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Burning Skymiles: Getting To Australia For Only 40,000 Skymiles

Written by Charlie

With all the recent news and changes coming from Delta in just the last couple of days, many Delta members are scurrying to book/find awards before anything else happens. To help with that and to get the best bang for your Skymile buck, I thought I would write a couple of posts highlighting some good ways if you plan on burning your Skymiles.

Getting To Australia For Only 40,000 Skymiles

The now-pulled Delta award charts would have told you that it actually costs 50,000 Skymiles (one way) to get to Australia from the US. While they require more miles to get there than other airlines do, they do have some better availability.


The route and price from the US to Australia – 50,000 miles one way

Required Miles With Delta From the US to Australia

  • 50,000 miles one way in coach
  • 80,000 miles one way in business

So, for a roundtrip award in coach, it would cost 100,000 miles. For business, 160,000 miles. I have flown Delta’s product to and from Australia a couple of times (in both coach and business) and I have to say that it is already ridiculous to charge 160,000 miles for business class! Don’t get me wrong, it is an excellent product but it is fewer miles to fly in Qantas first class to Australia!

Only Paying 40,000 Miles For Australia

The trick to only paying 40,000 miles for a one way to Australia (or 70,000 miles for a one way in business) is to actually book your ticket for travel to any one of several countries in the South Pacific. One which I have used before is Papua New Guinea (Port Moresby). Since Delta does not fly to that destination, it requires using their partner, Virgin Australia, to get you to that destination. Using Virgin means that your flight from the US must go to Australia for the connection.


The price and route for US to South Pacific transiting Australia – 40,000 miles one way

Required Miles With Delta From the US to South Pacific

  • 40,000 miles one way in coach
  • 70,000 miles one way in business

You can actually book a ticket to one of these other countries and never take the last flight to get to that country. Instead, just stay in Australia. This is called hidden-city ticketing and is normally used for revenue tickets but it works great in this situation as well.

It used to be even better, before Delta eliminated stopovers on awards, because you could book a trip from the US to (for example) Papua New Guinea with a long stopover (several days) in Australia – and the whole trip would price out at 80,000 miles roundtrip instead of 100,000 miles and you got to visit another country as well! However, since Delta eliminated stopovers, instead you would just not take that last leg of your journey and stay in Australia.


The Virgin Australia route network in Australia and the South Pacific

There is nothing different to do when trying to book one of these tickets. Simply select your destination city as one of the South Pacific cities served by Virgin Australia (route map here) and book your ticket! Make sure you know of any visa requirements before heading to the airport! In my best recollection, I believe that Papua New Guinea only requires you to get a visa after you arrive so you would not need it in advance to just board the plane. You will need an Australian visa which can be obtained electronically here.

Just make sure you do not choose a final destination city that actually is served by Delta. In the even that there is some kind of delay or disruption, they may put you on the direct flight out of Los Angeles and you will lose out on Australia. That is why Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (POM) is a safe bet.

Make sure that you only bring carry on luggage and do not check bags! If you check bags, they will be checked through your final destination. That is really not a big problem as you get one carry on and personal item and it should be enough for a trip. I know everyone’s travel habits are different, but I never check a bag no matter where I go.

Getting Back to the US

Of course, you probably want to come back to the US! To do that, you can do one of several things:

  • Book an award ticket back with another airline
  • Book an award ticket back with Delta (and pay the 50,000 miles for the one way)
  • Buy a cheap ticket to one of the cities in the South Pacific served by Virgin Australia (get another country in) and then get a 40,000 mile award on Delta home from there

Even if you end up using Delta at the 50K level to fly back directly from Australia, you are still saving 10,000 miles on your overall trip! If the trip is involving a couple (or more) people, that savings could be enough for another award trip somewhere!


By selecting your destination for your Delta award as one of the countries in the South Pacific served by Virgin Australia, you will be able to save 10,000 miles one way and just end your journey in Australia. It is a nice way to save a few miles. Plus, Delta has a great partnership with Virgin Australia that has some very nice planes and you can save the 10,000 miles in either coach or fly their business class!

When it comes to Delta Skymiles, we don’t know what is going to happen but we do know there are still plenty of ways to burn them in efficient, fun ways to get to see as many places as possible. This is one such way to save a few miles.

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • Have just over 100k SkyMiles to burn and Port Moresby is actually a strong potential for a destination (out of MCO). Not seeing any availability for award travel on the Delta site. How would one go about booking this?

    • There are some days where there is not availability so when it returns to say you need to call in, change the search to 5 weeks and a bunch of availability will pop up. You may need to check from ATL or JFK at first just to see how it is opened up from those cities and then work backwards.

  • Keep up the ideas to getting rid of Skypesos and Aeroplan miles. I’ve status matched with Turkish Airlines and now choose all my revenue tickets with them. Now I need to get the most value out of the miles I accumulated over the years.

  • What an awesome redemption! Going to POM is normally more expensive than going to Australia so throwing that segment away is… Disheartening. 😉 Does Bali count as South Pacific? Or is it more expensive? Or does Delta fly there too?

    • It is disheartening. 🙂 It used to be a great redemption for stopovers in Australia on the way to POM. Oh well. The good thing is that Bali (DPS) does count and will work for this as well. In fact, it gives some other routing options as well, like through ICN (which is only 35,000 miles by itself).