Air New Zealand Airpoints Loyalty Program Review

Air New Zealand Airpoints Loyalty Program Review

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Air New Zealand Summary Table

Branded and Partnered Credit Cards

A transferable point credit card from Marriott is going to be the best way to earn Air New Zealand Airpoints Dollars that doesn’t involve flying.

Air New Zealand has a number of co-branded credit cards, however, the issuers of these cards require that you are a resident or are authorized to work in New Zealand to apply.

Air New Zealand Credit Cards

Kiwibank is Air New Zealand’s credit card partner and can be a great supplemental option to Marriott credit cards if you meet the application criteria.

The 3 credit cards offered by Kiwibank do earn Airpoints Dollars, but unfortunately do not come with a welcome bonus.

With that said, we recommend checking out the products offered by Marriott if you’re looking to earn Airpoints Dollars

Marriott Credit Cards

The Marriott Bonvoy program is the most efficient way to earn Air New Zealand Airpoints Dollars for an award flight.

Yes, the transfer ratio of Marriott points to Air New Zealand Airpoints is horrendous, but it’s the only transferable point program that partners with Air New Zealand.

What makes the Marriott Bonvoy program unique is its bonus structure when transferring points to its airline partners.

For every 60,000 Marriott points that are transferred to an airline partner, you’ll receive a 5,000-point bonus in the form of airline miles.

Most of the Marriott to airline transfer ratios are 3:1, however, in the case of Air New Zealand the transfer ratio is 200:1. Ouch!

60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points become 375 Air New Zealand Airpoints Dollars with the 5,000-point bonus (60,000 / 200 = 300 * 25% bonus = 375).

Other Hotel Partner Credit Cards

Air New Zealand also partners with Hilton, but the transfer ratio is even worse than Marriott at 500:1!

For this reason, we don’t recommend transferring Hilton points to Air New Zealand unless you are looking to top off an account or are in a (serious) bind.

Air New Zealand Overview

Air New Zealand is the flagship airline of New Zealand that was founded 78 years ago.

The airline operates the majority of its flights out of its hub in Auckland (AKL) to destinations around the world.

Air New Zealand is a Star Alliance airline member joining airlines like ANA, Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines, and United Airlines.

Star Alliance membership comes with several important perks. The primary benefit is that Air New Zealand members can use Airpoints for flights on partner airlines.

Airpoints is the airline’s frequent flyer program that allows members to both earn and redeem miles for various things including award flights.

Elite tiers require members to earn a certain number of Status Points within any 12 month period. After a member earns said tier, the benefits are valid for 12 months from the date the member reaches that tier.

Air New Zealand uses a calculator to determine the amount of Status Points earned on your flight. The points that you earn are based on the route and the fare class of the purchased ticket.

Members also earn Airpoints Dollars in addition to Status Points. Airpoints Dollars are the equivalent of airline miles and can be used for an award flight.

If using Airpoints Dollars for free flights isn’t your thing, Airpoints Dollars can be used for rental cars, upgrades, and lounge access.

Bottom Line: In summary, Air New Zealand isn’t the most competitive frequent flyer program, but can be useful for members who fly the airline on a regular basis. 

Joining Airpoints

An Airpoints membership is free by using this link to sign up for an account.

With a completed application, members have the opportunity to both earn and redeem Airpoints.

How to Sign in to Your Air New Zealand Airpoints Account

The login page will require either an Airpoints number, username, or email, and a password to access your account.

Air New Zealand Login Screen
Air New Zealand Login Screen. Image courtesy of airnewzealand.com.

Hot Tip:Depending on the flight, Air New Zealand may require you to call to book or you may be able to login to your account to the book the flight. 

Viewing Your Account Activity

Follow these easy steps to check out the mileage activity in your account:

  1. Log in to your account
  2. Click “Your Balances”

Points Expiration

Each year on the anniversary of the date a member joined the Airpoints program, the member’s account is reviewed and any Airpoints Dollars earned more than four years earlier will expire.

Air New Zealand Airpoints Program

Airpoints Elite Status

Air New Zealand Auckland Lounge
Kick back and relax in the Air New Zealand lounges! Image courtesy of airnewzealand.com

There are three elite tiers in the Airpoints frequent flyer program.

Members who move to higher elite tiers unlock additional benefits such as lounge access, higher mileage earn rates, and fast track security status.

