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.

About a month ago I wrote about how Air New Zealand had a good amount of business class award availability for July, and now we’re seeing a good amount of space for travel in August.

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 August, but there’s also some availability over other summer dates.

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 Los Angeles to Auckland:

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 Amex Membership Rewards 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 Monkey Miles)

  1. Maybe the occasion for you to review them 🙂 ? Unless I didn’t search properly, I couldn’t find any Air New Zealand review since a 2011 post.

  2. I just trasnferred AMEX points to VA for an Asian trip. I was able to place the hold for 48 hours, then transferred my AMEX points. My AMEX transafer showed up in the time it took me to login into my VA account. I should have justput it on hold, had them wait for 30 seconds and then book it instead of calling twice.

  3. I just transferred AMEX points to VA for an Asian trip. I was able to place the hold for 48 hours, then transferred my AMEX points. My AMEX transfer showed up in the time it took me to login into my VA account. I should have just put it on hold, had them wait for 30 seconds and then book it instead of calling twice.

  4. This post is an excellent example of why I love this blog. You have singlehandedly been responsible for 6 business class tickets over the last year which I never would have scored otherwise. And I’ve done practically zero flying to earn the required miles. A+

  5. Does ANA allow US to Asia route with stop-over in Oceania with their partner program? I read somewhere that such itinerary is still allowed?

  6. Whoever dreamt up those ridiculous seats? Should be called Sardine Class. They are the most non-private business seats in the sky; no wonder there is ‘availability’ pretty frequently.

  7. Unrelated, but I love how everytime you write a story about Air New Zealand you have that picture with the Austrian Tail sticking out behind the ANZ 777.

  8. I snagged an award seat in mid-April AKL-LAX, possibly the leading edge of this random award window, and the flight was essentially identical to a VS flight save the lounge at AKL. Seats were the same, food was good and plentiful but not worth swooning over, IFE had plenty to keep me occupied during my waking hours, and the crew was friendly, easygoing, and attentive. Not a terrible way to cross the Pacific, but there are much better ways.

  9. Just got back from NZ, it was a great way to fly, though I think I enjoyed the Polaris experience even more IAH-SYD than the return on Air NZ. Although, dining across from your travel companion on a plane is a really neat aspect (something we did in BA F a few years back, and was nice to enjoy again!)

  10. Not only did I recently snag IAH to AKL to ZQN on ANZ Biz class (90 United miles) but got CHC to BNE to LAX on Qantas Biz class using 55k Alaskan miles coming back. Thanks for all the posts Lucky you make flying business class down under possible. I am indebted to you and now at long last I get to add the Qantas PJ’s to my collection.

  11. Out of the UK it always amazes me how overpriced NZ are for a substandard business class hard product when there is so much competition particularly east bound.

    Unless you really want a same plane flight with the inconvenience of the LAX stop rather than somewhere like SIN, DXB, DOH, HKG or KUL NZ would be your absolute last choice on price and hard product. Soft product is good but going downhill.

    So, no surprises they have award seats, probably better than flying with them empty.

  12. I flew AirNZ business a couple of weeks back. I wasn’t expecting much, but I was not prepared for how awful it is. Sure, the food is good and the service is fine. But the seats are in the worst layout I’ve ever experienced.

    You’re staring at other passengers and their feet for the entire flight. What’s worst, this didn’t seem to phase a lot of the other passengers – many of whom seemed quite unsophisticated travellers. There were quite a few passengers that hung around in their seat once the plane landed, simply so they could be seen by economy passengers in the desperate hope they might be perceived as important. I don’t know where these passengers are from (maybe NZ locals?), but it’s pretty unusual and dare I say a bit pathetic.

    Anyway if you need to get to NZ fly Qantas or American.

  13. @Marcus Clarke~ Just to be clear; are you talking about those strange ‘row of sardines’ looking seats, as pictured in this article? (How did ANZ get suckered into signing up to these appalling seats?)

  14. The Air NZ herringbone seats were licensed from Virgin Atlantic so I am guessing there were development cost savings.

  15. @CoolHandLuke yes exactly. I travelled on those business seats in the picture. Until AirNZ updates their business class to something remotely competitive, I urge you to stay far away.

  16. @Marcus Clarke~ I am looking at AKL-EZE with ANZ thereby avoiding the US and awful Santiago, but flying in those ridiculous seats in a no-go! In their own advertising they feature pictures of more normal 1-2-1 J seating for this route. Blatantly misleading possibly?

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