The trip from Australia to Europe is a very long one. Unless you’re booked on Qantas’ direct flight from Perth to London, you’ll have to stop at least once along the way and the trip usually takes at least 24 hours. That’s a long time to be sitting on a plane, so many opt for the extra comfort of Business Class.
The trouble is, buying Business Class tickets in Australia is expensive. Market forces have added an invisible “Australia tax”, making tickets originating in Australia dearer than flights departing from overseas. But, if you live in Australia, there are several strategies you can use to book cheaper Business Class tickets to Europe.
1. Book return flights originating in Europe
Round-trip Business Class tickets from Europe to Australia are regularly available for around half the price of the same ticket in the opposite direction. For example, there are often good deals out of places like Sweden and Norway.
If you live in Australia, you can take advantage of this if you travel to Europe at least once or twice per year. You would buy return tickets originating in Europe, “nesting” the return leg to use at the start of your next trip. Most airlines will allow you to return up to twelve months after the outbound portion of your trip. However, some sale fares do have “maximum stay” restrictions that could prevent you from doing this.
Even if you’re currently in Australia, you can easily book a flight originating overseas through the airline’s own website or with any good travel agent. As you’ll probably be paying in the local currency of the country of departure, you may wish to use a credit card with no forex fees.
This AFF thread contains some tips on making this strategy work if you live in Australia: Business Class Europe to Australia
2. Book Business tickets from Asia to Europe
Even if you’re not travelling to Europe frequently enough to use the previous strategy for cheap Business class to Europe, there’s another way you can still take advantage of the lower prices in other markets. There are often sales on Business Class fares from Asia to Europe, with prices often around the $2,500-mark for a round-trip Business fare. These deals are frequently available from origins such as Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Sri Lanka.
At the time of writing this article, for example, Turkish Airlines is offering return Business Class fares from Bangkok to Paris, Munich and Rome for under $2,700 return. In the past we’ve even seen Qatar Airways Business fares from Jakarta to Europe for under $1,800 round-trip!
You would need to then purchase a separate return ticket from Australia to the Asian stopover point. It’s up to you whether you wish to just purchase a cheap Economy ticket, buy a Business class fare, or perhaps redeem points for that part of the trip. Either way, you’ll be in Business Class for the longest part of the trip and you’ll almost certainly save a bit of money.
You can even build in a few days between flights and take the time to enjoy a stopover in Asia along the way. (This is also a great way to break up the long trip between Australia and Europe and arrive feeling more refreshed.)
3. Look for discounted Business fares on second-tier carriers
Airlines like China Airlines, Hainan Airlines or Vietnam Airlines might not be your first choice. But they all offer fully lie-flat beds in Business Class and their pricing to Europe can be very competitive. Most airlines charge well over $6,000 for Business class tickets from Australia to Europe. But Hainan Airlines sometimes has return Business sale fares to Europe for around $3,000. That price is similar to Premium Economy on Qantas. Just beware that the lower fare sometimes comes at the cost of a long en-route layover.
Speaking of Premium Economy, China Airlines has some great Premium Economy deals to Europe for well under $1,800 return from time to time. This is a pretty good alternative to flying Economy, without spending that much more.
4. Use frequent flyer points
An alternative to buying tickets is to redeem frequent flyer points. You can earn points from flying, credit card expenditure and many other methods. Credit card sign-up bonuses can also be a handy way to earn large amounts of points for minimal outlay. But if you still don’t have enough points, another option could be to buy frequent flyer points at a discount from an airline that sells them.
When redeeming points, award availability is often limited – especially for long-haul flights in Business Class. So you’ll need to be flexible with dates and book well in advance. Also, beware of the carrier charges that some airlines add to the cost of your reward ticket. If you’re having trouble redeeming your points, don’t forget that our Award Flight Assist service may be able to help.