Many people want to go to one destination and stay in one place for their entire vacation. Friends that enjoy cruising tell me regularly that they only want to unpack one time. The opposite is true for me. I enjoy going to a hotel for 1-4 nights and then I look forward to moving on to the next destination all in one trip. This keeps my excitement high and laziness low. Fortunately I am married to a wonderful man and he enjoys traveling this way too. The two of us first met just after he returned from backpacking four months through Europe and the Middle East.
When I first started planning our trip to Australia I had wanted to include an around the world itinerary. My one requirement for an around the world trip was most, if not all of the flights in first or at least business class with the two of us together on all of the same flights. Even with trying to get help from others booking awards regularly, those first class seats never became available with reasonably flexible dates of travel.
We are accustom to flying in coach as long as we break up the flights into shorter distances. So we are hopping to get to Australia before we see the kangaroos. We used 20,000 United miles each to fly from Philadelphia to Honolulu with a stop in San Fransisco, where we plan to walk around the airport and have lunch before taking our next flight. After enjoying one and a half days in Honolulu we board our almost 10 hour flight to Brisbane on Hawaiian Airlines. We used 40,000 HA miles plus $32 for each of us for this flight and during this flight we will cross the International Date Line for the first time.
Hawaiian airlines has the first class saver award available for an additional 45,000 miles each with no change fees for this flight. I am about 9,000 HA miles short. Another choice is to cancel my flights, pay a $150 change and use 65,000 miles each for first class. Do you think I should use an additional 90,000 miles for both of us to upgrade to first class for this one fight on Hawaiian? Pay one $150 change fee and save 20,000 miles each(65,000 miles each in first class)? Or keep the coach flights I have already booked? I think paying the $150 for my mistake in not realizing I had enough points for both of us to fly first class is well worth it for a 10 hour flight, even though I truly dislike paying any airline cancellation fees.
In Brisbane we hope to cuddle with the koalas and watch the kangaroos. We are using 20,000 Hilton points plus $67.52 Australian dollars (now very similar in value to our US dollar) per night for two nights at the Hilton in Brisbane.
After our two full days in Brisbane we are off to Cairns to snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef. I have not yet booked our flights in Australia, but we plan to use 7,500 Avios (British Airways points) plus $27.13 for each of us to fly from Brisbane to Cairns on Qantas. We are booked to stay in Cairns at the Hilton using 17,500 Hilton points plus $57.87 Australian dollars per night for two nights.
Then we fly on Qantas from Cairns to Melbourne using either 10,000 Avios plus $29 or the same number of American miles. We are staying four nights at the Radisson in Melbourne using 100,000 Club Carlson points. I have been told that Melbourne is a wonderful city. Any suggestions on what not to miss while we are in Melbourne?
After three full days in Melbourne we are using 4,500 Avios plus $15.22 each to fly from Melbourne to Sydney. As long as I earn Hyatt diamond status again this year and get approved for the Hyatt credit card, we plan to stay at the Park Hyatt Sydney using two free nights plus 44,000 points for our four night stay. Otherwise we plan to stay at the Radisson in Sydney for four nights using 100,000 Club Carlson points. Hopefully four full days will give us enough time to explore Sydney.
We are using 75,000 American miles plus $211 in taxes and fees for the two of us to fly on Hawaiian Airlines from Sydney back to Honolulu were we stay again for two nights on points. My husband insisted that we fly home in first class, so we are using 40,000 United miles each to fly first class overnight from Honolulu to D.C. We then take a one hour commuter flight from D.C. home. This left us with a free one way flight home from Honolulu to Philadelphia on American Airlines, so we are going back to Hawaii in January spending most of that vacation in Maui.
Are you exhausted just from reading this itinerary? As you can see our Australian adventure took many hours of planning. For me trip planning is one of the best parts of any vacation. Both my husband and I are very excited about this trip. Since this is our first visit to Australia any suggestions are welcomed!