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.
“Bayswater Marina Auckland New Zealand” by Bayswater marina, Creative Commons
More capacity should drive down prices, mean unsold seats, and likely award space available.
Historically 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 except for a brief span back in February.
Right now though there are a handful of dates over the summer where 2 business class awards are available using Star Alliance miles (e.g. United, Aeroplan, LifeMiles) between several U.S. cities and New Zealand on Air New Zealand.
Here’s Los Angeles – Auckland for 2 passengers in business class. Dates in blue have non-stop Air New Zealand awards available.
Here’s San Francisco – Auckland for 2 passengers in business class. Dates in blue and green have non-stop Air New Zealand awards available.
This is the flight:
The new Houston – Auckland doesn’t have much space for two passengers, but a handful of dates come up blue:
Availability on the return (here’s Auckland – Los Angeles) is similar.
You can find many more available dates if you’re only looking for one award seat in business class on a given flight, e.g. here’s Los Angeles – Auckland for one:
These are award costs:
- 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.