If you’ve been looking for a Star Alliance status match, now could be your chance! Air New Zealand is currently offering a complimentary Gold status match to Australian and New Zealand residents that already hold status with another airline.
It’s no coincidence that this offer comes in the middle of a bitter break-up between Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia. The long-standing partnership between these two airlines will end on 27 October 2018, and Air New Zealand seems determined to go out with a bang!
The Star Alliance status match is available as part of Air New Zealand’s “Touch of Gold” offer. If your request is approved, you’ll receive trial Gold membership with Air New Zealand’s Airpoints program for six months. This Gold membership can be extended for a further year by earning 450 Status Points during the trial period. If this target is not reached, your status will drop down to Silver (equivalent to Star Alliance Silver) after the six months.
This offer is clearly intended for those with Qantas or Virgin Australia status. But the Air New Zealand status match is open to anyone with Gold (or higher) status from any other airline, except for Cathay Pacific and other Star Alliance carriers.
How to apply for the Air New Zealand status match
If you’re not already an Air New Zealand Airpoints member, you’ll first need to sign up for free. Then, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org including the following information:
- Your Airpoints membership number
- A copy of your frequent flyer card with a competing airline, with your status and the expiry date clearing showing
- A copy of a recent frequent flyer account activity statement showing your flights over the past 6-12 months (this is optional but may support your case if you can prove you fly a lot – especially if some of your trips are to New Zealand)
Approval is at Air New Zealand’s discretion and they may not approve your request for Touch of Gold membership, even if you meet the published criteria. So it would be advisable to also explain why you would be a valuable customer for Air New Zealand. If you often fly to New Zealand and are looking to make the switch from Qantas or Virgin Australia, it would absolutely be worth mentioning this in your email. That said, it seems Air New Zealand is being more generous than usual with this promo.
Those who have already applied for the Air New Zealand status match have received a much quicker response than the advertised 10 business days.
Benefits during the ‘Touch of Gold’ trial period
With the Air New Zealand status match, you won’t just receive benefits when you fly with Air New Zealand. The terms and conditions specifically state that “Star Alliance Gold benefits apply”. So you’ll also receive Star Alliance Gold benefits when flying with any other airline across Star Alliance. Airlines in Star Alliance include Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, Turkish Airlines, Air China and United.
During your trial Touch of Gold membership, you won’t quite receive the full suite of benefits that are normally available to Airpoints Gold members when flying Air New Zealand. But you will receive two short-haul recognition upgrades, lounge access, complimentary frequent flyer seating, extra baggage allowance and priority travel benefits.
See the full terms and conditions of this promotion on the Air New Zealand website.
The Air New Zealand status match is worth considering if you plan to fly with Air New Zealand regularly in the future. However, Airpoints is one of the worst value frequent flyer programs in terms of earning and redeeming points.
How to extend your Gold status
When your trial status is approved, you’ll automatically receive 450 Status Points towards requalification for Gold membership. You’ll then need to earn 450 more Status Points within 6 months of your approval date to requalify for Gold status (which is normally awarded once you reach 900 Status Points). These Status Points can be earned on all eligible Air New Zealand, Star Alliance and qualifying partner airline flights. However, note that some fare classes do not earn any Status Points.
The number of Status Points you’ll earn for Air New Zealand flights depends on the route and the type of ticket. Beware that some of the cheaper tickets earn very few Status Points. For example, a flight from Sydney to Auckland on a Seat-only fare could earn as little as 7 Status Points. Frankly, that is pathetic.
Alternative Star Alliance frequent flyer programs
Air New Zealand treats its elite members well. However, unless you fly Air New Zealand almost exclusively, there are much better Star Alliance frequent flyer programs! In terms of earning and redeeming points, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer is one of the best.
The best Star Alliance frequent flyer program for earning status is Asiana Club. The number of miles required to earn status is surprisingly low, and you even get to keep your status for two years (instead of the usual one year).
And don’t forget about the United Airlines Star Alliance status match. This is also available to Qantas Frequent Flyer and Virgin Australia Velocity members with Gold or higher status. However, this works a little differently. You’ll initially receive Star Alliance Gold benefits for only 3 months, and you’ll need to fly with United to extend your status beyond this period.
A Turkish Airlines status match is also available.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Status match for Aussies