Hawaii is a popular destination for Australian holidaymakers. So, it’s no surprise that Qantas’ Sydney-Honolulu flight is an extremely popular route for frequent flyers hoping to use their Qantas points for a Business class reward. Unfortunately, Qantas rarely ever releases Business class award seats to Hawaii. Point upgrades are also extremely difficult to score on this route.

Less then Platinum and your chances are to get 2xJ awards are very low. It’s a very popular route for family redemptions and just one flight per day…

The trouble is that QF3/4 to Honolulu only operates 5x per week, and there are only 28 Business class seats on each flight. It’s a long flight, and the outbound leg operates overnight, so Qantas is easily able to sell most of these seats.

So, if you’re dreaming of a Business class trip to the Aloha State, how can you get there using Qantas points?

If you’re a Platinum or Platinum One frequent flyer, you may be able to request that Qantas releases a Business award seat on the route for you. Platinum members can do this by calling Qantas. If there is Business class availability in “I” (discount Business) class, then your request will be forwarded to revenue management for approval. This is not guaranteed to work, but it’s worth a try.

We got “lucky” few times getting 2xJ but always had to call and ask. I say “lucky” because the taxes are > $700!

If you really want to fly Qantas, you could book an upgradeable Economy fare and request a points upgrade. If you’re flying off-peak, there’s a small chance you might be successful. Otherwise, there are plenty of off-peak reward seats available in Economy on QF3/4.

Jetstar does release some award seats for their version of Business class. Jetstar flies direct to Honolulu from both Sydney and Melbourne. However, the outbound flights from both cities are redeyes, and the Business class seats on Jetstar are merely recliner seats. You won’t find lie-flat beds.

Another option is to fly Fiji Airways via Nadi. One great thing about Fiji Airways is that they don’t impose any fuel surcharges on reward tickets. So, the taxes are very low. You can connect via Fiji from Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney. The main catch, however, is that the long Nadi-Honolulu leg is on a Boeing 737 with recliner seats in Business. This flight also operates via Kiribati or Samoa a couple of days per week. But if you don’t mind island-hopping, it’s not a bad way to get to Hawaii.

If you’re still stuck, there’s one other method which has a considerably longer travel time. But you’ll have a flat bed all the way to Hawaii, and it is generally possible to find reward seats. Japan Airlines flies daily from Sydney and Melbourne to Tokyo, and there are multiple onward daily flights from Tokyo to both Honolulu and Kona.

Japan Airlines generally releases (at least) 2x business award seats on their SYD-NRT and NRT-HNL flights, and the connection times in NRT are pretty good. If you book well in advance and are a little flexible with dates you can usually find something on JL. Obviously it’ll cost more points than booking on the QF flight, but there are no/very low fuel surcharges.

How do you get to Hawaii with Qantas points? Join the discussion HERE.

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]