When reviewing the benefits within each tier below, it’s important to note that higher elite tiers include all of the benefits of the preceding elite tier:

Silver: Airpoint’s lowest elite tier providing members with these benefits:

  • 2 single-entry lounge passes each membership year
  • 1 cabin upgrade each membership year
  • OneUp offers will be upweighted by 10% of your offer
  • Discounted long haul business class fares

Gold: The middle elite tier that comes with the following perks:

  • Access to Air New Zealand, Star Alliance and partner airline lounges
  • 1 Air New Zealand, Star Alliance, and partner airline lounge guest pass
  • 2 (1) cabin upgrades each membership year
  • OneUp offers will be upweighted by 30% of your offer
  • Excess baggage allowance
  • Priority check-in and boarding
  • 1 room category hotel upgrade at a participating hotel in New Zealand and Australia
  • 1 car rental car upgrade at participating locations in New Zealand and Australia
  • Airpoints Dollars don’t expire
  • Star Alliance Gold

Elite: Air New Zealand’s highest elite tier where members have these benefits:

  • 5 guest passes for any Air New Zealand International or Domestic Lounge
  • 1 guest pass for a Air New Zealand Regional Lounge, Partner Lounge or Star Alliance Lounge
  • 2 long haul flight upgrades
  • 1 short haul flight upgrade
  • Fixed rate Airpoints Dollars cabin class upgrades
  • Ability to gift upgrades or Airpoints Dollar upgrades to other members
  • OneUp offers will be upweighted by 50% of your offer

Air New Zealand has an additional tier called Elite Partner. An Elite Airpoints member nominates this individual who then receives benefits like lounge access, priority check-in and boarding, and excess baggage.

For those wanting a deeper dive of the benefits, head to the frequent flyer tier benefits page.

Bottom Line: Aim for the Gold and Elite tiers to unlock the most valuable benefits in the Airpoints program. 

Value of Air New Zealand Status

6 guest lounge passes and 3 flight upgrades are what you’ll find at the Airpoints Elite tier.

Earning Airpoints Gold provides Star Alliance Gold and your miles don’t expire, however, it’s best to consider if you value both of these benefits.

For those who find value in lounge access, upgrades, and Star Alliance elite status, aim for earning Elite status.

Bottom Line: The elite benefits of Air New Zealand are not as competitive as what you’ll find elsewhere on top of the fact that Airpoints are challenging to earn. 

Earning Airpoints Elite Status

Air New Zealand business class
Air New Zealand takes care of its business class customers. Image courtesy of airnewzealand.com

Elite status is determined by the route that you fly and the cabin class that you book on Air New Zealand and partner airline flights.

The program uses an Airpoints calculator to estimate both the Status Points (elite status) and Airpoints Dollars (airline miles).

A member needs to earn the following number of Status Points for each tier: 450 Status for Silver, 900 for Gold, and 1,500 for Elite status. In the subsequent qualifying year, the Status Points required drops to 405 for Silver, 810 for Gold, and 1,350 for Elite.

For Elite members, 900 of the 1,500 year 1 points need to come from Air New Zealand operated flights or qualifying partner airline flights. In year 2, that 900 number drops to 810.

If you’re looking to add to your Status Points balance, Air New Zealand provides an avenue to earn these points through credit card spend.

Bottom Line: A combination of flying and credit card spend can earn you elite status in the New Zealand Airpoints program. 

How to Earn Air New Zealand Airpoints

Air New Zealand does not make it easy to earn its miles by only partnering with 1 transferable point program, Marriott Bonvoy.

Even with the Marriott partnership, members have 2 key items working against them when converting points into airline miles – 1) transfers from Marriott to Air New Zealand are at a 200:1 transfer ratio, and 2) transfer times take 2 days.

Obviously, you want to avoid transferring points from Marriott to Air New Zealand so let’s focus on other ways to earn miles in the Air New Zealand program.

Earning Miles Through Flying

Calculating the amount of Airpoints Dollars that you’ll earn by flying is easy by using the Air New Zealand Airpoints calculator.

The calculator determines that amount of Airpoints Dollars that you earn by the route of the flight and the fare class.

By selecting the Advanced Search option, you can determine exactly how many Dollars you will earn for your flight.

Star Alliance members airlines
Star Alliance members airlines. Image courtesy of staralliancemembers.org

Calculating the amount of Airpoints Dollars on partner airline flights is straightforward as well.

Head to the Airpoints calculator page and select Partner Airline Flights. Next, enter the route and airline that you will be flying to see the amount of Airpoints Dollars that you’ll earn.

Air New Zealand also has airline partnerships in addition to the Star Alliance. These airlines include Aerolinas Argentinas, Cathay Pacific, Etihad, Qantas, SilkAir, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, and Virgin Australia.

For non-Star Alliance airlines, simply select the airline in the dropdown menu, and then enter the route and fare class to determine the amount of Airpoints Dollars you’ll earn.

Earn Miles With Credit Cards

Air New Zealand’s Marriott partnership sounds great on the surface when you think about the 5,000-mile transfer bonus, but unfortunately the transfer ratio is terrible.

Outside of Marriott, Air New Zealand has financial partnerships that you allow you to earn Airpoints Dollars, however, the transfer ratios with these partners are also bad.

To sum up, earning Airpoints Dollars from credit card spend is not a strategy we recommend.

Earning Bonus Miles in Other Ways

Another way to earn Airpoints Dollars is to leverage the Air New Zealand rental car and hotel partners.

A listing of the benefits of these partnerships can be found on the travel partners page if you want to see how to earn more Airpoints Dollars.

