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Deal Alert: Rare Air New Zealand Business Class Award Space From Just 49,000 Points Each Way

May 25, 2019
4 min read
Deal Alert: Rare Air New Zealand Business Class Award Space From Just 49,000 Points Each Way
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Air New Zealand has become infamous in the points and miles world for being extraordinarily stingy on releasing award availability between the US and New Zealand. But today, one of the rarest awards has been sighted in the wild, originally discovered by Gamesst on Reddit and signal-boosted by View From The Wing.

This just so happens to be occurring at a time where Air New Zealand awards are effectively on sale. Virgin Atlantic Flying Club is a partner of Air New Zealand -- and there's currently a 30% transfer bonus from American Express Membership Rewards to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club and a 30% transfer bonus from Citi ThankYou Points to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.

Flying Club's award rate for business class awards from the US to New Zealand on Air New Zealand is 62,500 each way. That's already a deal compared to AA's 80k rate, United's 80k rate and whatever Delta feels like charging.

But thanks to these transfer bonuses, Flying Club's reasonable award rates make for some downright-cheap award rates. The 30% transfer bonus means that you need to transfer just 49,000 Membership Rewards or ThankYou points to get enough Flying Club miles to book a one-way award. Or, transfer just 97,000 points to get enough to book a round-trip award.

The easiest way of searching this award availability is on United's award availability calendar. Search one of the three routes that Air New Zealand flies to the US: Houston (IAH), Los Angeles (LAX) or San Francisco (SFO) to Auckland (AKL). Then, limit the award search to nonstop itineraries and look for the dates that have five dots -- indicating premium cabin awards. Finally, call Virgin Atlantic's reservation center at 800-365-9500 to book your award.

If you don't have enough Flying Club miles in your account, you can put the award on hold. I've recently had success holding Flying Club award for 72 hours, leaving you enough time to transfer points from Amex or Citi.

Airline: Air New Zealand
Routes: IAH/LAX/SFO to AKL (and beyond)
Cost: 62,500 Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles each way (49k Amex or Citi points)
Travel Dates: June-July 2019
Pay Taxes/Fees With: Citi Prestige® Card (5x on airfare), Citi Premier® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve (3x on airfare) or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on travel)

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Here are a few examples of what you can book:

Houston (IAH) to Auckland (AKL) in Air New Zealand business class -- via United calendar award search:

Los Angeles (LAX) to Auckland (AKL) in Air New Zealand business class -- via United calendar award search:

San Francisco (SFO) to Auckland (AKL) in Air New Zealand business class -- via United calendar award search:

Maximize Your Purchase

While we typically recommend using a credit card that maximizes your earnings on airfare purchases, the taxes and fees on these awards are so cheap that it's worth focusing on the cards that offer excellent trip delay and cancellation insurance -- such as the Citi Prestige Card (5x on airfare), Chase Sapphire Reserve, Citi Premier® Card (3x on airfare) and the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on all travel purchases). Check out this post for more on maximizing airfare purchases.

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG featured card

Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 10X points
10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

80,000 bonus points
Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

Annual Fee

$550

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more