A friend of my friend, is my friend…
When it comes to points, the obvious stuff is too easy to be good. If you could get the best points rates by just transferring your credit card points to the airline you actually want to fly on, everyone could figure it out, and everyone would be flying around in style for peanuts, errr miles. Many of the very best value redemptions using points are all about leveraging one good airlines relationship with another, and these rates for Air New Zealand flights when booking via Virgin Atlantic are exceptional…
Amex, Chase, Citi, Virgin Atlantic
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Points can be created instantly using Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards or Citi Thank You Points. Basically, if you earn points by spending money – they’re super easy to earn. Unlike many programs where points are extremely to earn, Virgin Atlantic offers some fantastic rates, especially if you spend your Virgin Atlantic points on their airline partners, like Air New Zealand. Let’s take a look at a few bangers…
Spin It Back
Before we hit you with the banging points hits, it’s important to mention that you can currently lock in two wonderful, limited time transfer bonuses when you convert credit card points into Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Points. Until September 12th, U.S. based Amex cardmembers receive a 30% bonus when transferring points to Virgin Atlantic, and until October 13th, Citi Cardmembers can enjoy the same 30% bonus. 1,000 credit card points equals 1,300 Virgin Atlantic miles during these promos. Ok, hit it.
New Zealand – Asia
In case geography isn’t your forte, New Zealand and many parts of Asia aren’t exactly next door to each other. Flights between Shanghai and New Zealand, for example, are well over 12 hours in each direction, which makes them ideal candidates for a lovely flat bed, and you can have one.
Booked using Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Miles: 80,000 round trip, 40,000 one way.
North America – New Zealand
Air New Zealand is expanding in the US, adding flights to Chicago imminently. You can fly between Los Angeles, San Francisco or Vancouver, and soon Chicago in business class for a mere 125,000 Virgin Atlantic Points round trip, which is less than 100,000 Amex or Citi Points using the current transfer bonus.
Booked using Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Miles: 125,000 round trip, 62,500 one way.
Australia – New Zealand
Some trans Tasman (that means between Australia and New Zealand) flights are relatively short, only averaging a few hours, but many are quite long. On some routes, Air New Zealand uses their long haul planes, such as the Boeing 777 or 787 Dreamliner, with flat beds and or great economy seats. Regardless of distance, all flights between the two countries are the same price in points, and with some flights over 7 hours, these business class rates are a delight.
Booked using Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Miles: 30,000 round trip, 15,000 one way.
How To Book
For these flights, your best bet for finding seat space is using United.com. Yes, it’s the website of United Airlines (the one that does the dragging), and no you’re not actually flying United at any point. And also no – you’re not using their rates, so just ignore them. United is simply a reliable tool for finding seats using points on Air New Zealand. Go to United.com, enter your city pairs, tick “award travel”, “non-stop” and any other buttons and search for “saver” availability in the cabin of your choice. If it’s there, you can call Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, spoon feed them flight numbers and book! You can even place the flights on hold for up to 24 hours…
I do not believe United shows long-haul availability on Air New Zealand. Kind of like what they do with Singapore. I have not seen such availability in months. I have tried many different routes.
They 100% do. Air New Zealand awards can be a tough ticket, depending on the route, so it’s not uncommon to struggle at times. With that said, they do dump loads of space at a time, and those with alerts set are promptly rewarded, like last week where more than 4 seats were available on sought after routes in business.
“If you could get the best points rates by just transferring your credit card points to the airline you actually want to fly on…” so delightfully true.
I see a fair amount (when searching for 5 seats!) of open saver space on business flights to both Australia and NZ from the west coast. But the flight data on the site details shows United flights (specifically United Polaris, etc). I don’t see that it is a code share with Air New Zealand, or listings of Air New Zealand flights at all. So to clarify, should I be seeing Air New Zealand flights specifically listed in the flight details when I search?
Leave a comment