How to Get Cheap Flights to Australia

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One of the biggest things that usually prevents people from visiting Australia is the very long flight time and the cost of the flight to get there. 

A direct flight from London to Perth takes 16 hours 45 minutes, while non-stop flights from Los Angeles to Sydney take roughly 15 hours. If you want to fly from London to Sydney the journey duration is usually greater than 22 hours, since there are no direct flights.

While there’s not much you can do about the flight time, there are definitely ways to get cheap flights to Australia. I’ve visited the country a few times and each time I was able to score some very good deals. Visiting the Land Down Under is totally do-able even on a budget but you’re going to have to be flexible and follow some tricks.

In this guide I’ll show you how to get cheap flights to Australia and answer all your frequently asked questions. 

How Much is a Flight to Australia?

Qantas aircraft in the skyQantas aircraft in the sky

Flights to Australia vary in price depending on where you’re flying from and to. Obviously if you’re flying there from Bali it’s going to be a lot cheaper than flying from London or the United States. 

I ran a search on Google Flights to check the approximate prices from some major cities to Sydney. These prices are round-trip.

New York to Sydney: Round-trip flights from London to Sydney cost anywhere from $1284 to $3008. In general they seem to cost around $1700 to $1800.

Los Angeles to Sydney: Round-trip flights from LA to Sydney cost anywhere from $841 to $2422. Most flights seem to cost around $1000-$1200

London to Sydney: Round-trip flights from London to Sydney seem to vary from £759 to £1982. That’s a massive difference! Most flights cost around £950 to £1200.

Singapore to Sydney: Round-trip flights from Singapore to Sydney range from SGD 344 to SGD 1466. Most flights seem to be around SGD $400-$700, outside of peak season. In peak season (December/January), expect to pay around SGD $900-$1100.

What is the Cheapest Time of Year to Fly to Australia?

Peak season in Australia is around December to February, which is Australian summertime. Summer in Australia is at the opposite time to summer in the US, Europe and other places in the northern hemisphere.

This time of year is the most expensive time to visit Oz because everyone wants to escape the harsh winter weather in Europe and jet off to somewhere warm. Lots of people have relatives in Australia and want to visit their families for Christmas and the holidays.

The cheapest time of year to fly to Australia should be the low season, which is Aussie winter. This period runs from around June to August. Temperatures are generally cooler at this time and there’s snowfall in the mountains. 

However, winter in Australia happens to coincide with US/Europe summertime, which is generally a pricier season since international tourists are more likely to travel during this period. Therefore, this can make the fares slightly pricier than they should be. 

Aussie spring (September, October, November) and Autumn (March, April and May) are usually good times to snag affordable flights to Australia. 

Running a search on Google Flights, February-May appears to be the cheapest period to travel to Australia from the US and Europe.

What Month is the Cheapest to Fly to Australia?

The cheapest month to fly to Australia is March, although you can also get some good flight deals in February, April and May. November is also possibly a month to consider, right before summer kicks off.

The most expensive month is January, when prices from the US to Australia can soar to over $2,000.

What Are the Cheapest Days to Fly to Australia?

The cheapest day of the week to fly to Australia from the United States is a Monday, according to the researchers at flight app Hopper. Tuesday and Wednesday are also usually good days to fly if you want cheap fares. Anything near the weekend (i.e. Thursday-Sunday) is usually more expensive. 

The best day to depart Australia is Tuesday, although Wednesday is also good too. 

What are the Main Airports in Australia?

Sydney Airport, New South WalesSydney Airport, New South Wales

The main airports in Australia that see the most visitors are Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.

  • Sydney Airport – SYD
  • Melbourne Airport –  MEL
  • Brisbane Airport – BNE
  • Perth Airport – PER
  • Adelaide Airport – ADL
  • Gold Coast Airport – OOL
  • Cairns Airport – CNS
  • Canberra Airport – CBR
  • Hobart Airport – HBA
  • Darwin Airport – DRW
  • Townsville Airport – TSW
  • Launceston Airport – LST
  • Newcastle Airport – NTL
  • Sunshine Coast Airport – MCY

What is the Cheapest Airport to Fly into in Australia?

The cheapest airport to fly to in Australia is usually Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport since it handles the most international flights. However, you can also find cheap fares to Brisbane and Melbourne. 

Perth has some cheap flights to and from Bali with low cost airlines such as Indonesia AirAsia and Jetstar. So it really depends where you’re flying from. Perth is often cheaper if you’re flying from Asia because it’s on the west coast so the distance is shorter.

How Far in Advance Should I Book Flights to Australia?

When looking at how to get cheap flights to Australia, you’ll also need to consider when to book. The best time to book flights to Australia is around 100-200 days in advance. So ideally you want to be looking at fares around 2 to 6 months ahead of time. Things start going up significantly 3 weeks before departure. 

