Air New Zealand Business Class Awards to Auckland Available!

New Zealand is becoming a much more competitive market with the addition of new service.

Since Qantas dropped flying Los Angeles – Auckland in 2012, Air New Zealand had a monopoly on non-stop flying between the US and New Zealand. They offered Los Angeles and San Francisco – Auckland flights, as well as flights from Vancouver. (They used to fly to Christchurch as well.)

However things have opened up. United promised Houston – Auckland flights, but then Southwest Airlines flights from Houston Hobby to Mexico made them uneconomical (yes, that was United’s claim.) However Air New Zealand started Houston service in December.

United is introducing San Francisco – Auckland July 1. American is launching Los Angeles – Auckland in June.


    “Bayswater Marina Auckland New Zealand” by Bayswater marina, Creative Commons

More capacity should drive down prices, mean unsold seats, and likely award space available. Award space on American’s flights was wide open Friday morning.

Historically though awards between the US and New Zealand has been one of the toughest things to book. Years ago Air New Zealand used to open up business class awards 60 days prior to flight. Then they stopped. There really hasn’t been meaningful Air New Zealand business class award space in years.

However this morning One Mile at a Time noted that there were a handful of dates in the coming weeks where 2 business class awards were available between Los Angeles and London on Air New Zealand.

So I had a look at space to New Zealand and there’s actually some space over the coming months.

Here’s a United search for 2 passengers non-stop between Los Angeles and Auckland in March and April. Green and Blue dates have business class awards available.

Here’s May and June.

So roughly speaking most days are available on the route between March 29 and May 10.

San Francisco – Auckland availability looks similar.

Why so similar? In fact if you pull up the Houston flight you see the same calendar. It’s because while there’s plenty of Air New Zealand award space available between the US and Auckland over that six week period, the United award calendar is broken. Even when you specify non-stop only, the calendar will show connecting availability.

Here the Los Angeles flights, showing both flight options open:

And here’s the San Francisco flight:

Up until today, this was a unicorn. Or snuffaluffagus. There were rumors of Air New Zealand business class award space, but no one knew if it actually existed.

These are best booked with United miles or Avianca LifeMiles.

  • United charges 80,000 miles each way without fuel surcharges. United is a Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer partner, and points move instantly.
  • LifeMiles charges 81,000 miles each way without fuel surcharges. LifeMiles often sells miles cheap.
  • Aeroplan charges 80,000 miles each way without fuel surcharges. Aeroplan is an American Express Membership Rewards points transfer partner, and points move instantly.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. @Scott I’ve only flown it once, haven’t reviewed it, the seats are similar to the Delta 777 herringbone seats (not reverse herringbone), the food is generally good and service friendly.

  2. As mentioned, no yq on air New Zealand unless paired up with another airline that charges yq if doing a America to Asia to New Zealand journey

  3. This actually appeared earlier than today. On Thursday, I got an Expertflyer alert for the SFO flight on the 25th of March, so promptly called Aeroplan to upgrade myself. While they charged the change fee and different taxes, they forgot to charge the difference in miles (new ticket has been issued).

  4. Air New Zealand biz class is very good. But it’s not Air France. Standard lie flat biz seats, which they make up for you with the mattress pads. Good linen. Food is good, not superb. Movies, until you sleep, are ok, not as extensive as one might expect. Wine, of course, is excellent. Best is Kiwi service. There is just something about those folks that is wonderful. … Oh. For your headphones, bring your two-prong-to-single converter. Their headphones are ok, not great. They use the two prong jacks. And there is plenty of AC for your electronics. … A really nice part of flying Air NZ is that extraordinary indoor/outdoor lounge at LA’s Bradley terminal.

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