Four years ago I covered the best uses of Virgin Atlantic miles. That was long before people started talking about amazing 120,000 mile ANA first class roundtrip awards between the US and Japan.
Sadly the 75,000 mile Air China first class London – Beijing roundtrips that I had noted are now gone.
I mentioned Air New Zealand awards but didn’t consider 125,000 miles roundtrip between Los Angeles and Auckland in business class to be one of the ‘best’ uses of those miles because those awards simply are never available anymore. Or almost never.
- There are award seats right now though in business class US-New Zealand for June and July
- It’s 125,000 miles roundtrip in business class between the US and New Zealand
- But No Mas Coach points out it’s only 90,000 miles roundtrip in business class between the US and other South Pacific destinations. Like Australia. So adding the trans-tasman connections saves miles, although in my experience most Virgin Atlantic partner awards price out segment-by-segment. Let me know your experience.
“Bayswater Marina Auckland New Zealand” by Bayswater marina, Creative Commons
Here’s United’s award availability calendar showing 2 business class award seats Los Angeles – Auckland.
United would charge 90,000 miles one way for this award.
Here’s the Air New Zealand business class cabin:
Usually I don’t much worry about Virgin Atlantic’s award, good as it is in theory, since space is so sparse. And the Northern summer is very much low season for travel to New Zealand. But this unicorn space exists and there is a cheap way to book it. And of course Virgin Atlantic is a transfer partner of American Express, Chase, and Citibank.
In my experience they’ll hold award space for 24 hours allowing you to transfer points (set up your award before you make a transfer), and transfers from all 3 currencies have been instantaneous.