Rare Deal: Air New Zealand Biz Awards From Just 49k Points Each Way

Jun 26, 2019

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It’s usually near impossible to find Air New Zealand business class award availability between the US and New Zealand. But that isn’t the case today. Air New Zealand is currently offering a ton of award space for travel from July through August. And because it’s winter in the Southern Hemisphere, you’ll be able to book accommodations at attractive low-season prices.

Business class on Air New Zealand’s 777. Image by Zach Honig / The Points Guy.

The cheapest way to book one of these awards is through Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. The program charges just 62,500 miles each way for business class awards from the US to New Zealand on Air New Zealand. However, thanks to the 30% transfer bonus from American Express Membership Rewards to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, you can pay just 49,000 Membership Rewards points one-way or 97,000 points round-trip.

If you’d rather burn your Citi ThankYou points after Monday’s devaluation announcement, you can transfer them to Virgin Atlantic at a 1:1 ratio. Alternatively, you can also transfer Marriott Bonvoy points at a 3:1 ratio with a 5,000-mile bonus for transferring at least 60,000 points, though these transfers take around 48 hours to complete. Fortunately, Virgin Atlantic allows you to hold Flying Club awards for up to 72 hours.

The one bummer about booking Air New Zealand awards through Virgin Atlantic is that it can’t be done online — you must call Virgin Atlantic’s reservation center at 800-365-9500 to book. If you’d rather book your award online, you can do so through Air Canada Aeroplan for 80,000 miles (transferred from Amex or Capital One), Avianca LifeMiles for 80,000 miles (transferred from Amex, Capital One or Citi) or United for 90,000 miles (transferred from Chase). Although United is the most expensive option listed, this redemption could still be a great use of your miles considering that United miles will soon become a lot less valuable. All programs charge the same low taxes and fees so there’s no difference on that front.

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 or log into your preferred program to book.

Airline: Air New Zealand
Routes: IAH/LAX/SFO to AKL (and beyond)
62,500 Virgin Atlantic miles, 80,000 Avianca LifeMiles or Air Canada Aeroplan miles or 90,000 United miles each way, plus taxes and fees
Travel Dates:
July-August 2019
Pay Taxes/Fees With: Chase Sapphire Reserve (3x on travel plus excellent travel protections) or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on travel plus travel protections)

Here are a few examples of what you can book:

Los Angeles (LAX) to Auckland (AKL) nonstop in Air New Zealand business class for 80,000 Air Canada Aeroplan Miles one-way:

Los Angeles (LAX) to Auckland (AKL) nonstop in Air New Zealand business class for 80,000 Avianca LifeMiles one-way:

Houston (IAH) to Auckland (AKL) nonstop in Air New Zealand business class for 90,000 United miles one-way:

San Francisco (SFO) to Auckland (AKL) nonstop in Air New Zealand business class for 90,000 United miles one-way:

Los Angeles (LAX) to Sydney (SYD) in Air New Zealand business class for 90,000 United miles:

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 Chase Sapphire Reserve, (3x on airfare) and the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on all travel purchases). Check out this post for more on maximizing airfare purchases.

Featured image by Zach Honig / The Points Guy

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn a $200 statement credit after your first Delta purchase within the first three months. Offer ends 7/28/21.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles after spending $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
  • Limited Time Offer: Plus, get a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable 15.74%-24.74%. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
  • Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
0% on purchases for 12 months
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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