Tutorial – Use AAdvantage Miles For Cheaper Qantas Redemptions

Without a doubt, my favourite frequent flyer program would still have to be American Airlines AAdvantage. The program offers some fantastic value, always has miles on sale and has some brilliant redemption partners.

I’ve talked about the program a little bit for Etihad first class redemptions, but today I am going to talk about redeeming these miles for Qantas redemptions.

First of all here are the award charts from the Pacific for Oneworld and partner airlines:

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How to find availability

To find Qantas availability you have a few options:

AAdvantage

AAdvanatge has an award calendar that is simple and easy to use. However, the calendar often shows “Phantom Space” which means that it will show seats available, but they aren’t actually there, to confirm double or triple check on British Airways, Qantas, and Expertflyer. You’ll want to select the blue tabs which are saver awards.

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British Airways

British Airways is what I normally use to confirm that the seat are actually there, In this case, they are there.

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What Qantas flights can I redeem for?

The big difference between using Alaska miles and AAdvantage miles is that with AAdvantage you can redeem points for any Qantas flight, unlike Alaskan where you can only redeem for Qantas flights domestically and USA flights.

How do I get AA miles?

There are two main ways to get AA points in Australia.

  • Crediting QF flights to AA

Crediting QF flights to AA used to be quite valuable, but with changes this year, you won’t get that many points which is disappointing.

  • Buying miles

This is how I afford most of my long-haul travel. American constantly offer very large bonuses when buying miles. You can buy 150,000 miles a year but look when the sales are on, and you could get much more for the same price.

American are currently offering a large bonus of 100,000 miles which alone is enough for Qantas first class to Dubai.

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Bottom Line

If you are planning travel soon and want to travel in business or first with Qantas or any other AAdvanatge partner, I would definitely recommend purchasing miles. The offer ends November 28, and you must have an account older than 30 days.

Review – Etihad 787 First Class Abu Dhabi – Brisbane

Following on from my Washington to Abu Dhabi flight I had a short transit before I left for Brisbane. I absolutely love the new Etihad first class lounge, so I went for a quick visit to have a bite to eat and get a haircut, yes get a haircut in the lounge, how awesome!

Etihad First Class Lounge and Spa

Etihad First Class Lounge and Spa

After my haircut, I left the lounge and walked to the gate for my last flight on my long journey home to Brisbane. Gate security was a bit of a mess but boarding started on time and priority boarding was very effective.

I again went around the cabin taking photos from different angles, and the light was great for the pictures.

Etihad 787 First Class Cabin

Etihad 787 First Class Cabin

Etihad 787 First Class Cabin

Etihad 787 First Class Cabin

Etihad 787 First Class Cabin

Etihad 787 First Class Cabin

Etihad 787 First Class Cabin

Etihad 787 First Class Cabin

I sat down a few minutes later and started to get comfortable for the flight. Now if you fly often, you’ll be able to tell how good the crew will be on the flight and this flight I had a very good feeling they would be and I was 100% correct. The CSM came around to welcome me onboard and place the welcome tray on the seat. She also mentioned there were only 2 people in first which means ultimate privacy.

Etihad 787 First Class Cabin

Etihad 787 First Class Cabin

A few minutes later the onboard Chef Imke came and welcomed me onboard and handed me the menus, this is when I could tell this will be an amazing flight, the crew were just amazing, and we hadn’t even taken off yet!

Etihad 787 First Class Menus

Etihad 787 First Class Menus

Here are the menus:

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Etihad 787 First Class Appetiser Tray

Etihad 787 First Class Appetiser Tray

The tray had a coke, olives and warmed nuts.

Even though I ate in the lounge, I still wanted to dine onboard because the food is just brilliant.

Amuse Bouche

Amuse Bouche

To start off with I had the Tomato and Red Pepper soup for the appetizer.

Tomato And Red Pepper Soup

Tomato And Red Pepper Soup

Sorbet to cleanse the pallet for the main.