What’s the Cheapest Way to Fly to Australia from the USA?

There are four cities in the United States that have non-stop flights to Australia. These are Honolulu, Dallas, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Prices from these cities tend to be cheaper because they’re closer to Australia. 

If you’re coming from the east coast, you may want to consider snagging a cheap domestic flight to LA or San Francisco and then booking a separate flight to Australia. If you have air miles, you could book a flight to LA with points and then book your separate flight to Sydney or wherever you want to go.

You can also book your entire trip with air miles and if you live in the US it’s quite easy to collect lots of points using an air miles credit card. 

A number of airlines fly between the US and Australia, including Qantas, United, Delta, American Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Alaska, Fiji Airways, Cathay Pacific, ANA and Japan Airlines. Some of these airlines are codeshare partners. 

The following air miles programs are the best for flying to Australia:

  • Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
  • United Airlines MileagePlus
  • Avianca Lifemiles
  • American Airlines AAdvantage
  • All Nippon Airways Mileage Club

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

Alaska Airlines is a oneworld partner and has partnerships with Qantas and Fiji Airways, both of which offer flights from the US to Australia.The best way to earn Alaska miles is with the Alaska Airlines Visa Credit Card, which should give you a nice bonus when you sign up. Alaska charges around 40,000 miles for a one-way ticket to Australia but it costs just 55,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles for a one-way business class ticket on Qantas. 

United Airlines MileagePlus

The best way to earn United MileagePlus points is with the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. United will charge around 40,000 United miles one way in economy and 80,000 miles one way in business. On partner airlines it’s 44,000 MileagePlus points for economy one-way or 88,000 for business.

Avianca Lifemiles

Avianca is part of Star Alliance so partners with airlines such as ANA, United, Singapore Airlines, ANA and Air New Zealand. Avianca Lifemiles charges about 40,000 miles one-way in economy class or 80,000 miles in business to Australia. Lifemiles are quite easy to earn with American Express cards such as the American Express Gold Card or the American Express Platinum Card. Membership Rewards points transfer on a 1:1 ratio, so one point is worth one mile. You can also earn points with the Capital One Venture Rewards card or the Citi Premier Card.

All Nippon Airways Mileage Club

ANA is also a Star Alliance Member and you can collect air miles with the American Express Gold or Platinum cards. With ANA you can’t use miles for one-way flights – you have to book a return ticket. ANA charges 75,000 Mileage Club miles for round-trip economy class tickets and 120,000 miles for business class tickets. 

American Airlines AAdvantage

Lastly you can also use miles with AAdvantage. American charges 40,000 AAdvantage miles one-way in economy and 80,000 miles in business class. American Airlines is a oneworld member and so you’ll either be redeeming your miles on American Airlines or Qantas. American Airlines has its own branded credit cards, such as the  Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard.

Why Are Flights to Australia So Expensive?

Flights to Australia are expensive because Australia is so remote. The country is far away from everything so the distance is longer and this burns more fuel. 

Flights from the United States to Australia are especially expensive because there aren’t many stopover locations – you’re basically traveling over the Pacific Ocean the entire way there. Non-stop flights are therefore very long, which means the plane has to carry (and burn) more fuel.

Tickets are especially expensive right now because the airlines are struggling to recover from financial losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fuel costs have also soared since Russia invaded Ukraine, which means that airlines are passing on these rises to customers.

But there are a bunch of other reasons why flights to Australia are so expensive.

Firstly, the Australian Border Force applies a tax of AUD $60 on every passenger that leaves Australia on an international flight. That’s about $38 USD, which adds to the cost of your ticket.

Secondly there aren’t really any low-cost airlines operating international routes. Airlines such as Jetstar, Scoot, Tiger Airways and Virgin Australia tend to operate mainly domestic flights or flights to Asia. 

Most of the ultra long-haul flights are operated by full-service carriers such as Qantas, Cathay Pacific or Singapore Airlines, which focus on passenger experience and quality of service.

You can find some cheap flights to and from Southeast Asia with airlines such as AirAsia or Jetstar, but if you’re flying from Europe or the United States then you’ll be stuck with full-service carriers. 

Another reason why flights to Australia are so expensive is because Qantas is still the top airline in Australia and there just isn’t that much competition. If there was more competition this might help to drive down prices, but there isn’t. 

Australia also happens to be very sparsely populated, which means there’s a lack of demand to fill the large passenger jets. Densely populated areas tend to have much more travel demand, which keeps the prices down. 

Lastly, Australia is quite a wealthy country and wages are very high. In 2022, Australia comes third in the list of countries with the highest average salaries in the world, after Switzerland and Singapore. 

Since salaries are high (and so is the minimum wage) airlines know that Australians are willing to pay these kinds of prices for flights.   

