Who knew it was possible to fly Air New Zealand using American miles! Under a brand new rules change, for one specific flight at least, it now is.
American does not publish key portions of its award routing rules. The value of a mileage redemption program is a combination of:
- The cost of an award (miles, money)
- Award routing rules (what flights can be combined together to construct an award).
Since so much of the AAdvantage award rules are unpublished, I wrote the Ultimate Guide to Booking Award Tickets Using American Miles.
There’s been an interesting new rule change for American AAdvantage that allows you to book award seats on an Air New Zealand flight.
Air Tahiti Nui Flights operated by Air New Zealand in the PPT to/from AKL market are valid for redemption when booked as TN flight number.
Here’s what this means:
- You can only fly Air New Zealand using American miles between Papeete (Tahiti) and Auckland, New Zealand.
- You can only do it when there’s award space on the Air Tahiti Nui codeshare for that Air New Zealand flight.
Booking award tickets on codeshares is rare. It’s been possible in the past using Delta miles to book Air France codeshares on airlines that Delta doesn’t otherwise partner with. There are a handful of cases where you can book codeshare flights as awards using American AAdvantage miles. For instance,
- Japan Transocean Air (NU), majority owned by Japan Airlines, can be booked as awards using their Japan Airlines codeshares.
- Santiago-Sydney flights operated by Qantas can be booked as LAN codeshares (which is very strange, both LAN and Qantas are oneworld partners of American).
Nonetheless it’s rare and I cannot think of a case where an airline as distant from American as Air New Zealand could be booked as an award using the codeshare of an airline partner, especially one like Air Tahiti Nui that isn’t even an alliance of joint venture partner.
Air Tahiti Nui itself flies Papeete – Auckland three times a week, and you’ve long been able to use American AAdvantage miles for that flight. I did myself a decade ago.
Air New Zealand flies Papeete – Auckland three times a week, and as best I can tell Air Tahiti Nui only places its code on the flight two of those three days. It’s a roughly 6 hour flight on a Boeing 767.
By Simon_sees from Australia (Air NZ 767), via Wikimedia Commons
This is a pretty limited change — a single flight twice a week that AAdvantage members now have access to between French Polynesia and New Zealand. But I never expected to be able to use American miles for travel on Star Alliance member Air New Zealand. It’s an oddball, for sure.