A Business Class Award I’m Seeing For The First Time In Years

Filed Under: Air New Zealand, Awards

For the past several years, Air New Zealand has been extremely stingy when it comes to releasing premium cabin award availability to the US. To a large extent I understand why, since they’ve basically had a monopoly on the US market.

Now both American and United are launching flights to Auckland, so it should hopefully drive down prices and increase award availability (in general) between the US and New Zealand. We’ve already seen some upgrade and award availability on American to Auckland, for example.

Back in the day Air New Zealand was quite predictable with award availability. They’d be great about making business class award seats available within 60 days of departure, to the point that you could almost plan around it.

At this point, however, I don’t remember the last time I saw an Air New Zealand business class seat to/from the US mainland. It has literally been years since I’ve seen a single seat. This includes their flights from Auckland to Los Angeles and San Francisco, as well as their new flight from Auckland to Houston.

It also includes their flight between Los Angeles and London, which is one of their quirkier routes. I flew this route a few years back from London to Los Angeles, and really enjoyed the service.

Air New Zealand 777-300ER business class

Anyway, reader Apurva pointed something out to me, which I haven’t seen in years — Air New Zealand has business class award availability between Los Angeles and London over the next couple of months. There’s availability in both directions over a couple dozen dates, mostly limited to one seat per flight.

For example, booking this through Avianca LifeMiles would cost 63,000 miles one-way:


This is hardly an earth-shattering development, but when Apurva first pointed it out I figured it was some sort of a glitch, since it has been that long since I’ve seen Air New Zealand award availability to the US. So I figured it was at least worth passing on.

If you’re trying to redeem Star Alliance miles between the west coast and Europe, this is a pretty awesome option.

Botton line

I’ve flown Air New Zealand several times, and have always enjoyed my flights on them. They’re a fun, quirky airline with great staff and unique safety videos. 😉

While this isn’t some amazing amount of award availability, it is nice to see an airline release availability for the first time in years (at least based on my observations). While it has been possible to redeem miles for Air New Zealand business class from Asia to New Zealand, this is a great option for those based in the US to sample Air New Zealand’s great product.

Unfortunately I’m not seeing any Air New Zealand business class availability between the US and New Zealand — that remains unchanged.

Anyone planning on taking advantage of this Air New Zealand award availability?

(Tip of the hat to Apurva)

  1. Ben competition is a great thing! Makes companies get off their butt and actually do something 🙂 Interesting report even for me as I can;t avail myself of the opportunity but still love reading about it

  2. @Lucky:

    What’s the best engine to search for NZ award space. I’m loathe to use United’s site because I can’t shake the feeling that United’s always trying to screw me out of miles by not displaying all the flights available, and/or by not displaying partner flights? Is there a *A trick akin to using BA for all One World space? I’m not finding anything on United’s site and I’m not about to use 150k miles for a one-way schlepp in BizFirst.

  3. Actually seeing a decent amount of business class place between US and AKL…

    If only I had more miles or if the dates aligned a little bit better

  4. Glad to see this. Hope there are some SWUs for LAX-AKL from AA. Really want to book this trip later in the year.

  5. Hopefully this is a sign that Air NZ will become less stingy with their award space… Would love to take a direct flight out of Houston 🙂

  6. The only part about this that makes me sad is I already have my flight for April booked. 🙂 Air New Zealand has a fantastic business class and I cannot wait to fly it again. It is the best sleep I have ever had on a plane and that is comparison to LH, CX, and Singapore. Their sleep pads are amazing. The food was fine, the drinks were decent, but the in flight entertainment is touch screen and really good.

  7. The one date in April/May that I can find AKL-LAX availability, it prices on .bomb as 80K miles one way.

  8. Just booked Air New Zealand business class from London to LAX today using a United mileage plus saver award. Interestingly, the Air New Zealand flights started showing saver award availability on the United website a few days ago, but both the website and calls to United ended in error messages. As of this morning however, I was able to book the flight over the phone and received confirmation and was even able to reserve a seat using the air New Zealand website. Looking forward to trying this airline for the first time, as well as SAS business class on the outbound.

  9. Hi Ben,

    How does the Air New Zealand business class compare to Air France’s new upgraded business class?

    PS we’re big fans of yours. Thanks for all the helpful info,

  10. Tried to ticket AKL-LAX using Lifemiles but errored out every time. So transferred UR to United and booked immediately! Got the only seat from NZ to LAX on that day!

  11. Snagged LAX-AKL and AKL-LAX in J for my wife and I for next month. Booked about a month ago. I have to believe the new competition from UA (and indirectly AA even though its a different alliance) has some sort of influence on the availability. We last flew NZ (in J – our first time in a lie flat seat) back in 2006 on our way to Oz. Looking forward to getting to fly it again. Now if only I could get an earlier connecting flight to ZQN to shrink our 10 hr layover at AKL…..

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