Business vs. First from USA to Australia?

Old Jul 12th, 2007, 02:29 PM
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Business vs. First from USA to Australia?

My 6'2" husband & I will be cashing in American Airline FF miles for Qantas flights to Sydney from the USA. Is it worth the additional 40,000 miles per person to fly first class vs. business class? The Qantas rep told me the "Business Sky Bed" has gotten rave reviews, though the beds in first class open flat. Any recommendations?
Martrese is offline  
Old Jul 12th, 2007, 03:50 PM
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I wish I knew the answer to your question!

I'm astounded Qantas lets you use AA frequent flyer points, when I recently tried to use my Qantas FF points for an upgrade on LAN, a message came up on the screen indicating that upgrades with another airline weren't possible. Sounds like you have a much better deal!

I think either would be terrific.

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Old Jul 12th, 2007, 04:01 PM
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Find out what equipment you will be on. In my experience it depends on the aircraft. Even coach can be very doable in a 777. We have flown coach, business and first in a 777 - coach was actually comfortable to Paris. We flew 1st to Sydney on a 777 and it was wonderful, but business would have been more than adequate. On the other hand I have been very uncomfortable in business to Paris on a smaller plane. These flights were on United. Based on what we have experienced, we have booked coach to New Zealand on Air New Zealand 777.

If I were you I would save the miles and go business unless you think the miles will be worthless in the future.
Also, remember that jet lag isn't as bad going to Australia as going to Europe from the US.
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Old Jul 12th, 2007, 04:22 PM
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As far as I know Qantas does not use 777s so that is not an issue anyway. I don't think that United has Sky Beds on Business so there is no comparison between the business class of United and the business class with Sky Beds on Qantas.
Business on Qantas is really fantastic and I would save the 40K FF points. However I found that flying Business in the upstairs section much better than the downstairs section on Qantas because there are fewer people there and its quieter.
Susan7 I think there is a difference between using Qantas FF points to "purchase" an award ticket on Lan and using them for an upgrade on Lan. There are some other funny things between Lan too such as the no use Club Lounge in Santiago if you are a Qantas Club member which is annoying to say the least. They will let you use the Lounge though for a fee of $15US
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Old Jul 12th, 2007, 06:31 PM
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Hi Martrese,

Ah...the good life! Biz vs. First Class.

I just got back 2 weeks ago from Australia, and flew Biz Class again, which was an absolute delight. I also had the pleasure of travelling with my husband in Nov/Dec. to Australia and we were upgraded to Business Class, which was a surprise, (my judgement may be a bit clouded as it was totally unexpected), but I distinctly remember turning to my husband and saying

"what more could they possibly DO for us in First Class other than cut up our steak for us???"

So it really all comes down to seating/bedding. On my return trip home I slept 8 hours in those Business Class seats - heaven!

Honestly, if I was paying for it myself, I don't think I'd spend the extra miles (unless you're one of those people that have a gazillion miles).

Hope this is helpful!


Certified Aussie Specialist
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Old Jul 13th, 2007, 10:17 AM
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First off, Susan, purchasing upgrades is quite different from purchasing the whole ticket with FF miles. You can only get the upgrades with your own airline, we have found. We have FF miles with Alaska, which is a partner with AA. We can't get upgrades with AA (or any other partner like Qantas) but we can get business and first tickets for the appropriate miles. RE the business vs first on Qantas: my research shows that the difference is that even though the business seats go "flat", your feet are still below your head and under the seat in front of you. In first (which we flew in 2004) your bed is horizontal. My husband who is not a large person (size medium shirts) sleeps on his back and thought the seats were a bit narrow. I sleep on my side and slept 8 hours comfortably with the large pillows and the down comforters under and over. I don't do well with jet lag if I don't sleep well, so the extra miles are worth it to us (at least to me!), so we booked first class for our trip in October. We found that you need to call on the dot 330 days prior to flying and keep calling daily until you get your flights. We are trying now to change our dates, and have been calling frequently and no first class seats are opening up yet. We've talked to many, many Alaska partner desk personnel, so my advice is if you don't get a helpful person, call back and get another one, even the same day. Some of your partner desk people will work extra hard for you and others won't care. Last time we worked with the Qantas people instead, and found that most were helpful. Can't tell you about the American experience. Good luck! If you choose first, you will love it, that part I do know!!!
Sally in Seattle
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Old Jul 14th, 2007, 03:49 PM
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I don't mean to hijack Martrese's thread, but thanks Lizzy and Sally for the clarifications on buying versus upgrades with FF points.

I have no luck with either with Qantas, so it's nice to hear someone's FF program seem to deliver!
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Old Jul 14th, 2007, 03:51 PM
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We are going to Perth in September. We had more than enough AA FF miles to go 1st class. We were told we could not use our AA miles for Quantas 1st or biz class, that those seats were never available. We booked coach. We'd sure like to know the trick if it is possible to get 1sr or biz class.
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Old Jul 14th, 2007, 10:24 PM
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We had more than enough AA FF miles to go 1st class. We were told we could not use our AA miles for Quantas 1st or biz class, that those seats were never available.

Without any doubt, transpacific Qantas (no "u") business and first class seats are the flat out hardest award seats to obtain with AA (or Qantas, or Alaska) miles, period. Not impossible, but statistically close enough.

The Qantas business class Skybed is a good seat. Haven't been in Qantas longhaul first class, but current reports are it's also near the top in service and comfort.

But moot unless you have a paid ticket.

Phone AA and ask about business or FC award availability using Air Tahiti instead of Qantas, or AA itself to Japan, then Cathay Pacific and/or Qantas from there to Sydney. Getting premium cabin award seats to Oz is as tough as it gets.
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Old Jul 15th, 2007, 03:21 AM
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Business class is efficient but First makes you feel extra special. I'd go First, loads of space and you don't need to sit next to your spouse!
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