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Answered Best use of AirNZ Airpoints?

magicgeoff

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Mar 5, 2012
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Hi,
Ive been using my Amex Platinum CC to build airpoints for a while now. $59 spent, gets $1airpoint.
What is the best use of these points? purchasing a flight outright, or using to upgrade from economy to PE or Business?

Secondly, I signed up with AmexNZ when they were offering $400 bonus airpoints + bonuses. Which I thought was a pretty good deal. At $59 spend, $1airpoint conversion.
Is this a good conversion compared to Australian credit cards?

Any advice appreciated
 

Mattg

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Well, 1 Airpoint is worth NZD1, so there is no real "best use". You redeem them for Air NZ flights as though the Airpoints are cash.

I don't think think anyone on AFF would recommend using Airpoints if there are other options available. There are far better programs out there!
 

dajop

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Well, 1 Airpoint is worth NZD1, so there is no real "best use". You redeem them for Air NZ flights as though the Airpoints are cash.
Not strictly true, you can use them for star alliance awards at better value than that (sometimes, subject to availability), but noting there is a 100 APD or $100 booking fee for star alliance awards. I haven't kept up to date since burning my airpoints, but Asia- Europe business or first (if you can ever get the latter) were always two of the better options, examples such as BKK-LHR or TG, or if lucky IST-SIN in business on SQ come to mind.
 

serfty

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The only thing Airpoints had going for it were confirmed upgrades to Business class from economy (any) or PE upon booking (if "R" class available). You have to be top level "[Gold] Elite" to do this but it could make the attainment requirements worth it. This was killed a bit more than 5 years years ago, hence I am no longer "Elite".
 

NZflygirl

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Air NZ have grabaseat fares - you can sign up to the emails or visit the site etc. Flights from say Auckland to anywhere for fares from $1 to $19 or $39, eg Auckland to Queenstown is $73 so basically domestic flights. You can use APD for that.
They do also have fares on sale for international destinations so you can book those through the website and sometimes when looking around you'll find some good fares not advertised. I think they have to have a certain number of seats available for them to advertise it as a sale but if only say 2 available on that flight they won't advertise it.

There are the partner award charts to look through with some sweet spots. Asia to Europe business class at 1215 APD is good. You can fly EVA, Thai, Swiss, Lufthansa, ANA, (SQ with restrictions?) etc. You do have to pay $100 per sector + taxes though so it's really the long haul you want to lock it in for.
Airline partner reward chart | Air New Zealand

Generally when I've looked at booking Air NZ flights taxes are really good so you don't get the hit that Qantas gives you on redemptions.

There's the companion fare chart. Apparently PE and economy are easier to get than business class. They had Auckland to London for 750 recently which is cheaper than the companion rate.
Companion ticket chart - Companion tickets - Spending Airpoints Dollars™ - Airpoints™ | Air New Zealand

You can also buy airpoint dollars with the Kiwibank credit card. 1 for 1. I think that's the Kiwibank one though if you have access to that. You don't have to wait for a sale to come up like you do with Avianca Lifemiles or AA Advantage because it's the same price year round. I've never purchased APD but it's a useful feature. Might be a $5 fee? You can top up to an award. It's effectively like always being able to buy business class Asia to Europe for $1215 cash year round. Apparently it's not difficult and the transaction is quick.

You can use APD for upgrades like one ups but I'm not sure about the rate of clearance.

Hope that helps a bit.
 

serfty

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You can also buy airpoint dollars with the Kiwibank credit card. 1 for 1.
You need to be a NZ resident to get one of these (although it seems @magicgeoff is) - and there is no corresponding card for Aussies. it's one of the reasons that Airpoints is worse for Aussies than it can be for Kiwi's.
 

NZflygirl

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You need to be a NZ resident to get one of these (although it seems @magicgeoff is) - and there is no corresponding card for Aussies. it's one of the reasons that Airpoints is worse for Aussies than it can be for Kiwi's.
I agree with the credit card statement. It literally halves the status qualifying thresholds (if you can max that out) and earning APD is reasonable so am not too concerned about what is earned flying. I suspect this is a deliberate move by Air NZ though.
 

dajop

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There are the partner award charts to look through with some sweet spots. Asia to Europe business class at 1215 APD is good. You can fly EVA, Thai, Swiss, Lufthansa, ANA, (SQ with restrictions?) etc. You do have to pay $100 per sector + taxes though so it's really the long haul you want to lock it in for.

Also Asia - Europe in F for 1515 (If you can get TG BKK-LHR or FRA).

