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When thinking of redeeming American Airlines AAdvantage miles for flights to Australia and New Zealand, the first two options that likely come to mind are Oneworld partner Qantas and Americans own recently launched non-stop flights to Sydney (SYD) and Auckland (AKL) from Los Angeles (LAX).
Unfortunately, award availability on these flights ranges from less than ideal when it comes to economy class options to almost non-existent when it comes to premium cabin options. Considering that AA does not allow you to connect in Asia or any other region on awards to the South Pacific, finding award availability to Australia or NZ can become an impossible endeavor. Fortunately, though, three non-alliance lesser known AA partners make this task a little easier.
Air Tahiti Nui
Air Tahiti Nui (TN) is a non-alliance AA partner that flies to Australia and NZ. Specifically, TN flies to SYD and AKL from their home base in Papeete. From the U.S., they fly out of LAX. Therefore, you can, in theory, travel from LAX to SYD or AKL with TN on an AA award with only one connection (in PPT). Keep in mind that you can have a layover of up to 23 hours and 59 minutes in PPT.
Unfortunately, you cannot search for TN award availability on the AA website. The best way to check for TN award availability is to use the service ExpertFlyer.
Fiji Airways (FJ) is also a non-alliance AA partner that flies to Australia and NZ. FJ flies to SYD, BNE, Melbourne (MEL), AKL, Christchurch (CHC) and Wellington (WLG) from their home base in Nadi (NAN). From the U.S., FJ flies out of LAX and have recently added seasonal flights from San Francisco (SFO).
Therefore, in theory, you can travel from SFO or LAX to SYD, BNE, MEL, AKL, CHC and WLG with FJ on an AA award with only one connection (in NAN). In this case, you can also have a layover of up to 23 hours and 59 minutes in NAN.
If you live in Hawaii, also keep in mind that FJ flies to Honolulu (HNL). Therefore, in theory, you can book an FJ award to SYD, BNE, MEL, AKL, CHC and WLG with a connection in NAN.
You cannot search for FJ award availability on the AA website. However, you can do so from the Alaska Airlines and Qantas websites. You can also search for FJ award availability on ExpertFlyer.
With non-alliance partner Hawaiian Airlines you can book awards from Hawaii to Australia and New Zealand. This option will only work from Hawaii due to AA's Hawaiian awards restrictions. Hawaiian flies to SYD, Brisbane (BNE) and AKL from their home base in HNL.
Therefore, in theory, you can fly with Hawaiian from HNL non-stop to SYD, BNE or AKL. Qantas Australian connections may also be included on such awards.
You can search for Hawaiian award availability on AA's website. However, if searching for Hawaiian options to Australia or NZ make sure you do a segment by segment search.
Remember, if you can find award availability of a partner on one partner's website, that means all partners can likely redeem for those flights — hence why you can use Alaska Airlines' and Qantas' websites to search for FJ availability.
Hawaiian Airlines, Air Tahiti Nui, and Fiji Airways are far from the most glamorous ways to travel from the U.S. to Australia and New Zealand. However, availability with all three is, in general, better than AA's and Qantas', particularly for business class. The next time you want to book an AA award to Australia or New Zealand and you strike out on AA or Qantas options, make sure to consider the previously discussed Hawaiian Airlines, Air Tahiti Nui and Fiji Airways options.
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