Flying to Australia from North America on Air New Zealand and United
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
Air New Zealand and United are Star Alliance partners, and route all their North American flights through Los Angeles, San Francisco and/or Vancouver. The following are the flight numbers and schedules for all ANZ flights that route through Los Angeles (as well as their Auckland-Australia connections) and United's non-stop flights from LAX and SFO to/from SYD. A (2+) signifies a flight that arrives two days later than its departure. Also below, you'll find advice on mileage programs and credit cards associated with these airlines.
AIR NEW ZEALAND
From North America, Air New Zealand offers direct flights to Auckland, New Zealand from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Vancouver. Connecting flights travel from Auckland to these destinations in Australia: Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Gold Coast, Melbourne and Sydney.
NORTH AMERICA-AUCKLAND CONNECTIONS
Los Angeles - Auckland
LAX-AKL: NZ0001 9:15/9:45pm - 5:45/7:15am (2+); NZ0005 10:30pm-6:30am (2+)
AKL-LAX: NZ0006 7:40pm-12:55pm; NZ0002 10:45pm-2:00pm
San Francisco -Auckland
SFO-AKL: NZ0007 9:15pm-5:25pm (2+)
AKL-SFO: NZ0008 7:15pm-12:15pm
Vancouver - Auckland
YVR-AKL: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday: NZ83 6:30pm-5:45am (2+)
AKL-YVR: Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday: NZ84 8:00pm-12:15pm
AKL-ADL: NZ0791 8:00/8:20am - 10:20/10:40am (except Saturday)
ADL-AKL: NZ0792 11:20/11:40am - 6:05/6:20pm (except Wednesday)
AKL-BNE: NZ0135 9:30am-11:10 am; NZ0139 4:05-5:50pm
BNE-AKL: NZ0136 12:25-5:25pm; NZ0734 6:55pm-12:05am
AKL-CNS: NZ0775 7:10am-10:50am or 9:15am-12:55am
CNS-AKL: NZ0776 11:50am-6:30pm or 1:55pm-8:35 pm
AKL-OOL: NZ0937 6:30am-8:10am
OOL-AKL: NZ0936 6:30pm-11:30pm
AKL-MEL: NZ0123 8:30am-10:30am; NZ0725 3:30pm-5:30pm; NZ0721 7:00pm-9:00pm (this flight, Sunday only)
MEL-AKL: NZ0124 11:45am-5:15pm; NZ0726 6:30pm-11:59pm
AKL-PER: NZ0175 2:30pm-6:10pm
PER-AKL: NZ0176 7:25pm-5:40am
NZ0105 4:00pm-5:30pm (except Saturday)
NZ0104 11:30/11:45am - 4:35/4:45pm
NZ0118 3:30/3:45pm - 8:35/8:45pm
NZ0706 5:10/5:30pm - 10:15/10:35pm
NZ0708 6:40/6:45pm - 11:40/11:45pm
Air New Zealand Airpoints Dollars are calculated with a simple formula: $1NZ = 1 Airpoint. In other words, if your flight costs NZ$3,500, it will require an exchange of 3,500 Airpoints.
Airpoints can be used with partner airline Virgin Australia, at the following exchange rates:
North America>New Zealand (r/t): Economy 1,500; Premium Economy 2,240; Business 4,080; First 5,160
New Zealand>Australia (r/t): Economy 460; Premium Economy 750; Business 1,440; First 1,890
To maximize your Airpoints, consider SPG Rewards cards like the Starwood American Express or Starwood Business American Express; Starpoints transfer at a 1:1 ratio to Air New Zealand. You can also redeem any Star Alliance miles (e.g., those earned by Chase Ultimate Rewards) for flights on Air New Zealand. Award availability on Air New Zealand is scarce, so it's advisable to visit ExpertFlyer to set seat alerts that will tell you when award seats become available.
Beginning October 26th, United Airlines will begin running non-stop flights between Los Angeles and Melbourne, 6 days a week. At present, the airline offers the following non-stop, daily flights from Los Angeles and San Francisco to Sydney; however, note that with the addition of the LAX-MEL flights, these times are likely to change:
LAX-SYD: 9:50pm-6:10 am (2+)
United MileagePlus Awards can be exchanged for North America>Australia round-trips at these general rates:
Roundtrip Saver - Economy 80,000; Business: 140,000
Roundtrip Standard - Economy 170,000; Business 350,000
Star Alliance/Star Awards can be exchanged for these general rates:
Economy 80,000; Business 160,000; First 260,000
To maximize your United MileagePlus miles, the United MileagePlus Explorer Card now comes with up to 65,000 miles (log into your MileagePlus account to find your own best offer), and the $95 annual fee is waived the first year. Or, consider Chase Ultimate Rewards cards like Sapphire Preferred and Ink Bold, and SPG Rewards cards like the Starwood American Express or Starwood Business American Express; Chase Ultimate Rewards and Starpoints transfer instantly at a 1:1 ratio to United.