Sorbet

Sorbet

For the main course, I had the Wagyu Sirloin which was cooked perfectly.

Wagyu Sirloin

Wagyu Sirloin

And for dessert, I had the chocolate and caramel pudding which was also brilliant.

Chocolate Caramel Pudding

Chocolate Caramel Pudding

Again, the dining on Etihad in first does not disappoint!

After having some food, I decided to watch some movies then try to get some sleep. As there were two people in first, the crew offered to make the bed up opposite me which was nice. I didn’t get a photo of it, but this is what it looks like set.

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A

I ended up having about 4 hours of sleep which was good enough for me. I did wake up hungry so ended up getting some pastries and a coffee to wake me up.

Pastries and Coffee

Pastries and Coffee

There were about 4 hours of the flight left in the flight when I woke up, and I got bored and walked into the galley to stretch. I saw the crew looked bored so decided to have a chat; we ended up talking for hours, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time talking to them. It made me appreciate how much cabin crew does for us as passengers, and they are amazing people. I have never flown with such nice and friendly crew; it proved even further that Etihad definitely does deserve five stars.

I even got a photo with them because I was just soo impressed with the onboard service.

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I didn’t want the flight to end, but sadly every good thing has to come to an end. I again ran around taking photos before we arrived into Brisbane.

Etihad 787 First Class Cabin

Etihad 787 First Class Cabin

Etihad 787 First Class Cabin

Etihad 787 First Class Cabin

Etihad 787 First Class Cabin

Etihad 787 First Class Cabin

Etihad 787 First Class Cabin

Etihad 787 First Class Cabin

Etihad 787 First Class Cabin

Etihad 787 First Class Cabin

Approaching Brisbane

Approaching Brisbane

Hello Brisbane

Hello Brisbane

Hello Brisbane

Hello Brisbane

Bottom Line

Out of every flight, I have taken so far, this would have had to be my favorite. The onboard service I received was second to none, Etihad has once again done a magnificent job.

Review – Etihad 787 First Class Washington To Abu Dhabi

As you could probably tell by now, I am a huge Etihad Airways fan, so when deciding how I was going to get home from Washington, I immediately looked at availability out of IAD. As luck would have it, there were first seats available which I immediately booked with 115,000 AAdvantage miles. I also found first available to Brisbane and used AA miles again. This would mean I would be spending 26 hours in these seats, Awesome!

I arrived in Washington from New York with a short connection so I couldn’t visit the lounge for long. Etihad starts boarding an hour before departure, so I boarded close to when I arrived.

For this flight, I selected 2A which is a forward facing seat.

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A

The seat feels very spacious and very private at the same time. The seats are an upgraded and modernized version of the suites on the 777, A340 and A330.

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A

The seat has an ottoman which can also be used a seat for another passenger dining with you.

Etihad 787 First Class Ottoman

Etihad 787 First Class Ottoman

I absolutely love the first blankets!

Etihad 787 First Class Blanket

Etihad 787 First Class Blanket

The seat is 26 inches wide which is great for sleeping and lounging on.

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A

On the right side of the seat, there is a storage area, lighting controls, and the IFE controller.

Etihad 787 First Class Seat USB And Storage

Etihad 787 First Class Seat USB And Storage

Etihad 787 First Class Seat Controls

Etihad 787 First Class Seat Controls

This side is also where you’ll find the panel for more light settings and IFE controller.

Etihad 787 First Class Seat Light Controls

Etihad 787 First Class Seat Light Control Panel

Etihad 787 First Class Seat IFE Controller

Etihad 787 First Class Seat IFE Controller

This is where you’ll find the various reading materials and headphones.

Etihad 787 First Class Seat Storage

Etihad 787 First Class Seat Storage

On the left side of the seat, this is where you’ll find your chilled minibar and storage space.

Etihad 787 First Class Seat Minibar

Etihad 787 First Class Seat Minibar

I love that Etihad’s in-seat minibar is chilled, something their opposition doesn’t do.

