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.
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
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.
Anyone plan to take advantage of this excellent award availability on Air New Zealand?
(Tip of the hat to View from the Wing)