles
By applying for the Hawaiian Airlines card and spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days, you’d get 35,000 Hawaiian miles.
And if you have a business, you could get 35,000 Hawaiian miles after your first purchase with the Hawaiian Airlines Business card.
Earning Virgin Atlantic Points
You can get 20,000 Virgin Atlantic points after your first purchase with the Virgin Atlantic card.
We spent a week in Sydney for only $85 a day and that included our flights, hotels, meals, activities, and transportation. The total cost just under $595. Two one-way First Class Hawaiian Airlines Honolulu Sydney flights cost $5,565. But we only paid $63. The trick…we used frequent flyer miles.
Here’s our experience flying from Honolulu to Sydney on Hawaiian Airlines in First Class aka Business Class.
While the seats for our First Class Hawaiian Airlines Honolulu Sydney flight weren’t the most luxurious compared to other international First Class seats like Cathay Pacific or Etihad, it sure beat coach! And if you’re flying from Hawaii and can’t find seats on Qantas, at least you’ve got another option with Hawaiian Airlines.
When was the last time you flew Internationally First Class or Business Class in a seat that didn’t lie flat?
Stay tuned for our review of the Best Western Plus Hotel Stellar, Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, Hilton Sydney Hotel, and the Park Hyatt Sydney.
Pin this to your travel tips, travel hacks, travel, or vacation board
Did you like this post? Feel free to comment, share this post, tweet, or give me a +1.
Comment, tweet, or share this post.
Get the best credit card bonuses.
Got a question? Or want help, suggestions, travel tips, learn how to travel for free, find out about travel deals, and maximize your miles and points? Use the subscription box below to sign-up and get post updates by email.
Traveling Well For Less has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Traveling Well For Less and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.