Trouble is that IME Air NZ don’t seem to be able to access much inventory, eg BR BKK-LHR I saw availability on Aeroplan, Life Miles and UA mileage plus, yet NZ couldn’t see it.
 

NZflygirl

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Also Asia - Europe in F for 1515 (If you can get TG BKK-LHR or FRA).

Trouble is that IME Air NZ don’t seem to be able to access much inventory, eg BR BKK-LHR I saw availability on Aeroplan, Life Miles and UA mileage plus, yet NZ couldn’t see it.
I have to admit I've only called them about Etihad which they said only releases to them at 6 months out but we're not sure we're doing that trip anymore so I haven't followed that up. I've mostly spent APD on Air NZ.

Someone did get Swiss business class US-ZRH

I understand airlines release award seats to their own members first but then I thought the rest of the alliance received them around the same time. I didn't think certain members would have more access than others. Although I have seen awards on the united site but not on Lifemiles.
 

dajop

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I understand airlines release award seats to their own members first but then I thought the rest of the alliance received them around the same time. I didn't think certain members would have more access than others. Although I have seen awards on the united site but not on Lifemiles.
With EVA, they do seem to release seats in the last couple of weeks, to most partners, but not NZ. As we had a TG award on the route didn't push it (but EVA is superior, in J, vs TG IMHO, so would have been nice). Not sure if it was genuine lack of access or operators didn't know how to get it. But star alliance is notoriously fickle, and carriers like NZ and SQ who restrict access to many partners for long hail premium cabins, seem to have that reciprocated.

We also did an F booking on TG from BKK-LHR, and it took calls to three different people (using the HUACA method) to get seats (although noting this was five years ago) . Maybe the problem was star alliance use O class for F awards, but NZ use O class for premium economy, and with the third person we spoke to we specifically asked for them to check inventory in O class.
 

NZflygirl

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Air NZ changed their award chart Nov 2018, but it looks like they've tweaked it again. Shows APD and taxes similar to United's chart.

Also they have a new search tool. Click on the "Show dates". It blacks out dates without any availability. Interestingly it also shows SQ A380 and 777-300ER are bookable in Business class with APD. Could see neither on UA or LM (as expected).

I think SQ are supposed to be bringing a 7 day calendar online after end of Jan to make award searching easier.

Definitely worthwhile checking paid fares against some of these redemptions. You'd be after the nonstop flights for best redemption.

Also you can't book flights online within 3 days of departure (not sure if this means you can call up 1-2 days out and still have redemption ticketed.
 
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Mattg

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Interesting. Do you know if Air New Zealand made any announcement before or when they made the changes to the partner award chart?
 

NZflygirl

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Interesting. Do you know if Air New Zealand made any announcement before or when they made the changes to the partner award chart?
No warning about changes. The first change they absolutely ripped the backside out of the chart. Only transpacific flights slightly better. It was depressing to look at so I didn't look again until recently and noticed the entire chart had been changed yet again. But at least it was for the better. Some spots are even better than the original chart.

They've done away with the 100APD fee per sector as well. Whew! :) And what you pay is what you see on the chart.
Useful given United are flying Polaris on the SFO-AKL route and taking over the flights on some days during off peak.
 

Mattg

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They've done away with the 100APD fee per sector as well. Whew! :) And what you pay is what you see on the chart.
Useful given United are flying Polaris on the SFO-AKL route and taking over the flights on some days during off peak.
So are you saying there are no fuel surcharges or booking fees now on any partner airline awards?

I presume awards are still point-to-point only, so AKL-BKK-LHR (for example) would price as the sum of the two sectors?
 

NZflygirl

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So are you saying there are no fuel surcharges or booking fees now on any partner airline awards?

I presume awards are still point-to-point only, so AKL-BKK-LHR (for example) would price as the sum of the two sectors?
No booking fees anymore. I took a dummy booking right through to payment page and it was exactly as per the taxes stated when selecting flights.

Yes it's still point to point. The APD price you see in the box is the sum of all sectors. It shows if it's a nonstop flight or multiple flights. Hence for IAH-SYD you want the nonstop for 1600APD. It is cheaper than transiting SFO (which doesn't really make sense to me but there you have it).

As long as I've been looking at Air NZ flights I've never seen fuel surcharges. Even if you're using APD for an NZ flight I've never paid fuel surcharges. I've seen other posts on FT about NZ not passing on fuel surcharges including partner rewards.

In general checking UA vs NZ, UA has better availability but some flights I've found on NZ but not on Lifemiles. Although the SQ quirk is a nice perk.

Edit: scratch the article I posted. I saw 2018 on google but clicking into the article it says 2004.
 
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