UNICORN: Business Class Awards to New Zealand for Up to 8 Passengers Wide Open in Summer

Milecards flags that there’s good business class award availability on United between San Francisco and Auckland New Zealand towards the end of schedule — good enough not just for one or two passengers but for four or more passengers.

Australia and New Zealand are among the toughest awards out there. So while July and August is low season for travel to New Zealand, many will want to take advantage and of course it’s easy to hop over to Australia from New Zealand and some will want to use these flights as part of a broader Pacific Islands trip.


United Airlines Boeing 787

There are dates with 5, 6.. and even 8 (or more) award seats available in business class.

Here’s non-stop availability San Francisco – Auckland in July and August for four passengers. Dotted dates have business class award seats. Solid lines are economy.

Here’s non-stop availability Auckland – San Francisco in July and August for four passengers. Dotted dates have business class award seats. Solid lines are economy.

Remember that many of these dates will have more than 4 seats available.

These awards can be booked using Star Alliance miles (e.g. United, Aeroplan, LifeMiles) between several U.S. cities and New Zealand on Air New Zealand.

These are award costs:

  • United charges 70,000 miles each way without fuel surcharges (Star Alliance partner awards would be 80,000). 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.

Note also that where there’s business class award space there’s generally upgrade space open as well.


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

MileCards relays that there’s decent availability for one passenger in business class Los Angeles – Sydney on American as well as San Francisco – Sydney and Dallas – Sydney on Qantas between April and June, and first class on Qantas Los Angeles – Melbourne. One seat doesn’t interest me all that much but at least it does appear that the Qantas space is real rather than the phantom availability that sometimes appears on AA.com.

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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