Trans-tasman Gold/Elite Benefits Worth it?

dsnzflyer

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Hi Guys,

Need to make a few trips over the ditch over the coming weeks and am Air NZ Gold. Contemplating whether to book Qantas or Air NZ. Qantas is the cheaper option most of the time but wanted to find out from the people that have flown on AirNZ on Trans-tasman routes since it has opened...

1. At AKL or other AUS airports, does the priority check in area make any difference / is it still open? I heard people can't check in through kiosks or use smartgate due to enhanced checks? Will express security queue make any difference? Are there any queues anyway...?
2. Anyone applied for OneUp upgrades on these flights? Assuming passenger numbers are low, acceptance rates are high? Anyone confirm this?
 

henrus

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1. At AKL or other AUS airports, does the priority check in area make any difference / is it still open? I heard people can't check in through kiosks or use smartgate due to enhanced checks? Will express security queue make any difference? Are there any queues anyway...?
Priority check-in makes little difference except sometimes in Auckland it can get a bit crazy when checking documents (still quite rare).

Kiosk check-in and smart gates are in use so queues are limited and you won't need to see a person. Queues for security are also very short and many airports have closed the express queues as there is no point having it open.

2. Anyone applied for OneUp upgrades on these flights? Assuming passenger numbers are low, acceptance rates are high? Anyone confirm this?
Really depends on the route and day. Some flights have been going out very premium heavy which means it may be harder but overall you shouldn't have a problem.

I'm guessing you may have got your 4 months of gold status from a status match? If so then getting the 100 required status credits will give you 2x vouchers to use that allow for a free upgrade from any economy fare (including seat) to business on trans tasman flights.
 

dsnzflyer

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I see - thanks for that. I have a flight booked in J return to achieve the 100 status credits but apart from that flight, I'll probably book Qantas for the other ones then!
 

mad_atta

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Note upgrades on NZ are confirmable in advance - better than QF's upgrade lottery.
Well *some* upgrades are confirmable in advance - namely the 2/3 Recognition Upgrades per year you receive as Gold/Elite and, if you're an Elite, your airpoints dollars upgrades are too. But given the OP is a gold, their OneUp upgrade bids will only start to be processed from a few days ahead of flight (is it around 6-7 days? or less for shorthaul?) Still better than QF's system though.

To the OP, I'm surprised that QF is cheaper. QF is generally similar price, or often a bit more than AirNZ 'Works' fare... but one thing I like on NZ is just booking the cheap seat-only fare and requesting an upgrade. If the upgrade doesn't clear, and you want meals/booze/IFE included, you generally still have time to select those options from manage my booking.

Another note for the OP is that NZ's premium economy offering is in many ways (quality of booze being the notable exception) as nice or better than QF's narrowbody J product, and is pretty cheap to upgrade to. Given you'll have lounge access thanks to your NZ*G status it's basically everything you'd look for in short-haul J other than champagne/fancy wine. The food offering is basically the same as biz.
 

mushez

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So did the Touch of Gold with NZ from VA Platinum. Applied 19/04, Approved on 22/04 prior to next flight 23/04.

Have done my 100 status credits now, but seems need to wait out my 4 months until the review to get the Recognition Upgrades....... taps feet.

My question is with Recognition Upgrades ....... is it Economy to Business with 1 - or Premium Economy to Business with 1? Keep getting conflicting info when searching.
 

henrus

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My question is with Recognition Upgrades ....... is it Economy to Business with 1 - or Premium Economy to Business with 1? Keep getting conflicting info when searching.
It's 1 for economy to business on the Australian east coast or Pacific islands.

To Perth (or other long haul) you'd need two.
 

mushez

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It's 1 for economy to business on the Australian east coast or Pacific islands.

To Perth (or other long haul) you'd need two.

That is you reading (copying) it from the NZ website, or from experience?

I was hoping to get confirmation from someones experience.

Air NZ has never been on my radar with the many other options flying the Tasman the past 12 odd years I have been, so with it being the only reliable option on the Tasman for the past 6 months, and VA on hibernation still - I am playing catch up getting my head around the way they work.

One class upgrade to me means that, upgrading from Economy to Business on 787 or 777 would be a 2 class upgrade.

A320/321 has no options for upgrade.
 
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henrus

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That is you reading (copying) it from the NZ website, or from experience?
Experience (and lots of it). I've used many recognition upgrades over the years.

That being said the website is quite clear:

  • On 777 or 787 aircraft operating between New Zealand and Eastern Australia or the Pacific Islands, excluding flights to Perth, Papeete, Honolulu and Bali or between Sydney and Rarotonga, members can move from Economy to Business Premier using one Recognition Upgrade

I'll explain in a little more detail below:

One class upgrade to me means that, upgrading from Economy to Business on 787 or 777 would be a 2 class upgrade.
So don't place your upgrade via the website, it causes problems and I haven't had much luck over the years. Sometimes it won't show a direct Economy to Business upgrade on shorthaul bookings so as a result, the best and simplest way is to call (which as gold is very easy).

