Unusual Air New Zealand Award Availability

Air New Zealand 787 Business Premier seat
Air New Zealand Boeing 787 Business Class. Photo: Matt Graham.

When it comes to releasing Business Class award seats to partner airlines, Air New Zealand would have to be one of the world’s stingiest airlines. But there is now a surprisingly good amount of Business Class award space on certain routes including Melbourne-Auckland, for travel dates within the next three months.

Although New Zealand’s national carrier is part of Star Alliance, it’s normally near-impossible to redeem miles through any Star Alliance frequent flyer program for Business Class award seats on Air New Zealand. The exception is using Air New Zealand’s own Airpoints currency to book a seat, although this represents poor value because Airpoints dollars are just treated like cash – meaning expensive Business Class seats cost a huge number of Airpoints.

But if you look really closely, you can occasionally find Air New Zealand award availability in Business Class on trans-Tasman and long-haul flights through partner airlines. It doesn’t happen often, but you can sometimes find up to one Business award seat on flights from Auckland to Perth or destinations in Asia, and up to four Business seats between Auckland and Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane.

Air New Zealand offers Business Class on its Boeing 787 and Boeing 777 aircraft. Its narrow-body fleet (used on many domestic, trans-Tasman and Pacific Islands flights) only has Economy seating available.

Air New Zealand 787 Auckland
Air New Zealand Boeing 787-9. Photo: Matt Graham.

It’s generally easier to find Economy award availability on Air New Zealand. In fact, redeeming KrisFlyer miles to fly to Pacific Island destinations in Economy can be excellent value! Business Class award space is a lot more rare – but does exist!

Keep in mind that you can now convert Virgin Australia Velocity points into Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles, and then redeem KrisFlyer miles for Air New Zealand flights.

Air NZ flights with Business award availability

Air New Zealand award space in Business Class is certainly not easy to find, but unicorns do exist. When searching today, we found Air New Zealand Business Class award seats available to book using Star Alliance currencies including Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles, Air Canada Aeroplan points and Avianca LifeMiles on several international routes to & from Auckland.

For example, at the time of writing, there were many flights available between Melbourne and Auckland with up to four Business award seats for travel between now and October 2022. Here’s just one example, which can be booked through the Avianca LifeMiles program:

LifeMiles MEL-AKL award availability
You could redeem LifeMiles (or any other Star Alliance currency) for 4 Air NZ Business seats from Melbourne to Auckland. Screenshot from LifeMiles website.

Instead of LifeMiles, the above flight could also be booked using Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles or any other Star Alliance currency. Alternatively, you could even transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club and redeem for Air NZ awards through that program!

There are also a few Air New Zealand flights for travel over the coming months between Brisbane and Auckland with up to four Business award seats available. Here’s an example from Air Canada’s website:

There's also Air New Zealand award space from Brisbane to Auckland, e.g. through Aeroplan
There’s also Air New Zealand award space from Brisbane to Auckland, e.g. through Aeroplan. Screenshot from Air Canada website.

There are a few flights between Sydney and Auckland with two Business awards, and we found one Business award available from Auckland to Perth in October 2022.

KrisFlyer award PER-AKL
You could redeem 34,500 KrisFlyer miles for a Business Class award from Perth to Auckland on Air New Zealand. Screenshot from Singapore Airlines website.

From Auckland, you can very occasionally also find flights with one Business award seat to destinations such as Tokyo, Seoul or Taipei.

There are seats from Auckland to Tokyo as well
There are seats from Auckland to Tokyo as well. Screenshot from Singapore Airlines website.

These seats may disappear quickly, so it’s possible that they could already gone by the time you read this article. That said, availability on the Melbourne-Auckland route is now surprisingly good.

We’re certainly not saying that Air NZ Business award availability is now wide open on all of the airline’s long-haul routes – it most certainly is not – and the current award availability probably won’t last. But the point is that you shouldn’t totally disregard Air New Zealand when searching for Star Alliance award availability!

When searching for Star Alliance award space, including on Air New Zealand, you may find the United Airlines website helpful due to its 30-day calendar overview of award availability.

 

Would you like help using your frequent flyer points?

Frequent Flyer Solutions offers a personalised service that’s designed to take the hard work out of redeeming your frequent flyer points.

Award Flight Assist can help you to find the perfect flights using your points. Just let the team know how many points you have and where you would like to go, and they’ll prepare an itinerary for you.

Click here to learn more about Award Flight Assist.

 

You can leave a comment or discuss this topic on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum.

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]

Community Comments

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Hi, I am planning a trip from Sydney to Wellington in October and after all the negative press regarding Qantas, I'm interested in exploring other options. I would like to consider buying an economy Air NZ seat and then trying to get an upgrade using points. Can I apply for an upgrade using Sing Air points which would come from my Velocity stash? Looks like you need the points already in the Sing Air account before you can search for availability, is that right?
Thanks, Peter

Reply Like

I would like to consider buying an economy Air NZ seat and then trying to get an upgrade using points.