Etihad 787 First Class Seat Minibar

Etihad 787 First Class Seat Minibar

As I settled in I was brought a welcome tray that consists of water still or sparkling, a welcome letter signed by the cabin service manager (very nice touch), a hot towel and some dates.

Etihad 787 First Class Welcome Tray

Etihad 787 First Class Welcome Tray

Menus were also brought to the seat.

Etihad 787 First Class Menu's

Etihad 787 First Class Menus

This was my second time on the Etihad 787 but first time in first, so I started to look around and discover the aircraft.

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A Windows

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A Windows

The in-seat hangar is a great feature on the seat especially when you’re wearing shirts and coats that crease easily.

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A Hangar

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A Hangar

The 787 cabin only has eight suites making it very private and exclusive. The two window seats are backward facing while the aisle is forward and row 2 is the opposite.

Etihad 787 First Class

Etihad 787 First Class

The middle seats have a divider which is great for couples traveling together or if you’re solo and want added privacy.

Etihad 787 First Class

Etihad 787 First Class

Etihad 787 First Class

Etihad 787 First Class

Etihad 787 First Class

Etihad 787 First Class

Etihad 787 First Class

Etihad 787 First Class

Pyjamas and an amenity kit were brought to the seat as I sat back down. I was excited to find that the kits feature the new Omorovicza products.

Etihad 787 First Class

Etihad 787 First Class

The new Omorovicza products are quite nice, but I had a huge soft spot for the previous Bergamotte 22 products.

Etihad 787 First Class Amenity Kit Omorovicza Products

Etihad 787 First Class Amenity Kit Omorovicza Products

Etihad has two lavatories in the first class cabin.

Etihad 787 First Class Lavatory

Etihad 787 First Class Lavatory

The lavatories were always kept clean when I visited.

Etihad 787 First Class Lavatory

Etihad 787 First Class Lavatory

The bathroom also housed the new Omorovicza products.

Etihad 787 First Class Omorovicza Products

Etihad 787 First Class Omorovicza Products

I went back to my seat, and we started taxiing shortly after.

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A

You can tell Etihad are very happy with their recent awards, they definitely do deserve it.

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A

We quickly took off and reached our cruise altitude of 39,000 feet, pretty impressive! The crew brought a tray which had a coke, olives and warmed nuts. I decided to watch the election live which was more interesting in the air.

Etihad 787 First Class

Etihad 787 First Class

Sadly I didn’t get photo’s of the menu but here are the meals I had.

Amuse Bouche

Amuse Bouche

For the starter, I had the duck.

Duck Starter

Duck Starter

Sorbet to cleanse the pallet for the main.

Sorbet

Sorbet

For the main, I had an Authentic Gulf Lamb Biryani.

Gulf Lamb Biryani

Gulf Lamb Biryani

And for dessert, I had Strawberry, Coffee, and Chocolate Ice cream.

Ice Cream

Ice Cream

After the brilliant meals, I decided to get some sleep as I would need it!

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A

I had around 6 hours of comfortable and deep sleep which proved to be vital for the long journey.

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A

Etihad 787 First Class Seat 2A

They call them suites for a reason, closed doors 😉

Etihad 787 First Class Seat Doors

Etihad 787 First Class Seat Doors

The cabin was dark, but this was a long exposure of the cabin.

Etihad 787 First Class

Etihad 787 First Class

After waking up from my sleep, I was feeling pretty hungry, so I decided just to have some light pastries and water. You can really feel the difference flying on the 787, waking up to no dry mouth and throat is fantastic.

Etihad 787 First Class Pastries

Etihad 787 First Class Pastries

Shortly after having the pastries we started our descent into Abu Dhabi. I love waking up to mood lighting, and this felt great.

Etihad 787 First Class

Etihad 787 First Class

Bottom Line

I still think Etihad are an incredible airline and they improve every time I fly them, the service and quality are always top notch and I always have amazing flights while onboard their aircraft.

