Tons Of Air New Zealand Business Class Awards In June & July

Business class award space on Air New Zealand has been quite sparse lately. In the last several months, I’ve seen business class award space to/from Los Angeles (LAX) on Air New Zealand pop up here and there, but not chunks of space.

However, No Mas Coach found that they have released a nice block of award space in June and early July. On some days, you can even continue to Australia.

Air New Zealand Business Class Space June 2018
Air New Zealand business class award space on LAX-AKL.

There are tons of ways to book these awards, but I’d go with Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles. A non-stop business class award from LAX to Auckland (AKL) is 62,500 Flying Club miles while adding a connection to Sydney (SYD) — or other cities in Australia — will be an additional 15,000 miles.

Virgin Atlantic requires additional miles for connections or stopovers.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Air New Zealand Award Chart

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 Points and SPG Starpoints. So, even if you don’t have enough points in one program, you can transfer from multiple.

To top it off, you can put awards on hold for at least 24 hours to give you time to transfer points without fear of the space disappearing. I’ve personally transferred Membership Rewards points and Ultimate Rewards points for myself and family members. Neither took more than a few hours to transfer.

For those new to booking awards with Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, here’s a step-by-step guide to booking — it worked for my brother:

  • Join Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • Find space on United
  • Link Flying Club account to Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards or ThankYou Points
  • Call Virgin Atlantic Flying Club: 800-365-9500
  • Tell the agent you’d like to put an award ticket with Air New Zealand on hold
  • Provide departure/return dates and airports
  • They will search for space. It could take a couple minutes for them to confirm space since it’s a partner booking.
  • Once confirmed, ask them to hold the award for you
  • Take down the booking reference
  • Transfer points
  • Confirm miles are in your Flying Club account
  • Call Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • An agent will confirm the dates and route with you then explain change/cancellation policy
  • Provide credit card info
  • You’ll receive an email confirmation and it will show in your Flying Club account

Too detailed? Perhaps. But, I take no chances when teaching family!

There are plenty of other ways to book these awards, too. While they require more miles, you might already have some with a particular airline that you’ve been wanting to burn. Here are some of those options:

  • 67,500 Lufthansa Miles & More miles
  • 80,000 Aeroplan miles
  • 80,000 LifeMiles
  • 82,500 Asiana Club miles
  • 90,000 United MileagePlus miles

Miles & More comes close but the miles aren’t as easy to earn as Flying Club miles. However, if you have some sitting around, it’s a nice opportunity to use them without getting hit with sky-high surcharges.

While it was certainly disappointing to see Virgin Atlantic gut their sweet spot for first class on Air China between London Heathrow (LHR) and Beijing (PEK), this is a great reminder that there are still plenty of fun awards to book.

For those in the northern hemisphere, don’t forget that June and July aren’t summer in New Zealand and Australia! I just visited both countries a few weeks ago and it was starting to get cool — especially in Queenstown. However, I still think it’s worth a visit to these beautiful countries.

If you’ve been itching to visit either, this is a great chance to book your trip without needing a connection in Asia.

And, don’t forget Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles are your friend. Now, get to booking!

Who’s ready to book this one? What miles are you going to use?


  1. The best post I’ve ever encountered at OMaaT.

    It’s things like these that we need, not subjective valuations of UR.

    Thanks Spencer!

  2. Love the dummy proof step-by-step guide. Hope to see more of these ‘step-by-step’ in your future articles.

  3. Mate, 45k VS only applies to nonstop AKL-RAR (Cook Islands) seasonal Saturday-only service. As it prices segment by segment, LA to Australia would require 62.5k + 15k

  4. 45k VS is for nonstop LAX-RAR only. For LAX-AKL-SYD you’d pay 62.5k + 15k as VS prices on segment basis

  5. Good article, but the 45k mileage requirement through VS is not correct.

    From VS’s site, above the chart:
    “If a journey requires a connecting flight or stopover to reach the destination, miles are charged for each sector.”

    South Pacific – Los Angeles in the chart is in reference to the nonstop flight to RAR, not connecting flights to anywhere in the South Pacific region

  6. @FirstForTakeoff – I was just thinking about this when I saw your comment. Thanks for confirming. It’s an award I haven’t booked yet.

  7. Great for people into skiing and snow sports.

    If you’re looking to hike and wine taste, not this time of year.

  8. Excellent (detailed) how-to instructions, @Spencer, great post!

    As @WilliamC alluded, early July will be the middle of Winter down under.

    Was in Queenstown before (in late October/early November), which is an amazingly beautiful area.

  9. Sara N, exactly what I thought, I would not enjoy seats with my back to the window.

  10. While VS miles would’ve been ‘cheaper’, I have other uses for my UR points so I decided to use Lifemiles so I could snag IAH-AKL in business. Apparently, NZ has opened up all types of award space.

  11. Ugh. Recently books 3-flight business on Eva LAX-TPE-SIN-AKL using points. While I’ve been wanting to try Eva, I was originally trying to get on a code share flight with NZ Air. Now I see this!

    Hope I can possibly cancel my Eva flight an book one of these. Moving to NZ for a new job this July. AND I have Virgin Atlantic miles that are set to expire.

  12. @Sara N. the seats are in the correct direction AirNZ uses Herringbone seating licenced from VS in business.

  13. Love step-by-step guide!
    Even though (in this case at least) I know the steps, I do appreciate such a clear and concise explanation. Hope to see more of these helpful step-by-step in the future!

  14. I agree that this step by step post was awesome. I also loved the comparison of redemptions through different mileage programs. Thanks Spencer!

  15. Great post and it’s very nice to acknowledge the other programmes which can be used to book this – particularly M&M as it gets forgotten on this blog but if you can earn miles with them, it’s fantastic for redeeming.

  16. The herringbone businessFirst seats are an upgrade of what originally was a direct copy of Virgin’s original Upper Class. Prem Economy on the 300s has been downgraded to 200 level as it’s so popular or pack in more seats.

    NZ is not too bad in winter – dark by 5pm-ish, cool to cold overnight but often quite warm during the day especially northern half of North Island. Snow is possible in higher areas.

    Queenstown is a ski resort town so of course it’s cold. Its airport offers one of the most spectacular landings/takeoffs you’ll ever do. Only specially trained flight deck crew do these, this in an Air NZ A320:

    So, as we (expat) Kiwis say, if you’ve got the points, get your arse down there, and enjoy.

  17. NMC didn’t “find” it, God Save the Points did – you could at least credit the original source (as NMC in fact did in his post).

    I don’t find NZ to be that great so it’s a pass for me, deal or no deal.

  18. @Ryan – Thanks for reading! My understanding of NMC’s post is that GSTP clued him into the ability to book NZ with VS miles. As NMC put it, he “started to go down a rabbit hole” which I took to mean he started searching for award space.

    Maybe next time, we’ll have a deal you want to book!

  19. @ Ryan — I was in the room with both NMC and GTSP at the time. Gib was talking about Air New Zealand during a presentation on Virgin Atlantic. Jon had forgotten about that as an option, so pulled up to look at space. We all discussed general availability trends afterwards.

    Even if things hadn’t unfolded that way, it’s still reasonable for Spencer to credit wherever *he* saw the story.

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