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.
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)