Experience Australia With The New Qantas Virtual Reality App

Qantas have released a new application that gives you a virtual tour of many destinations and experiences in Australia. Qantas have been using Virtual Reality for quite some time for use in their First Class lounges and even onboard in First.

The following devices can be used to view the videos:

  • Iphone
  • Android
  • Samsung Gear VR
  • Oculus Rift
  • HTC Vive

These are destinations and experiences that can be viewed with a VR headset,

Per Qantas,

Northern Territory – Tourism Northern Territory and Voyages were key tourism partners for the development of the Northern Territory content, which includes videos of Field of Light, Ormiston Gorge in Alice Springs, Kata Tjuta, and a bike ride around Uluru. Working in partnership with Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Board and the Film and Photography Consultative Committee, Grainger Films captured a rare glimpse of one of the most recognisable natural rock formations in the world – the first time a drone had ever been allowed at the site. Additional videos include:
• Kakadu National Park – Relax on a sunset river cruise at Yellow Water Billabong, experience a guided tour of Australian Aboriginal rock art at Ubirr and swim in the water holes at Maguk and Gunlom Falls in the outback.
• Field of Light – Uluru – Experience Bruce Munro’s internationally acclaimed Field of Light art installation at iconic Uluru.
• Helicopter Flight – Uluru – Experience an aerial view of Uluru – one of the great natural wonders of the world. Take a seat and enjoy your access to all areas with this scenic helicopter flight.
• Indigenous Dance – Uluru – Experience an indigenous dance from Anangu –traditional owners of the land.
• Hot Air Balloon – Alice Springs – A hot air balloon ride is a fun way to experience the marvellous landscape of Alice Springs and surrounds. Come and join the ascent and enjoy the panoramic landscape of outback Australia.
• Ormiston Gorge – Ormiston Gorge showcases the spectacular geology and wildlife of the West MacDonnell ranges. Experience the native fauna and flora and the waterhole – all which form to create a unique experience.
Queensland
• Hamilton Island Escape – Fly with the pilots in the cockpit of a Qantas jet as it lands at Hamilton Island airport, relax at Qualia resort, swim in the Great Barrier Reef, enjoy a helicopter tour and sail to Whitehaven Beach.
New South Wales
• Experience Sydney Harbour – Stand on the shores of Circular Quay, enjoy the iconic sights of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge, fly above Sydney Harbour and along the Sydney coastline.
• Climb Sydney Harbour Bridge – Take in the sights and sounds of the city as you climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Watch as the traffic and boats pass below you and celebrate the view with your fellow climbers at the top.
• Experience Vivid Sydney – Vivid Sydney, the festival of Lights, Music and Ideas illuminates Sydney each winter. See the Sydney harbour Bridge and other icons become an outdoor gallery of lighting sculptures

Featured Image – Gizmodo

Air China Commence Chengdu To Sydney Services

Air China has today commenced their Chengdu to Sydney services. The flight is one of 3 recent route announcements from the airline.

Air China will operate the route 3 times a week (outbound – Tuesday, Friday, Sunday and Inbound Monday, Wednesday and Saturday) They airline will utilise their 2 class A330-200

CA429 will leave Chengdu at 22:50 local time and arrive into Sydney at 12:35 local time.

CA430 will leave Sydney at 14:35 local time and arrive into Chengdu at 22:35 local time.

The A330-200 has 30 flat bed business class seats and 207 economy seats with a pitch of 30.

Air China A330 Business Class

Air China A330 Business Class

 

Air China A330-200 Landing Into Sydney © Bernard Proctor

Air China A330-200 Landing Into Sydney © Bernard Proctor

 

Air China A330-200 Landing Into Sydney © Bernard Proctor

Air China A330-200 Landing Into Sydney © Bernard Proctor

 

Air China A330-200 Landing Into Sydney © Bernard Proctor

Air China A330-200 Landing Into Sydney © Bernard Proctor

Review – American Airlines A321 Flagship First Los Angeles To New York

After my tiring status runs, I had a quick overnight in Los Angeles, and I was headed to New York early the next morning. I was staying with a friend and luckily I got some decent sleep and woke around 4 and left for the airport in an Uber at 5. Sadly I didn’t get Pre-check for this flight so made sure I had sufficient time for the 7 am departure.

