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My dream trip most of my life has been to travel to Australia and New Zealand. I found a cruise there that I want to take. My question is if I am flying into Auckland and out of Cairns what is the best airline to take? Cruise ends in Sydney but I would add on the trip to Cairns to see the barrier reef. Does it make more sense to fly back to Sydney and fly out of there? I won’t go unless I can afford the business class way too long of a flight to be a sardine. I have a Chase Sapphire card and close to 70,000 points sitting there (drop in the bucket to you, I know!). Ideas?? Thanks!
70,000 UR points isn’t going to get you much in terms of business class tickets to the South Pacific. The space is incredibly hard to come by on most airlines, and if you are taking a cruise that would mean you would need to fly within a very narrow window of time.
In terms of outright buying business class tickets, (assuming you are in the States), Fiji Airways is typically one of the cheapest options between the States and the South Pacific. I regularly see fares for around $3500 – $4000 return between LAX and many Australian cities. Fiji Airways fly to both Auckland (for the way out) and Brisbane (for the way back). Brisbane is a short 2 hr flight from Cairns.
Another inexpensive option is Philippine Airlines, who actually fly to Auckland via Cairns. You could potentially find some value in having an open jaw trip where you fly from [US Port] to AKL, connecting in Manila and Cairns, and then fly back directly from Cairns to [US Port] via Manila.
Finally, you could book Air NZ who fly from SFO, LAX, YVR and IAH to Auckland, and additionally have a few weekly flights from Cairns to Auckland for the way back. Air NZ would likely be pricier than the above two options, but have flat bed seats unlike Fiji Airways or the majority of Philippine Airlines planes.
Hope that helps!