From Sydney to Wellington, Air New Zealand only use A320's which are fitted with all economy seats. There is a seperate product at the front of the aircraft (first 2-3 rows) called Works Deluxe but this is the same service as economy with just a spare seat between you plus priority check in, boarding, a bit more legroom and slightly better headphones for the IFE. A works deluxe upgrade can not be done with any points only cash and typically is only $130-200 depending on the route.

Can I apply for an upgrade using Sing Air points which would come from my Velocity stash?

So ignoring all the above it is possible to upgrade Star Alliance flight using points however it's basically impossible. Here are the steps:

1. You need to be on a flight that has a business class cabin, from Sydney this is Sydney to Auckland only (noting that only 787 and 777 flights are eligible). Typically only one flight per day is operated by an aircraft with a business class cabin.

2. You need to be booked in an eligible economy booking class this is U, E, O, Y, B (oddly some of those fare classes are Premium Economy but they're not eligible for upgrade). These booking classes are the most expensive flexible fares the cheapest oneway SYD to AKL flight in one of those economy fare types is $878.

3. There needs to be business class award space on the flight you are looking to upgrade. Air NZ award space in general is limited and in premium cabins basically non existent (except for a handful mentioned in this thread).

4. Once you have an eligible booking and there is award space you need to put in a request to Singapore airlines. The upgrade cost is 23,000 krisflyer miles which if you converted VA points would be 35,650 points for the upgrade. The requests are done via the phone which takes time.

In total you'd be spending at least $878 plus 23,000 krisflyer miles assuming there is even award space in the first place.

If there is award space you could book the business class award for 34,500 miles plus ~$120 taxes.

It's also worth noting that paying $878 for a fully flexible economy fare just to upgrade is terrible value when Sydney to Auckland is currently on sale in business class for ~$500 oneway.

Looks like you need the points already in the Sing Air account before you can search for availability, is that right?

You shouldn't need the points in your account to search. Also you can search Star Alliance award flights via the United website without logging in or via other websites eg : Star alliance award search - Travel hacks

Reply 2 Likes

click to expand...

Thanks very much for the detailed response.

Reply Like

From Sydney to Wellington, Air New Zealand only use A320's which are fitted with all economy seats. There is a seperate product at the front of the aircraft (first 2-3 rows) called Works Deluxe but this is the same service as economy with just a spare seat between you plus priority check in, boarding, a bit more legroom and slightly better headphones for the IFE. A works deluxe upgrade can not be done with any points only cash and typically is only $130-200 depending on the route.

So ignoring all the above it is possible to upgrade Star Alliance flight using points however it's basically impossible. Here are the steps:

1. You need to be on a flight that has a business class cabin, from Sydney this is Sydney to Auckland only (noting that only 787 and 777 flights are eligible). Typically only one flight per day is operated by an aircraft with a business class cabin.

2. You need to be booked in an eligible economy booking class this is U, E, O, Y, B (oddly some of those fare classes are Premium Economy but they're not eligible for upgrade). These booking classes are the most expensive flexible fares the cheapest oneway SYD to AKL flight in one of those economy fare types is $878.

3. There needs to be business class award space on the flight you are looking to upgrade. Air NZ award space in general is limited and in premium cabins basically non existent (except for a handful mentioned in this thread).

4. Once you have an eligible booking and there is award space you need to put in a request to Singapore airlines. The upgrade cost is 23,000 krisflyer miles which if you converted VA points would be 35,650 points for the upgrade. The requests are done via the phone which takes time.

In total you'd be spending at least $878 plus 23,000 krisflyer miles assuming there is even award space in the first place.

If there is award space you could book the business class award for 34,500 miles plus ~$120 taxes.

It's also worth noting that paying $878 for a fully flexible economy fare just to upgrade is terrible value when Sydney to Auckland is currently on sale in business class for ~$500 oneway.

You shouldn't need the points in your account to search. Also you can search Star Alliance award flights via the United website without logging in or via other websites eg : Star alliance award search - Travel hacks

Wow that is such a detailed response. And I wasnt aware of the Star alliance search tool. Thank you so much. It seems much better than the other tools for searching star awards.

Reply Like

click to expand...

Wow that is such a detailed response. And I wasnt aware of the Star alliance search tool.

It's worth noting that tool isn't anything official. It's been created by a 3rd party and searches using the SAS airline's API, what his means is that it reflects availability based on what SAS can see (and often SQ doesn't show up). SAS know about the tool (and actually encouraged it) so there is nothing illegal or weird going on.

Reply 1 Like

Was trying to book these on United as they seem to running some mileage sale.
Is the United website not working at the moment? I am able to find these on SQ and Lifemiles, but not on United.
Actually, i cant seem to search award flights on any route on United. I am logged in and have selected the miles search.

United:

View image at the forums

SQ:

View image at the forums

Lifemiles:

View image at the forums

Reply Like

click to expand...

Was trying to book these on United as they seem to running some mileage sale.
Is the United website not working at the moment? I am able to find these on SQ and Lifemiles, but not on United.
Actually, i cant seem to search award flights on any route on United. I am logged in and have selected the miles search.

United:
View attachment 286694

It's not just you. I can't get these flights to appear on United's website, even when using the old version of the website (which is sometimes more reliable).

Reply 1 Like