Rare: Lots Of Air New Zealand Business Class Awards

Filed Under: Air New Zealand, Awards

Historically Air New Zealand is one of the stingiest airlines when it comes to making business class award seats available, in particular for travel between the US and New Zealand. There are many times where there’s not a single business class award seat available in the entire schedule.

Air New Zealand has lots of business class award space

At the moment Air New Zealand has a significant amount of business class award availability to & from the US for travel in the Northern Summer. There’s the most availability in July, but there’s also some availability in June and August.

The availability is on their routes between Auckland and Houston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, and many flights have multiple business class award seats. For example, here’s a small sampling of availability from Auckland to Los Angeles:

Admittedly this is low season in New Zealand, though I’ve visited in their winter, and it was still lovely. This could also be useful for those in New Zealand hoping to visit the US.

Air New Zealand 777

How to redeem miles for Air New Zealand business class

You have a lot of options for redeeming miles for Air New Zealand business class. Among the major programs that may first come to mind, here are one-way business class costs:

  • 80,000 Air Canada Aeroplan miles
  • 80,000 Avianca LifeMiles
  • 90,000 United MileagePlus miles

But there’s one value that’s especially good, that is often overlooked. Virgin Atlantic Flying Club charges just 125,000 miles for a roundtrip business class ticket between New Zealand and North America.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Air New Zealand Award Chart

You can also book a one-way for half of the mileage requirement, which would be 62,500 miles one-way. You’ll just be on the hook for taxes and fees, as there are no carrier imposed surcharges.

Not only does Virgin Atlantic Flying Club require the fewest number of miles, but it’s also a transfer partner of Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou, and Marriott Bonvoy.

On top of that, at the moment there’s a 30% transfer bonus from both Amex Membership Rewards and Citi ThankYou to Virgin Atlantic. That means you could transfer just 49,000 points, and that would get you 63,700 Flying Club miles, more than enough for such a ticket.

To book a ticket via Virgin Atlantic Flying Club you need to call, but you can put your ticket on hold for 24 hours while you transfer points (which should be an instant process).

If you want to book using this method, I’d recommend:

  • Joining Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • Using United’s website to find dates with Air New Zealand award availability
  • Calling Virgin Atlantic Flying Club at 800-365-9500, and telling the agent exactly which flights you want
  • They should be able to tell you the exact mileage requirement and put the ticket on hold, and they’ll give you a booking reference
  • Then link your Amex or Citi account to your Virgin Atlantic account, and transfer the points
  • Then call back to ticket the reservation

Bottom line

Admittedly this is low season in New Zealand, though this is one of the rare chances you have to redeem miles for Air New Zealand business class. Redeeming just 49,000 Amex or Citi points for such a ticket is an incredible value.

The niche redemptions available through Virgin Atlantic Flying Club never cease to amaze me, between this and the ability to efficiently redeem miles on both All Nippon Airways and Delta.

Anyone plan to take advantage of this excellent award availability on Air New Zealand?

(Tip of the hat to View from the Wing)


  1. Thanks for this Ben. While it is always a good thing when an airline opens up award seats, my previous experience with NZ’s inward-facing (herringbone) business class seats was less than pleasant.

  2. Flying AKL-IAH on a return in a couple weeks (IAH-SYD on UA); I was VERY surprised to see that availability open up recently!

  3. Them seats are cool but kimf if awkward.
    I wonder if can fly from Aus to Arg with a reward on krisflyer miles?

  4. Great find thank you Lucky! IAH to AKL direct biz class in ANZ is unheard of. 1 seat left. Headed to Queenstown after your article on that also! Now the weather off season…

    Thank you!

  5. Hmmm I don’t see a single flight from any city to Auckland around two weeks end of July for two people

  6. It’s weird how you listed 3 examples of one-way pricing and then present Virgin in roundtrip format. Especially because you then follow up by giving the one-way price, which is not more than half. Bizarre.

    Anyways, do you know if this availability extends to LAX-LHR?

  7. Not surprised. The herringbone pattern on Air New Zealand where you see people’s feet all along the aisles is completely gross. The New Zealand government was disgusting in how it trampled over the free speech and gun rights of citizens and bowed down to a community that causes harm in every western country it forces itself into against the will of most citizens but with support of corrupt governments.

  8. Dear Roger

    There are no automatic ‘gun rights’ in NZ. We have no written constitution and constitutional protection for gun owners or anyone else. The law change was made with the overwhelming support of the population and the police. NZer’s can still lawfully own licensed guns for hunting but not assault weapons.

  9. Friendly reminder to John, we’re here to discuss travel an aviation. Lots of other places to discuss politics on the internet. I’ve been talking to my folks back in New Zealand and apparently the weather is continuing to be pleasant which makes these fares all the more attractive! Not the most innovative J product but the kiwi hospitality is a great way to kick off a trip to Aotearoa!

  10. Oh this is handy to know.
    We’ve taken a few Air New Zealand flights over the last couple of years!

    Will take a look at this potential upgrade. Never flown business before!

  11. Would be great if they upgraded their Biz Class seats:

    -Angled towards the aisle
    -Cramped footwell
    -Small 12′ PTVs
    -2014 chic
    -Premium pricing ex-AKL for those of us who pay (with company card) for our tickets 😛
    -Non-competitive offering in all respects compared to SQ and CX to Asia
    -Inferior routing to London via LAX vs DXB/SG/HKG

    Soft product is amazing though – unlike the US where you feel you’re being held up at gunpoint if you ask for water, the Kiwi crews are lovely. Great food including a ‘dine and sleep’ option of a light meal for those flying late overnight flights, delivered on one tray.

  12. More availability happening also..Just snagged IAH to AKL direct ANZ.

    Thanks Lucky…amazing blog..

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