On East Coast Australia [currently SYD/MEL/BNE] to Auckland flights, if you process it over the phone then a single recognition upgrade is valid from Economy as an upgrade directly into Business class (obviously it's still possible to apply for an Economy to Premium Economy upgrade but that doesn't make a lot of sense unless business class is full).

On all other flights, recognition upgrades are single cabin (eg Economy to PE or PE to Business), on these other flights, it's possible to use two upgrades at once to jump directly from Economy to Business.

You don't need any special fare, it's possible to just buy the cheapest seat only ticket (must be an Air New Zealand flight number and ticket - no star alliance awards allowed!) and still be eligible for an upgrade, obviously, a seat only ticket doesn't include a bag however if you've applied for an upgrade (and even if you don't get the upgrade) you still get the baggage allowance as if you would have received the upgrade (so 3x 23kg bags). If you were after a works fare (to get a meal/drinks/movies) then it's still possible to add it via the website up until 4ish hours prior to departure.

Recognition upgrades are obviously a gamble, it's not guaranteed so don't expect a confirmed upgrade, the Air NZ website says these are confirmed up to 6 days prior to travel but in my experience, this is never the case (most are much closer to departure). In the past, I've even had some clear at the boarding gate when I was boarding.

It's also worth noting that they don't need to be applied within your status year, so if your gold status is expiring soon but you're not traveling for a few months you can still apply it to that flight (even if the flight date is after you've dropped in status).

A320/321 has no options for upgrade.
Completely unpublished but it's possible to use recognition upgrades for the A320/321 flights to upgrade from a seat/seat+bag/works fare to a works deluxe fare.

I've successfully done this a few times as that year I was not traveling on any 777/787 Air NZ flights and otherwise, the upgrades would have gone to waste. You can't do this online (must call) and generally they're confirmed about a week out from travel. A seat to works deluxe upgrade is ~$150 so it's not amazing value however given its "use it or lose it" it'll sometimes make sense to use them on the A320/321 flights.
 

mushez

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You don't need any special fare, it's possible to just buy the cheapest seat only ticket (must be an Air New Zealand flight number and ticket - no star alliance awards allowed!) and still be eligible for an upgrade, obviously, a seat only ticket doesn't include a bag however if you've applied for an upgrade (and even if you don't get the upgrade) you still get the baggage allowance as if you would have received the upgrade (so 3x 23kg bags). If you were after a works fare (to get a meal/drinks/movies) then it's still possible to add it via the website up until 4ish hours prior to departure.


Thanks - I appreciate that greatly.

So you can buy Y seat only - ask for a recognition upgrade - and if they don't give it to you, you can still rock up with 3 x 23kg bags to fly J?

Flying to maximize baggage allowance, and shift stock between offices is my thing in flying, so any known loop holes in that is always handy to know. So anything you wish to clarify there would be appreciated also.
 

henrus

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So you can buy Y seat only - ask for a recognition upgrade - and if they don't give it to you, you can still rock up with 3 x 23kg bags to fly J?
If you're going to try it then it'd be best to ask first (either via phone or social media) or have a backup plan just in case. It's an unpublished rule that may have changed, however in the past, I've been able to take a business class baggage allowance even though my recognition upgrade has been knocked back.

For peace of mind, booking a seat+bag wouldn't hurt as it would come with 2x 23kg bags (thanks to *G status).
 

Beano

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As you are an Air NZ Gold, I would stick with that unless you are contemplating J class. There is no priority check in on Qantas or through customs and immigration at Wellington or Sydney, though Qantas is operating priority boarding. The priority at AKL never seem much of a priority in the past before Covid. With Qantas J at Sydney you get to go into the First Class lounge with table service. (see other forums).
 

henrus

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There is no priority check in on Qantas
huh?

At Brisbane, Queenstown and Christchurch (the 3 airports I've been through), Qantas had a premium check-in queue set up at all of those airports. I'd be surprised if some of the larger ports like SYD, MEL, AKL and WLG don't have one.
 

Beano

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Not sure about MEL, but everyone was using the Kiosks at SYD. I think there may have been a J desk but with so few people the kiosks were OK. Even before Covid Qantas were encouraging travels to use the kiosks even though I could have used the first class desk.
 
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RTWtraveler

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I am Elite with ANZ, booked in PE and was immediately upgraded to J with my recognition. Departure from SYD was quick and easy. The only negative for me was the late arrival in AKL, would rather arrived earlier in the afternoon. J is only available on their 787 aircraft. As NZ has a lot of international traffic, priority check in at AKL was nice. Not sure if I will even be Gold next year, I wanted to get as much value out of my Elite status as possible....
 

Beano

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I've only ever had an upgrade when the flight was oversold in Y. Are flights that busy?
 

Beano

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I was hoping to use my NZ Gold on a flight from Syd to Wlg but no-one is flying evening on that route yet.
 

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