How to Find Cheap Flights to Australia: My Top Tips

Want to know how to get cheap flights to Australia? Here are my top tips and tricks:

Consider Stopovers

Flights with stopovers are often a lot cheaper than flying direct, simply because very long flights burn a lot of fuel. The aircraft has to have enough fuel to get all the way to its destination, plus it burns more fuel because of the weight of carrying this extra fuel.

Airlines also know that passengers will pay extra for the convenience of a non-stop flight. Therefore, if you want to get cheap flights to Australia, you may want to consider a stopover. Sometimes the longer the flight duration and the greater number of stopovers, the cheaper the ticket. If you don’t mind spending up to 2 days in the air flying to Australia, you can definitely save some money this way. 

Popular stopover destinations from the UK to Australia include Qatar, Dubai, Singapore, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong.

If you’re flying to Australia from the US, you’ll probably have a stopover in Honolulu, Nadi, Tokyo or Hong Kong.

Collect Air Miles

One of the easiest ways to get cheap flights to Australia is by collecting air miles. In the US it’s very easy. 

Just sign up for a credit card like the American Express Gold Card and you can earn Membership Rewards points every time you spend. These points can then be redeemed on a 1:1 ratio with various airline partners, including Qantas, ANA, Hawaiian Airlines or Delta.

Alternatively you could sign up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which will allow you to transfer points to partners such as United, Singapore Airlines, British Airways and Emirates.

If you live in the UK you’re more limited with credit card options and sign up bonuses, but you could sign up for the Barclaycard Avios or the British Airways Amex. With these two cards you can collect Avios points, which can be used to book flights with oneworld airlines, including Qantas, Qatar Airways, Malaysia Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines. 

Another good option is the Amex Preferred Rewards Gold, which offers a nice sign up bonus and allows you to transfer your points to 13 different airline programs.

The best thing to do is use the card every time you spend so that you rack up miles very quickly. 

Use Flight Comparison Sites

Utilize flight comparison sites such as Google Flights, Skyscanner and Kayak to find the best deals. My favorite tool is usually Google Flights because I love how easy it is to use, but it’s a good idea to check all three.

Fly to Asia First, then Fly a Budget Airline

One time I visited Australia I booked a round-trip flight to Kuala Lumpur from London. I then booked a separate flight with budget carrier Air Asia to Melbourne. If you’re flying from Europe and want to get the cheapest flight possible, consider flying to Asia first and then book a separate flight with a low cost airline to Australia. 

As I mentioned previously in this article, budget carriers don’t operate the ultra-long haul routes but they do operate flights between Australia and some destinations in southeast Asia, such as Bali.

Sign Up for Flight Clubs

Flight clubs are a great way to get cheap flights if you’re flexible with when you can travel. Scott’s Cheap Flights and Jack’s Flight Club both send out regular email newsletters with time-sensitive flight deals. 

These newsletters often contain deals on flights to Australia, so if you don’t mind when you fly, definitely sign up. The teams behind these newsletters basically find mistake fares, flash sales and flight deals so you don’t have to lift a finger. As soon as you get the email, just follow the instructions on how to book!

Fly Beginning to Midweek

The best days of the week to fly to Australia are Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The best days to return are Tuesday and Wednesday. If possible, avoid weekends and stick to the beginning or middle of the week. 

Avoid December-January

Flights to Australia are most expensive in the months of December and January so avoid these months if you want to get a good deal. The prices really skyrocket around this time because it’s Australian summertime and many people travel over the holidays. Try to fly in March, which is the cheapest month to fly to Australia.

Book in Advance

Don’t leave your trip to the last minute or you’ll get a nasty surprise when you run a Skyscanner search! It’s best to book flights to Australia 2-6 months in advance in order to get the cheapest possible prices.

Set Up Price Alerts

Lastly, make sure you set up price alerts so you can track the prices. You can do this with Google Flights or comparison sites like Kayak. Set up a price alert several months in advance then you’ll be notified regularly by email if the price changes.

If you spot a good deal and you think the price is right, then jump on it! I also really like the Hopper app is it predicts whether the price will go up or down and tells you if it’s a good time to buy.

A Final Word on Finding Cheap Flights to Australia…

So now you know how to find cheap flights to Australia! The best way to get cheap flights is by collecting air miles and using them for your trip Down Under. However, if you don’t have enough miles and you’re paying out of pocket, you can employ these techniques to find a good deal. 

Flights to Australia can leave a large dint in your wallet if you leave it last minute, but with a little careful planning you can definitely do it without breaking the bank. Australia is such a cool country to visit and I’d recommend doing it at least once in your lifetime. Driving the Great Ocean Road, sailing the Whitsundays, diving on the Great Barrier Reef…there are so many things to do and it’s a great place to get in touch with nature.

Liked this guide? Perhaps you want to check out Hawaii too! While flights to Honolulu can also be quite expensive due to the long flight, I’ve written a handy guide on how to get cheap flights to Hawaii to help you save some money. 


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