Qantas unveils New York to Auckland to Sydney route, and you can book with miles

Qantas will once again land in New York, but its return will come a bit differently than originally planned.

The flag carrier of Australia announced on Thursday that it would soon connect New York-JFK with Auckland Airport (AKL) in New Zealand.

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The airline will use flight numbers QF3 and QF4 for the eastbound and westbound services, respectively. All flights will be operated by the airline’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners. (The airline expects to receive three new Dreamliners from Boeing next year to help support this route and its existing long-haul services.)

The new route will operate as a fifth-freedom flight from New York-JFK to Auckland and then connect onward to Sydney. As such, passengers can book the New York to New Zealand flight without needing to purchase a ticket all the way to Sydney.

The thrice-weekly service connecting the Big Apple with Down Under will begin on June 14, 2023.

The new Qantas service will go head-to-head with Air New Zealand‘s nonstop New York service, which is scheduled to launch in just a few weeks, on Sept. 17, 2022. Despite being an Australian airline, Qantas can operate this flight from New Zealand due to fifth-freedom rights.

Qantas will also completely redesign its Auckland lounge to offer enhanced amenities that travelers expect before long-haul flights.

This won’t be the first time that Qantas has served New York-JFK, and it won’t be the last, either. Before the pandemic, the carrier connected Sydney with New York with a route that stopped in Los Angeles (LAX) in both directions.

Looking ahead, the carrier still plans to launch its hotly-anticipated new Project Sunrise routes, connecting the Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport (SYD) with both New York and London. These two flights are still poised to become the two longest commercial flights, at 10,573 miles and 9,950 miles, respectively. They will take roughly 20 hours from wheels up to wheels down.

The airline recently placed an order for specially designed Airbus A350-1000 ultra-long-haul aircraft that’ll be uniquely configured for the airline’s longest missions. These routes are scheduled to start at a yet undisclosed date in 2025.

While the route itself is quite exciting, there’s even a way for flyers to redeem miles for an award seat.

The deal

Qantas business class on the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (Photo by Eric Rosen/The Points Guy)

Airlines: Qantas.
Routes: Sydney (SYD) to New York-JFK via Auckland (AKL)
Cost: One-way flights in business class can be purchased for 55,000 Alaska miles + ~$55 with Alaska Mileage Plan miles, 80,000 miles + ~$80 with American Airlines AAdvantage miles or from 136,000 +  ~$300 if booked via Qantas.
Dates: June 21, 23, 28 and 30.
Pay taxes/fees with: The Platinum Card® from American Express (5 points per dollar on airfare booked directly with the airline; on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year), Chase Sapphire Reserve (3 points per dollar on travel) or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2 points per dollar on travel) for travel protections on the award flight.

Qantas has designated both the eastbound and westbound flight on June 16, 2023, as a “Points Plane,” meaning that every seat on each service will be available as a reward redemption. Be sure to book fast, as these seats are being snatched up quickly.

One of the easiest ways to check award availability is by using ExpertFlyer (owned by TPG’s parent company, Red Ventures).

(Screenshot from

If you decide to book your ticket with Qantas Frequent Flyer points, you can transfer American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One miles and Citi ThankYou Rewards at a 1:1 transfer ratio. On Qantas, one-way flights between New York-JFK and Sydney cost 144,600 points in business class.

(Screenshot from

Alternatively, if you decide to book using American Airlines AAdvantage miles, you can transfer Bilt Rewards points at a 1:1 ratio to boost your balance.

Whether you go for Auckland or Sydney, it will set you back 55,000 miles with Alaska Mileage Plan or 80,000 miles when booking with AAdvantage.

As these new flight itineraries were just uploaded into the schedule, you’ll need to call American Airlines to book.

There’s plenty more availability if you’re looking to fly in premium economy or economy. These rates start at 108,400 points for premium economy and 55,200 for economy for a one-way flight from New York to Sydney booked with Qantas frequent flyer.

Related: A perfect hop across the Pacific: Qantas 787 business class

Bottom line

While Project Sunrise is still on the horizon for a 2025 launch, Qantas is returning to New York a bit sooner than expected with a new route to Auckland.

This will give flyers a new option for getting between the United States and Oceania, and it’ll compete head-to-head against the new service that’ll soon be offered by Air New Zealand.

Additional reporting by Zach Griff.

Featured photo by Eric Rosen/The Points Guy