The last way to potentially earn Airpoints Dollars is to keep up with the Air New Zealand Facebook, Twitter, and Flight Deals pages.

Hot Tip: If you add your airline loyalty program number to other services such as car rental companies and hotels, you typically won’t also earn status points with these entities. 

How to Redeem Air New Zealand Airpoints Dollars

The way to yield the most value with your Airpoints Dollars is to redeem them for an award flight. It’s important to note that 1 Airpoints Dollar is equal to 1 New Zealand Dollar.

The current conversion rate to USD is approximately 1:0.68, so 1 New Zealand Dollar is equal to $.68 U.S. Dollars.

Air New Zealand doesn’t use award charts for its own flights, so this means that the cash cost of the flight will be the amount of Airpoints Dollars that are required.

Adding insult to injury is the fact that you’ll have to call the Air New Zealand call center to book the flight.

Air New Zealand Plane Rear
Redeeming Airpoints Dollars for flights is not going to yield a ton of value for most travelers. Image courtesy of airnewzealand.com

Redeeming Airpoints Dollars is made difficult by the fact that the majority of award flights have to be booked over the phone.

Sweet spots in the program will only be available when the cash cost of the flight is low, so be on the lookout for opportunities when that is the case.

Hot Tip: If you’re looking to fly to New Zealand, we have an entire post on the best ways to fly to New Zealand with points and miles.

Star Alliance and Other Partner Awards

For Star Alliance flights, it doesn’t get any better. A phone call is required to book these flights as well.

The one positive for some travelers is that a handful of partner flights, shown below, can be booked on the Air New Zealand website:

  • United Airlines operated flights between Auckland and San Francisco
  • Air China operated flights between Auckland and Beijing
  • Cathay Pacific operated flights between Auckland or Christchurch and Hong Kong
  • Qantas operated domestic Australia flights purchased in conjunction with an Air New Zealand international flight

All other partner airline flights will require a phone call to the Air New Zealand call center.

Booking Online

The majority of flights using Airpoints Dollars can’t be booked on the Air New Zealand website, so you’ll need to find award space elsewhere before calling Air New Zealand.

Certain routes, like United between Auckland and San Francisco, can be booked online, but you’ll need to call 800-262-1234 to book most flights.

When searching for award flights, keep these general rules in mind to make the search process easier:

  • Search the British Airways and Qantas websites for Oneworld flights
  • Use the Delta and Flying Blue (Air France or KLM) websites for SkyTeam flights
  • Search the United and Aeroplan websites for Star Alliance flights

Hot Tip: Expert Flyer is the best tool to use for flights that do not appear on the search engines mentioned above. 

Featured Image: Courtesy of Shutterstock

FAQ

What is the New Zealand Airpoints program? Is it worth it? What are the benefits?

Airpoints is the frequent flyer program of Air New Zealand. The program is free to join and allows members to earn miles and elite status, as well as use Airpoints Dollars for an award flight.

Elite status in the program is determined by the amount of Status Points earned in a 12-month period.

The highest elite members in the program are awarded with a handful of benefits, some of which include lounge access and flight upgrades.

Air New Zealand is in the Star Alliance, so this means that Airpoints Dollars can be used not only for Air New Zealand flights but also for flights on a Star Alliance member like United Airlines.

In Airpoints, who are the partners? Can I transfer miles to them?

Members in the Airpoints program can earn Airpoints Dollars in a number of ways.

Outside of earning Airpoints Dollars from flying, hotel and car rental partners provide additional avenues to earn Airpoints Dollars.

Air New Zealand and/or partner airline flights will be the primary ways to redeem Airpoints Dollars as Airpoints can’t be transferred to another airline program.

What is the Airpoints login?

Members can login to their Air New Zealand account through this link.

Where can I sign up for Airpoints?

Joining Airpoints is free by completing this application.

What is my Airpoints number?

You can find your Airpoints number by signing in to your account, looking on your membership card, or through a variety of marketing emails Air New Zealand send to you.

If you can’t find it there, try using the “forgot my password” tool to reset your account so you can get in. Alternatively, try calling the customer service desk to find your number.

When do miles post in Airpoints?

Airpoints Dollars should post in your account within 7 days after your date of travel.

When do Airpoints Dollars expire?

Each year on the anniversary of the date a member joined the Airpoints program, the member’s account is reviewed and any Airpoints Dollars earned more than four years earlier will expire.

Higher elite tiers Airpoints Dollars will not expire.

When does Airpoints status expire?

Elite status is valid for 12 months from the date the member reaches that tier.

Is there a Air New Zealand credit card?

Yes, but not for the U.S. market.

Can you hold an award flight with Air New Zealand?

Air New Zealand doesn’t allow members to put an award flight on hold.

Michael McHugh

About Michael McHugh

Michael grew up in Mobile, AL and took his first international trip to the Caribbean in 2013. From then on, he was hooked. After that trip, Michael has continued traveling both domestically and internationally —primarily with constant travel companion wife, Ashlee, who runs her own travel/style and contracts blog.

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