Luckily the traffic into the airport was minimal. American have a nice Flagship check-in for flights in their ‘Flagship First’ product and Concierge Key members.

American Airlines LAX Flagship Check-in

American Airlines LAX Flagship Check-in

The check-in area is a nice part of the flagship experience, and it can greatly reduce waiting in lines, I was already checked in on my phone, but they insisted in printing a hard copy.

American Airlines LAX Flagship Check-in

American Airlines LAX Flagship Check-in

 

American Airlines LAX Flagship Check-in

American Airlines LAX Flagship Check-in

 

American Airlines LAX Flagship Check-in

American Airlines LAX Flagship Check-in

I was escorted to security and was done within 10 minutes. I then took the T4 connector to visit the Qantas first class lounge only to find the lounge opened at 6:30, right when boarding started Damn.

TBIT

TBIT

I have never seen TBIT so quiet if only it were like this in the evening. I walked back to T4 and decided to visit the Admirals Club and Flagship Lounge. Both are getting renovated at the moment, and they should look pretty good once the upgrade is finished.

Admirals Club LAX

Admirals Club LAX

I had visited the Admirals club many times as a kid when Qantas used to fly out of T4. It brought back some fond memories as I walked passed the lounge.

Flagship Lounge LAX

Flagship Lounge LAX Seating Areas

The Flagship lounge was very quiet and only had about six guests at the time. I spent about 15 minutes in there before walking down to the gate.

Flagship Lounge LAX

Flagship Lounge LAX Buffet

The lounge had food and beverage available, but I wasn’t feeling hungry.

Flagship Lounge LAX

Flagship Lounge LAX Buffet

I left the lounge and walked to the gate where boarding has just started. American do priority boarding quite well compared to other Oneworld carriers I’ve flown. I settled into 1F and started taking photo’s but then realized I was supposed to be in 1A, whoops.

American Airlines Trans-Con First Seat 1F

American Airlines Trans-Con First Seat 1F

The first cabin is in a 1-1 config, and the seats are in a Reverse Herringbone layout.

A31 First Cabin

A31 First Cabin

The cabin was full, and boarding was finished on time.

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class Seat

The seat is spacious and comfortable; the seat is nearly identical to the 777 long-haul business class.

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class Seat Controls

American provide an amenity kit for the flight which I thought was nice, even for a day flight.

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

 

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class IFE

As with most herringbone seating the IFE screen has to be latched away for takeoff and landing which can be a pain if you want to watch something at that time.

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class Bose Headphones And Menu

I love that American use Bose Quiet Comfort 15’s headphones. However, they used to have the 25’s which are the newer ones.

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class Seat 1A

Now back to my proper seat 😉

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class Pre-Departure Drink

The crew came around to distribute menus and offer a pre-departure drink. I went with Orange juice.

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

The menu has a few options to choose from, for this flight I went with the fruit plate and omelet.

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class Menu

 

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class Menu

 

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class Menu

The meal service started shortly after we got to the top of cruise. First brought out was the fruit plate.

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

 

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

The cabin was dark for the entire flight which was great for sleeping.

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

The fruit was nice and fresh.

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

The omelet was cooked well and had a strong taste. On previous flights, I had found some of the food the be bland and nearly tasteless.

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

The amenity kits are designed by Cole Haan and include the basic contents.

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

 

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

The flight was very smooth, and I managed to get around 4 hours of deep sleep.

Approaching New York

Approaching New York

 

Approaching New York

Approaching New York

 

Approaching New York

Hello JFK!

Bottom Line

The flagship experience was very well done and I enjoyed really enjoyed the flight. I’m a big fan of Reverse Herrignnone seating, and the privacy makes it easier to sleep.