I’m booking a trip to Australia and need your input!

I’ve recently come across some availability to Australia, and am considering a trip to the land down under during the Memorial Day timeframe here in the US.

It’s all at low-level using AAdvantage miles, but I need your opinion.


  • The outbound starts in JFK, and flies to LAX on Qantas in Business Class
  • Then, from LAX to BNE on Qantas in Business Class
  • Then, from LAX to either SYD or MEL on Qantas in Business Class

There’s a Park Hyatt in both Melbourne and Sydney, with points or points/cash availability for my preferred nights, which is nice.


  • Return from either MEL or SYD via BNE on Qantas to HNL on Hawaiian Airlines in Business Class
  • A possible stopover in HNL, or a continuing to the US, connecting in SFO on Hawaiian Airlines in Business Class
  • From SFO to JFK, return on American Airlines Flagship First on the A321T

So, there’s a number of questions I have unanswered that I need your opinion on.

  1. Ultimately, I’d like to go to both Sydney and Melbourne. Which city is worth more time in? I’ll use Avios to fly between the two.
  2. Qantas is not available on the return flights, with the exception of the short hope to Brisbane. So, I’d be “roughing it” in a recliner Business Class seat on Hawaiian for about 10 hours to Honolulu, and then another 6 hours from their to the mainland. Is it worth it, considering this is the only option to get back?


Ultimately, I think the thing that’s really holding me back is that the only way to get back to the US is on a recliner style seat. Without a fully flat bed, I fear the jet-lag doubling, and it being a very uncomfortable adjustment back to east coast time.

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So, what are you thoughts? Has anyone flown Hawaiian’s over-the-water Business Class?

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  1. Rick b says

    Melbourne is a more chill city….sometimes literally as weather can get cold or hot in an instant this time of year. I’d prefer Melbourne if you have time to rent a car and drive around the coastline. otherwise Sydney is probably more interesting as a city.

  2. says

    The City of melbourne itself is a far more interesting city than Sydney. But Sydney has its beautiful harbour, and all its fantastic attractions.
    I dont need to tell anyone what the attractions of Sydney are so I will concentrate on my hometown melbourne.
    Melbourne wine and food culture is fantastic- stemming from early migrants from Italy and Germany.
    The wine regions , which are an easy drive from the CBD , the Mornington Peninsula, Yarra Valley, are world renowned. You can eat fantastically well in either of these regions if you do a day trip. But you dont have to, the wine and food in the CBD far exceeds the the Sydney CBD which is comparatively non existent. Melbournes old laneways and their bars, restaurants and cafes just do not exist in the Sydney CBD. Melbourne is the centre of Australias Coffee culture, stemming from its large and very influential Italian Population. Lygon St is where the traditional italians came together, along with students from the nearby Melbourne University. It has become a little overdeveloped now, and has lost a lot of bit of its authenticity , but hey, that happens everywhere. Its still a great food precinct.
    Then you have the newer hipper, close by areas in fitzroy where there is an amazing creative buzz in its diverse shopping and dining strips such as Smith st, Brunswick st, Gertrude St.
    You also have the upmarket Crown casino with all its shops and restaurants (Heston Blumenthal recently chose to open a “pop up”restaurant while his famous London restaurant the Fat Duck was being renovated) To me Crown does not represent what melbourne is about, but it is another layer on top of the entertainment/dining cake of melbourne. Close by is the Southbank precinct which embraces the cities river the Yarra. Again there are some great places to eat or have a coffee along here as well as some bars.
    Apart from the early Germans and Italians, melbourne is also home to the second biggest greek population in the world behind Athens. This is reflected in its dining where often you will see greek elements to the food, but really the food here is very modern, fresh creative, often with significant asian influences. There are some world class chinese restaurants . To get a sense of what Melbourne is about you could look further at http://www.broadsheet.com.au/melbourne/

    But where Melbourne is really different to Sydney is its obsession with Sport. In May there will be an AFL Match on at ‘the G’ aka The MCG . AFL (aussie rules) is a unique sport to Australia, played mainly in the southern states but now slowly spreading further North. It is a a unique and exciting sport which attracts huge crowds.
    During the Year they have the Formula 1 Grand Prix and also the Motorcycle grand prix.
    There is the Spring Racing Carnival culminating in the world famous Melbourne Cup.
    They host Cricket in the summer. In Summer there is also the Australian Open for Tennis. Most years the Australian Open Golf is held in Melbourne.

    Sydney has its harbour, melbourne has its gardens. It is a very green and beautiful city.

    Melbourne has a thriving theatre scene with not just big productions (that IMO are better in sydney) but a host of well supported smaller production theatres.

    Seriously there is so much variety of things to do in melbourne. The weather may sway you , but dont ignore Melbourne

  3. Russ says

    Visited both cities last year from the US. I enjoyed Melbourne more, but Sydney was great as well. I also did the Hawaiian flight to Honolulu in Business. It’s a little tough, but tolerable. We stayed 2 nights in Honolulu, so that helped our recovery. Enjoy.

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