Great Business Class Award Space on Air New Zealand for Peak December

Historically awards between the US and New Zealand have 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. With a couple of brief exceptions there really hasn’t been meaningful Air New Zealand business class award space in years.

In May business class award space opened up for July. Then in June they opened up space for August. But that was low season, not when you want to go to New Zealand.

Right now though there is peak business class award space, a little in November and January but quite a lot in December, on Air New Zealand between Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Houston and Auckland.

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

Here’s a look at Houston – Auckland in December, pulling up some of the Los Angeles and San Francisco flights based on connecting availability:

Aeroplan charges 80,000 miles each way (American Express transfer partner). United charges 90,000 miles each way (Chase transfer partner).

But the amazing value is Virgin Atlantic redemptions:

  • They charge just 62,500 miles each way for non-stop business class
  • Virgin Atlantic is a transfer partner of Citi, American Express, and Chase.

The best practice is to put the award on a 24 hour hold and then make the transfer, or to have the Virgin Atlantic agent set up the award and then transfer the points while still on the phone with them. You cannot include other partners or connecting flights on the itinerary at this price, this deal is just for non-stop travel.

(HT: One Mile at a Time)

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, 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 »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. that Virgin offer is excellent value, who do you consider the most competitive in the US – NZ, and US – Aust F class for award travel?

  2. The amazing redemption option via VA is only if your final destination is either LAX or SFO. Any continuing flight(s) will need to be booked separately. And in cases that you are based in New York for example, Aeroplan or even United aren’t that bad of an option if you need a continuing flights in J at no extra miles.

    I had to book AA J separately last time using 25k Alaska miles to JFK.

  3. Gary, what airline or tool are you using to pull up these flights?

    I looked under my VA account and don’t find anything. Also searched with United and don’t see these.

    Appreciate the help.

Comments are closed.